This year's roundup of American Idol finalists is unlike any group we have seen in the show's thirteen season history. As judge Harry Connick Jr. recognized during Wednesday night's episode, this group is the most diverse selection of artists to ever grace the Idol stage in terms of musical ability, background, and even personal style. This variety is particularly notable amongst the season's remaining five female contestants, all of whom defy the norms of a how a songstress typically looks.
While most of the male contestants play on their southern upbringing and country musical inspirations to color their performances, the five ladies couldn't look or sound more different from each other. Gena Irene is a curly-haired Italian with a propensity toward an alternative sound while Majesty Rose looks like she has risen from a fantasy world, complete with a garden of flowers in her hair and a lullaby-worthy tone.
After Wednesday night's performance, Malaya Watson reigns as the signature powerhouse belter of the group, while the pink-haired Jessica Meuse continues to tackle classic rock with a country flair. Finally, there's MK Nobilette who has stayed true to her specific fashion sense and cool cat persona.
Their individual style is more of an accomplishment than you might initially recognize. Up until now, the American Idol show has undeniably operated like a talent machine, manufacturing stars from average individuals with humble beginnings. In the process, the female singers in particular have been rapidly transformed from the pretty girls next door into sultry sexpots.
As the saying goes, sex sells, and in an effort to create the most captivating watching experience and ultimately attract more votes from America, many of the female American Idol finalists have amped up the cleavage, clipped in the hair extensions, and dawned the form-fitting dresses all to win America's attention.
American Idol's first winner, Kelly Clarkson, was a barely recognizable version of her former self by the time the show's season finale came. Highlights, pristine makeup, some teeth whitening, and a body-hugging cocktail dress elevated the humble singer into a sexy siren. While her talent was undeniable from the get-go, her shiny new exterior certainly helped make her profitable as a pop artist, especially since she was set to debut an album just around the same time as Christina Aguilera's Stripped album was released.
The trend was even more recognizable with Katharine McPhee, who was the runner-up of Season 4 behind the male winner, Taylor Hicks. As the competition got tighter, McPhee started donning sexier ensembles and bigger hair—which ultimately garnered her as much attention as her killer voice. The singer started suffering media backlash, particularly for this yellow dress, when she endured a wardrobe malfunction when one of the buttons on the dress popped off mid-performance, causing the singer to come dangerously close to revealing an unsafe amount of skin.
We don't begrudge these former female contestants for dressing the way they did— it was their personal style choices and they looked stunning in all of their forms. The last thing we aim to do is attack a woman for how she looks. However, what sets this year's female contestants apart from the women of years past is the fact that they have yet to fall into this forced expectation of how a songstress should look on television.
After already 9 weeks in the competition, none of the women have transformed into the conventional bombshell—in fact, they are all very far from it. They all flaunt their natural hair textures, they are typically covered up, and their outfits are still every bit fashionable and true to who they were from the start of the competition. This is especially surprising considering all of the contestants have larger styling teams than the contestants from years past, so they have every opportunity to put together a revealing ensemble if they wanted.
If this new trend continues, we may actually get a female winner unlike anyone we've seen or heard before. The vocals are definitely unique—here's to hoping the looks stay original, too.