Televised Talent: Why Jena Deserves to Win

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

So now it’s down to Jena “Don’t Call me Jenna” Irene and Caleb Johnson, aka Meatloaf and Jack Black’s Love Child.

I know a lot of people love that crazy kid who slams microphones.

But I stand by my prior prediction that Jena Irene will win it all, and here’s why:

• All the reasons we love Caleb are the reasons he won’t do well in the music industry.

Caleb is a throwback. He’s stuck in the ’70s and ’80s. While he kills Led Zeppelin, he’s singing songs unfamiliar to the teens and 20-somethings.

Witness: Mentor Randy Jackson comes out and says he wants to hear Caleb sing something “modern.” And so, he trots out an Inxs song from 1987.

While a lot of people love Caleb, I’ve noticed something about his die-hard fans. They’re all of a certain age. People over the age of 40 don’t generally buy songs on iTunes or snag concert tickets. And when they do, they generally go to see the reunion tours of the original artists, not their wannabees.

• Jena sings songs and makes them her own, and America can’t help falling in love with her remakes.

Meanwhile, Caleb rarely changes his dynamics. And when he turns down the volume for half of the song, he’s hailed for his musical brilliance.

Nah, musical brilliance is giving us a different arrangement, or singing a song while playing multiple musical instruments. See also Alex Preston.

• Female winners do better on this show. They just do.

See also Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and Jordin Sparks.
For contrast, see also Ruben Studdard, Taylor Hicks, David Cook, Lee DeWyze and “one hit wonder” Kris Allen.

• Caleb needs a band.

This is why a lot of non-winners do better than the actual winners. (See also Daughtry.) 

Winners get the American Idol recording contract. They’re forced to do things the way the show producers think they should be done.

Non-winners, meanwhile, snag a contract in the real world and bring a bit more freedom to the table.

A lot of Caleb fans would not want the album that show producers would force him to make.

• Jena has the teen voters locked down.

I’ve noticed something about Jena’s fans. They’re teenagers.

The teens are the ones who will post about their choice on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. They are the ones who will use the online Supervote, the phone vote and the text vote.

These are the ones you want pulling for you.

 

A FOND FAREWELL

American Idol viewers bid a fond farewell to Alex Preston, the musical nerd who mastered the ability to drum while singing. 

Some fans noted the repeated flashes to J-Lo’s face during Alex’s trip home to New Hampshire as proof that the show was fixed, or at least that judges were aware of the results before they were announced.

Farewell, Alex. We’ll look forward to hearing you sing in next week’s finale, and to your eventual record deal. And we’ll miss your musical multitasking.

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