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Why Jayna Lost

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Last Monday, the Top 12 performed for our votes, but two failed to make the Top Ten.  One of them was Jayna Elise.  She got to the Top Twelve, so why didn’t she get any further?  A quick analysis of the rules that American Idol contestants should follow will explain what Jayna did right, what she did wrong and why Jayna lost.


The first rule states that contestants must show both singing and performing talent.  Jayna was able to follow this rule well enough in Hawaii, in the Top 20 reveal, the Top 14 round and especially the Top 14 reveal to move on.  So how was her final performance of “Diamonds” by Rihanna?  IDF had varying reactions, but the consensus seems to be that Jayna did well enough that she should have moved on.  In fact, I gave her an 8 and actually said that she should still be here.  IdolChatter agreed, since he gave her a B, although he noted that she wasn’t quite able to match her performance on Sunday night, a problem that a lot of singers on Monday night had as well.  Still, Jayna was able to follow the first rule.


What about the second rule, which states that song choice is key?  Jayna had at least one questionable song choice, doing “I Have Nothing” by Whitney.  It’s been sung so many times, and every time a Whitney song is done, the best you can hope for is to at least match her vocals.  Fortunately, Jayna was able to do so but still, she struggled a bit with this rule.


The third rule states that contestants must be either consistently great or consistently improving.  I think that Jayna was consistently very good, with flashes of greatness, which isn’t quite what this rule is about.  So Jayna had problems with this rule as well.


At least Jayna had no problems with the fourth rule, which states that contestants must be confident.  It takes confidence to do Whitney or Rihanna songs, after all.  So Jayna followed the fourth rule.


Jayna also followed the fifth rule to a point, as she had an artistic identity.  The problem is that a contestant’s artistic identity needs to be current and marketable, and Jayna, much like Nya, was an old-school vocal powerhouse.  Had she been able to be more current, could have done better, but she wasn’t and thus Jayna stumbled on this rule.


The sixth rule states that contestants must remember that they are a package.  I think that Jayna did better than Nya on this rule, as she had the fact that she had been in the previous season and not only that, she was remembered for being very helpful to other singers in the Duets round last year.  Unfortunately, that could only take her so far and Jayna needed more to her package to get far, and she didn’t, unlike Julia, who was adopted and came from Guatemala.  Thus Jayna screwed up this rule.


Jayna did manage to follow the seventh rule, which states that contestants should take any advice offered to them and follow it, within reason.  While it didn’t save her, at least she had no problem with this rule, so I’ll move on.


The final rule states that contestants must gather and sustain a fan base.  While Jayna had her fans, she couldn’t gather a fan base to the extent of Abi, McKenna, Emmy, Julia or Kaibrienne, all of whom had a head start in gathering fans either due to getting a Platinum Ticket (Abi and Julia) or having a sympathetic backstory (Emmy, Julia, Kaibrienne and McKenna).  Jayna had neither going for her and while not being disliked by the main voting demographic as much as Nya was helped Jayna get past Nya, it wasn’t enough.  Thus Jayna struck out on this rule as well.


Jayna should have gotten farther, at least on pure vocals and performance skills.  But on American Idol, you need more than just a great voice.  Jayna had the story of her journey the year before, but she needed more than that to gain fans.  Unfortunately, her old-school artistic identity and occasional poor song choices hindered her, as did her lack of a sympathetic backstory.  She wasn’t as disliked by the core voting demographic as Nya, but wasn’t as liked by fans as some of the others.  Jayna couldn’t relate to the core voting demographic and that is why Jayna lost.

Edited by CarmenSandiego
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agree with most of your thoughts but i wouldn't say Jayna had an "old-school artist identity." she was a powerhouse with a modern, rock edge to her (which i would say contributed to her downfall since rock has less voting appeal than diva ballads :( )


overall tho i'm really happy she returned this season and served us some great performances. was a very satisfying arc imo (tho i wish she could have gone further)! 

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