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Why Roman Lost

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Last Monday night, we had to say goodbye to two contestants who failed to make the Top Ten.  Last night, I analyzed why one of them, Jayna Elise, lost.  Now it’s time to look at the other one:  Roman Collins.  He did well to get to the Top Twelve, but why did his journey end there?  A quick analysis of the rules that American Idol contestants need to follow will help to determine what Roman did right, what he did wrong and why Roman lost.


The first rule states that contestants need to show both singing and performing talent.  Starting in the Top 24, Roman was able to follow this rule well enough not only to pass Quintavious, but also Odell, both of whom were gospel/R&B/soul singers like himself.  Then in the Top Fourteen round, while there were people who didn’t like him on IDF, most people here thought that he was anywhere from good to great, and he moved on past Jordan, who was mediocre at best despite being cute and Nya, who was strongly disliked by white, middle aged, conservative female voters.  So how did he do on his final performance of “Roar” by judge Katy Perry?  Not quite as well.  Although I thought that it was better than his previous performance, most on IDF ranked it lower.  IdolChatter gave it a B-, not really liking it much but still finding it different.  All in all, though, I believe that Roman followed this rule, even if his last performance had some problems.


The second rule states that song choice is key, and Roman probably did the best of the trio of gospel/R&B/soul male singers.  There were no Carrie Underwood or Mariah Carey songs from him, although taking on a song from one of the judges was a bit of a risk.  Still, I don’t think that the second rule was his downfall, so I’ll move on.


The third rule states that contestants must either be consistently great or consistently improve.  Roman began improving after making the Top 24, but he had a lot of ground to make up compared to country singers, Jack Blocker and Kayko, and he couldn’t afford to stall in his rise.  When he did in the Top Twelve round, he was gone.  Thus Roman stumbled on this rule at the end.


At least Roman had no problem with the fourth rule, which states that contestants must be confident.  It takes confidence to do a Katy Perry song.  While confidence didn’t save Roman, at least he followed this rule, so I’ll move on.


Roman also followed the fifth rule, to a point.  He had a strong artistic identity; the problem was that he was a male gospel/R&B/ soul singer, and his identity was neither current or very marketable.  Triston and Will were country singers, and that’s more current and especially more marketable than Roman’s music.  Thus Roman struggled with this rule.


Roman’s biggest problem was probably the sixth rule, which states that contestants must remember that they are a package.  What I know about Roman was that he was a worship leader, and that’s about it.  Meanwhile, we know about Jack Blocker’s weird facial expressions and Kayko’s songwriting skills. Roman didn’t have enough in his package to compete with them, so he struck out on this rule as well.


Roman didn’t have any problems with the seventh rule, which states that contestants should take any advice offered to them and follow it, within reason.  While it didn’t save him, at least he followed this rule, so I’ll move on.


Roman’s final failure was in the final rule, which states that contestants must gather and sustain a fan base.  Roman wasn’t shown much before the voting rounds, so he had problems getting fans early on.  But in Hawaii, he began improving and did well enough to get past both Odell and Quintavious — but he needed a Wildcard spot, which indicated that his position was still precarious.  And while he was able to get past two other Wildcard singers, he couldn’t get past any of those who made the Top Ten in voting.  So Roman screwed up this rule as well.


Roman was a very good singer and performer, he made very good song choices, he was confident.  But his artistic identity was too outdated and couldn’t appeal to the main voting demographic, while his plain packaging caused him to fall behind early on.  He began gaining momentum in Hawaii but while he was able to get past Odell and Quintavious, he still needed to get a Wildcard spot in order to do so.  And in his final performance, he stalled in his momentum at the worst time.  When you put all that together, that is why Roman lost.

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