Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol 10: Ranking the Top 13

.. and here I am again, this time trying to size up this season's Top 13.

Truth be told, I sucked at this last year, where I predicted Didi Benami - at this same exact point last season - as the winner of Season 9. Well, I obviously guessed wrong because she got eliminated on her third performance - yes, Top 10. Haha. Who knew? I mean, I was able to predict a David Cook and Kris Allen win. Haha.

Now, before anything else, let me revisit my “fearless” American Idol 10: Top 13 Prediction last week - just before everyone's actual performances - and my scorecard is as follows: 5/7 for the girls and 4/6 for the guys. That's not too shabby for a prediction without taking into account their live performances.

But like what I've said before, this is just all about that proverbial guessing game of who will end up where and I have to say that this year is particularly hard to predict just because this season has become possibly one of the most competitive years EVER! Seriously. I'm kind of rackin' my brain here trying to predict how this season will go and it's tough.

Yes, there are a couple of standouts that will likely make the Top 5 based on personality, talent, fanbase and, of course, the pimping, but I honestly think that the game has changed since Simon Cowell left the show and we are definitely now in an uncharted waters, which makes this an unpredictable season. 

These rankings are not just about singing skill or how they did during the semifinals - though those things definitely count. But, I can tell you that I also take into consideration the performances we have seen of them, the buzz about the contestant, how a contestant relates to the audience, the audience perception of the contestant, the judges’ critiques, the show's pimping, the contestant’s overall Idol-worthiness and of course, personal preference. Haha. Sure, it's not scientific, but whatever.

Well, here is my best guess on how this season could turn out. 

13. Ashthon Jones

The Black Diva Just Never Dies! Haha. I think the reason Ashthon made it to the Top 13 is so she can be the Paige Miles and/or Jasmine Murray of the season. Notice how she fits into that mold perfectly? Well, I like myself some Ashthon Jones. I think she got some spunk, her performances are usually sassy and she is pretty talented. I kind of liked her performance of Love All Over Me because she was able to prove herself as a viable mainstream RnB artist. But then, And I Am Telling You happened and she just showcased her vocal limitations. So while Ashthon has attitude, she lacks the true vocal talent of a Jennifer Hudson. When she can no longer hold out a note, she simply cuts it off in mid-wail. She's going to have to figure out that she does not have the vocal chops of a true talented diva before she becomes another Lil Rounds.

12. Karen Rodriguez

Ok. I take back what I said on my blog with regard to Ranking the Top 24 that I wouldn't be unhappy to see her advance in the Final 13. What changed? Her song choice: Hero. Haha. I honestly thought that her idea of mixing Spanish with the song was more of a gimmick than anything else. Disregard that fact and we're left with a mediocre performance. I must say, her vocals are not great when she sings in English and she polarizes a lot of people when she sings in Spanish. Plus, I can't see her doing the mix thing every week. It will get very old.. fast! Sweet girl, but she maybe this year's Jorge Nunez. Remember him? Haha.

11. Haley Reinhart 

Somehow, I have this funny feeling that Haley is going to surprise a lot of people in how far she goes - think of Haley Scarnato. Haha. But kidding aside, while I'm not entirely a fan of her, I think she's far more interesting than Karen Rodriguez. Her voice is unique and she can sing in key and on pitch and that may sound simple and obvious, but after last season that's something I don't take for granted anymore. Haha. Let's see. Time will tell and who knows, I could be completely wrong and she could go home next week.

10. Naima Adedapo
She’s unique, can sing and has a good back-story. Is she possibly the next American Idol? No, I don't see it. I don't think her voice is as strong as the others and her vocal technique simply needs more improvement. To be honest, I find her voice just slightly above average, and if you disregard the fact that she looks off beat, she, to me, is just mediocre at best. That said, I think her Wildcard performance of For All We Know will guarantee a week to survive, but I'm not so sure anymore after that. Just saying.

09. Jacob Lusk
He's talented and the things he can do are more than astonishing - there's no doubt about it - but his style is just very Season 2. I don't know. I think the sheer strength of his rendition of A House Is Not A Home will guarantee him a couple more weeks, but his over-the-top parody of a gospel-style singing will get old soon and possibly be the reason for his early ouster. Plus, I can sense that Jacob will eventually polarize too many people as he's too.. umm, flamboyant for a lot of Idol viewers. But, what do I know, Adam Lambert went on to become a runner-up. Haha. Still, I can see him pulling a Mandisa type of American Idol journey: good but got eliminated early. 

08. James Durbin

Yes, I'm going to have to eat my words now because I guess I spoke too soon about James. No, I'm still not a fan, but he did prove me wrong when he performed a Judas Priest song - a first on Idol - and performed with some impeccable range that wasn't grating at any point.  I mean, I've been used to seeing him over the past few weeks trying to go all out and leave an impression by hitting crazy notes that, to me, was nothing but showboating. I know better know as I finally saw a glimpse of what he can do when he is forced to limit himself. I still don't he will go as far as Adam Lambert did, but give him vocal restraints and he will do very well.

