Why was it time for Lil and Anoop to go?
Lil seemed to have a lot of potential at the beginning of the season. During the audition weeks, she seemed to have a strong voice, a strong personality and a good work ethic. She seemed destined to be another diva. Her first week in the semifinals, she sang a fresh-sounding contemporary R&B song, easily landing in the top 13.
Unfortunately, that's where the originality and excitement ended. After that, week after week Lil picked nothing but boring, overdone standards. Many times, they had been performed much better by other singers, including previous Idol contestants.
Not only that, but she lost her sense of sense, coming out in a different wig every week, changing her style from a stylish young woman into a parody of a singing sensation, wearing fussy ball gowns and sequined disasters. It was as if she was trying to live out something she'd seen as a little girl, as if she was trying to mold herself into what she thought a singer should be, rather than doing what came naturally.
To top it off, she began to demonstrate a negative attitude, talking back to the judges and asserting that she knew what she was doing, despite their advice to the contrary. It's OK to have an ego in the music business, but when you're just introducing yourself to your audience, and your success depends on them liking you, a certain amount of humility, or at least tactfulness, is helpful.
While song choice is important, even her choices might not have mattered if she'd sung them better. Ultimately, her vocal abilities did not live up to the songs she tried to sing.
Anoop has had a big fanbase from the start. I remember seeing buzz about him starting back in the audition week, with people sharing videos of him performing at college events. He's got the appeal of the boy-next-door, someone that reminds many viewers of someone they know. Unlike other finalists (such as Adam), he doesn't have a big star persona. This probably worked in his favor, since people like to see the underdog win, and they like to vote for someone who is like them.
From week to week, however, Anoop's performances wavered between mediocre to fairly solid to impressive. That lack of consistency likely hurt him, as did his angry talking back to the judges a few weeks ago when they tried to critique his song choice. Unlike Lil, however, he apologized and showed more restraint in the following weeks.
Anoop seemed to feel uncomfortable on the stage, had difficulty controlling his breath when he added movement, and had yet to come into his own as a performer. As I've heard others state, while many of his competitors already seem like professionals, it's difficult to picture Anoop headlining a concert.
People do not just vote for contestants that they like, even if they have an enjoyable voice. They vote for people whose albums they want to buy and whose concerts they would like to attend. Anoop did not excite America about the possibilities of his future offerings, and that cost him votes.
And so, this week, it was Lil and Anoop taking their bows.