American Idol: The Demise of the Quirky Voices
American Idol: The Demise of the Quirky Voices
It was just a couple weeks ago when we were wondering, "is American Idol actually going indie?"

And for good reason, a considerable chunk of the Top 24 were more than just good singers. They also had a strong idea of who they are as an artist, something evident in the way they presented themselves from the auditions straight to Hollywood week and later, to the live shows. And while it seemed too good to be true, especially for folks like me whose musical taste isn't limited to familiar, if not generic, voices, it was a welcome change.

Well, it wasn't meant to be. We all know what happened last week: two of the more unique voices this season--a misunderstood Lilly Scott and the incredibly nervous banana that was Alex Lambert--bid us farewell. Despite their problems (or lack of them?), both Lilly and Alex stood out for having unique voices that were not relegated to the back burner.

Last night, another one of the quirky voices bid farewell: Lacey Brown. Well, she does have a quirky voice, but in her four weeks in the competition she never really got a grip of it. Nearly ever week we guessed that she'd be going home. Still, she held on, because it seems a significant number of people saw through the bad choices that quirky, sultry, jazz voice that made her stand out.

Still, her departure marks the end of the quirky voices on American Idol this year. We should have seen it coming, right? Back to the generic stuff?

Well, not really. The closest we have this season to artists that are strong both vocally and artistically are the singer-songwriter types. Crystal Bowersox is still the frontrunner despite seemingly losing steam this week, thanks to her astute reworking of classics from Tracy Chapman and the Rolling Stones. Give her a little more time, and you can expect Crystal to be performing at the likes of Lillith Fair.

But Didi Benami, I think, has the potential to make it bigger. She's still recovering from a couple of bad calls during the semifinals, but the past two weeks reminded us of her sweet voice--okay, maybe not too quirky, but she's got one finger on that pie--and she can benefit from going both ways. Her crossover appeal is great: I can imagine her songs being played on the more varied radio stations as well as your neighborhood Top 40.

(Of course, she'll be sticking around for a while because, as many of you noticed, there's quite a gold mine in the sparks seemingly flying between her and Ryan Seacrest.)

Want another name? Again, Siobhan Magnus, but only because she's such a wild card, you don't know where she's going. But, while I'm a big fan of hers, I don't know where she'll end up at this rate. Admittedly her performance this week split opinions, and that wouldn't help matters. (Damn you for that Adam Lambert reference, Kara.) That said, her strengths lie in her strong pipes rather than the quality and consistency of her vocal tone, at least at the moment.

So sure, there is still hope, but for folks like me who are looking for quirky, unique voices--Megan Joy reference incoming!--then maybe this year is not our year.

(Image courtesy of Fox)