Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Idol Talk - Top 13

It’s time to strike up some Idol conversation, and this seemed like the best way now that we have the top 13 for the season. Each week, I plan to offer my best guess of how the finalists will perform and who will be voted off the show.

This being my first blog on the topic, I’ll admit my biases up front. First, I was disappointed last season that the final two were young country singers because I felt like neither of them was a true “artist” – far from it. I think country artists have to do a lot more to distinguish themselves because there’s only so much they can do to reinvent a country song other than pour their emotions into it. I’m not bashing the genre; more like making an observation about the artistry of previous Idol contestants.

My other bias: I think the judges are utterly useless since Simon’s departure. They are cheerleaders, not critics anymore. I do my best to ignore their comments in order to actually assess the contestants. The three wild card singers – DeAndre, Jeremy and Erika – already didn’t survive the first vote, so I don’t expect any of them to make it to the final round no matter how much support they get from the judges.

That said, I have a lot of hope for this season. This week the girls will be singing Whitney Houston, and the boys will tackle Stevie Wonder. Here are my predictions for the Top 13!

Singers to Beat

1. Phillip Phillips Expect some serious reinvention of one of Stevie’s lesser-known gems. Phillip Squared is probably the best artist of the 13 finalists, with a Dave Matthews-meets-John-Mayer mix of rasp and subtle confidence. Only downside is being saddled with the higher expectations of the “frontrunner” label.
2. Joshua Ledet Who dat?! This week’s theme should make Joshua an even bigger winner than he was closing the semifinal round last week.
3. Jessica Sanchez We’ve heard the big vocals/tiny body/pipsqueak talking voice before. Still, Jessica made a big impression last week and will probably keep winning enough “cute” points to be a popular girl for a while.
4. Colton Dixon
Lots of potential as the faux rocker of the group. Needs a genuine big moment on Higher Ground or Superstition. Hope he doesn’t play it too safe or he’ll lose ground rapidly.
5. Skylar Laine It’s going to be hard to keep Skylar from being a consistent vote-getter. We’ll see how much she can stretch herself week to week. My guess is she’ll go safe and choose “I Will Always Love You” since it was written by the original spunky country queen, Dolly Parton.

Middle of the Pack

6. Jeremy Rosado Totally depends on song choice. I can see his star rising if he can sound authentic on something like “Isn’t She Lovely.” Lots to like about Jeremy as long as his humble nature remains endearing.
7. Heejun Han No chance to win, but I hope he sticks around just for the witty banter. I don’t think he knows how funny he is. Reminds me of Chris Sligh without the hair.
8. Erika Van Pelt I’d consider her the “winner” of the wild card round with her mad crazy rendition of "Edge of Glory."
9. DeAndre Brackensick The Stevie Wonder playbook could be a big plus for this season’s Hair Idol. Likeability can take you pretty far in this competition, but we need to know who he is and quick or the hair whipping run will end soon.
10. Elise Testone I like Elise’s confidence. I hope we’ll hear her distinguish herself a little more, because I already forgot what she sang in the semifinals.

Bottom Three

11. Jermaine Jones The Gentle Giant is another big mystery to me. He could get a spike in votes if he takes advantage of the theme this week, but I still think he’ll land in the bottom three.
12. Shannon Magrane Nice girl but too young to be able to pull off any Whitney Houston song believably. Let’s put this in perspective. When Whitney’s record-setting debut album dropped in 1985, Shannon wouldn’t be born for 10 more years. When Whitney was arguably at her peak seven years later with the record-shattering soundtrack to The Bodyguard, Shannon still wasn’t born yet.
13. Hollie Cavanagh I’m willing to give Hollie one more chance to impress me, but I’m not sure America is. She seems a lock for the bottom three, and if she’s off at all, I’m not sure she’ll be back next week.
What do you think? Who am I right about? Who am I completely clueless about?

1 comment:

John said...

I enjoyed reading over your commentary and predictions. I totally agree with you on the judges. I find them incredibly annoying especially when we keep getting random shots of them "getting into" the music. They all look so disingenious.

I don't like any of the girls...hands down. I find them all incredibly annoying and see no commercial potential in any of them.

You rated Phillip Phillips as your number one. I'm not sure. I didn't like him at all. Not only is his name ridiculous (I know we can't blame him), but I felt that his last week's performance could have been Jimmy Fallon doing his best Eddie Vedder impersonation.

DeAndre and Jermaine are the only remaining that I like.