The finalists who placed 8th generally fall under two categories–either dull and boring or strong but inconsistent, with one major exception. I gravitate towards the strong-but-inconsistent ones, if you see how I ranked them. Without further ado, here are my rankings from 4th to 10th.
Sept (7) pwah(n)t – Bucky Covington (Season 5)
Six (6) pwah(n)t – Deandre Brackensick (Season 11)
Cinq (5) pwah(n)t – Jon Peter Lewis (Season 3)
Quartre (4) pwah(n)t – Scott McIntyre (Season 8)
Trois (3) pwah(n)t – Adam Garcia (Season 9)
Deux (2) pwah(n)t – Rickey Smith (Season 2)
Un (1) pwah(n)t – AJ Gil (Season 1)
Let’s now discuss the Top Three 8th placers in-depth:
Huit (8) Pwah(n)t – Nadia Turner (Season 4). I love this lady with a passion on Season 4, even more than eventual champion Carrie Underwood. Sure her vocal range is limited but how she sounded within that limited range was wonderful. Plus, she has a funky-yet-elegant sense of style that I just adore. She faltered a bit when she went a bit indulgent, like her rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” (with faux-hawk) or when she choose an obscure song by Crystal Gayle (“When I Dream”) for songs during her birth year theme week (she got eliminated because of the result of that latter). I barely heard much from her since then, which is such a shame because I thought she has the looks and talent to be a major star. Her best musical performance was her rendition of Dusty Springfield’s “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, though to highlight her style I will also showcase her rendition of Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” during the Top 16 semifinal round.
Dix (10) Pwah(n)t – Paul McDonald (Season 10). It was earlier presumed because he’s a white guy with guitar (WGWG) and that the previous three champions were of that sort, he has the inside track of winning this season of Idol. And he has some very distinguishing standout characteristics: the brightest pearly white teeth one could ever see; that quirky voice (actually he actually has vocal cord issues) with a whispery and raspy delivery that is either regarded as special or grating; and his stage moves sans guitar, where he dances like a cross between a staggering drunk and an Irish jig. I will showcase three performances from him, because I want to show his best solo performance (Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”), his quintessential sans-guitar performance (Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May”), and as a bonus, his utterly lovely duet with shoulda-been finalist Kendra Chantelle singing the Beatles’ “Blackbird” during Las Vegas round.
Douze (12) Pwah(n)t – Michael Johns (Season 7). This Australian-born rocker has a gritty but appealingly radio-friendly voice, handsome good looks and hunky sex appeal to be regarded as among the front-runners. His performances during his Idol journey were consistently very strong. So it was a major shocker when he was eliminated at a surprisingly lowly 8th place. It was this shock elimination that led the producers to install the judges’ save for subsequent seasons.
He didn’t really blaze trails in the charts post-Idol but it seems he still has a steady performing career. His two best performances were his medley of Queen’s “We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions” (quite a challenge trying to condense those two epic numbers into a two-minute performance, but he pulled it off) and Dolly Parton’s “It’s All Wrong But It’s All Right”. As a bonus I will also tack in his duet with fellow non-US-born Carly Smithson to the Box Top’s “The Letter”.
Earning the dubious nul (0) pwah(n)ts? Despite her lovely legs, it’s Season 6’s Haley Scarnato.
Let’s see how Michael Johns’ contribution shook up the standings:
1. Season 10 – 30 points
2. Season 11 – 26 points
3. Season 5 – 23 points
4. Season 4 – 20 points
5. Season 7 – 19 points
6. Season 9 – 16 points
7. Season 6 – 12 points
8 (TIE). Season 3 – 10 points
8 (TIE). Season 8 – 10 points
10 (TIE). Season 1 – 4 points
10 (TIE). Season 2 – 4 points
Season 10 overtook Season 11 for the lead! Would they be able to sustain it in subsequent rounds? Season 8 is supposed to be a well-regarded season, so what’s going on? Let’s see how the drama unfolds as I continue my countdown…