Every once in a while a teenager shows up om Idol looking much older than she is, sounding much older than she is, and demonstrating talents beyond her chronological age. Allison Iraheta was the most famous example, finishing 4th in season eight. Allie didn’t turn 16 until late in the season but she sounded like she had been smoking three packs a day for twenty years, soaking the back of her throat with Jack Daniels and chasing it with drywall screws.
Emily is this year’s representative. She doesn’t sound like one of the bailiffs on Night Court, exactly, but even though she is just 17 years old her face, her bearing, and her voice are those of a fully mature woman. She also illustrates one of my favorite concepts from the old blog posts: the woodshed.
Emily from 2015 Idol:
Emily made it to the final round before the live shows last season; the judges told her to get to work, smooth out the rough edges – and come back this year. It doesn’t sound like much, making it past one more round, but the competition this season is exponentially tougher than last season. I would guess that at least half of the final 51 who were cut this year would have made it last year.
She sounds better every time I hear her, and she has the ability to manipulate her accent – maybe to a fault. At her audition she reminded me of Miranda Lambert, who has a thick accent. At the final showdown she sounded more like Carrie Underwood, who has an understated drawl when she sings. The good thing is that Emily is versatile. The bad thing is that Emily might not be Emily. Idol is not always forgiving of a singer who can’t decide who she wants to be.
Emily’s showcase performance:
If Emily can capture the imagination of the voters she can certainly win. She has a siren of a voice that never gets boring, and I don’t see anything in her mental makeup that might be exposed by the bright lights.
Semifinal performance: “I am Invincible” – Cassadee Pope
Total train wreck – she was out of tune from the first note to the throne she threw up all over afterwards. This would have been bad drunken kamikaze karaoke. From mortal lock to already gone in sixty seconds. Apologies to the late, great Glenn Frey and the not so late, not so great (kidding) Nicholas Cage.
Emily with Lauren Alaina “Flat on the Floor” – Carrie Underwood
The judge comments gave me the impression that they had already written Emily off. If one of them had commented about her singing in a ‘different lane’ I would have attributed it to some random opinion, but they told her the same thing, in the same words, almost in harmony. All they needed was Ryan to say it and they would have been a “screw you Emily” barbershop quartet.
I thought Emily sounded terrific, like she sounded all season before last night. If, by some miracle she isn’t sent home, she should be back on the beam and fine. Don’t count on it.