Well, last week, American Idol revealed the top ten finalists for season 12 and I pretty much predicted all of them. What I didn’t predict is that the producers held on to their promise of no “wild card” contestants. While the next-closest vote getters (i.e.: the 6th place girl and guy) will have a sing off this week to join the tour, it looks like our top ten is just that~ a top ten. And it’s a pretty good one. All five women are strong contenders and should hopefully help the “season of the girls” to the first female winner since Jordin Sparks in 2006. As for the guys, I really don’t think any of them can win, but a couple could go pretty far…. So, just who has the buzz going into the first week of the finals? Check out my all new unscientific yet surely correct American Idol Buzz Rankings below.
American Idol Season 12 Top Ten Buzz Rankings~
1. Candice: this big voiced diva has simply slayed it every week and she remains the best hope of a R&B Idol winner since Fantasia. She also is very good with her strong song choices and reinterpreting them while still being true to the original melodies. Her voice is incredible and she has great confidence. My only question is~ will being to “R&B” actually hurt her in the end?
2. Kree: this country blues girl has an amazing voice, quiet confidence and wonderful artistry. her unassuming personality is also very pleasing and she exhibits great humility. She could go the country, rock or pop route in the end and I have a feeling her vocal adaptability will help her go far in the game (much like one Kelly Clarkson in the first season).
3. Angie: you may wonder why she is not at the top of the list after all the producer and judges pimping plus some great performances. The reason is two-fold. First, her great performances plant her squarely at the piano on very similar yet great songs and second, she may end up skewing a little “too Christian” much like last season’s Colton Dixon who she covered last week. I don’t know if that’s type of artist she wants to be because she has the looks, talent, voice and personality to go all the way. We’ll see how she presents herself in the weeks ahead but arguably she’s the smart money choice as the season 12 winner. (But hey, I’m not always betting on smart money)
4. Amber: I think this beautiful girl has incredible untapped potential and could be the true dark horse to win. She has a great voice with a big range, is young, fun and relatable. Now, if she can just expand her song choices beyond Whitney and trust in her performances, she will be a true threat.
5. Burnell: he’s got the voice, the backstory (Katrina survivor! Weight loss!), and an infectious personality which will all help him in his quest to stop the ladies this season. If he does, he’d be the first African-American male winner since Ruben Studdard in season 2!!! … Now Burnell, please be smart about your song choices as you continue. More John Legend type songs, less female diva songs. Those will be sung by all your competitors anyway.
6. Paul: yes, he’s my favorite guy in the competition and yes, he’s had some shaky performances. However, he’s still incredibly likable, humble and possesses a very good voice. He’s also the only cute white guy in the race which will help him. And yes, it is time for a male-Carrie Underwood in the country pop world. So, as long as he believes in himself, relaxes and lets out true emotion in his performances, he could make the top five or more.
7. Devin: while I think he has easily the best male voice among the finalists, his personality hasn’t really popped yet. We know he has a beautiful vocal instrument and can shift seamlessly between English and Spanish. But what else can he do?
8. Janelle: the country girl we all thought would be assured a spot in the finals had a shaky road the last few weeks. However, her 3 season journey to get here, her lovely voice and affable demeanor have pushed her through. Now, if she can just pick the right song, stay away from the Carrie catalog, and nail a few performances, she could crack the top five.
9. Lazaro: ok, he is undeniably the most popular male in the race right now with a good story (He’s cute. He’s Cuban. He stutters and was bullied but has overcome!) However, he doesn’t seem like a true “artist” yet. He’s just singing well and doing songs that have been covered numerous times on Idol before. So, he needs to define who he wants to be as a pop star, embrace his special qualities, harness his confidence and really show us he’s a contender. Or else, he may be the front-runner who quickly becomes an also-ran (sniff sniff I miss you Pia!)
10. Curtis: let’s see how to I put this nicely? … Um, he has a really good voice… Yeah, that’s about it… This guy is obnoxious, arrogant, and entitled. We’ve seen his shtick many times before and done better, but with humility and grace (hello Joshua Ledet!)… I don’t think this worship leader has a prayer of winning in the competition.
And there you have it. The ladies have most of the buzz, but a few boys could be a surprise buzz kill. I can’t wait to see how they all hold up tomorrow night when they tackle the songs of former American Idol winners (both their post-Idol catalogs and any song they sang on the show). We’ll probably see a lot of Kelly, Carrie and Fantasia. But you Taylor Hicks and Lee Dewyze lovers (who?) are certainly going to be left wanting…. Now, tell me who your favorites are in the comments below and watch American Idol tomorrow night on Fox.