07. Stefano Langone

If not for his stunning rendition of I Need You Now, he'd probably be dead last on my list. But since he currently holds what I think is the best performance of the season (so far!), I don't see him going anywhere up until maybe Top 10 night - where everything's scary! Haha. If he can maintain that momentum complete with his undeniable  boyish charms, I can seriously see him outlasting other heavy favorites like James Durbin and Jacob Lusk. He’s got to remember though that America wasn’t convinced on his first crack. So, he has to make it his job to prove he belongs there every single week. Think, Syesha Mercado! She fought hard, and I want to see him get far.

06. Thia Megia

Thia, to me, is honestly the most unpredictable contestant this season - the same reason why she receives my middle of the pack award. Haha. I mean, she could be another Jasmine Trias and last really long in the competition or bore everyone just like Ramiele Malubay and get an early boot. Yes, she could get further and maybe even sneak into the Top 3, but I really think she needs some great performances to make that happen. Also, she needs to loosen up! Seriously. Thia may alienate the audience with her mild, zen expression and interpret that as being cold and a little standoff-ish. It will not - in any way - help her campaign to be the next American Idol. But, I'm pretty sure the Filipino voting block on American Idol is solid, thus, I expect her short of a Top 8 finish. Unless, of course, if she suddenly delivers a trainwreck performance.

05. Paul McDonald

Yes, I admit, there's something inherently cool about Paul, but I just can't get into his vibe. I don't know. Maybe it's because he sounds so much like Rod Stewart - not fan, either - but with less depth of tone. But why am I ranking him this high? Simple, he's a mega frauen bait! Look, the current Idol demo - lot's of middle-aged women and their kids - loves their White Guys With Guitars (See: David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze). So, in that case, I wouldn't be surprised if Paul actually gets into the Finale because aside from Casey Abrams, he's the only one who fits that bill. He needs to be really smart with his song choices though. I can sense that once as he falls into “safe”, he will be in trouble. I think his challenge now is going to be keeping the audience intrigued and engaged.

04. Pia Toscano

No, I don't think her rendition of I'll Stand By You was anywhere near Fantasia's Summertime territory, but I agree that her performance instantly made her a dark horse in this year's competition. To me, she was biggest surprise of the semifinals. She's gorgeous, showcased an amazing range with great vocal control and a fantastic stage presence to boot. Plus, she also seemed to be very genuine. Now, the only thing that will keep from advancing to, at the very least, the Finale would be her fanbase. Unless, ALL the fans of the eliminated contestants join Pia's fans and vote for her,  I sadly don't see her reaching the Final 2. I'm also crossing my fingers that she didn't peak too early a la Siobhan Magnus.

03. Casey Abrams

Another reason why I don't think Paul will last that long is because he and Casey are both kind of quirky and I think Casey's personality and how funny he is will help him grab more votes from eliminated contestants than Paul will be able to. I mean, there isn't room for both of them beyond the Top 5 - perhaps Top 4. In other words, Casey and Paul will cancel each other out and, yes, I'm backing up Casey on this one. But while I think that Casey stands out because of his unique style and look, it's a sad fact that America - or at least, American Idol viewers - is not that into jazz and he comes off a little too bluesy and jazzy. Now, you may take this whatever you want, but I think he's the second coming of Taylor Hicks, and I have to say that the Soul Patrol was an unstoppable force made up largely of older women during Season 5. Just saying.

02. Lauren Alaina

Let's get this out of the way: I DON'T LIKE HER! True, she may be able to sing, but nothing she's said or done has warmed me up to her. I find her precocious, entitled, and downright obnoxious. She's too confident and needs to eat some low calorie humble pie. I mean it. If I'm being honest, I wouldn't vote for Lauren even if she were the only one in the competition - or even if it's between her and Kermit the Frog! Just no! Now, the only reason why I ranked her this high is because of the unbelievable pimping she got from the show. Of course, they will do everything just to make her this year's winner. But as history suggests, contestants who were shoved down to our throats NEVER won the competition (see: Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds and maybe David Archuleta). So, I'm really hoping for a backlash anytime soon. Haha. Besides, why would I like someone who sounds like Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson if I can listen to them instead?

01. Scott McCreery

Are you shocked? I am. Haha. I don't love Scott - the same way I love David Cook, Kris Allen and Katharine McPhee - but I like him and I honestly think that he could very easily win this thing. He's talented and he's wildly popular. And while I don't like to see another guy win American Idol on it's fourth consecutive year, I'd rather have him than the annoying Lauren Alaina. Scotty's voice is country gold and they will sign this boy the first chance they get. They are probably already having songs written for him to record and are already planning his career. Heck, he could very well be the most successful contestant EVER! Think, a male Taylor Swift. The only thing working against him is his versatility. I just can't see him being able to cope with the demands of Idol. Yes, they won't be doing as many harder themes from what I've heard, but there will be themes. He pretty much has only a 1 octave range - he sounds great doing it, but he's really not entirely original.

Oh, and on a shallow note: Scotty is the only one who could actually complete the Kristy Lee Cook winner prophecy. You know, Kris Allen, Scotty McCreery, Lee DeWyze and David Cook. Haha. It all makes sense right? It's silly, I know.

