Well, the final American Idol
Wild Card pick has left the competition. After Jeremy Rosado and Erika Van Pelt were eliminated, we knew it was only a matter of time before we said so long to DeAndre Brackensick. DeAndre showed promise, but mentor Jimmy Iovine noted after his final performance that DeAndre was "not great" and "growing marginally." It seemed the 16-year old couldn't keep up with the rest of the competition.
DeAndre Brackensick made it to the American Idol green mile episode last season, with very little screen time to call his own, and in the final cuts the judges determined that he wasn't ready. He stood out in the Season 10 group round, for his group full of youngsters (and their moms) who sang "Somebody to Love" by Queen. DeAndre wrangled some more screen time in Season 11, but wasn't able to get into the voters' Top 10 after the Top 25 performances.
It seems that Jennifer Lopez falling in love with you(r voice) is the kiss of death this season. She cried for Jeremy Rosado, then Heejun Han, and this week she fought for DeAndre Brackensick. She admitted on this week's results show that she wanted to use the Judges' Save on DeAndre, but Steven and no-nonsense Randy out-voted her. And so, the one week I didn't think DeAndre would be going home, he was eliminated. Perhaps he hadn't gained enough ground since a confusing performance of "Master Blaster," and we never got to hear his full performance of "This Woman's Work," which I'm sure was velvety perfection.
DeAndre Brackensick's first full performance, "Reasons" by Earth, Wind, and Fire, with the Top 13 Guys wasn't enough to gain favor with the voting viewers, but after he sang "Georgia On My Mind" the judges put him through as a Wild Card. From that point on, we saw footage of him as a child, acting out "The Music Man" in a little drum major outfit, no fewer than four times. Jimmy Iovine noted that DeAndre has a lot of raw talent but needs to harness it. In truth, DeAndre's falsetto was hit or miss, and tended to seem more like a trick than a tool.
For Stevie Wonder week, DeAndre performed "Master Blaster," and it reminded us of Naima Adedapo's confusing, reggae-style performance of Elton John's "I'm Still Standing." DeAndre loves to dance/bounce, though. For "Year You Were Born" week, DeAndre chose to take it down and sing, "Endless Love," a performance that wound up somewhat forgettable due to placement in the lineup.
I thought DeAndre might go home after his performance of "Only the Good Die Young" for Billy Joel week, but a spot in the bottom two was not in the cards for DeAndre. The judges raved about his performance of his idol, Eric Benet's "Sometimes I Cry," but it seemed, to me, that he over-used his falsetto register to the point where it sounded silly. For his final week, DeAndre showed marked improvement with DeBarge's "I Like It." DeAndre Brackensick was finally learning the right times to go up into the higher register and when to slide over the break. Here is my favorite DeAndre performance ("I Like It") that we got to see in full this season. My favorite part might be when he awkwardly, obligingly extends his hand out for one final touch about 30 seconds in.
In the end, I think/hope DeAndre's legacy will be more than just falsetto and a majestic head of hair, but perhaps those are the kinds of gimmicks one needs to stand out in a slough of talent. DeAndre is certainly talented, but the root of the problem is what Jimmy identified: DeAndre wasn't improving at the same rate as the rest of the Top 8.
How did you feel about DeAndre? Are you sad to see him go? Did you think he would be eliminated sooner? Is it better to go out on a strong performance?
(images courtesy of FOX)