'American Idol' Season 13: Why Jena Irene Should Win (Opinion)
THR's Idol Worship blogger makes the case for the Farmington Hills, Michigan teen.
Every season, The Hollywood Reporter's Idol Worship team fights for why each of the American Idol top 3 singers should win it all. See below for why Jena Irene should win, and find out why Caleb Johnson and Alex Preston each have a chance at the championship.
Jena Irene was an early American Idol finals contender from the moment she first sang Adele’s "Rolling in the Deep" – Jennifer Lopez told the Farmington Hills, Michigan contender that she didn't sing the familiar track like anybody else: "That to me is always a good sign."
Here's why Irene should win the whole competition:
1. She'll make Idol history. Irene is the first wildcard pick since Clay Aiken to make it to the top three, and if she wins, she will be the first in the show’s thirteen-year run to be standing in the confetti next Thursday.
2. She's a comeback kid. Week after week, the 17-year-old has been on a roll, but at one time, she did find herself in the bottom three. Still, it was a forgettable trip, as she has since turned out strong performances of Coldplay's "The Scientist," Radiohead's "Creep" and what is quite possibly one of the best performances of the season (and Idol’s entire run), a reinvented rendering of Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You.”
3. She brings an interesting articulation. Irene has a way of playing with the articulation of words that brings well-known pop songs into dark and dramatic places -- and that is what may set her apart from the current crop of artists on the radio. She even brazenly reworked her already-unique version of “Rolling in the Deep” during the show’s “Back to the Start” theme week, pushing the song to rise to the number-27 position on the ITunes alternative chart.
4. She knows no genre boundaries. Irene is a versatile chameleon: she can morph into a rocker chick with songs by Young the Giant, Pat Benatar and Heart, or venture into EDM territory with ease, as when she took on Zedd's "Clarity": she ordered the audience to raise their glow sticks into the air and turned the show into a party. She is perfectly at home in any stage setting, whether among laser beams and smoke, or simply seated with her instrument.
5. She's got star potential. As in, stars already want to sing with Irene. After she praised Hayley Williams from Paramore as someone with whom she wants to do a duet, guest star Demi Lovato felt left out, telling the teen, “I’ll sing with you!”