Thursday, March 8, 2012

American Idol 11: Ranking the Top 13

I must say, American Idol Season 11 has one of the strongest group of finalists we've seen in a while!! Sure, there are no clear front-runners yet - unlike Scotty McCreery who I correctly predicted to win Idol at this stage in the competition last season - nothing seems set in stone, but there are more potential winners in this group of 13 than outright fodders.

Plus, the girls are actually A LOT stronger than the guys. In fact, I think all six (6) girls are very talented and I like that even though 5 of the 6 are blonds, they all are very unique and have personalities - something that many female finalists have been lacking for a few years now.

Now, the deciding factors once again will be likability, growth, and good old momentum. There has been only one season where the winner has not been likable, shown growth, and gained momentum throughout the season. So, I am really excited to see what happens as this is an extremely talented group. Almost anyone at this point could make it. Given a breakout moment, any of my Top 6 could win!! Crazy no?

Anyway, this is just all about that proverbial guessing game of who will end up where. So, let me take a stab at this:

13. Jermaine Jones

Though I predicted Jermaine to be part of the Final 13, I wasn't really happy that I actually got it right. Yes, he seems like a sweet guy who's oddly likable and has a pretty interesting bass instrument, but I honestly don't think he has a solid fanbase. To me, he made it though due to producer manipulation and the edit that he got last week. He'll be charming for a week or so, but that's going to be it. Sorry, but I'm really having a hard time connecting with his voice. Who would buy his album? Not me.

12. Jeremy Rosado

Why do I feel like I'm the only one who roots for this kid? Personally, I think Jeremy is a great singer. His pitch, control, phrasing and the ability to connect with the material is something I find pretty impressive. Heck, his version of Carrie Underwood's I Know You Won't almost moved me to tears. But why did I rank him this low? Simple, Jeremy just isn't memorable enough. He despite his lovable demeanor still falls far short when it comes to having something that will stick to the audience. So despite Jennifer Lopez' love for him, I don't think he has the right package - Ugh! Sorry for using the term - to win the show.

11. Shannon Magrane

Eh. Aside from Jermaine Jones, Shannon Magrane is probably my least favorite contestant on this year's Top 13 - I would prefer Hallie Day any day! Haha. She, to me, is a barely competent singer who's annoyingly bland and has yet to figure out her musical identity. She has a powerful voice, but no tinge of soul or character in it. Plus, Shannon, Hollie and Jessica are splitting the "young girl with a big voice" vote and Shannon is obviously the weak link here. Oh, and her “I’ve gone through so much.” Um, like what exactly? You’ve gone through auditions? You are an upper-middle class high school student! What are you talking about? 

10. DeAndre Brackensick

DeAndre seemed like the perfect dark horse this season - fantastic voice, impressive range and he's SO pretty - but his two performances last week somehow prove that he has no idea how to use his voice to great effect. His vocal control has been pretty uneven, he changes key WAY too often that it's hard to appreciate his voice fully and the hair flipping needs to go - DeAndre, you're no Willow Smith!! Also, I don't think it's easy for him to sell his inherent musicality to the casual viewers of the show - he already came up short in votes once. I still, however, think that if he puts together a couple of outstanding performances, he'd be able to finish in a respectable position. At this point, he's a middle-packer at best.

09. Joshua Ledet

Arguably, Joshua is the best male vocalist in the competition. I think he has a wonderful voice that's compelling and unlike Jacob Lusk from last season, I somehow figured that he could reign some of his performance in. That being said, I'm an Idol fantard, and I know that Joshua will have a hard time winning American Idol. I don't know if it's the demographics, style preference or whatever, but American Idol has never rewarded a singer like him with the title. Sure, that doesn't mean he couldn’t find another path to win it all, but the one he is currently walking will not lead him to that - if you know what I mean. Who knows? Jacob Lusk lasted until the freaking Top 5. Haha.

08. Heejun Han

In the world of reality competitions, likability is a precious commodity. However, I have a funny feeling that Heejun is playing up the silliness too much in the hopes of extending his run on the show. He has a decent voice with a pretty stellar tone, but with a competition as fierce as this season, Heejun has to have more than just that. He has to step up BIG TIME, find his musical identity and work on his diction, because I'm pretty sure his shtick will grow old and will no longer be as amusing - see, Casey Abrams.

07. Colton Dixon

Tim Urban, Sanjaya Malakar, Stefano Langone, and Ace Young - everyone finished 7th in their respective seasons. Somehow, I feel like Colton Dixon would fit just fine in this mix no? Haha. It's silly, I know. But kidding aside, I'm well aware of Colton's massive fanbase. He's good-looking, marketable and I don't doubt that he drives the girls crazy - something I don't completely understand, but whatever. That being said, I think that he's just a very small threat to win the whole thing. At best, he could go far a la James Durbin - a perceived frontrunner - then all of a sudden, gone.

06. Erica Van Pelt

I would've ranked her a little lower if it wasn't for her gorgeous version of Lady Gaga's Edge of Glory. That performance alone might have made Erica a serious dark horse because while she wasn't voted in by America - mostly because of an early performance slot  - I still think that she's one of the better singers in the competition. She has the maturity that gives her the ability to phrase her song appropriately and has the power to actually make an impression. Likable personality. Compelling stage presence. Interesting tone. I still have faith in her if she can deliver a couple of strong performances from here on out.

05. Elise Testone

While I honestly think that Elise could make a run similar to Haley Reinhart from last season, I somehow feel that it will all depend on how smart she is on her song choice and her ability to relate to the typical American Idol viewers. I don't think she has the mass appeal to immediately garner a crazy fanbases like some of the perceived frontrunners, but I think that if she hits her stride in the competition, she will go deep based on the quality of her performances. I think that she has one of the more distinct voices this season, has a good sense of musicality and I find her coyness kind of adorable.

