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American Idol 2018: Top 7

Well, just like that, we are down to a Top 7. It’s insane how quickly this season is passing us by and to be reminded that it is going to end soon is heartbreaking.

Also heartbreaking? We lost two strong contestants way too early, y’all. They both had so much left to give and it was terrible to see them leave this stage so early when they actually deserved to stay. Other than that, the night was relatively stable. There were a few disappointments and plenty of triumphs.

So yes, I'm really enjoying the competition and seeing how they seem to push each other to improve week after week.

On with the show!

14. Cade Foehner
Who Will Save Your Soul
Haha. Cade's simply out of his league in this Top 7 and he has this new talent of making everything he does incredibly uncomfortable to watch. His rendition of Who Will Save Your Soul was just flat out bad. The first half was horrendous with enough off-key moments to fill a sinking ship and while he had some decent moments towards the end, it was still annoyingly terrible.

13. Cade Foehner
Jungle Love
Jungle Love was much stronger, and suited Cade to a certain degree, but boy was this just a tough night for him stylistically. The themes showcased almost all of his weaknesses as a vocalists. His enunciation here was non-existent, the notes were uneven, and there were moments when I thought that the arrangement was more interesting than the vocal. That's a bad sign.

12. Caleb Lee Hutchinson
Caleb's take on this incredibly overdone song wasn't THAT bad, it was just lazy. It was boring, flat, lacked any immediacy or intensity, and did not imbue any personal passion. He needs to put a little more fire into his performances otherwise he's going to get left behind because as of right now, he's been consistent and solid and nothing else.

11. Michael J. Woodard
My Heart Will Go On
Maybe Michael shouldn't have pressed his luck with another Celine Dion song after just performing Beauty and the Beast last week, no? While vocally strong and consistent, there was zero spark to the performance and his tendency to drop notes and not enunciate were frustratingly distracting.

10. Catie Turner
Manic Monday
This was easily Catie's worst week of the competition and it came at the worst moment. There have been plenty of examples of frontrunners - yes, I consider her as one - crashing and burning midway through the season, and it doesn't take much for one off night to do you in at this point. Sadly, this was it for Catie. She missed the cue, lost the words and never recovered. Sure, she did try her best to mask it all throughout the rest of the performance, but it was pretty evident that she lost her mojo from that moment on. Sad.

09. Michael J. Woodard
I Would Die 4 U
Not Michael's strongest night either. I Would Die 4 U, while a totally different vibe and tempo for him, seemed like a throwaway performance. It was meatless. It was pointless. He looked comfortable working the stage and I genuinely didn't mind seeing that, but other than that.. it might as well have never happened.

08. Gabby Barrett
I Hope You Dance
Why was Gabby's version of I Hope You Dance wasn't as emotionally raw as I expected? Given the song choice, this should've been totally emotional and I didn't get that at all. It felt like a decent performance when she needed something better. The lyrics were compelling and the vocals commendable, but it wasn't hitting me in the heart.

07. Jurnee
Back At One
This was another performance that was vocally capable - crystal clear tone, tasteful vocal runs and gorgeous phrasing - but lacked any emotional heft hence did nothing to help create a little momentum for Jurnee. The whole number seemed plodding and while the vocals were perfectly acceptable, I didn't think it was enough to put her out in front of the pack.

06. Maddie Poppe
If It Makes You Happy
Look, some may find Maddie a bit bland around the edges, but this performance should reconsider that thought. Maddie is that one contestant who's consistently in the zone. She knows what is working for her and sees no reason to change her strategy going forward. If It Make You Happy was a solid performance from her with a touch of grit and power to her vocals, which I didn't realize she had.

05. Jurnee
Jurnee's such an incredibly solid singer, but seemed incapable of having a break out moment. She has the tools to do it, but she's just way too tense and shy. She needed a way to stand apart, and Kiss, I thought, was a step in the right direction. The performance was fun, infectious, and she showcased that she's possibly one of the better rhythmic singers left in the competition settling into each song's pocket and groove.

04. Catie Turner
Oops! I Did It Again
Oops! I Did It Again, unlike the first number, was a solid and more centered performance from Catie, and I was actually a big fan of the arrangement. It was certainly reworked to fit her strenghts and I loved some of the choices in phrasing that were made throughout the song. It checked off so many points of progress for her. She was having fun, she was connected, she was modern, she was creative, and she was showcasing herself as a complete package instead of just a strong singer.

03. Caleb Lee Hutchinson
When Doves Cry
Caleb is America. He's apple pie and sparklers. You want him to sing Prince? Well, here you go! This was exactly what he needed to do at this point in the competition and it was just glorious. The arrangement was brilliant, his vocals had surprising intensity, and the emotions were palpable. This was easily his best showing this season and he's starting to steal away some of Gabby Barrett's base as he manages to come off as a real country star and she manages to come off as a girl that is simply from the country.

02. Gabby Barrett
How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore?
But of course, Gabby Barrett didn't come to play as well delivering probably one of the best performances of the season. How Come You Don't Call Me Anymore? was almost a vocal masterclass. The degree of difficulty the arrangement provided her and the way she stood there and passionately hitting note after note, connecting to the emotion of the piece, was quite staggering. She had raw power to pull off the grit and there was intensity and passion to her delivery. Very impressive stuff.

01. Maddie Poppe
Nothing Compares 2 U
With her exquisite tone and this lovely piano-based ballad, Maddie solidified her darkhorse status. She really needed this to keep up with both Gabby and Caleb rising up the ranks and she's the only one who played on a different league tonight. Nothing Compares 2 U was one of the most pure vocal performances of the season. The choices she made in the arrangement just made sense and the way her vocals added context to the story being told. It was refined, the phrasing oozed with natural ability, and the emotional qualities of each note were on point.

Catie Turner
American Idol 2018: Top 7 Reviewed by DAM on 1:49 AM Rating: 5

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