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American Idol Spoilers and Audition for Haeley Vaughn
Personality and Country Branding May Make Her a Favorite
American Idol spoilers indicated that Haeley Vaughn has made the Top 24 and voting rounds for American Idol 9. The show featured Haeley's audition on the latest episode. Based upon her audition and the fact that we know Haeley made it through Hollywood to reach the voting public, she is likely to be a fairly strong favorite this season on Idol. What makes her a favorite is her personality and her "branding" as a black country or country pop singer. Her vocals may not have been fantastic, but they were certainly good enough for this stage of the competition. Expect Haeley to easily sail through to the Top 12 and possibly make a run for the title.
It is no surprise that the judges and probably the public will love Haeley. She has no significant backstory - she was a premature baby. But what fans of Idol and music fans in general like is someone that is different. And Haeley, a black girl who loves country music, brings something different to the table.
Singers like Haeley hardly even exist in the commercial music world. It's not that there are no black country singers. And there are probably thousands of good country singers that are black. But the problem is that the record companies tend to fear that the target market that keeps country music alive may not respond to a singer like Haeley. One good thing about Idol, though, is that it will sometimes give a singer like Haeley a chance when the record companies usually pass on them.
The image of a contestant singing a genre of music that the fans would not expect often works well on Idol. Elliott Yamin, a white contestant, did great on Idol as an RnB singer. Although Scott Savol has not had much success after Idol, he also did well in the competition as a white RnB singer. And this is true even though a lot of fans literally hated Scott for various ridiculous reasons. Simply put, this kind of "shock value" can go a long way with American Idol fans.
Haeley is a cute, bubbly type of girl. She will remind people of Vonzell Solomon in that respect. Vonzell finished in third place on Season 4 of Idol. Personality can play a big role with the fans. It will be interesting to see how Haeley reacts later in the competition. Paris Bennett, who can be very outgoing and fun, actually seemed to lose much of her personality appeal as the show moved along. That may have hurt her chances in Season 5.
Although the "shock value" is there in spades, Idol demands a diverse set of skills because of its theme weeks. It's impossible to say at this point how much versatility Haeley has. She certainly cannot sing country every week, so we will have to wait and see what other things she can sing to determine her chances of winning.
In short, Haeley should come out as an early American Idol favorite for this ninth season. Her overall skill level is hard to judge now, but her personality and branding image make her an interesting one to watch out for as the season progresses. She will almost certainly make the Top 12. After that, her fate will depend on whether she can maintain her personality and show the kind of diverse skills that Carrie Underwood displayed during her run to the championship in American Idol 4.