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American Idol: Sending DeAndre Packing

I am a bit disappointed… but, I guess, not really surprised. If I was disappointed at all, it was that DeAndre Brackensick was sent packing after a night when I felt that, on the basis of performance, either Hollie Cavanagh or Elise Testone deserved to go more.

But Jimmy Iovine, that guy who always wears a cap and who you will probably ignore if you met him on the streets, was spot on with his assessment. But more on Iovine later…

As early as last week, Iovine was already pointing out that DeAndre’s problem was that his voice was not as good as the other remaining contestants.

This was the day after DeAndre gave a killer interpretation of Eric Benet’s ‘Sometimes I Cry’ – a performance that had all three judges on their feet in a well-deserved standing ovation.

This week, all three judges again gushed after DeAndre’s interpretation of DeBarge’s eighties hit ‘I Like It.’

Iovine was not impressed. In a pre-recorded statement, he predicted that Jennifer Lopez might have to sway the other two judges to keep DeAndre on the show by using the one-time saving vote.

When the results were announced, neither Cavanaugh nor Testone could believe that they had both survived to fight for another day.

Again, Iovine was spot on with his assessment of the two. Cavanaugh, he said, sounded like somebody performing in a high school affair – without sounding particularly good at that.

Testone, Iovine said on the other hand, performed well in rehearsals but choked on the big day. This was something that Testone herself later admitted.

So America sent DeAndre packing. “I only have one vote,” JLo consoled DeAndre in explaining that the panel of judges would not be using its one-time vote to keep him on the show.

Ryan Seacrest, quick as ever, could not resist the temptation to put the other two judges on the spot by asking JLo if her statement meant that she was outvoted.

“You can say that,” JLo replied.

Like I said, I was not really surprised that DeAndre was sent packing.

I liked DeAndre because his voice and style was so reminiscent of the seventies acts (The Stylistics, Earth Wind and Fire, etc.) that I listened to when I was a teenager. That said, I honestly did not think he would appeal to the younger – and larger – American public.

Even the falsetto, controlled that it was, started to sound monotonous and not just a bit over the top. His natural voice is not bad; but not as good as the falsetto.

With the natural voice, he paled in comparison to everyone else. The falsetto, on the other hand, limited the song choices available to him.

In the end, I suppose America was right to send him packing because his lack of versatility was always going to weigh against him in a show where versatility is a requirement.

While it might not have felt right because both Cavanaugh and Testone performed worse on the night, the writing has really been on the wall for those two as well. In other words, in most likelihood, it is just a matter of time.

To segue to Iovine, I am sure that everybody has asked the question ‘Who he?’ Wearing his signature cap, t-shirt and jeans, does he not look like everyone’s grandfather and the sort you will not pay any attention to if you met him on the streets?

To insiders, though, he is the legendary Brooklyn-born recording engineer whose résumé will sound like a who’s who of the music industry – the Raspberries, John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Stevie Nicks, Simple Minds, Dire Straits and many more down to the more contemporary Lady Gaga.

This explains the technical savvy that sometimes is even beyond the three judges. In many ways, Iovine seems to have filled the void left behind by Simon Cowell’s departure. He just says things the way he sees them – without Cowell’s trademark black humour, of course.

On the other hand, who really knows but the voting public? Whatever Iovine or the three judges say, at the end of the day, these are the people who will be buying the records.

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