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Why Nailyah Lost


CarmenSandiego

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So far, I have examined three contestants who failed to make the Top 12 -- Michael, Hannah and Mariah.  Now it's time to look at Nailyah.  She managed to sing well enough to get into the Top 20, but her luck ran out when it came time to make the Top 12.  But why did her luck run out?  An examination of the rules that American Idol Season 21 contestants should follow will explain what Nailyah did right, what she did wrong, and why Nailyah lost.

 

Show Singing and Performing Talent

 

Nailyiah had enough singing and performing talent in order to make the Top 26, and showed it in her Hawaii performance, where she sang well enough to overcome her limited exposure and make it into the Top 20.  So how did she do with "Baby Love"?  Not quite as good.  Many on IDF thought that it was a solid performance, including me, since I gave her a 7.5 and said that it was enjoyable.  However, I had given her a 9 for her Hawaii performance, which was a definite step down, and I said that I feared her Top 20 performance wouldn't be good enough.  Crisis thought that while her performance skills were fine, her vocals weren't as strong, especially in the higher notes.  And the TooFab staff put her 7th, which was very good but given that she had such limited exposure, hurt her chances of surviving over contestants like Warren, whom the TooFab staff didn't think was nearly as strong but who had more exposure and was a country singer to boot.

 

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 "Alive"?  Fairly well.  Some on IDF panned it, some found it solid, while others like me enjoyed it.  I gave her an 8, saying that it was better than "Baby Love".  Crisis thought that she began well but thought that she struggled with the bigger notes and that the song got away from her a little towards the end.  Meanwhile, the TooFab staff put her in third, ahead of Lucy, who got one of the two Wildcard slots!  Overall, I'd say that Nailyah did okay with this rule, but given her limited exposure she didn't do nearly well enough.

 

Song Choice Is Key

 

For the most part, I think that Nailyah seemed to understand this rule, which reminds contestants that they have to pick great songs.  However, Crisis noted that "Alive" was one of the hardest songs done by Sia, and it's possible that had she done a somewhat easier song she might have had more of a chance.  Still, she didn't do too badly with this rule, so I'll move on.

 

Be Consistently Outstanding or Better Yet, Consistently Improve Every Week

 

This was the first rule that Nailayh really failed on.  Due to the limited exposure she got, she needed to come out strong and either remain consistently outstanding or better yet, improve every week.  She came out strong and thus got into the Top 20, but she took several steps back, first with "Baby Love" and then with "Alive".  She needed to continue building on her first performance, and she failed to do so.  Thus Nailyah struck out with this rule.

 

Have the Confidence to Believe That You Belong

 

I think that Nailyah succeeded with this rule.  She certainly had the confidence to take on "Alive", even if it wasn't an absolute knock-out.  So I'll move on.

 

Know Who You Are As an Artist

 

I don't think that this was a problem for Nailyah.  She knew what type of artist she was.  The problem was that her artistic identity was a little too off-beat for the tastes of most Americans.  Still, she did well here so I'll move on.

 

Remember, You Are a Package

 

I think that Nailyah knew that she was a package and thus followed the sixth rule.  The problem was that she was an astrologer and that part of her package might not have gone over well with more mainstream viewers, especially Christian ones.  Her off-beat artistic identity also was part of her package, and was off-putting for most Americans.  Thus while Nailyah did follow this rule, her off-beat package caused her to struggle.

 

Take Any Advice Offered to You and Follow It

 

At least Nailyah 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 Nailyah failed, and probably the biggest one she failed with.  She wasn't shown at all during Hollywood week after her audition was shown, and thus was behind the 8-ball in terms of gathering a fan base.  She also wasn't a country singer and thus couldn't attract as dedicated a fan base as people like Warren could.  She was able to start gaining a fan base with her Hawaii performance but lost her momentum with a performance of "Baby Love" that wasn't quite as good.  Thus Nailyah struck out with this rule.

 

Nailyah was able to follow many of the rules I mentioned and that should have helped her get farther.  Unfortunately, her artistic identity and her overall package were too off-putting for the tastes of most ABC viewers.  As a result, she got limited exposure and thus needed to come out great each and every round.  She began well with her Hawaii performance, but she needed to continue doing so in order to sustain the fan base she began to gather in that performance.  Unfortunately, while she was still solid her performance of "Baby Love" failed to maintain her momentum and her song choice of "Alive" proved to be too risky.  Nailyah just had too big of a mountain to climb.  And that is why Nailyah lost.

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She was very artsy. She reminded me a lot of Nadia Turner from Season 4. I think she could’ve benefited from picking more mainstream songs, but I respect that she stuck to her artistic identity. She didn’t have the most compelling edit, either. So I think she went as far as she could go. 

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10 hours ago, Carrie_On said:

She was very artsy. She reminded me a lot of Nadia Turner from Season 4. I think she could’ve benefited from picking more mainstream songs, but I respect that she stuck to her artistic identity. She didn’t have the most compelling edit, either. So I think she went as far as she could go. 


Sadly, that’s all true.  And I think that it’s partly because she was so artsy that she didn’t get a very compelling edit, although she might not have had a sob story either, thus also being a reason for her edit being limited.

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