If there’s one thing I love to see from an Idol contestant, it’s steady performance growth over the course of the season. While some contestants peak too soon, others start out in the shadows and slowly emerge as the contestant to watch. For Season 10, that contestant is Haley Reinhart. With her raspy, growly voice and excellent stage presence, she’s not just a good singer, she’s a great performer and a true musician.
Haley’s first performance tonight is a prime example of why she deserves to win. She took on Led Zeppelin’s “What Is and What Should Never Be,” which was vocally challenging and also a risky choice as it’s far from the mainstream pop song or country hit that many might prefer to see covered on the Idol stage. She rocked the song from beginning to end and, even when she stumbled getting back up onto the main stage, she continued on without letting it throw her off.
I don’t think the judges have done well to offer the contestants much in the way of constructive criticism or advice on how to improve this season. Without a “Simon” to tell it like it is, the contestants have been left to figure out what they need to do to win over the voters and in that respect, Haley has shined. Both Lauren and Scotty are talented and likely to go on to do great things musically but this is a competition and as I see it, growth counts as much as voice and stage presence do. Haley’s demonstrated all three, giving us more than a glimpse of who she is as an artist.
I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve been a Haley supporter from the beginning. In fact, she was barely on my radar until the contestants made it to the Top 9 or so. Some contestants come into the competition with an amazing story or one great performance that allows them to coast through the earlier weeks of the competition. Haley had neither. She worked for it every week. She endured standing in the Bottom 3 numerous times and put up with the sometimes-unwarranted criticism from the judges, which the other contestants were spared regardless of how well or weakly they performed, and she got herself to the Top 3. Not only do I think she deserves to win, but I believe that of the three remaining contestants, Haley is the one most ready to grab her career by the horns and take off with it.
Read Mack's argument for why Scotty McCreery should win HERE.
Read Jessica's argument for why Lauren Alaina should win HERE.
Who Should Win Season 10 Of American Idol?