Wednesday, February 29, 2012

American Idol 11: Ranking the Top 12 Girls

After the boys, it's time to rank the girls based on vocal ability, airtime, Idol historic trends, and of course, personal preference in order to gauge who currently has the best shot of entering the final set of 12/13. But before anything else, let me just say that the girls have a shockingly strong line up this year that I seriously had a hard time ranking them. There were a couple of strong contenders and maybe two or three fodders. I changed my list a couple times and this is the best I could come up with. Haha.

Also, coming up with the list, I noticed a couple of things:
* this is the first season EVER in American Idol history that not a single black woman entered the Final 24
* 3 of the 12 girls (25%) are country singers
* there's Hollie, Haley and Hallie in this bunch and I wonder if this will affect the voting in terms of recall from America.
* 8 of the whole 24 contestants are repeat auditioners. Wow.

Without further ado, here's how I personally rank the Top 12 Boys based from whatever we saw from them. (I've decided to separate the post - it's TOO long. Haha)

Let's go to the rankings, shall we?

12. Brielle Von Hugel
Due to the edit she got during Hollywood Week - with her agonizingly annoying stage mother - Brielle could be the next Kelly Clarkon and it wouldn't matter one bit. She was cast a villain and America wouldn't back her up because of that. It's such a shame because she actually has a pretty good solid voice, but at this point, her ouster is already a forgone conclusion. LONG SHOT

11. Chelsea Sorrell
Her own take on Carrie Underwood's I Told You So was mesmerizing, but she's competing against two other country singers who, quite frankly, have better odds of making the finals. That said, I wouldn't count her out yet because she has a pretty strong and clear instrument that's quite impressive. If she picks the right song, she could surprise everyone. POSSIBLE UPSET

10. Shannon Magrane
This girl has tons of potential, but she's too raw for American Idol. She's too vanilla for my taste and I'm not really sure what she'd bring to the competition. Amazing vocal talent? Not quite. Sex appeal? None. Shannon, to me, reminds me of Ayala Brown - good voice, great vibrato, but she's way too robotic and her pitch is uneven. I don't think she's quite ready for this, but who knows? POSSIBLE UPSET

09. Haley Johnsen
Haley is gorgeous, undeniably marketable, young and has a good attention to vocal details. A couple of snippets through out Hollywood also showcased her wonderful tone and a surprisingly impressive range. Plus, she can change vocal registers with great ease - it was pretty apparent in her gorgeous version of The Story during her audition. It's such a shame though that she never got enough airtime prior to the live rounds to make a bigger impression to America. So unless she creates her own moment this week a la Pia Toscano, she may just have to settle to be another Kendra Chantelle. Sad. POSSIBLE UPSET

08. Hallie Day
Big voice. Awesome phrasing. Strong contender. Yes, that's my first impression when Hallie audition back in Pittsburgh. But somehow, she became a little less visible in Hollywood Week and I immediately forgot that she even existed. Good thing, she was slightly featured in Las Vegas with Tell Him and that reminded me why I considered her as one of the strongest vocalists in the competition. Here's hoping that Hallie's memorable and strong earlier performances stuck with America. POSSIBLE UPSET

07. Elise Testone
I like her. I personally think that Elise, along with a couple of other ladies, is one of the strongest vocalists this season. Her smoky, gritty voice is easily recognizable, she has a remarkable ability to pick songs that fits her voice perfectly, and she has a vibe that's totally non-threatening to the general "viewers" of the show. That said, there's something about her that screams Melissa McGee, a Season 5 Finalist, which mean a fodder despite the undeniable talent. I hope I'm wrong because in the "Era of Adele", she could easily be marketable. POSSIBLE UPSET

06. Jen Hirsh
To be perfectly honest, I'm still not sold with Jen. Yes, she has a fantastic voice and an undeniably impressive range, but I'm not really a fan of her tone or even her phrasing. Her Georgia On My Mind cover was part outstanding - the way she focused on subtlety and melody at the beginning of the song was gorgeous - but when she started hitting those high notes, I felt like there were more shouting than actual singing. I don't know. I think she has an amazing placement of notes, but I just can't get past the oversinging. At this point though, if Jen can maintain a strong on-screen presence, she will easily find herself in the Top 13. MOST LIKELY

05. Skylar Laine
There's something about Skylar that's oddly refreshing. Sure, she has that typical country voice, but it has a rock and roll edge to it - something we've never seen before on American Idol. There's also a certain rawness to her voice that's quite interesting and her upper register is unbelievably strong. Plus, she's very confident for her age. So as far as vocal talent and presence, Skylar has what it takes to make the final cut. I'm not sure though if they will cancel each other out, since they're catering to the same genre - and yes, I'm talking about... MOST LIKELY

