I’ve been playing around with several possible scenarios for the semifinals, and there is no easy way to slice it. It’s going to be a brutal semifinals round. This year’s talent pool might not be the most top-heavy that we’ve ever seen, but it might be the deepest. I like every one of the final 25 (I’m assuming Jermaine Jones will be the 25th contestant), or at the very least I respect all of them. There ain’t a green weenie in the group.
I honestly can’t separate these kids with even an ounce of confidence. I’ve been doing this since 2008, and I’ve never seen such a wide mix of extreme strengths and weaknesses thrown together. They all have marks in their favor, and marks against them. I’ll do my best.
13-Creighton Fraker- He has maybe the best intonation of the guys, and his voice is very strong. He isn’t a popular contestant, though, so he will have to be amazing. I doubt that the judges will save him unless he is perfect.
12- Aaron Sanders- He deserves to be a stronger contender based on his overall musicianship; the problem: he is a good singer, not a great singer. The judges might save him if he sings well, because he (1) will deserve it; and (2) is just about the last person left who isn’t blonde, let alone white.
11- Eben Franckewitz– He is 15, so he has the demo thing going for him. He might end up being the leading votegetter like Scotty was last year. He sings like a bird, if said bird hasn’t hit puberty yet. He is fun, and he tries hard. He is also a lamb in a cage of lions. I doubt that the judges will save him if he doesn’t get the votes. He’s only here as the token child singer, so he HAS to get the voters motivated.
10- Jermaine Jones- He is on borrowed time as the perceived “extra”, so he has to almost create a moment to get enough votes to advance. With his voice it’s possible. The judges will be reluctant to save him, because of the perception that he was already saved once already.
9- Chase Likens- Most people would rank him 13, but he is alone as a country singer and he’s pretty good at it. That demographic has a huge fanbase on the show, at least as far as the speed dialers. I expect his chances to get the votes and move on to be fairly high, but if he doesn’t he’s toast unless Nigel has gone completely off his rocker.
I don’t type that with any confidence. I’ll say this: If Nigel continues to shove country singers in our face without the express consent of the viewers, he has to go. Idol has to beAmerica’s singing contest; not the South’s singing contest.
8- Jeremy Rosado- He will have to sing something amazing to advance, but he is very capable of being amazing. The judges love him, but they won’t pass him unless he sings really well. To sum up; if he sings amazing he’s fine. If he is boring or messy, he’s toast.
7- Reed Grimm- The show wants him badly, but he has to get the voters motivated or they will have to dump him. He won’t survive a wild card round, as much as they want him to, because singing is the least of his many talents. They would get roasted if they keep him against the wishes of the voters.
6- Adam Brock- He should be safe to the Idol Tour based on his bluesy, scratchy voice; plus the only black woman left in the competition is apparently living in his colon. That’s what I thought before the judges reduced him to a lump of limp, whining crap last week for no real reason. If the guy has some stuffing he’ll come out and blow us away tomorrow night. If he’s just been coasting on his voice, playing “star”,he’ll fold like a lawn chair. I’m on the fence, but very interested in finding out which one we will see tomorrow. My bet? He’ll be amazing when he sings, and he will cry like a little b**** when he talks. In other words, he’ll be both. He has a very good shot at a judge save, as long as he sings well.
5- Colton Dixon- He has nothing to prove, really. He just needs to pick a good song, sing it like he sings everything, and move on. I’d rank him higher but he has little upside, so he has to be at his best. His shot at a wild card is decent as long as he has a cool song to sing, but again he needs to be at the top of his game when he sings it.
4- Phillip Phillips- Seriously; the cat has the weakest voice that I’ve ever heard on Idol, but the public loves him so I guess he’s going to advance. I’ll give him props for sounding much better last week, when he was singing for his life. He might have saved that CPR patient, for once. He sounds so much better when he has his guitar with him. He needs his guitar to be cool. Love the guitar….
3- Deandre Brackensick- He has amazing control of some very difficult vocal chops, but he sings like he’s playing scales. Sooner or later he’s going to have to sing a melody, or the gadflies are going to eat him alive. He’s cute, and he has emotion to go with the command. He should be safe for awhile. The judges would save him, but there is little chance that they will need to.