How do you think this season will turn out? Any specific rankings?  


jayviedistor said...

hahahahaha oo, ayaw mo si Lauren. ayaw! hahaha. korak, pimping galore nga ang nagagaganap! plus, mukhang bet na bet sya ni steven tyler.

and woah! na-shock nga ako sa prediction mo! Scotty! eeeeh pero yeah, pwedeng pwede sya manalo. and agree ako na baka Scotty-Lauren nga sa top 2 :D

jayviedistor said...

omg! Haley Scarnato! i remember her hahaha. i remember her performance nung song na, "I know something about love... blah blah" wala lang :D

Robbie said...

Please. No more white guys with guitars. Please.

Will said...

Casey's at the top of my list. No more white guys with guitars, but how about white guys with cellos?

But I'm still open for a Pia/Paul win. Any one of those three and I'll be happy.

And for some reason, I can't help but remember John Stevens each time I see Scott. Don't know why.

Will said...

And why is Haley the only not singing on your header? Haha, just noticed. :p


Jayvie: But do you like Scotty? I'm hoping Lauren Alaina will be the shocker elimination of this season. Haha.

And yes, Haley Scarnato FTW! Hahaha.

Robbie: I agree!! No more of the White Guys With Guitars! We already have the very talented David Cook and Kris Allen.

Will: HAHA. White Guy With Upright Bass is fine. And I kind of agree with the John Stevens and Scott McCreery comparison. I just think Scott's more marketable (just because it's country) than John Stevens. Plus, I find Scotty more adorable.

As for Haley, it's because that's the only decent pic I can find of her. The other's were blurry. Sorry. :P

Anonymous said...

i like that Kristy Lee Cook winner prophecy.. hehe..

katuray said...

scott?! AI winner?! i don't think so. america (and the judges) will eventually get bored with his low 1-octave register.

i think it'll be casey and james (ugh!) on the AI finale.

but i'm still hoping for a surprise female win for this season.. possibly from pia if she'll be consistent w/her performances. while her semis number (probably) shot her up the AI ranks, it also, at the same time, raised the people's expectation of her really high.

ianemuel said...

Thank you for that part about Lauren. It describes exactly how I feel about her. I HATE HER! Just saying.

gddepadua said...

Ashton woudl be booted out early. She screams cannon fodder for me, I mean, the season needs a black diva and she's the only one who may bring it.

Karen might get a little farther, like top 8 or something. she looks beautiful and she can sing better than Haley.

I want to see Haley out early. Early!

Naima, as much as i like her story, the power is not just there. Her look is fine, but the it factor's missing.

Jacob and James. This is tricky. I can see a Jennifer Hudson early exit on Jacob. James, the Adam Lambert archetype could be in the top 5.

Stefano, he will surprise many. And he will stay longer than most expected. The same goes for Thia.

But Paul could be in great trouble early since he is not the most flexible of all the singers there.

Pia-Lauren-Thia are the top three girls there and i would want to see Lauren and Pia slug it out. And i do hope Pia wins over Lauren. I can see some Carrie Underwood-personality on Pia and like that season, I am rooting for the underdog.

Scotty. I just hate the guy. He's not at all great. John Wayne was way better than him but WTF.

I like to see Casey win but this season is a girl's season. I am hoping for a three-girl showdown for the finale.


Anonymous: The Kristy Lee Cook prophecy is actually kind of creepy and funny. Haha


Katuray: Let's see. I'm not a fan of Scott but I can see him with the show. I mean, Carrie Underwood won despite the lack of variety in her performances.

As for James Durbin, I highly doubt he'll win even if he gives good performances. Adam Lambert comparison will forever hunt him unless he does something to stray away from that.

And yes, I'd like Pia to win as well. Let's see though.


Ianemuel: I kind of feel that Lauren's antics are grating on people already.


Gerard: Your Top 3 girls is possible, although I'm doubtful. I was expecting that to happen last year with Crystal-Didi-Siobhan but something happened and Aaron Kelly and Casey James suddenly sneaked their way into the Final 5 despite being so mediocre. Ugh!

Fidel Antonio Medel said...

I hate Lauren & Scott! I'm fighting the urge to type curse words right now. Haha.

I was surprised that a lot of people like Casey 'cause I do too. He is a crowd favorite after all.


Fidan: So, you're not a country fan eh? Hehe.

And yes, lots of love for Casey. He reminds me of Taylor Hicks, but he's more likable, I think.

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping for a female to win this season so either Thia or Pia but for some reason I believe it'll be between James/Scotty/Lauren.


Anonymous: I'm hoping for a female winner this season, but I agree, I feel that another guy can sneak his way to the top.

Kim said...

i wish paul mcdonald makes it to the finale though i really don't think most people get his style.. he reminds me so much of bradley cooper and rod stewart.. i love how unique his voice is and i just love his band "the grand magnolias"..

Anonymous said...

1st Sentence of Haley Reinhart prediction just came true, didn't it? =))

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