Tuesday, March 27, 2007

American Idol '07: Top Ten

Now that we know who will comprise the cast of this summer's American Idol Tour — you've already bought your tickets, right? — it's time to review the final decad of hopefuls and see how they stack up. It's truly anyone's guess as to the order in which some of the lesser lights will depart the big stage — let's be frank; we didn't expect some of these karaoke kings and queens to still be in the running at this juncture — but if I ruled the FOX front office, here's how it might go down.
  • Sanjaya. Every season, there's one no-talent male pretender who makes it far deeper into the contest than he has any right. This year's Kevin Covais (or Jon Peter Lewis, if you prefer) is this kid who's channeling Leif Garrett's '70s hair, Michael Jackson's whispery androgeny, and the goofy adolescent grin of practically every member of Menudo.

  • Haley. I'd have bet krugerrands against Krispy Kremes that Pageant Girl would have bitten the proscenium dust weeks ago. It's a wonder what a backless, braless top and a pair of Daisy Dukes can accomplish for one's vote totals.

  • Chris Richardson. Man, I hate listening to this guy sing. His voice is dull to the point of atonality, and that biting nasal timbre sets my molars on edge. And frankly, I don't see much in the way of performance skills, either. His ship has sailed.

  • Phil. That Phil is still in the hunt — and deservedly so, given the competition — offers condemning testimony against the quality of this year's Idol field. He's a good but thoroughly unremarkable vocalist, with no realistic hope of selling a CD.

  • Gina. She'd be doing much better without the sloppy pierced-tongue enunciation, the faux-goth crankiness, and the schizophrenic performance style. Enough with the special effects — just sing, girlfriend. That histrionic Rolling Stones cover last week was six kinds of wretched.

  • Blake. I dig the vocal percussion when he breaks that out, but what we've observed in recent weeks is that Blake's singing voice just isn't all that interesting. He's still second-best among the guys, but in this crop, that's really a backhanded compliment.

  • Chris Sligh. I like your voice, Chris, and more often than not, I find you an appealing performer in your own shaggy, shambling way. But the attitude is wearing on me, dawg. Just so you know. You could show a little warmth and genuineness once in a while. But you'll probably be the last male standing.

  • Lakisha. She has a powerful voice, and uses it well. Among the top three ladies, though, she's the least winsome onstage — she doesn't offer a real alternative to Jordin's youthful sweetness or Melinda's aw-shucks appeal. That, I think, will mean the difference.

  • Jordin. From a technical perspective, I think it's fair to say that Jordin is the Idol who has grown the most rapidly throughout the competition cycle to date. Melinda and Lakisha came into the field about as good as they can be — given their respective talents, that's nothing to sneeze at — whereas Jordin keeps improving round after round (sometimes dramatically, as last week's bravura performance showed). She'll give the front-runner a worthy chase.

  • Melinda. How can you not love Melinda? Not only does she have the most developed vocal and performance skills in this field — when she delivers a lyric, you believe every word — but she has staked her claim as one of the most likable contestants in Idol history. Her only risk factor at this point is Jordin picking up the majority of the youth vote when such people as Sanjaya and the two Chrises take their leave.
My forecasting savvy seems to be holding up fairly well — I correctly predicted 10 of this season's Top 12. But amid the insanity that is American Idol, weird things sometimes happen. (And no, I don't just mean Simon Cowell.) We'll know in ten weeks how I fared the rest of the way.

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1 insisted on sticking two cents in:

Blogger Janet offered these pearls of wisdom...

I pretty much agree with what you're saying. In fact, I said it myself just yesterday (in so many words). I think Chris Sligh should have gone much further than he did. It's amazing how bad timing, and Indian El Debarge's can crush a guy's chances.:(

2:09 PM  

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