Didi Benami, a 23-year-old singer/waitress from Knoxville, Tennessee is the first Jewish woman to make it to the top 12 on “American Idol.”
Born to a family of Israelis, Benami is not the first Jew to snag the spotlight on America’s most popular show—both Elliott Yamin and Adam Lambert blazed that trail—but she is the first to croon with the voice of a woman. And so far, she’s receiving due praise.
Last night, judges Randy Jackson, Ellen DeGeneres, Kara DioGuardi and Simon Cowell variously said: “You’re on fire”; “You have an amazing voice”; and “You’re beginning to show us the kind of artist you are.”
Indeed, Benami has a sweet, folksy voice that sounds smooth as honey on her better notes—but she’s no Adam Lambert. Benami has succeeded based on raw talent, Hollywood looks and likability but she ultimately lacks the star power to win “Idol.” And even if she does, she won’t be the first talented female to flop on her foray into the commercial market—does anyone remember Katherine McPhee? Or that Steven Spielberg was so excited about her win he even called her?
To her credit, however, Benami is one of the strongest stars this season, though Season 9 lacks the showmanship and electricity of previous competitions. Of course, that could all change in the coming weeks and months as the pool narrows and tensions rise on the way to the “Idol” crown, but so far, Benami is no more than a strong singer in a weak season.
Check out some of Benami’s performances…
Top 12 performance “Play With Fire” by The Rolling Stones
Audition “Hey Jude”
Top 12 women “The Way I Am”