04. Skylar Laine

I never considered her a front-runner until her spunky performance last week. I like that Skylar's a bit diffeent from the usual country singers American Idol had in the past Authentic. Talented. Country. We all know country voters are a loyal and powerful weapon, and she's the only country option this season. So, if Lauren Alaina can get to second place against a very charming and well loved Scotty McCreery, I think this girl could go very far as well. She has some serious firepower, that's for sure.

03. Hollie Cavanagh

Yes, I honestly think that Hollie has the most potential for a tremendous growth arc that could do some real damage in the competition. That story of a sweet likable dorky girl who's been struggling with nerves since Day 1 of Season 10 is what America likes to eat up. Add to the fact that Hollie actually has a strong voice - there's something about her that reminds me of a pop version of Carrie Underwood - and a remarkable ability to do great things with it. I'd say, Hollie could be fun to watch get better in the next coming weeks. She just needs to stay away from trite ballads or else, she'll get Pia Toscano'd.

02. Phillip Phillips

Single. 21. Good-looking. All American Boy Next Door. Creative song choices. Plays a guitar. Tell me, how could we forget the biggest threat to a female winner? As I've said before, I'm terrified of Phillip because he's the exact opposite of what American Idol needs now, but somehow, his path to the Finale is practically a straight line. I mean, he is arguably a mixture of the past four winners and that makes me nervous. Phillip, to me, has taken the aww shucks Lee Dewyze demeanor, combined it with Scotty McCreery’s southern charm, Kris Allen’s boy next door looks, and David Cook’s eagerness to switch up a song. The girls are seriously going to have to step up to bring him down. I believe it can be done… but this year, we’re in for a fight! One thing's for sure - Kristy Lee Cook curse is complete, unless her maiden name is Phillips! Haha.

01. Jessica Sanchez

I actually believe that a girl can win American Idol this year. In the past two seasons, I wanted a female winner, but I couldn't personally find a female contestant that could put up to Lee DeWyze's momentum and Scotty McCreery's massive fanbase. This year, all that's changed. Jessica has a big voice, but more than just being a belting pageant robot, she seems to have a strong artistic vision for herself. That makes her more Jordin Sparks and Allison Iraheta than Thia Megia or Katie Stevens in my books - the restrained beauty of The Prayer sealed that opinion for me. All she has to do now to win over the casual votes is to deliver a stellar and passionate vocals night after night and we might be looking at a winner. I'm not sure though if she peaked too early - see, Melinda Doolittle - but I still think she's the one to beat.


Bob said...

Magdilang anghel ka sana. :)))

Anonymous said...

I agree mostly with your ranking, though I do think Colton is going to go further than 7.. probably at least top 5. I am rooting for a female winner this year, preferably Hollie. She won me over at the auditions and I've been rooting for her ever since. Her and Colton. Phillip is 3rd. Then Jessica. That's just me.

Anonymous said...

What is the Kristy Lee Cook curse? Sorry but I don't know and I'm really curious. Thanks!

I think your top 2 are accurate. BTW if anyone wants the Idol 11 mp3 live performances. I have them. Go to my website and email me from there:

Anonymous said...

"Kris" Allen, Scot"ty" McCreery, "Lee" DeWyze, and David "Cook"

AKA Kristy Lee Cook

Maya Lintu said...

Now, I do think Jessica has a good voice. But there is something about her, I can't even tell what, that just bothers me. I hope that Hollie/Phil/Elise will make me feel like they're worth my early liking. I think Deandre is best when NOT doing a falsetto, to be honest. Colton... I like him, I really do. His Decode performance was just too much for him, he can do much better with less. I didn't like Skylar until her first live performance- it was better than I thought! I still don't understand why they had to bring Jermaine back. He's cute and sweet and all but meh. I liked Erika and Heejun better on the auditions and Hollywood week. Shannon is pretty good, but not the best... Joshua is just not my cup of tea. Jeremy is just too forgetable.

Anonymous said...

i have this feeling that jessica sanchez will have a shocking boot! Front runners and early judges favorite never won on idol, ex. Pia, Siobhan, Crystal, Adam, Melinda, Daughtry, Hudson, Tamyra..

Anonymous said...

Just curious.. who are you referring to? -- There has been only one season where the winner has not been likable, shown growth, and gained momentum throughout the season.

Anonymous said...

No one ever gives Kris credit for all the song changing he did. David Cook made it the cool thing to do, but Kris made it an art.

As a huge Kris Allen fan and someone who favored Lee and David Cook, I want to like Phillip, but his voice is so grating to me. I can hardly call what he does singing. I feel like he's yelling the whole time... =(


Don't get me wrong. I LOVE Kris Allen and I thought his arrangements were spectacular. All I'm saying is somehow, David Cook started all of it, thus, making him the benchmark for that. :)

Sendo said...

i think elise is this season's reinhart....she'll grace her way from bottom to top.. Sanchez and Phillips...awesome! Dixon and Testone and Han --- they're getting there... :)

AJ said...

Taylor Hicks?

bensquirtle said...

i don't think lovine will let that surprise boot.. and base on her fanbase??? OMG! i dont think so.. i have a very strng feeling that vocally and angst wise she will make it to the top 3.. either she wins or not she'll make it until the end...

I want a vocal battle or sing off in the finale between HOLLIE CAVANAGH and JESSICA SANCHEZ... it will be a blast!! battle of youngsters/divas/powerbelters/hugefanbase idols... wow!!! CANT WAIT... im longing for more from jessica.. can we make AI everyday? hahaha...

i want an all female TOP 3...



Will said...

America has fuckin' got it wrong for the Nth time. Ahahhahaha :p

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