Idol sent 190 singers to Hollywood this season; by my count they aired 74 of them. I have them all listed below in a rough ranking, bunched here and there based on whichever box I think they belong in:
- Pipe dreams – basically no chance, though I’m always wrong about at least one of them.
- Lottery tickets – 1.5 BILLION dollars!! And it’s still not a good bet!
- Lunatic Fringe – contestants with talent who might need therapy.
- Niche singers – everything they sing will sound just like the last one they sang, but they have a pleasing style.
- The beautiful people – they are good at posing and presenting, but it’s an open question whether or not they have the ability to express any spontaneous emotion.
- High ceiling wild cards – These are the long shots worth getting a few bucks down on, if you are presented with some decent odds.
- Standouts – The special talents and the primary contenders.
Click on a contestant’s name to see their audition video. If you see if turned backwards that’s the website – apparently there is a glitch.
THE PIPE DREAMS
74: Joy Dove, 21. Gospel trained, but she didn’t get the cool stuff.
73: Tywan “Tank” Jackson, 29. What is the opposite of stoic?
72: Kyrsti Jewel Chavez, 15. Her mother was a monkey grinder in a past life.
71: Ameet Kanon, 18. Looks like a singer, acts like a singer, and sounds like a singer who isn’t very good at singing.
70: Amelia Eisenhauer, 15. Talented, but like many of the bottom 20-30 contestants on this list, still a little undercooked.
69: Lee Jean, 15. Sledding will be tough when he can’t sing without his autotune mic.
68: Ethan Kuntz, 15. He looks like every movie fat kid ever except he’s not fat.
67: Andrew Nazarbekian, 20. Robert Goulet and Engelbert Humperdink will love him.
66: Rachel Karryn, 20. She is pleasant but not memorable; she might make it as a backup singer, she intonation and rhythm senses are both very good.
65: Brook Sample, 28. Could rank higher – her voice is pretty good – but she is more of an actress than a singer; actress types have an abysmal record on Idol.
64: Daniel Farmer, 24. Could rank lower; weird guys who hit on the judges and then sing wildly out of tune have an abysmal record on Idol.
63: Isaac Cole, 15. Is Garth Brooks too old to put on a Bieber wig and sing bad rap?
62: Harrison Cohen, 17. I had to look him up; I forgot he was in the competition. He’s the kid who turned his audition into a national ad for a girlfriend. I gotta be honest; I want to know how it turned out. Did he score?
61: Tristan McIntosh, 15. She has surprisingly poor musical skills for a such a capable, dedicated musician.
60: Gianna Isabella, 15. Brenda K. Starr’s kid is almost as undercooked as the rank amateurs, but she has a strong voice.
59: Michelle Marie, 15. Giggles Maroney has been on X-Factor already, but she still looks too young to be out without a babysitter.
58: Mary Williams, 23. When she kicks it into her upper range her upper range kicks back, turning her pleasant, old school country voice into a fire alarm. If she lasts a few rounds she’s going to blow out a lot of television speakers.
57: Terrian Bass, 18. If Prince and Tracy Chapman had a kid, then abandoned it in the projects with a guitar and a dream..
56: Reanna Molinaro, 24. Cop is first round fodder in all likelihood, but her voice is one of the strongest on the show. She could surprise if she sings in tune.
55: La’Porsha Renae, 22. No range, nursing a baby, but unforgettable because of her big voice and bigger hair.
THE LOTTERY TICKETS
54: Bianca Espinal, 22. She keeps trying to hit high notes like Charlie Brown tries to kick the football, and she lands on her butt every. Dammed. Time.
53: Jordyne Simone, 15. Chaka Kahn lookalike, talented as hell but still learning how to control everything.
52: Josiah Siska, 18. Bass singer will get offers from barbershop quartets, Oak Ridge Boys tribute bands, and lighthouses.
51: Amber Lynn, 28. Stylish, but one of the weakest voices in the competition.
50: Sonica Vaid, 20. She might get comparisons to Jena Irene, who finished second in season 13, but she doesn’t have Jena’s command or power.
49: Jeneve Rose Mitchell, 15. Big hat, no cattle at this point; she needs a few years to let her physical talents catch up to her gigantic personality.
48: Avalon Young, 21. I don’t know if she can stand out in this crowd; even in a karaoke bar she would only get polite applause.
47: Jenna Renae, 23. Nerves are her bugaboo; if she gets calmed down she could leap into the top ten.
46: Chynna Sherrod, 16. Pretty voice, several years too early.
45: Shevonne Pilidor, 24. She would have ranked higher had it not taken her six years to pass her audition. She is the only contestant whose audition link is not available.
44: Rhea Raj, 15. Terrific talent, but her upper range is in the shop for repairs at the moment.
THE LUNATIC FRINGE
43: Kerry Courtney, 24. Goofy bastard will probably be the second one out, but there is something artsy about him, like discovering an Elvis face in a jar of peanut butter.
42: Usen Isong, 23. Is he a mockery of himself, or a metaphor? If Idol was held on the top of a mountain without microphones, he would be in the top five.
41: Lillian Glanton, 15. If E.T. put on a blonde wig and sold Amway at truck stops nobody but their mothers would be able to tell them apart.
40: Brian Dale Brown, 27. He might have the strongest voice in the competition. Scooby Doo…
39: Jenn Blosil, 23. She looks like little Cindy Brady grew up, curled her hair, and got really into pot.
38: Tommy Stringfellow, 17. Tommy skinnyfellow is more like it. Surviving several rounds with his kamikaze singing style is unlikely, but you never know.
37: Kayla Mickelson, 18. If she sang in German she would sound like Lilly Von Schtupp.
36: Kory Wheeler, 27. He sounds a little like Casey Abrams, talks about God like they are Facebook buddies.