04. Baylie Brown
No, she doesn't have the strongest voice in the competition - in fact, I sometimes find her country voice a bit generic - but there's something about her that screams STAR. Baylie auditioned in Season 6 (Jordin Sparks) but got eliminated during the group rounds. She then took some time off, worked on her vocals, and came back a credible contender for the title. I mean, since her audition, she never hit a single bad note and despite her generic country voice, it's a STRONG country voice with impeccable phrasing. Now, until she starts making stupid mistakes, I don't see her going anywhere. But she should try to be more of a girl next door type than a sex kitten, because she's WAY too beautiful, almost to a fault, that viewers would be unable to relate to her. Remember Pia Toscano? There! MOST LIKELY

03. Erika Van Pelt
Unflattering wardrobes notwithstanding, I think Erika's raw talent is unbelievable. Her alto voice is beautiful, she has a good mix of pure and gravelly sound, which I think is rare, and I feel like she has got a really good command of when to do what with her voice. Heck, I would even love to hear her belt out some serious rock songs because, to be honest, she has way more of a potential to do rock than Colton Dixon could ever imagine. Haha. Oh, and she looks eerily like Kelly Clarkson (at least on that pic) no? I hope she and Elise Testone wouldn't cancel each other out despite the fact that they're almost like the same type of singer. POSSIBLE UPSET

02. Hollie Cavanagh
She would've been dead on arrival a la Joe Munoz of Season 9 (Remember him? That's my point!) for the utter lack - or even zero - airtime prior to the live show if it wasn't for her BRILLIANT performance of Carrie Underwood's Change. Hollie almost made it last season, but the judge decided to cut her and improve more on her vocals because they can see her as a potential contender. Now that she's back, it's pretty obvious that Hollie did her homework as she's more confident and her voice has more power and conviction than I remembered from last year. I'll have to keep an eye on her, because if she killed her first performance like Pia Toscano did despite the lack of screentime, Hollie will stick around for a while. POSSIBLE UPSET

01. Jessica Sanchez
Two words: The Prayer. That performance was just sublime and could have been a game-changer for Jessica. I mean, her version was seriously a refreshing change from all the belting we got from Jen Hirsh and Creighton Fraker. Haha. Sure, she may not make the kind of music you like or still raw for the picking, but her sheer talent is undeniable. She has an outstanding voice - all registers are firing really strong, she has great vocal control, her transitions are impeccable, she's not afraid to rough it up, she can emotionally connect with the material (regardless of the subject matter of the song) and she has some serious moxie. The use of her vibrato is a bit too much, but that's something she'll figure out in the long run. Usually, contestants like Jessica don’t have that extra something to win the crown, but this one might be different. She has some spunk and edge. SHOO IN


WS said...

Yes! Jessica Sanchez ftw!

Maya Lintu said...

Joe Munoz? I can only think of George Nunez...


Yes, Joe Munoz. Watch him HERE. That's my point you don't remember him because of the lack of screen time. His first live performance was actually the first time we got to hear him. It's such a shame because he, to me, is better than Tim Urban.

X said...

While I totally disagreed on your top guy... I fully agree on your top girl.

Can't say much about the rest of the girls, because quite frankly I don't remember much about most of them. That seems to be the major problem this year... most of the contestants are very forgettable.

bensquirtle said...

OMG!!! i love this post dam... =) jessica in the number one spot... whooooah... second is hollie.. 2 of my favorites.. plus skylar.. i like her.. she reminds me of lauren alaina.. my fave last year aside from thia.. i hope jessica will not do the same as thia and ramiele singing ballads poor ballads sleepy ones... though thia sounds awesome... i hope jessica can get another shot to be like jasmine trias from season 3 who finished 3rd.. =)

Maya Lintu said...

Oh, THAT guy! haha. Kill me if I know why Tim Urban was even there, really. Other than his "Can't Help Falling In Love" performance, he was a total letdown.

Anonymous said...

I partially agree on this ranking. OK Jessica is no. 1 but Skylar should be in no. 2. :)

Carlos Jude Laron said...

Jessica FTW!!!

Geez I really don't like that Shannon girl. WHY WHY HER. I would have gone with the girl who has the "boyfriend forgets her" story line but she was eliminated :( or Lauren Gray!!!

Anonymous said...

I think of all those girls I liked Hollie the most. We'll see if that changes tonight!

destinyscayin said...

My top three girls are Jessica, Hollie and Haley! I hope it stays that way after tonight's performance. *fingers crossed*

Anonymous said...

Wow, I went into that show not expecting to want to vote for any of the girls.. but now I wanna vote for at least 3 of them! Brielle, Hollie, Jessica. Amazing.

X said...

After watching tonight's performances, I think Jessica and Hollie are considerably better than all the rest. So, that means they'll be eliminated early, right? That seems to be the trend.

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