Warning! The following contains spoilers for American Idol Season 18's "Hollywood Week- Genre Challenge." Read at your own risk.
American Idol concluded its audition rounds for Season 18 and has advanced to the stage where all the promising talent who survived thus far competes to be saved from the next culling. Doug Kiker, the garbage man and early Idol stand-out, was among them, but the show unfortunately kind of did him dirty in his Hollywood tryout.
To fully understand what unfolded on the latest American Idol, it's important to go back to Doug Kiker's first audition. The celebrity judges were impressed by what they heard from Kiker, but understood that they were dealing with a raw and not-yet-solidified talent. The key moment came when Luke Bryan got on the piano and helped Kiker get into the right key.
It took a bit of coaching, but the judges eventually got Doug Kiker on track and singing like the professional they knew he could be. The singer was given a ticket to Hollywood, with the presumed intention of getting a chance to work with others to help mold that raw voice.
At the time, it was an amazing moment for American Idol Season 18. Doug Kiker may have needed more work than others who got sent home, but the judges were willing to move him through in order to help continue his journey to becoming a better man for his daughter. That audition video went viral, giving Idol got some pretty great and positive-minded exposure (as it often does with unbelievable contestants and their stories) around the web. Season 18 had something special in Kiker, which makes what happened in Hollywood all the more baffling.
Doug's follow-up episode was Monday's first night in the Hollywood rounds, in which viewers were excited to see him sing again. Kiker performed towards the end of the show, with producers following him around and honing in on his nervous energy ahead of the performance. When Kiker was trotted out on stage, he started off with the wrong song, and then proceeded to sing his planned choice, the classic "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," but in complete a cappella mode. Readers may be able to guess how it went, but check the video below, with the performance hitting at around 2:40.
As producers, judges, and anyone who watched American Idol could've guessed after seeing his audition, Doug Kiker quickly floundered without any kind of musical accompaniment, which made for the sloppiest performance in the episode. It was thus an easy call for the judges to eliminate Kiker from the competition rather unceremoniously.
I'm not arguing the elimination wasn't valid, because anyone could see why that happened. But I will say that American Idol had a chance to give Doug Kiker the best opportunity to succeed, but seemed to intentionally put him in a position where they knew he'd struggle. Perhaps this is the downside of the ABC singing competition vs. The Voice, since Idol contestants aren't perceived as performers aiming to be coached or trained.
With that said, perhaps there's some opportunity for Kiker going forward with a music career. Maybe he can use this 15 minutes of fame to get in contact with the powers at be over at The Voice to potentially get one of its celebrity coaches to help get his voice where it needs to be? There are plenty of people who'd love to see it happen, with yours truly included.
American Idol Season 18 is chugging right along at ABC with a new episode Sunday, March 22 at 8:00 p.m. ET. Continue to stick with CinemaBlend to stay informed on the competition, and for the latest news happening in television and movies.
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Mick Joest is a Content Producer for CinemaBlend with his hand in an eclectic mix of television goodness. Star Trek is his main jam, but he also regularly reports on happenings in the world of Star Trek, WWE, Doctor Who, 90 Day Fiancé, Quantum Leap, and Big Brother. He graduated from the University of Southern Indiana with a degree in Journalism and a minor in Radio and Television. He's great at hosting panels and appearing on podcasts if given the chance as well.