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Why Kaibrienne Lost

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Last Monday night, Kaibrienne and McKenna Faith Breinholt were in the Bottom 2 in the voting, and since judge Katy Perry won the Judge’s Song Contest (the contestants chose four of the songs she suggested), she had to decide which one to save.  She chose McKenna, which led to Kaibrienne’s elimination.  But why was Kaibrienne in danger in the first place?  And did the reasons for her being in danger have anything to do with why she lost?  A quick glance at the rules that American Idol contestants need to follow will explain what Kaibrienne did right, what she did wrong, and why Kaibrienne lost.


The first rule states that contestants must show both singing and performing talent.  And here’s where Kaibrienne already had problems, because she didn’t always show enough of her talent to convince anyone other than her devoted fans.  Don’t believe me?  Just look at the IDF ratings.  She was ranked 19th overall in the Top 24 round, 11th in the Top 20 round, and 15th in the Top 14 reveal.  She did improve in the Top 14 round, where she came in second behind Abi Carter, but then dropped back to 7th in the Top 12 round before having her best performance in the Top Ten round with “Here Without You”.


So how did she do in her final solo performance of “Traitor” (I won’t include the quartet she did with Abi, Julia Gagnon and McKenna)?  Not quite as good.  True, most people on IDF thought that she did a better performance than Triston Harper, and most thought that she did a good to very good job, but I don’t think that anyone thought that she did better than with “Here Without You”.  I didn’t, as I gave her an 8.75 for HWY but only an 8 for “Traitor”, and said that she took a step back.  Thus Kaibrienne stumbled with the first rule.


She also had problems with the second rule, which states that song choice is key.  While she had understandable reasons for choosing “Traitor”, she probably should have chosen “Take a Bow”, which was another choice by one of the judges.  “Traitor” doesn’t seem to be the type of song that goes over well with the main voting demographic.  Thus Kaibrienne screwed up this rule as well.


Her biggest problem, and what I believe was her biggest weakness, was the third rule, which states that contestants must either be consistently great or consistently improving.  A quick glance at her journey shows that Kaibrienne early on was near the back of the pack and in the middle in the first three rounds, then she went up and down.  Meanwhile, McKenna was closer to the top in the first three rounds before getting sick but was still viewed as better in the Top 12 round than many others who weren’t sick, including Kaibrienne.  Thus Kaibrienne struck out on this rule.


At least Kaibrienne had no noticeable problems with the fourth rule, which states that contestants must be confident.  If she had any, they weren’t bad enough to affect her performances, so I’ll move on.


Kaibrienne might have had some problems with the fifth rule, which states that contestants must have a strong, current and marketable artistic identity.  Kaibrienne was current and marketable, but she seems to have had a weaker artistic identity compared to some of the other women, such as Emmy Russell, who was clearly a singer-songwriter.  Kaibrienne seemed to do best on rock songs, so that might have been a route she could have taken, but she didn’t get on that route fast enough to have it be a distinct identity.  Thus she struggled with this rule as well.


But I don’t think that Kaibrienne had any problems with the sixth rule, which states that contestants must remember that they are a package.  Kaibrienne was known for having been a tomboy when she was younger, for having health issues and for tearing up during a couple of performances, which was a double-edged sword since her emotions could cause her to be inconsistent but could also earn sympathy, like in her Top 20 performance.  So Kaibrienne followed this rule.


Kaibrienne also followed the seventh rule, which states that contestants must take any advice offered and follow it within reason.  True, it didn’t save her, but at least she had no problems with it, so I’ll move on.


The final rule that Kaibrienne had problems with is the final rule, which states that contestants must gather and sustain a fan base.  Kaibrienne began well when she was able to put a single out and people really liked it, but she her inconsistency apparently began causing casual fans to go for others, and since she wasn’t a country singer she couldn’t count on a strong, loyal fan base.  Thus Kaibrienne fouled up this rule as well.


Kaibrienne did some things right.  She had a good package and was able to get fans on her side early on.  But she was inconsistent.  One day she might be very good or even great, the next day she might be mediocre at best.  This caused an attrition in her fan base and since she wasn’t a country singer, she couldn’t keep enough fans by her side.  Then she wound up in the Bottom 2 with McKenna, who was usually better than her.  I believe that Katy realized this and chose to save the more consistent singer.  Kaibrienne’s inconsistency was her fatal flaw and that is why Kaibrienne lost.

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