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American Idol 2018: Top 5

Was it just me or are we back to Season 10 where we have almost the same people in the running? I mean, we have two country singers, the dark horse, a rocker, and a soul singer. It's almost eerily similar, but I'm not complaining. Season 10 had to be one of the strongest seasons of the show, and while Season 16 is far from that, the potential is there.

Also, did anyone notice how meta it felt for current Idol contestants to sing the Carrie Underwood songbook? It was like watching a time paradox unfolding in front of my eyes. It was all very exciting!

10. Cade Foehner
Undo It
While Cade's take on Undo It landed at the bottom of the list this week, his take was still relatively decent compared to his previous performances. No, I didn't think he grew vocally given how it was still vocally plagued with pitch issues, but I felt like the performance was memorable that I figured it was enough to get him to the Finale. I mean, he's a well liked guy who has a very distinct voice. It's limited, sure, but easily recognizable. 

09. Caleb Lee Hutchinson
So Small
It was so strange how Caleb could from such a strong week to such a confused one. So Small had some great moments and his voice sounded great throughout the song, but the performance almost came off lifeless, uninspired, and flat. It lacked any immediacy or intensity, and he surprisingly had difficulty telling the story behind a song. This is one of Carrie Underwood's instant tearjerkers and I didn't feel anything. He did hit more notes than Cade though, so there's that.

08. Caleb Lee Hutchinson 
Stars In Alabama
While this was a song that fit Caleb like a glove, or, you know, anything else that can be fitted, it was still lacking in that it felt very normal and rote. Don't get me wrong, this suited him to a certain degree and it felt more impassioned than his Carrie Underwood number, but I expected more especially after When Doves Cry last week. 

07. Cade Foehner
Simple Man
Where have you been, Cade?! This was the type of frontrunner performance I was expecting weeks ago! Simple Man was nuanced, emotional, and raw. If only he was able to land all his notes perfectly, this would've been absolutely impeccable. Sadly, his vocals slightly collapsed as the song went on.

06. Michael J. Woodard
Flat On The Floor
Vocals, fantastic phrasing, great staging, and supremely confident performance ability all wrapped into a song that I enjoy. Flat On The Floor, on paper, should not have worked, but Michael somehow managed to hit a solid triple with the song without it overtaking him. He seemed really comfortable with the dynamics of the ditty and his energy effortlessly matched it. 

05. Michael J. Woodard
Still I Rise
With Still I Rise, Michael continued to be a contestant I wasn't used to seeing on American Idol. He doesn't really fit any one of the traditional molds. He kind of fits all of them. Here, he grounded himself and really created a centered performance full of power, raw emotions, fantastic phrasing. He. Just. Soared. 

04. Maddie Poppe
I Told You So
Maddie's tone continued to be a powerful weapon in the competition and she just stood up there and put it on full display. I Told You So was poignant, relatable, and impressive all at the same time. It didn't sacrifice any technical prowess to showcase emotion as it found a perfect sweet spot. Look, I've heard this song a couple of times, but this was absolutely stellar. 

03. Gabby Barrett
Last Name
There was such confidence and unapologetic control of the stage that I would never have assumed Gabby was anywhere close to being an amateur. Seriously. She was not only singing better than ever, but she was having a blast, and I think I underestimated how important it was to see these contestants having fun. A lot have stayed away from these uptempo numbers because they usually don't see them as having enough depth to push them forward in the competition the way a ballad does, but Gabby somehow turned this into one of my top ranked performances. Sure, Last Name wasn't so far from the original version, but boy did she deliver. 

02. Gabby Barrett
I Have Nothing
When I hear someone is going to sing a Whitney Houston song on American Idol, I cringe. When I hear that the same person wants to sing I Have Nothing, I shake with fear. Quite frankly, I should've hated this just because it's one of the most overdone song on American Idol history, but it felt like a powerful, traditional, American Idol performance. Gabby sang the song well enough and brought plenty of power to the performance. It was an aimless turn though as it lacked any emotional connection and just pure power and technical prowess.

01. Maddie Poppe
God Only Knows
Heartfelt. Emotional. Terrific. The stars must have aligned for Maddie because everything sort of fell into place for her. This was an absolute perfect song choice for her. She just stood there, connected to a piece of music, and then the world fell in place. Very strong performance. She practically closed the show with a fantastic number, got her a spot in the Finale, and bumped Cade Foehner out of the competition.

Michael J. Woodard
Cade Foehner
American Idol 2018: Top 5 Reviewed by DAM on 8:00 AM Rating: 5

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