Well, here we go American Idol fans… The show is about to get real good as we move into the serious competition shows. The Top 13 singers have been chosen (10 by America, 3 wild cards by the judges) and I actually really like 11 of them. I actually only despise one of them (Shannon), so that bodes for a strong and interesting competition. This group seems very strong. In fact, it seems like it could end up as one of the strongest years since season 5 (Daughtry, Katharine, Elliott, etc). It will have to fight to keep up with last year’s rebirth as well which saw a country top two that have turned into solid sellers. (Scotty has just passed a million copies sold of his debut album in fact). Last season’s top ten also saw record deals for seven of the finalists (Scotty, Lauren, Pia, Haley, James, Stefano and Casey), so they have their work cut out for them. With that said, just who do I think is in the lead as we head into the first week of competition when the men will sing songs from Stevie Wonder while the ladies will take on the music of the late great Whitney Houston? Just take a look at my first list of completely unscientific but surely accurate American Idol Buzz rankings for season 11.
American Idol Top 13 Buzz Rankings~
1. Jessica Sanchez: this powerhouse vocalist can sing circles around most of her competitors and could be the first woman to win since Jordin Sparks. She is attractive, has incredible range, a great personality and is the whole package. Let’s hope she goes the distance (and yes, she is my favorite too).
2. Phillip Phillips: he’s cute. He has wonderful Southern charm and is a great musician. He also is just the type of winner this show goes for (David Cook, Lee Dewyze, Kris Allen anyone?) as he channels John Mayer and Dave Matthews with his performances. However, I can’t stand his odd growling and phrasing. But, let’s be honest, he is very talented and will have the girl vote all season.
3. Skylar Laine: this fiery redheaded country girl threw down the axe on the competition last week with arguably the most fun and memorable performance of the week. She is fun, smart and could go really far. Besides, the show hasn’t had a female country victor since Carrie and Skylar is a different kind with her Miranda Lambert meets Reba with a touch of Gretchen Wilson vocals. I’m excited to watch her.
4. Colton Dixon: this rocker is this season’s David Cook, just a lot hotter. He will split the girl/mom vote with Phillip but he is far more commercial and accessible if you ask me. He’s current, has a ton of talent and showmanship. He seems a lock to make the top 5 as well.
5. Heejun Hahn: he’s hilarious yes, but he also has a lovely buttery voice. The question is can he move beyond pretty ballads and become a real performer. It’s doubtful. I see a mid pack or possibly shockingly early exit for him unless he can really step up his game. However, he’s incredibly likable and has a lot of goodwill on his side now, so he could surprise.
6. Elise Testone: this Lady Gaga meets Adele and Winehouse belter is a bit of an enigma. She’s one of the older contestants, but she is so unique and has such passion. She slayed her Adele performance which was no small feat. I just wonder how she will hold up in the weeks ahead. She’s also a great musician and could give us some great interpretations in each genre. I’m hopeful for her.
7. Hollie Cavanaugh: this Irish Texan girl has a big ole voice and is sweet as pie. But is she memorable enough to go all the way? If she grows week to week, I say yes. She just needs to have some standout moments to pull ahead of the pack because she has an incredible voice.
8. Joshua Ledet: “Mantasia” as he’s being called can sing the crap out of a song. He’s immensely likable and a wonderfully dynamic performer…. However, is his gospel tinged performance style one note? And he doesn’t seem like he is much of a commercial singer. I wonder how long people will respond to him. But hey, if Jacob (who only possessed half of Joshua’s talent and likability) can make it to 5th, Joshua could go far.
9. Erika Van Pelt: I love this girl. She killed it on her Heart cover and no one has really done that on this show since Carrie Underwood. Why America didn’t vote her in is beyond me. (Maybe because she performed so early that night?). Luckily the judges knew this girl was a keeper. She has great pipes. She knows how to play the game and I have no doubt will be making some great song choices. I really want her to go far. I just hope people pull their heads out and realize how awesome she is.
10. Deandre Brackensick: Mr. Milli Vanilli hair can wail with the best of them. He has a tremendous range and the camera loves him. He just needs to make better song choices and this wild card pick could leap over his competitors. Oh and the girls and gays will probably love him too.
11. Shannon Magrane: I can’t stand this Miss America god-spouting poseur. Sure, she’s pretty and has a decent voice. But nothing about this awkward girl is authentic and she brings no true emotion or artistry to her music. Plus, I don’t need church thrown at me each week and it’s not a pageant. Her annoyingly false perky personality also bugs. I’d put her last but clearly she has some fans since America voted her through.
12. Jeremy Rosado: yes, he kinda made me cry on his wildcard performance of “I Know You Wont” and he has a wonderful voice and tone. But, he’s just not that memorable. He’s clearly a great guy with some talent, but a viable pop star? I don’t see it. I hope he proves me wrong.
13. Jermaine Jones: the gentle giant with the booming baritone/bass voice probably got in on sympathy votes last week. He sings well, but it seems rather one note and may be blah in the end. We will see cuz I do like his voice and he also seems like a wonderful person. I just don’t know if he’s a pop star either…
So, there are my buzz rankings on how I think the contestants stand in the competition right now…. What are my personal rankings you ask. Here ya go…
My Personal Rankings of the Top 13.
Now, how will they all fare this week and do I have a clue of what I’m talking about? … Tune into Idol on Wed night and see.