Finally got to catch up on this, wanted to watch live but had to deal with a big fiasco on the night of!
Maddie - Deservedly through to the top 10. Her performance of Homeward Bound the night before was fantastic. She is one of the few contestants in this competition who I think has a very clear vision of who she is as an artist and she demonstrates that in each song she sings. You know exactly what kind of album she would make.
Michelle - This is the only choice I don't agree with at all being in the top 10. I would have swapped her for Mara instead. But I can see the appeal from the judges' point of view about her being entertaining. But Michelle just simply is not a strong vocalist. Yes, there's many pop stars today who don't have the best voices and one is sitting on the judging panel. But that doesn't mean we need any more of them. I wasn't that impressed with her original and the whole "I'm proud to be American and I'm a dreamer like you" thing is wearing thin. I honestly wonder if she is afraid of people not voting for her because she's an immigrant.
Marcio - Not surprised he was eliminated and not even chosen for a wildcard. He looked defeated as soon as he was given the news.
Cade - I'm so bored of him. All his performances are exactly the same damn thing over and over and over again. He does exactly the same thing in each performance like a formula - scream and growl a bunch of tuneless notes, throw in the guitar solo break, return to growling tuneless notes. Zzzzzz That being said, while he's not my taste, he is charismatic and the only rocker, so I can see that being a justifiable reason to have him in the top 10.
Garrett - This was the best he's ever sounded, but Lionel was right that he needs to show more personality. Garrett should have never advanced this far anyway. If he takes a couple years to develop more artistry, he could have something though. Glad that for once a mediocre WGWG didn't take the place of someone more deserving.
Gabby - God I hated that song. Gabby's fake twang continues to irk. But that was a good performance. Unfortunately she will probably stick around awhile. I just wish a coach would tell her to lose that god awful twang she insists on putting on. My issue with her is that nothing about her comes across as authentic. She may look and perform like a star but she isn't authentic at all.
Dennis - I think he had the best victory performance of the night. He needs to pick more songs like this and not the last couple things he's done, like Rude or Shawn Mendes. This is his lane. He didn't deserve to advance to the top 10 based on his previous performance but he absolutely deserved the wildcard and I'm glad he got it.
Jonny - Same story as Garrett, not surprised he didn't advance. Bland WGWG. Thank God neither advanced over more deserving contestants. That's a shock.
Caleb - I was a tad surprised at this song choice, it seems a bit mature for him. But he always gives pretty good performances and I like his tone a lot. As the sole country boy and the sole heartthrob, he'll be around awhile.
Mara - I think her wildcard performance was actually pretty good overall and I would have picked her instead of Michelle. But at the same time, I can understand why she wasn't put through. She's just too emotionally immature right now, she's always either crying or near crying. Same with Marcio actually. In a few years, Mara could be great though.
Jurnee - I was surprised she was in the bottom, I expected her to get voted through and Caleb to have to sing for the wildcard, but Jurnee's song choice wasn't the best. I also think viewers maybe aren't connecting with her emotionally because her vocal performances are always pitch perfect and effortless. However, that is what I like about her and I also think it's time to have a pop star who has both the look and the talent and she does. Glad she was at least saved by the wildcard. She needs to pick better songs going forward. She is my favorite but I fear she won't last much longer if she keeps choosing bad songs.
Michael - I'm glad people like him. I do as well. He has a special quality about his voice and his personality is awkwardly endearing. I wonder why people don't assume his personality is an act like they do with Catie? Anyway, glad he got through and as far as the whole argument about only 1 POC making it through, well I think the votes can be justified in the sense that Michael was the only POC who had a really strong performance. Garrett and Jonny are both straight pretty WGWGs who didn't get through but no one is making that an issue about anything other than talent (or lack thereof). Anyway, back to Michael, I think no matter how far he goes on the show he should try Broadway or some kind of musical theater afterwards. He would probably have a more lucrative career there than mainstream pop or R&B.
Catie - I really liked her rendition of Havana. I think much to some people's annoyance, Catie will go far. Her strategy should be to continue choosing interesting or unexpected songs and doing her singer/songwriter thing to them.
Ada - I don't think it's surprising Ada wasn't voted through because she's controversial, however I'd also say that based on pure talent and nothing else, her rendition of The Show Must Go On was kind of pitchy and a screaming mess. And I Am Telling You was no different. But I understand the judges putting her through right away. I do think overall Ada deserves to be in the top 10. But she could pick some other kinds of songs besides big diva songs. I think a lot of voters don't necessarily take her seriously as an artist and just see a character.
Overall the right choices were made. As far as what America decided, we will never know who America truly voted for. The producers in the end get to discard votes if they want and choose whoever they want to get through or choose who gets the wildcard. For all we know, Jurnee was voted through or Ada was voted through but producers decided to make them sing for the wildcard to create some drama and they knew they'd be chosen for one of the wildcards and get through anyway. For all we know, Jurnee/Dennis/Michelle/Ada was the 7th most voted contestant and just missed the top 6. Had the producers just let America vote the entire top 10, most of those contestants probably would have been voted through by America.
I think all of the POC/LGBT contestants who didn't get through were justified based on their performances. Most of them chose bad songs that didn't show off their voices well enough (Jurnee, Dennis, Marcio) and with Ada that was always going to be an issue getting people to vote for a drag queen on this show. I think it's kind of stupid to try to justify bad performances based on anything other than talent, especially when straight white male contestants cannot do the same. The fact that Michael, who had a very strong performance and is popular with voters, made it through negates that entire argument. Now if these contestants had had very strong performances and were eliminated over basic WGWGs, that would be a different story.
Predictions for next week:
It will depend on the performances, but since 3 will be eliminated, my predictions are Ada, Michelle, and unfortunately either Dennis or Jurnee, since none of them were voted through by America in this round. Ada is too controversial and Michelle doesn't have the vocals. Dennis could be in trouble if he doesn't choose a good song and Jurnee could be in trouble if America doesn't connect with her emotionally. Caleb and Gabby are here to stay due to the country vote, Catie, Cade, Maddie, and Michael are audience favorites.