AI OD: A farewell to Chikezie - VIDEOS
Chikezie was one of those contestants who never really made a connection with the audience. Even when he had amazing performances and got heaps of praise from the judges, he still languished toward the bottom of most polls. Personally, I think he was getting stronger and better with each passing week and I was really looking forward to seeing what kind of performer he could blossom into.
Gallery: AI '08 Chikezie
Chikezie came to American Idol as a true amateur. A former TSA (Transportation Security Administration) baggage screener he did sing in the TSA choir, and has an extensive schooling background in music. But unlike some of the other contestants, he's never recorded any kind of an album or been on any kind of tour. His early stage presence, and even the way he handled criticism were evidence of his lack of experience. But he was quickly developing into a truly unique kind of performer on the show.
Catch Chikezie's montage video and swan song performance of "If Only for One Night." He did a much better job of it tonight than last night. Still, the judges may have been onto something by advising him to stop doing ballad after ballad. Especially when he was always so close to elimination.:
The problem that I had with this is it was boring and forgettable. Chikezie kept going to the Luther Vandross pot and did so again with "If Only for One Night" but it just wasn't working. When he upped the tempo
I liked him on "I've Just Seen a Face," though I don't think the harmonica bit worked as well as he would have liked. But this is the kind of up-tempo pieces he should have been doing. Still, even with good performances the past two weeks, Chikezie just couldn't capture the home voting love that he needed.
For me, Top 12 week was his best. He showcased such a diversity with his rendition of "She's a Woman," and really made himself stand out by starting the song in a grass roots old style music circle. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to recapture this magic.
On Top 16 week with "All the Woman That I Need," Chikezie was clearly still nervous and struggling to gain some confidence as a performer. Unfortunately it led to a pretty bad performance with pitch problems from the get-go. It's performances like these in comparison to his later up-tempo pieces that lead to the judges telling him he should stick to the faster melodies. I have to say based on this I agree. He's so infections and delightful when he's moving around, while this was just dreadful at times.
Even more contrasting was how much better he did the prior week on Ray Charles' "I Believe to My Soul." And Ray Charles isn't easy to do, but Chikezie owned this performance!
Chikezie proved he could sing on Top 24 week with "I Love You More Today than Yesterday." But other than a nice voice, he didn't bring anything exciting to it. Honestly, I think Chikezie was just trying to find what kind of an artist he could be.
Need more American Idol? Get an inside look at Season 7's contestants and think back to these scathing (and hilarious) Simon Cowell quotes.
Also: Don't forget to choose your favorite Idol!
Now that his Idol run is through, Chikezie looks forward to trying to kick-start a true music career. Of course, he'll have to wait until after the summer tour with the other contestants and whatever else his Idol contract holds him to. Then, he'll be free to pursue his goal of one day winning a Grammy. Or acting. Or whatever other opportunities find their way to him.
Despite coming off as a little arrogant and aloof to me early on, Chikezie grew into one of those competitors I really enjoyed watching. Except when he trotted out another boring Luther Vandross clone performance. I don't know why he couldn't see that performances like he gave on Top 12 where his bread and butter. The judges and fans always loved it when he would give us that energetic vibe. Hell, Taylor Hicks rode an insane energy vibe straight to the title two years ago.
Whatever the future holds, "She's a Woman" remains a season highlight which should keep people thinking positive thoughts about Chikezie. He does say he's probably done with the TSA choir, so if you were looking forward to seeing him there, you'll need to make new plans. I think he has a great charisma that could really help him succeed in the business. And if he can find that musical niche which we all seem to know but he hasn't figured out yet, he could really be something. Hell, Chikezie'll probably make it look easy! (BOO! BOO! GET OFF THE STAGE!!)
IDOL SEASON 7 FAREWELLS
#11 - Amanda Overmyer
#12 - David Hernandez
#13 - Danny Noriega
#14 - Asia'h Epperson
#15 - Luke Menard
#16 - Kady Malloy
#17 - Robbie Carrico
#18 - Alaina Whitaker
#19 - Alexandrea Lushington
#20 - Jason Yeager
#21 - Colton Berry
#22 - Joanne Borgella
#23 - Amy Davis
#24 - Garrett Haley