There were so many baffling things about Naima Adedapo’s performance of Rihanna’s “Umbrella” last night: The dance moves. The reggae. The off-key vocals. The fact that she was gifted the pimp spot. Honestly, fellow Idol friends, I’m not sure which direction to go on this one. Hell, even Naima’s shirt wasn’t sure which direction to go.

On one hand, we have to give her props for taking a risk. But, if Idol were to follow those rules, the judges would have to applaud for Kristy Lee Cook for turning “Eight Days A Week” into a knee-slapping country tune. Or cheer for Chikezie for trying out the harmonica during “I’ve Just Seen a Face.” They’d even judge Sanjaya purely on his ponyhawk. So, should we excuse Naima’s (mostly) off-key performance, purely because she brought something different to the stage than most of the other top 13? (After all, who else was ready to scream if they heard one more song with that very season 1-esque karaoke background?)
This time around, it’s likely the risk will pay off for Naima. It’s rare that any contestant given the pimp spot will be eliminated the next day. But will the judges’ kind comments just reinforce bad Idol behavior? If Naima’s performance is a sign of the season 10 risk-taking to come … well, then just portal me back to season 7 where I can watch David Cook masterfully switch up “Hello.”

Tell me, PopWatchers: Should risk upstage good execution? And what would Simon have said about Naima’s performance? (I’ll go with: “Truly bizarre.”)

-Kate Ward,