Last night, Didi Benami gave a strong performance of Fleetwood Mac’s Rhiannon on American Idol Top 8 Girls, winning across the board approval from the judges. Yet I have the feeling that she will continue to be underrated, especially when compared to Crystal Bowersox who is clearly the producers’ choice on American Idol.
Didi Benami may become the Jessica Sierra of this season. Jessica Sierra was a talented vocalist who appealed to a similar demographic to Carrie Underwood, but lacked Underwood’s rabid fan following and was not the producers’ favorite. It’s a shame because both Didi Benami and Jessica Sierra showed enormous potential.
Didi Benami is a strong vocalist with a healthy attitude about the competition. In spite of nearly breaking down last week, she came back smiling. While it wasn’t a “knock it out of the park” performance (mostly because of song choice), Didi Benami delivered the goods both technically and musically. She was clearly in the zone and present throughout the performance.
Randy Jackson said it was much improved from last week, but that there was no “wow” moment. Ellen DeGeneres gave her credit for getting back on the horse after being torn apart last week. Kara DioGuardi called Didi’s performance her favorite moment of the night. Although she would not have chosen that song for her, Kara liked what Didi did with the song.
Simon Cowell gave his stamp of approval, calling it head and shoulders above what we’ve heard all night. He also countered Randy by claiming that the “entire performance” was a wow moment.
Even American Idol alum Blake Lewis was captivated by the performance. As he writes in USA Today, “there’s something about her voice that just makes you feel good.”
Yet while Didi Benami delivered the goods, she may still struggle in the shadow of Crystal Bowersox (“the one to beat”). Bowersox seems to have a more dedicated fan following as well as stronger backing from the judges. And the fact that she was able to deliver solid performances after landing in the hospital only endears her even more to the American Idol voting public.
Of the “indie girls,” Katelyn Epperly is probably in most danger this week. Didi Benami, Siobhan Magnus, Lacey Brown, and Lilly Scott are likely safe this week, though their continued survival on American Idol will probably depend on week to week performances.
If Didi Benami continues to perform at this level or higher, then she may go far on American Idol, though it would take a meteoric rise to overtake Crystal Bowersox who has solidified her status as a front-runner in the competition.
Blake Lewis: ‘Captivated’ by Didi Benami’s ‘Rhiannon,’ USA Today