2- Heejun Han- Only a complete train-wreck will keep him from the finals. He is the internet’s darling, and total voter catnip. He could very well pull a Scotty, and win the entire thing without ever being forced to sing something difficult.
1- Joshua Ledet- He has, hands down, the strongest combination of vocal range and power among the males, and probably in the entire competition. His only weakness might be intonation, and a relative lack of experience. He’s not one of those guys like Adam or David Cook, or Crystal, who have been singing for years. He’s a true amateur.
12- Haley Johnsen- I love her voice, as I have said repeatedly, but will the voters be able to hear what’s special about it? Her game is all about perfect intonation. She doesn’t have huge range, a weird tone, or scratches and growls to go with the tuning fork spread. Her stage presence is passive. She is toast unless she blows something up, and the judges will tell her much they love her and let her go if she doesn’t get enough votes. She doesn’t have anything but the voice, a pretty face and a nice body going for her. Voices, pretty faces and nice bodies are everywhere this year. She doesn’t stand out in this crowd. She might be the most faceless contestant left, which is unfortunate. She has a really good voice….
11- Brielle Von Hugel- Her insanely narcissistic stage mother probably doomed her chances before she ever really got to sing for us. The internet gadflies hate her because her mother kept saying “I have to deal with her in the hotel room”,but they missed the signals. Brielle never said anything; it was all what her mother said. Narcissists toss blame like ventriloquists toss voices, and Brielle’s mother is a master. Brielle never said anything about the kid who was the “weak link”. Her mother said it. Brielle never acted like a diva. Her mother CALLED her a diva. I noticed that, when Brielle made the semis, her mother was more interested in telling Ryan about her life as a stage mom than running to her kid. I feel bad for the kid. Not only is she probably toast on the show; she has to deal with her mother in the hotel room afterwords.
10- Chelsea Sorrell- I know more than the public knows her, so her Carrie Underwood impersonations might thrill the voters. In this crowd that might not be enough, though. She has little chance at a judges’ save.
9- Hallie Day- Power is her only real tool, so she is going to have to pull off the “triple axle” of a singing performance to stand out. The judges might give her a sing for your life wild card shot, but there are too many blondes in the competition as it is. She is going to have to really impress to advance.
8- Jen Hirsh- I might be alone here, but I don’t expect her to advance to the finals. She just doesn’t have the kind of control over her voice that she needs to do the runs that she does. I expect at least a small train wreck tomorrow, and if they give her a wild card shot she will most likely give us another train wreck. She has the worst intonation of any contestant who is still in the competition; now that I look at them she is the only one with a serious intonation problem. MaybeShannon…. This group sings in tune very well, or at least they have so far.
7- Erika Van Pelt- Her final edit cast her future in doubt. Before that she was almost a tour lock. Now she has to sing for her supper; show us what makes her special. If she doesn’t, the judges won’t save her.
6- Shannon Magrane- If she sings in tune she should be fine. She is one of only two singers that I seriously worry about singing in tune. I expect that she will get two shots, with the judges wild card round her second. Sing in tune once, and she will be in.
5- Skylar Laine- We know that she can sing, and we know that she has grit and style. The only question about her is whether the voters like what she does. Her wild card chances would depend on whetherChelsea gets voted in, but honestly I expect her to make it in on her own.
4- Baylie Brown- Now that she made the semis she might last for several weeks. She fits the Lauren profile more than anyone, and she looks like a movie star. The judges will save her as long as she doesn’t force them to dump her by singing badly. She doesn’t sing that badly.
3- Elise Testone- HerWaterloo will come much later. She would have to be exponentially worse than she’s probably been since she was 13 years old to get dumped at this point. If the voters don’t put her in, the judges will.
2- Hollie Cavanaugh- She was my second choice behind Naomi for the “semifinals sensation” slot, so now she tops the list. If she doesn’t make the finals I might just check out of the show altogether in anger. That’s how much I love this kid.
1- Jessica Sanchez- Seeya at the Nokia in May, kiddo.