Melinda deserved to be in the finale. She was easily the most consistent performer, belting beautifully week after week and continually receiving praise from the judges. She was rarely criticized for being off-key or "pitchy," and was arguably the best vocalist in the competition. Tuesday night she was obviously Simon's favorite and was confident she was going to stay in.
So why did she get booted off this week? I think it was a number of reasons:
- Melinda (29) looks significantly older than Blake (25) and Jordin (17).
- She doesn't have a young "vibe" that Blake (hip/contemporary) and Jordin (spunky/fun) have.
- Melinda likely was another victim of the phenomenon called Diffusion of Responsibility (generally considered to be the cause of why Daughtry was booted).
However, I don't think that American Idol is a purely vocal competition. I believe that it is a vocal performance competition. Just think about it... It's the most popular show on television. Millions of viewers get so connected to the contestants that they actually start getting emotionally involved with the show. Even I got pumped and excited when I heard Blake sing his version of Bon Jovi's "You Give Love A Bad Name."
When viewers get involved more than purely judging the contestants based on vocal ability, then it becomes more about the performance than just the vocals. I believe this is why Blake has gotten into the finale. He has taken risks, transformed songs into his own style, and used a form of music (Beatboxing) to his advantage in order to create performances that woo the audience. He is extremely talented when it comes to his overall package, but when just competing against vocal ability, Melinda and Jordin beat him there.
Overall, I'm extremely happy with the Top 3 choices. They have been my favorites since I first heard them in the Top 24. With my three favorites singing this week, even though Melinda is going home, I just can't be disappointed!