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Why Emma Lost


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I've looked at two people who failed to make the Top 20 who were pretty much expected to fail at this point:  PJAE and Malik.  I've looked at one who I thought would stick around, only for that person to be forgotten:  Elijah.  And I looked at one person who probably should've gone farther but had issues that ended her run early:  Elise.  Now it's time for me to look at one of the remaining two people who found their American Idol journey come to an early end.  I chose to look at Emma.  Even more than Elise, she should have gone farther.  But she didn't, and a look at my rules that Season 21 contestants should follow hopefully will explain what Emma did right, what she did wrong and why Emma lost.


Show Singing and Performing Talent


Emma definitely had enough singing and performing talent to make the Top 26, but now she needed to show that she had that talent.  And how did she do?  Actually, she did the best of all of the ones who were eliminated at this point, including Dawson, whom I will get to tomorrow.  Only three people on IDF actually rated her below an 8, and most rated her quite a bit higher.  I gave her an 8 and said that she was better than Elise.  And the TooFab staff put her second in the night, behind only Iam.  Crisis was the most critical, thinking that Emma had her moments and praised her "intriguing tone", but because Crisis hated Sam Smith or his song "Lay Me Down", Emma had to be extraordinary in order for Crisis to really root for her, and Emma was merely very good.  Still, she succeeded with this rule.


Song Choice is Key


Emma didn't have any problems with this rule, either.  Sure, Crisis didn't like her song but not everybody likes Sam Smith.  That said, according to the TooFab staff, Smith is a really good vocalist, yet Emma was able to prove that she had the same amount of range and control that he did.  Therefore, she succeeded with this rule as well.


Be Consistently Outstanding or Better Yet, Constantly Improve Every Week


I think that Emma mostly succeeded with this rule as well.  Her audition was a work in progress because of her theatrical mannerisms, then she became less theatrical during Hollywood week and then in the Showstoppers round, she improved even more, getting into the Top 26.  That said, she might have plateaued a little bit when she had her first performance for America's votes, and she should have improved even more since had she been extraordinary, Crisis might have loved her performance.  Thus while Emma mostly succeeded, she did stumble a bit at the end.


Have the Confidence to Believe That You Belong


I don't think that I saw Emma lacking any confidence.  Unfortunately, it didn't save her from elimination, but at least she did well enough with this rule so I'll move on.


Know Who You Are As An Artist


I think that this is the first rule that Emma really stumbled on.  She came in as a theatrical-type of singer and had to unlearn all the theatrical mannerisms in order to make it to the Top 26.  But that meant that she might not have known what her artistic identity was other than being a pop singer with a big voice.  And that isn't enough with so many other female pop singers (or singers with a mixture of pop and some other genre) in this group.  Thus Emma stumbled with this rule.


Remember:  You Are a Package


I also think that Emma had problems with this rule as well.  Her initial package was that of a theatrical singer, but once she began shedding the theatrical tricks, her package was somewhat too plain and she wasn't able to make her package more exciting.  Thus Emma failed this rule as well.


Take Any Advice Offered To You And Follow It


Emma also had no problems with taking the advice that mentor Allan Stone gave her and following it.  Unfortunately, it just wasn't enough to save her.


Gather a Fan Base -- And Sustain It


This was the final rule that Emma failed in.  Part of it wasn't her fault -- she apparently is from Canada and Canadians aren't allowed to vote on American Idol.  But Tyson was also from Canada, and yet he managed to make it to the Top 20.  However, he also was a cute boy and female voters tend to go more for the cute boy than for the talented girl, which is more their fault than Emma's.  But Tyson was also an American Platinum ticket winner and thus had a head start in gathering a fan base.  Emma didn't have that early advantage, because of her theatrical background and plain packaging underneath it.  Also Haven and Mariah, both of whom were in Emma's group, had advantages that she didn't have.  Mariah was country, and country fans tend to vote more strenously for country singers while Haven was a cute girl and had a sympathetic backstory with a brother that struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts.  Thus they could get more fans than Emma could.  In the end, Emma struck out with this rule as well.


Emma should have gone farther than she did.  She was a talented singer and a fine performer who was able to make a very smart song choice in her first performance for America's votes.  Unfortunately, she had too many strikes against her.  She had to unlearn her theatrical training and that hindered her ability to discover her artistic identity or package herself in such a way that could attract and sustain a huge fan base in America.  She had Canadian fans but they couldn't vote.  And finally, her closest rivals, Haven and Mariah, had a head start on her in attracting and sustaining a fan base.  This is why Emma sadly lost.

Edited by CarmenSandiego
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