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I like Jacob. I believe that he has immense talent. I also believe that he will do well for himself with a singing career. I also believe that unfortunately he is going home after tonight. He started out strong and powerfully and it seems that’s what impressed the judges initially. Once the competition began he seemed to flounder and loose his way. Yes, he did often sing material that was out of his element. Yes he did frequently over sing, and over use his vibrato. Yes he was subjected to bad recommendations by the “experts” in the studio. No, his performances were not always consistent. However, the singing and performance issues may not be the set up for his demise.

During the “packages” the other performers consistently referred to him as a “diva.” Maybe I’m wrong, but I am not aware of any venue where a man viewed as a diva is perceived as positive. One of the consistent characterizations from the fans of the show is that Jacob is excessively flamboyant and effeminate. He has been described as being gay, and that has been a turn-off for many of his detractors. He may very well be gay, but that’s not the issue. After all there have been gay performers who have gone on to ascend the highest heights of stardom. However, I don’t recall them being perceived as divas. I am not saying that they had to stay in the closet. I am saying that their sexual preference did not overshadow or define their talent. Elton John comes to mind. The problem here is that what right does anyone have to be a diva when they have yet to achieve any level of greatness? And divas may be self-absorbed and self-righteous, but I don’t recall any preaching to others about they should do or how they should act. With a diva it seems that it’s “all about them.” And as self-centered as divas can bethe still possess a certain quality that makes them still likable by the masses. He, on the other hand, may have made himself unlikable. Jacob will not be able to live down the preachy comments from a couple of weeks ago because they carried an air of arrogance and high-mindedness. People don’t want to be chastised by their “idols” even when they revere them.

The song that he chose was weak for this late in the competition. He did lose his way last night during the performance even if only for a moment. But the voters won’t give him a pass for that. And while he may have felt the emotion of the song, the emotion controlled the performance rather than elevated it. He won’t get a pass for that either. Couple that delivering his weakest performance to date last night and it becomes clear that he has a problem with his ability to survive. So when you get past all of the noise, all of the distractions and all of the homophobia by some of the fans (some of the comments about him on blogs has been really nasty) it boils down to can he stand up under pressure, can he deliver, and do the fans want what he has to offer? I suspect that it is the end of the road for him. No worries, however. His heart seems to be set on gospel, and that’s great. There are gospel stations all over the country and there is big money in gospel. There is WOW Gospel, GMWA Gospel, gospel conventions, shows and tours...my guess is regardless of whether or not he gets sent home he'll do okay for himself. Thanks for the memories! We’ll be listening out for your first gospel song on the radio.

Haley went a long way to redeem herself after being in the chair last week. Although I am not a fan, for me last night was her strongest performance to date. Here’s the topper-she looked really pretty and feminine…and classy, too. A few weeks ago she did the performance in the long form fitting dress and she looked great and sounded pretty good, too. Glamour and elegance works for her but it seems that she doesn’t fully recognize that. Whenever she performs in “little” clothes it appears to adversely affect her performances and cheapens her image. He does not have the strongest, clearest most dynamic voice. But when she looks good and sings within her capabilities she is still a competitor. However, she still has a long way to go to really be on top. That means that she has to sound good and be viewed as good every week. For her fans who think I just don’t like her understand that is not the point here. She needs votes. And, she will need votes from more than just the fans who have voted for her in the past. The point of the competition has passed where she might be able to get away with flirtation, sex appeal and gimmicks to cover weak performances. As the favorites of the other fans get voted off she has to give those people a reason to vote for her. Last night was a clearer indication of why some fans should convert. Let’s see if she keeps it up. By the way – she could really use a stylist – and not Gwen Stefani. The tiny dresses and skirts or weird shorts and tights with the boots is just not appealing. She is a beautiful girl, but her wardrobe does not do her performances justice.

The judges used the kindest, gentlest way of telling Lauren to “man-up” and grow up. They talked about her confidence and gave her a pep talk about what she can do and about her doing it. The flipside is that if they told her what she can and should do that means that she’s not doing it. For weeks she has made excuses and acted like a school girl because, well, she’s a school girl. However, that has been inhibiting her ability to really deliver. She was compared to Miley Cyrus last night. However the major difference is that no matter how much potential she has if she can’t deliver it when it counts and if she holds back rather than demonstrating why she superior to all the other contestants and why she should win then she is just marking time. She can sing. But there are millions of people across America who can sing. She has to ascend another level now and demonstrate what makes her “idol worthy.” Her time is running out.

That leaves the remaining competitors – James, Scotty, Casey, and Stefano. They may or may not have had their issues, but they have demonstrated that they are there to win. James has been the single most consistent performer. While I don’t always get the genres and songs he chooses, he gives it all he has ever week. Some fans were split on Scotty’s Elvis rendition a few weeks ago and his performance last night may have been a little safe or even bland. But in the final analysis he has be strictly country, and has stuck to his guns and appears to be there for the foreseeable future. Casey is still recovering from “Save-gate” from several weeks ago, but that notwithstanding, he has been getting back on track and his performances have been getting consistently stronger. The shave and haircut didn’t hurt either. Then there’s Stefano, the weekly visitor to the chair. You know it takes fire to refine gold. He has been subjected to the heat of fan votes and tough criticism every week and comes back the next week better. I believe if they gave an award for the most improved, he would win running away. Last night he performed as a lead singer, not a background singer. And he delivered his best, smoothest, most grown-up (as opposed to “boy-bandish”) and confident performance to date. Several weeks ago I said that he may be the dark horse. I believe that more than ever.

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