I remember the first time I saw Naima. It was the Wisconsin audition, and after a sea of performances, out came this vibrant yet emotional personality who explained her dreams. We watched as Naima told us she worked backstage doing groundwork at Summerfest, and the footage showing her scrubbing the toilets. In her package she exclaimed, “that should be me on stage!” Then we witnessed her beautifully deliver the classic Donny Hathaway song, “For All We Knew.” I knew from that moment that I would be in Naima’s corner.
Once Hollywood week came, it became apparent to me that Naima did not have the voice to take the American Idol title. However, she did have a charisma and beauty that was like no other contestant. She always appeared in full vibrancy. She dressed in her African traditional clothes (which we later learned she made her self) that showed her artsy back tattoos. Her dreads were always tied up top her head, and her face made up with red lipstick that complemented her skin. Her outfit was topped with her natural smile which lit up the stage each time she stepped upon it.
During wild card week I rooted with all of twitter, helping to keep her name on the trending topic list with my tweets of adoration just hoping the judge would give her the chance to prove herself. This time the lyrics she sang seemed to be the subtitles to her own story. “For All We Know, This May Only Be a Dream / We Come and We Go , Like the Ripples of a Stream/So Love Me, Love Me Tonight…” The judges loved her enough to let her stay, and each week after I watched her give us a piece of herself with her unique and daring performances. I knew she wasn’t going to win, but I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by her desire to live her dream.
The thing I admire most about Naima is the same thing Steven Tyler praised her for- her fearless attitude to be herself.
I’m really about staying true to myself. Once I have my mind set on something, I just kind of go out there and do it. I did what I did and I have no regrets about anything I’ve done on the show and I’m happy to have shown that side of me,” she said in her final statements.
Yes, her Reggae bit was gutsy. But did you really expect anything else? Afterall, she did turn “Dancing in the Street” into an African montage of drumming and dancing. It’s what makes her unique, and the great performer she is. I wouldn’t have liked to see her go out any other way.
So farewell Mrs. Adedapo. I hope everything goes well. And above all, I hope you get your chance on that Summerfest stage.
SN: Thia Megia, 16-year-0ld from California also was eliminated from the show this week. Always praised for her poise, I am confident that with a little more life experience she will sing with the emotion the judges longed for from her and be a dynamic artist. The show is left with only three females in the top 9- Lauren Alaina, Haley Reinhart and Pia Toscano.