It’s time for my first official blog on American Idol season 12. So far, this year has been pretty darn good. The judges have actually given some good and useful criticism with Keith being able to give helpful insights without hurting a singers feelings, Mariah highlighting people’s strengths while remaining the resident diva, Randy starting to dole out some harsh truths (please Dawg~ become the new Simon!) and Nicki offering a whole heck of a lot of crazy. Sometimes she’s so on point while others she is way off base, but she is always thoroughly entertaining. I have to say, she has surprised me the most….
But now onto the singers which are a mixed bag because while the girls have been great, the guys pretty much have sucked. And I say hooray. It’s time for a female winner after 5 very similar WGWG winners. (That’s white guy with guitar for the un-initiated). I mean how did superior female vocalists like Crystal Bowersox and Jessica Sanchez lose to the likes of Lee Dewyze (who?) and Phillip Phillips? At least the latter, has made me stick my foot in my mouth with his great success with his hit album, The World from the Side of the Moon and smash single “Home”. So this year finally feels like a year for a girl to bring home the crown. In fact, I don’t have one guy in my top 5 Buzz rankings and only 3 in the top ten. Yes, Idol producers, that is how you stack the deck. (And may I say what a wonderfully culturally diverse deck it is?!) … So, just who has the buzz going into this week’s Semi-finals where 10 guys and girls will be cut in half to give us America’s Top Ten? Take a look at my all new completely unscientific Buzz rankings below.
American Idol 2013 Top 20 Buzz Rankings ~
20. Tenna: easily the worst and most forgettable female of the group. She totally got a spot that many other girls deserved and she has got no chance to advance if you ask me.
19. Elijah: this cute Asian/Mexican Bruno Mars-wannabe was atrocious last week, but the judges think he’s so cute and marketable. Sure he is, but you can’t use Auto-Tune on Idol. So, unless he magically learns how to sing on pitch, he’s a goner.
18. Charlie: this red-headed kid wears his freak flag proud and that’s great. However, his vocals are utterly awful. I highly doubt his interesting personality and back story will take him beyond this week.
17. Curtis: yes, this worship leader has a great voice and is one of the best male singers in the group. However, he’s smug, arrogant, annoying and incredibly unlikable. And those faces he makes while singing. Um ~ No!
16. Adriana: I really like this cute Filipina girl who had a great performance last week. Unfortunately, that’s pretty much the only screen time she’s had. So, she needs a breakout performance and the audience support that pushed Sanchez to the top two last year to keep her in the game.
15. Lazaro: yes, he’s cute and has an inspiring/sad back story. However, let’s be honest~ his vocals are shaky at best. I know we’re all rooting for this likable guy, but will anyone actually keep voting for him over much more seasoned vocalists? We’ll see.
14. Nick: this season 11 reject has rebounded this year and has a wonderful voice. However, his song choices and quiet personality have done him no good. He needs to be memorable to really break out of the pack and not just be that guy with the pretty voice in the beret.
13. Cortez: on paper, he’s a winner. He’s attractive, has good charisma and moves and a decent voice. However, his vocals have been rather inconsistent and I think they play better live than on TV. The judges are big fans, so I think he has a good shot, especially since they’re keeping the 5/5 gender split. But I’m not sure if he can actually be a contender for the title.
12. Devin: this kid can wail. He had easily the best vocal of all the guy contestants. However, his is he shy?/or full of himself?personality gives me pause. The bilingual singing will help him get in the top ten, but win? I don’t think so.
11. Breanna: this sexy girl had a decent performance with “Bust Your Windows” and she does feel like a current artist. However, her vocals are lacking compared to several of the other girls. Will she get lost in the shuffle?
10. Paul: the only white guy likely to make the top ten has a great voice, but also lots of nerves. He should probably stick to country but I think he kinda wants to do some diva songs (if you get my drift…). Either way, I like him more than most of the guys and he’s cute so that should help him land in the top ten. If he can pull it together, he might be able to ride into the top five overall… might….
9. Janelle: this girl should really be in the top five. She has a beautiful voice and is the only true female country singer in the competition. However, her poor song choice and lackluster performance last week worries me. Hopefully she rebounds tonight cuz I like her.
8. Vincent: he’s on par with Devin as the season’s best male vocalist. He had a breakout performance last week and could end up as the season’s best male hope. However, he is a bit quirky and doesn’t seem t0o current of an artist. I am intrigued though.
7. Aubrey: this girl is just gorgeous. She’s like a more refined Rihanna with a better voice and no abusive boyfriend. She screams commercial superstar. Now, she just needs to act like one and deliver a standout performance. Something upbeat and divalicious perhaps.
6. Burnell: he’s my highest ranking male contestant and he has proven both likable and one to root for (especially for his weight loss and Katrina survivor backstory). He may not have the best male voice, but so far his song choices and performances are both on point and compelling. I find myself wondering what he will sing next and that’s a good thing.
5. Zoanette: speaking of what will they sing next, we are now up to the most memorable singer in the competition, Zoanette. No, she doesn’t have the most pretty voice and wow, is she a hot mess when it comes to her style. But, gosh darn it, something about her is really interesting and clearly unforgettable. She’s like this season’s Sanjaya except with actual talent. Can she win? Um, there’s not a snowball’s chance in hell. But will she make the top ten? I think she will.
4. Amber: this girl came out of nowhere with a sexy and modern take on “My Funny Valentine”. She feels like someone who will build week to week and gain more and more support. I just hope she continues to surprise and overcome the fact that she’s had practically no air time this season.
3. Angela: she has gotten the lion’s share of the producer “pimping” this season as the girl to beat and much of it has been well deserved. Her original song was great. She has a good set of pipes and she looks like a current pop star. She just needs to live up to that potential each week and not coast thru like she did with her Jessie J cover. She definitely feels like a top 5 contender.
2. Candice: this season 11 refugee has a glorious voice and has gotten a lot of air time. She hasn’t disappointed yet and I don’t think she will. While there are a lot of African-American girls arguably fighting for a similar vote, Candice is way out in front right now. I’m excited to see what she can do.
1. Kree: with her beautiful yet restrained take on “Up to the Mountain”, Kree showed her glorious pipes are a force to be reckoned with. Her vocal choices and songwriting background show true artistry as well. Plus, her unassuming personality gives her a real relatability that many audience members can get behind. I hope she remains at the top of my list for weeks to come.
And there you have it. That is my take on this year’s top twenty. Ten of them will make the finals on Thursday. However, I have a sneaking suspicion we will also get some wildcards and I’m pretty confident they will be of the female persuasion. Tune in tonight and tomorrow night to American Idol to vote for your faves and let me know who you think has all the buzz.