Tonight on American Idol, alumni returned to the stage to perform with the first set of twelve out of the top twenty-four remaining contenders. Included in the performances were the following country music pairings:
– Emily Brooke and Lauren Alaina
– Jenna Renae and Scott McCreery
– Mackenzie Bourg and Lauren Alaina
– Jeneve Rose Mitchell and Scott McCreery
Ultimately, Emily Brooke and Jenna Renae said their final farewells to the Farewell Season of the reality competition singing show. What stood out to me as particularly … odd … were the judges’ comments to the Idol-appointed “country comeback kid”, Emily.
After meeting Emily last year, the judges commended her ability to cover (and slay) Carrie Underwood‘s “Blown Away”, recognizing at the time that a powerhouse was hiding within the then fifteen-year-old contestant. Following Hollywood Week and her House of Blues performance, Emily’s journey ended upon the insistence of the judges to go home, work hard, and come back even stronger. And she did.
From the beginning of last season, there has never been a doubt that Emily was capable of vocal explosiveness, and when she made her return for Season 15, she was constantly praised by the panel for the amount of growth she showed in just one year. Then came the Top 24 round where Emily showed off her power and paid homage to her hometown hero, Cassadee Pope, and sang with an artist who has adopted her as a little sister, Lauren Alaina.
The duet with Lauren Alaina, by far, was one of the most entertaining of the evening, showing that the now seventeen-year-old can withstand the pressures that come with having to hold her own against someone as dynamic and flawless as Lauren. Barely acknowledging the feat of seamlessly collaborating with Lauren, the judges essentially advised Emily to forego powerful performances and rely more on low key deliveries in her singing. In other words, dial back, rely on soft vocals and her acoustic guitar, and contain the force that lies within.
It seems a little contradictory to advise the contestant in one direction, only to steer her off course at the end. Do you think the judges got their decision to cut Emily Brooke (and Jenna Renae) right? We would love to hear your opinions on this.