Last week, Randy Jackson said that Hollie was peaking at the right time. Oops. A week later and our Brit-Texan finds herself on the outs. So what happened?
Simply put, she dug herself a hole and was unable to get out. Some have compared her run to Haley’s last year, but there are some differences. Hollie dug herself a deeper hole than Haley ever did, making any recovery run that much harder. Here’s the difference: Haley’s recovery run was good enough to put her among the frontrunners; Hollie’s was only good enough to tread water and avoid her exit. Consider this: both began their last-minute recovery runs with Rolling In The Deep. Haley’s week singing that song was the last time she was in the bottom until her exit. Hollie was in the bottom every week since then.
Like Skylar last week, Hollie also did very well to get here. She started our very strong, but lost her way when she was forced out of her favored power ballads with Billy Joel week. She never really recovered fully from that. When she started out, Hollie was a technically brilliant singer who couldn’t connect well with her material. By the end, though, she could sing her heart out – as we saw last week with Bleeding Love which highlighted not just her crystal-clear vocals, but her ability to sell the emotions of a song too. If anything, Hollie’s version is even better than the Leona Lewis original – something I don’t think happens very often on Idol. Hollie did her best, and it was a gallant attempt. But against three singers with superior fanbases who all brought their A game… it was doomed.
Too Many Power Ballads!
One thing that may have hurt Hollie’s recovery run, though, was the fact that she wasn’t offering a package that was drastically different from the rest of the field. Jessica was a logical comparison; Joshua was also offering some competition in the Big Voice department. So no matter how good she may have been, it was going to be an uphill battle against well-established fanbases.
That brings me to something that this week’s guest reminded me of. While there may be ethnic diversity at the top, there’s not a lot of singing diversity. The last couple of weeks have been all about the Big Glory Note and/or runs. I’ll be honest: I can see the skill and talent needed for such to do that. And I appreciate it – in limited doses. But there have been plenty of songs just like that just this year. I can objectively appreciate it – which is why I graded Joshua and Jessica so highly for their performances. But to be honest, I didn’t find either all that enjoyable. The closest I came to enjoying anything might well have been Volcano.
Honestly, what I want to see with this upcoming top three performance week is: surprise us. The last thing I want to see Phillip do is Dave Matthews. The last thing that I want to hear Jessica do is another over-the-top ballad sung by a famous singing diva. If a gospel choir comes out for Joshua again, objects will fly. The top 3 has done all of those things before. What I do want to see is uniqueness and artistry – the same kind that we’ve seen on the Idol stage before.
Yes, this is the writings of an Idol pundit going through an immensely frustrating season. Am I alone in my frustration? Maybe, maybe not. It’ll be interesting to see what we see as judge and Jimmy Iovine picks – and whether they’ll add to that frustration or help dispel it. For the good of the show, I hope it’s the latter.