Last week, American Idol finally narrowed it down to the top 24 contestants, and I for one, am pretty impressed with most of them. Not only has this season been the best in years (hello, J. Lo and Steven Tyler are simply awesome), but it seems like this is the best batch of talent since at least season 5. Hopefully, they will hold up well with the live shows and this week’s semi-finals. After the guys perform on Tuesday and the girls on Wednesday, the top 10 finalists will be announced. Also, if rumours are to be believed (and I believe this one), the judges will each be picking a “wild card” contestant to make it a top 13. I love it! So, with all of that weighing in the balance, I’m here to give America and the judges some insight. This is my first big Idol post of the season and I’m ready to rank the contenders. Take a look at my first IDOL POWER LIST of 2011 and watch their performances this week to see if they hold up to my rankings.
The American Idol Power List for the Top 24 going into the Semi-finals…
1. Lauren Alaina: she’s all but been hailed the next Kelly Clarkson by Exec. Producer Nigel Lythgoe and they’ve certainly shoved her down our throats with tons of airtime. But goshdarnit, she really is that good. She’s fun, she’s young (16), cute and has a set of killer pipes.
2. Jacob Lusk: All hail the voice of the season. This emotional and excitable 23 yr old from Compton, CA took us to church each time he sang and he could end up being the first male African-American winner since Ruuuuuuben.
3. Julie Zorilla: this gorgeous 19-year-old who escaped violence in Columbia as a child has shown a divine flair for fashion AND singing. She just needs to connect to her material a little more and we could be seeing our first Latina American Idol.
4. Robbie Rozen: this adorable and incredibly talented 16-year-old is bound to grab the Archuleta vote, but I think he could cross over to all ages judging from his genre spanning auditions. He’s definitely one to watch.
5. Casey Abrams: he’s the musician’s musician and rockin’ bluesy singer who has tons of talent and got lots of airtime. He’s an individual and seems like an audience favorite… but then so was that mess Taylor Hicks (oh wait, no matter how much, I couldn’t stand him, he still won… drat!)
6. Ashton Jones: Is she this season’s Tamyra or Syesha? Well, she’s a gorgeous girl with a great voice and star quality. However, will she be overshadowed in the end?
7. Stefano Langoe: he’s the guy who survived that horrific car crash and oozes energy and personality for days. He’s also cute and has a great voice. Dang, he can sing high too!
8. Brett Loewenstern: he seems bound to be divisive to audiences, but he’s completely original and has a great quality in his unique voice and song interpretation…. And he’s totally here to tell you “it gets better”.
9. Tim Halperin: he’s the looker who really stepped up in Vegas with his duet with Zorilla. He’s also a skilled pianist and could be a dark horse.
10. Karen Rodriguez: she’s the Latina who worshiped J Lo and wowed on each audition. She’s like Gloria Estefan with a better voice!
11. James Durbin: he’s the one who can wail like Adam Lambert who has a baby, a girlfriend and overcomes his Tourette’s thru song. However, he also seems to wail as opposed to emote in his performances and he came off a bit unlikable at times during the group episodes.
12 .Paul McDonald: he’s the guy with the great gravelly Joe Cocker voice with cool style and his own original material.
13. Pia Toscano: all we really know is she can sing great and she’s gorgeous, but hey, that’s a great start
14. Lauren Turner: she’s the big haired belter who could be the next Anne Wilson .. or the next Gina Glockson depending on song choice and if her personality pops or poops.
15. Kendra Chantelle: she’s the beautiful blonde who has had little air time, but did show her strong pipes and potential in snippets, especially in her duet in Vegas week with McDonald.
16. Thia Megia: she’s the 15-year-old Filipina with the sexy big husky voice, but she is also pretty devoid of personality so far…
17. Rachel Zevita: she’s the NYer who almost made it in season 6. She has a strong voice, but for some reason, I’m afraid she could become really annoying and grating. Loved that she sang Lady Gaga’s “Speechless” in her final audition, but a little worried that she may just be Gaga-lite.
18. Scotty McCreery: he’s the 16-year-old country boy with the super low voice. He’s likable but is he a one-trick pony? (ahem, cut up “Baby lock them doors, turn out the lights…”)
19. Naima Adedapo: she’s the mama who cleaned toilets at a musical festival who has serious style and a good back story, but I’ve yet to be wowed by her talent…
20. Jovany Barreto: he’s the hunk with the 8 pack, the high tenor and a penchant for Spanglish songs… but is it me or does he seem like just a prettier wannabe Jon Secada?
21. Jordan Dorsey: the attractive vocal teacher from Louisiana who got the “villain edit” during Hollywood week has a lot of bad mojo to erase. Luckily, he has talent and looks. We’ll see if his ego doesn’t destroy his more positive attributes…
22. Ta-Tynisa Wilson: the pretty girl who was shown messing up in Hollywood several times made up for it in her final “hanger” audition with Toni Braxton’s “Un-break My Heart”, but is it too little too late?
23. Clint Jun Gamboa: the bespectacled karaoke singer has a big bold voice and can seriously sing. However, he too got a “villain” edit in the Hwood rounds and let’s be honest, he’s kinda really annoying so far.
24. Haley Reinhart: so far, I pick her as the girl who’s voice is going to bug the crap out of me as long as she’s in the competition. That whole “affected” thing is so 2010… and um, doesn’t get you far on the Idol stage (hello~ 90 % of the female contestants from last season).