American Idol Top Nine contestant Deandre Brackensick is throwing his chance at the title away, but it’s not for lack of talent.
If you’ve read even a single Idol recap on Hollywood.com, you’ve likely noticed that I’m a huge Deandre fan. As much as I’ve enjoyed and agonized over American Idol, I’ve only ever voted once — and it was for Brackensick. But he’s got a problem, and if he doesn’t fix it — and soon — we could be saying adios sooner than many of us might like.
Since the beginning of the competition — or since last season, if you remember seeing his audition and elimination before the Top 24 were chosen 2011 — Brackensick stood out at one of the most talented singers. His sweet tone and remarkable falsetto combined with his knack for working the subtleties of his voice are gifts that we don’t often witness, even among professionals in the music industry. So what’s the problem? In a nutshell: Brackensick’s song choices.
There’s not a single performance from Season 11 that shows Brackensick to be a weak singer; every single time he opens his mouth, his beautiful voice does all the work. And he’s got no shortage of personality. He has a sweet, simple bounce exacerbated by that lion’s mane of ringlets on his head, but it takes more than straight talent and a great attitude to win Idol. There’s also an the element of playing “the game.”
While contestants like Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez are blowing the judges and viewers away with huge “moment” performances, great voices like Brackensick’s are relegated to the background. He’s always great, but he’s not usually amazing. Since his soul-crushing performance of Maxwell’s hit “Woman’s Work” during the Top 24 episode in Las Vegas, the 17 year-old San Jose native has yet to make us gasp. He’s riding on the coattails of his own incredible voice, but if he wants to win, he needs to start picking songs that his audience knows and that he’s able to connect to.
And after his spot in last week’s bottom three, perhaps he’s got enough of a push to really bring it for the March 28 episode. The positive factor is that he’ll get to choose his own idol and perform a song from his or her catalog. In theory, this category will give him the leg up he needs: a song he not only knows and loves, but one that means the world to him.
If Brackensick chooses his song wisely, he could deliver the wow factor he needs to push into the top contestants bracket. But if he continues to play it safe and simply sing well, he could be the first singer to move out of the Idol mansion.