What’s Working: She’s been absolutely fun and fearless in her deconstruction of songs like “You Give Love a Bad Name” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and her delicate, lilting tone won’t be mistaken for anybody else’s.
What Needs Work: Her ambition occasionally exceeds her execution (i.e. that iffy remix of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”) and the fact that she doesn’t have the booming-est voice means she can’t afford a misstep in terms of song choice and arrangement. In other words, another “Blank Space”-style catastrophe could be her downfall.
What’s Working: Ever since his show-stopping Top 24 cover of “I Put a Spell on You,” Quentin’s been embodying the song’s title — his outré fashions and moody vocals reinforcing a dark and somewhat trippy persona that’s very hard to resist. He knows who he is — and who he is is damn cool.
What Needs Work: The judges have pointed it out — and Quentin says he’s working on it — but his pitch is not always on point. Plus, man can’t win Idol on midtempo burners alone… Quentin’s sole uptempo effort (“Master Blaster”) left him in need of the boys’ side Wild Card.
What’s Working: Season 14’s elder statesman has never had a truly bad performance: His gruff, muscular vocals have been rock solid on everything from Motown to Avicii to Ed Sheeran. The judges seem to be fans of his humble personality, too.
What Needs Work: Nick needs to learn how to amp up the intensity level of his performances or risk coming off as forgettable. His lame choice of “Danger Zone” during Movie Week betrayed a complacency in his artistry: He’s never once picked a song originated by a female artist or completely flipped a well-worn arrangement on its head.
What’s Working: Her love of bold rearrangements (“Fancy”) and lesser-known ditties (“King of Spain”) showcase a strong (and never boring) point of view.
What Needs Work: When she lays on the quirk too thickly (i.e. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”), her shtick can come off as cloying. Tense facial expressions sometimes hint she’s not entirely confident in her abilities, either.
What’s Working: His tone is like 1,000-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets — the height of luxurious — and he’s easy on the eyes, too. “Jealous” and “Wide Awake” proved he can be current.
What Needs Work: Despite his copious talent, Rayvon has yet to achieve a true breakout moment following his stunning Hollywood Week performances. Choosing songs like “Burn” and “Stayin’ Alive” that offer no insight into his personality hasn’t helped matters.
What’s Working: When she’s good (“Tightrope,” “Rockin’ Robin”) her enviable, effortless range is unmatched by any of her competitors. Plus, she’s got enough inner sparkle to illuminate even the darkest corners of the Idolverse.
What Needs Work: Tyanna’s got two things working against her: pitch and youth. Her “Circle of Life” proved that when she’s not singing in tune, that aforementioned sparkle dims considerably. And it takes a special brand of endurance to survive the weekly Idol grind: At 16, is she ready for that jelly?
What’s Working: Season 14’s youngest competitor has a winning smile and a wide-eyed excitement every time he hits the stage. Exhibited some undeniable musicality at his audition.
What Needs Work: Limited range both musically (his upper register is almost nonexistent) and emotionally (all songs delivered with a big, vacant smile) have proven deeply problematic in his post-Hollywood performances.
What’s Working: His funky, dance-infused “Uptown Funk” and “Sir Duke” in the Detroit preliminary rounds proved to be two of the most entertaining moments of Season 14. The dude has more charisma and stage presence than three-quarters of Season 13’s contestants combined.
What Needs Work: After six weeks of voting rounds, it’s still not clear if Qaasim can actually sing. Needed the Judges’ Save after an especially dismal rendition of Paul McCartney’s “Jet” — and his stated goal of proving his chops on “Addicted to Love” was meh at best.
What’s Working: If anyone can be called the front-runner in this closely matched season, it’s probably Clark, who’s coming off back-to-back triumphs courtesy of “Sunday Morning” and “Every Breath You Take.” He’s exhibited exquisite musicality, a strong grasp of pitch and the ability to breathe vibrant life into a lyric. (And yeah, he’s super hot, too.)
What Needs Work: Clark’s facial expression sometimes fails to match the intensity of his voice. And his sole attempt at going uptempo — “Takin’ It to the Streets” — proved soul-crushingly banal.