A Dose of Reality: American Idol 4: Season in Review
by The Trades Staff
Published: May 27, 2005
As another season of American Idol ends with the coronation of Carrie Underwood, our staff of Dan, Molly, Brian, and Mary look back and give you their thoughts.
Which was the best performance of the season?
Dan writes: Vonzell Solomon's "Best of My Love". This was the first time Vonzell really stood out from the pack. Scorching vocals, great beat and a lot of flair--Vonzell hit it out of the park. She came close a few times, but never quite captured this intensity again--and neither did any of the other contestants.
Molly writes: Hands down, the best performance of the season was Bo's a capella "In a Dream". That was a remarkable performance for two reasons: One, it was just plain outstanding vocals. Two, it was an assertion of individuality in a contest that caters to conformity. It wasn't a big hit song. It wasn't a glitzy performance. It was one man, singing from his heart.
Brian writes: From the Final Twelve on, I have to go with Carrie's version of "Crying". For me, that sealed the deal as far as winning the competition went. From the whole competition, it has to be Nadia's "Try a Little Tenderness".
Mary writes: I think it has to be Bo's a capella performance. There may have been a few early ones that really hit me (Nadia did a nice job the first couple of weeks), but I think Bo's a capella will be one I remember for a while.
Which was the worst performance of the season?
Dan writes: It's no secret that I wasn't a fan of Mikalah Gordon from the beginning, so it should be no great shocker that I award her the worst vocal performance. She may have had worse songs in the preliminary rounds, but "Son of a Preacher Man" was her first blunder once she hit the Top 12. Thankfully, she exited the competition the following week.
Molly writes: For me, the worst performance of the season was Constantine's "My Funny Valentine". He sounded awful, and the performance was just plain skeevy. I felt like I needed a shower afterwards.
Brian writes: There were so many to choose from! I think the low point of the season was either Scott's "Dance with My Father" or Mikalah's "Son of a Preacher Man".
Mary writes: I'm not sure there was just one. Scott had a few that were just terrible, but Anthony's version of "Climb Every Mountain" set my teeth on edge.
Which contestant most deserved to be there longer than they were?
Dan writes: While digging through the archives of weeks gone by I came across names like Nadia Turner and Jessica Sierra. Since I had completely forgotten about these two talented ladies, I definitely have to say they were eliminated too soon. And going waaay back in the competition, I still vouch for Jaclyn Crum and hope to see her on American Idol 5.
Molly writes: The most obvious answer of who deserved to be there longer than they were was Nadia Turner. She was just an amazing performer, both in terms of vocals and stage presence, and based on merit, it should have been her and Bo in the finals. I must admit that, while not as deserving, I do wish that Nikko Smith could have lasted longer. He was an interesting performer (I really liked his rendition of "One Hand, One Heart"), and I enjoyed having him in the competition.
Brian writes: Without a doubt, Nadia. The week she was voted out, she had the best performance by far. Why does America hate me so? I also would've liked to have seen what Judd or Jared would've done with more airtime.
Mary writes: Anwar was robbed. I don't think he would have won, but he really should have stayed longer.
Which contestant lasted longer than they should have?
Dan writes: How Anthony Federov ever made it to the final four I'll never know. He's the obvious choice for overstaying his welcome. Another one would have to be Nikko Smith. He was eliminated prior to the Top 12 (and justly so) and I was not a fan to see him return. He should have been ousted immediately after his horrid rendition of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back", but for some reason America kept him around for a few more weeks.
Molly writes: Scott Savol is the one who lasted way longer than he should have! He was a middling talent at best, and by all rights should have been cut in the Hollywood round.
Brian writes: I was screaming it all season. It's absolutely Scott. I disliked him since the troubles with his group in Hollywood. Also, Mikalah and Anthony overstayed their welcomes by one or two weeks.
Mary writes: Is there any doubt the answer is: Scott Savol.
Final Thoughts: Carrie Underwood as American Idol
Dan writes: Carrie deserved to win, at least based on her final performances. She went toe-to-toe with Bo, but took victory with her last song. Carrie was strong throughout the competition and always seemed to have the judges on her side, even when she bombed. At the start of the Hollywood rounds, I predicted a man to win and I still am a little surprised the final three came down to two girls and a guy. But in the end, I think Carrie is a much better fit to be the American Idol; her album will sell a lot more copies than Bo's will. Bo's best bet would be to be the new frontman for Lynyrd Skynyrd and go tour some county fairs.
Molly writes: From a merit point of view, Carrie winning over Bo was the wrong outcome. Bo can outsing and outperform Carrie easily. But in a pragmatic sense, it was a good outcome. As number two, Bo will have more artistic freedom than he would as the winner. As the winner, Carrie will be given a boost and the attention that she couldn't command on her own. Each of them got what they needed.
Brian writes: Well, I'm glad. Of the two, I enjoyed Carrie's performances a lot more. For one thing, she didn't pick up the mic stand! Seriously, I think she has the potential to be a lot better than Bo is. It certainly doesn't hurt that Bo's career will skyrocket as well. This certainly wasn't the best season of the show (probably third out of the four), but it was still very entertaining.
Mary writes: Good luck to Carrie and Bo. I wish the outcome were different, but I'm not surprised that Carrie won.
Episode 1 | Episode 2 | Episode 3
Episode 4 | Episode 5 | Episode 6
Hollywood 1 | Hollywood 2 | Hollywood 3
Men's Week 1 | Women's Week 1
Men's Week 2 | Women's Week 2
Men's Week 3 | Women's Week 3
Week 1: Sixties | Week 2: Billboard Number Ones
Week 3: Nineties | Week 4: Show Tunes
Week 5: Birth Year | Week 6: Seventies Dance
Week 7: 2000's | Week 8: Leiber & Stoller/Current Billboard
Week 9: Country/Gamble & Huff | Week 10: Choices
Week 11: Finale
Other sites: American Idol | Sirlinksalot.net