Track Review: Lauren Spencer-Smith, “Fingers Crossed”

Almost exactly one year ago today, Olivia Rodrigo used TikTok virality and overwrought balladry as a catalyst for “drivers license,” her career-launching multi-platinum debut single. Today, Lauren Spencer-Smith, a contestant from Season 18 of American Idol, has taken the latest step in replicating that path to success. Let’s rewind a bit, shall we?

Late last November, Lauren posted a snippet of a new song and revealed that the title of the song was “Fingers Crossed.” In just two months or so, the song has pulled jaw-dropping numbers on TikTok. Lauren’s original TikTok has amassed 22.3 million views and the sound featuring the snippet of “Fingers Crossed” has been used in over 116,000 videos to date. After the song’s official release today, it’s clear why so many people have connected with the song so quickly.

As “Fingers Crossed” continues to make waves, the comparisons to Olivia Rodrigo and “drivers license” will be incessant, but not unfounded. Like “drivers license,” “Fingers Crossed” is a melodramatic pop ballad about the demise of a relationship. The lyrics are clearly catered to a teen/young adult audience, but the themes are so universal that everyone can latch onto something in the song’s mood. “Just tryna fix you and all your daddy issues / But now, I don’t even miss you anymore,” she croons in the chorus. The song’s lyrics are heavy-handed, sure, but that’s what makes it so captivating. “Fingers Crossed,” again, like “drivers license,” captures the height and intensity of emotions at the moment during a relationship’s end before you’re able to catch and control yourself.

Musically, the song is quite boring. The melody is just barely interesting enough and the dreary snap-accented acoustic guitar arrangement is stagnant and drowsy. In this way, the majority of the success of “Fingers Crossed” relies on Lauren’s cathartic vocal performance. Lauren, in a way similar to Olivia, employs a different variation of “indie pop voice.” She’s clearly a capable vocalist, but Lauren drenches her phrasing in a combination of slightly exaggerated vibrato, sly vowel breaking, and enunciation that sounds as if her jaw is half-open. All of these elements work together to achieve the standard sound for pop ballads that soundtrack tear-stained video collages and VSCO filters.

“Fingers Crossed” is a fine and inoffensive song. The track lacks a proper bridge to really take it to another level, so it’s left feeling very bland. Regardless, it’s interesting how much the song borrows from the sound and strategy of “drivers license.” In fact, it is eerily similar that the chorus of “Fingers Crossed” shrinks to a whisper in the same way that the “drivers license” chorus does. Obviously, Olivia doesn’t own pop ballads about doomed relationships, but the similarities are there. Following the “drivers license” blueprint so closely could either pay off massively or end up backfiring. As of right now, it looks like the plan is working as the song sits pretty in Apple Music’s Top 10. Let’s see if this is the song that launches pop music’s next superstar.

Score: 55

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