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Why Mariah Lost


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So far, I've examined the reasons why Michael and Hannah both saw their American Idol journeys end in the Top 20.  Now I'll turn my attention to Mariah.  Mariah was a country singer, and with American Idol being on a network with a Country Music Awards show and having a country singer as a judge, you might expect her to go far.  But that wasn't the case for her, as she too failed to make the Top 12.  But why did she fall short?  As always, a look at the rules that Season 21 contestants should follow will explain what Mariah did right, what she did wrong and why Mariah lost.


Show Singing and Performing Talent


Mariah had enough singing and performing talent in order to make the Top 26, but ran into problems in her very first performance, where she sang Chris Stapleton's "You Should Probably Leave" and was panned, with me actually saying that after that performance, she should probably leave.  She squeaked into the Top 20 largely because of Elise having a poor song choice and performing early in Hawaii, and because Emma didn't have the fan base necessary to save her.  So how did she do in the Top 20?  Not much better.  Only two people on IDF put her higher than between the 6 and 7 range, and most put her below that.  I gave her a 6 and said that it was better than Hawaii (where I gave her a 5 or a 5.5), but thought that it wasn't good enough.  Crisis also thought that her Top 20 performance was slightly better than her Hawaii one, but still criticized her energy and projection and thought that her vocals were inconsistent, while the TooFab staff put her in 16th place, and wished that she would cut loose just a little bit more.


Unsurprisingly, she failed to make the Top 10 but still had a chance to save herself by getting one of the two judges' Wildcard picks.  So how did she do with "If It Hadn't Been for Love"?  For the most part, the IDF rated her better than in her performance, including me, as I gave her a 7.5 although I thought that it was too little, too late.  The TooFab staff put her ahead of Michael, Hannah and Matt in their rankings of the contestants who had to sing for her survival, and thought that she started to become the kind of singer they knew she had inside her.  Crisis also thought that it was her best performance to date.  But it was too little, too late and the judges cut her.  So Mariah screwed up this rule until the very end. when it was too little, too late for her to move on.


Song Choice Is Key


For the most part, Mariah seemed to understand this rule, which reminds contestants that they have to pick great songs.  However, "Cry to Me" is a song that apparently was sung by an older soul singer, Solomon Burke, and Crisis noted that you needed to bring some real soul into the performance if you wanted to take that song on, and Mariah failed to do that.  Also, Chris Stapleton is a difficult singer to take on, and Mariah fell short in her performance of "You Should Probably Leave".  But it wasn't a major reason for her defeat, so I'll move on.


Be Consistently Outstanding or Better Yet, Consistently Improve Every Week


This was another rule that Mariah failed on.  She was at or near the bottom of the pack in both the Hawaii and the Top 20 performances.  She improved when she had to sing for her survival, but it wasn't nearly enough with Lucy, Nutsa, Kaeyra and Olivia at least having done better than her when singing for their survival as well.  So Mariah fouled up this rule as well.


Have the Confidence to Believe That You Belong


I think that this might have been another rule that Mariah failed with.  She was invited to headline a concert with the top 2 of last season, Noah Thompson and Huntergirl after her audition, which might indicate that she didn't have as much confidence that she belonged as others did.  That might explain in part why she had problems with delivering enough energy for her performances.  So I think that Mariah failed in this rule as well.


Know Who You Are As an Artist


I don't think that this was a problem for Mariah.  She knew that she was a bluegrass type of country singer, and she showed that side of her in just about all the songs she sang.  Unfortunately, that wasn't enough to save her, due to her sub-par performances.


Remember, You Are a Package


Mariah had a decent amount of exposure coming into the Top 26, and I think that she was able to package herself as a bluegrass country singer well enough.  Unfortunately, her problems with song delivery hindered her from being as good with this rule as she could have been.  Still, it wasn't a major problem for her, so I'll move on.


Take Any Advice Offered to You and Follow It


At least Mariah didn't have any problems with this rule.  Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly enough to save her, so I'll just move on.


Gather a Fan Base -- and Sustain It


This was the final rule that Mariah failed.  While she was one of two female country singers, she wasn't nearly as good as the other one, Marybeth.  She gathered enough of a fan base due to her being a country singer that she could skate by in Hawaii, but even then she was probably losing fans due to her being too unenergetic and that no doubt continued into the Top 20, causing her to fail to make it into the Top 10.  So Mariah stumbled with this rule as well.


Mariah had enough things going for her that she could have gone fairly far into the competition.  She was a country singer, so she had the ability to attract a fan base of dedicated country fans.  What did her in was her problems with performance skills.  The fact that she was invited to headline the Noah/Huntergirl concert after moving on to Hollywood was the first sign that she had problems with performance skills and that continued when she got into the Top 26.  Her performance in Hawaii nearly got her cut and her second chance wasn't nearly good enough.  Mariah just couldn't perform well enough.  And that is why Mariah lost.

Edited by CarmenSandiego
Added Crisis’s comment
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Mariah was such a letdown to me. Pre-show, I thought she was gonna be this big voiced Crystal Bowersox-ish girl who’d knock it out of the park every week, but she disappointed me in every performance. I don’t think she should’ve made the Top 26. Kya, Caroline, Rebecca Brunner, or even Fire (so she could have gotten to experience Hawaii) could’ve taken her spot. 

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