35: Caroline Byrne, 25. Soft voice, pleasant style, usually sings with her brother.
34: Trent Harmon, 24. Talks like a redneck but
sings like Dave Mathews, unfortunately nowhere near as good as Dave Mathews sings like Dave Mathews. He is really good at talking like a redneck, though.
33: Chris Johnson, 28. His best chance might be his creativity. He isn’t good enough to be boring.
32: Shelbie Z, 23. She reaches back for that huge half-octave of range, and she blows it by the judges. She’ll last until they ask her for a second trick or a high note.
31: Kayce Haynes, 23. Springsteen faces, interesting voice. I would rank him higher but the judges aren’t all that thrilled with him, and they get to decide his fate.
30: Adam Lasher, 28. He would be in the beautiful people range, but he isn’t good enough.
29: Manny Torres, 20. He would be in the lunatic fringe, but he isn’t crazy enough.
THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE
28: Kassy Levels, 19. Of the beautiful people she might have the most upside; if she works to her strengths she can make the live shows, but she has to come up with a way to be interesting, not just pretty. I’d tell her to go up tempo gospel at least once, and stay the hell away from pop ballads.
27: John Arthur Greene, 27. He looks like the Drum Guy, doesn’t he? Chris is a Facebook friend but I doubt he reads these things.
26: Malie Delgado, 20. She has a good voice, but not good enough to win and she has other options towards a successful life.
25: John Wayne Schulz, 27. Military man who loves his mother and old school country music. He needs to pick perfect songs, because he has little range and even less rhythm sense.
24: Stephany Negrete, 21. Weak rhythm but a strong voice, I might be dismissing her a little because her audition was a mess. She could be in the wild card group, but it seemed weird to take her out of the beautiful people group.
HIGH CEILING WILD CARDS
23: Miranda “Poh” Scott, 17. Ok, she’s a nice looking kid too, don’t shoot me. She needs to stop underselling herself.
22: Melany Huber, 17. The wildest of wild cards, she was on the fast track to teeny bopper stardom before cancer knocked her down. There are few questions about this season’s Idol more compelling than where Melany will end up.
21: Cameron Richard, 15. Cameron and Sara Sturm (down there somewhere) both look like they should be in the sixth grade, but they have interesting voices that sound like they are coming out of much older people.
20: Joshua Wicker, 25. If he sings “Royals” America is going to hate him. He sings it in too high a key to hit the glory note, so he sings a lower note. It SUCKS. If he does it, HE sucks.
19: Lindita Halimi, 26. Amy Winehouse tone, she will be ok as long as she doesn’t start showing off. The next time she just sings a song, which is all she would need to do in order to make the live shows, will be the first time. She always overdoes it.
18: Jordan Sasser, 27. The preacher singer I was talking about; he has a rocker voice but a holy roller’s soul.
17: Mackenzie Bourg, 23. He sounds like Paul Simon, for those of you who can’t come up with a reference from the last forty years. He was on the Voice; if you watch that show you might remember him.
16: Emily Brooke, 16. She sounds like Miranda Lambert and she has a stronger voice, but at 16 she is years from understanding Miranda’s lyrics.
15: Jaci Butler, 19. Green haired garage band singer, she looks like an Oompa Loompa. She strikes me as one of the most likely contestants to show marked improvement as the show goes on. She has tons of live experience with a band – a good band, mind you – but I doubt she’s ever had a singing lesson.
14: Jessica Cabral, 21. She got all of Jaci’s singing lessons. A weak high range keeps her from ranking ten spots higher.
13: Jessica Clark, 24. Jazzy eighties style, very pleasant to listen to.
12: Sara Sturm, 17. She looks like she should sound like a little kid, but she has a deep, rich voice.
11: Melanie Tierce, 21. Folk singer, she’ll live and die by her vocal power.
10: Jake Dillon, 22. Musically simpleminded, maybe, but his delivery is so smooth that it probably won’t matter.
9: James Dawson VIII, 27. Casey James guitar mannerisms with a better voice, he looks a little like Reverend Horton Heat.
8: Colette Lush, 19. I might have her ranked way too high, but her videos are impressive and she has something dammed few of the other female singers have: an upper range that doesn’t suck, squeak, or strain.
7: Dalton Rapattoni, 19. I have him seventh but at this moment, before Hollywood, he would be the betting favorite. If he had a high range I would have him ranked at the top, but he doesn’t. He is the right age to start getting it back, though; if he does, watch out. He has everything else.
6: Laurel Wright, 19. Allison Iraheta won a Spanish speaking Idol competition before finishing fourth in Idol’s season eight. Lindita Hamilton won a competition in Kosovo back in 2008. There have been others on Idol with championship belts, but I am not sure anyone has been on the show with such a prestigious belt as Laurel has in her possession. She won the Insert your logo here Country Showdown, an all ages professional competition that’s been around for 30 years, when she was 16.
5: Olivia Rox (Hill), 16. She is scary good and freakishly layered, like she is just getting warmed up when everyone else is gassed. Moments will come as long as she avoids the old ‘sing your age’ garbage and just performs. Making her sing teeny bopper songs would be like making Bryce Harper bunt.
4: Brandyn Burnette, 25. He’s too good to be on a singing show, considering his voice isn’t anywhere near his most saleable skill. Idol could damage his brand, even if he wins, and pretty singers don’t win Idol. Well, not this pretty.
3: Elvie Shane (Payton), 27. Like Olivia, the key to his chances will lie in choosing his songs carefully. Unlike Olivia, though, Elvie needs to pick songs that drip with adult themes rather than avoid them.
2: Zach Person, 18. If he is as likeable as he is talented we are going to get to know him. Idol has a few pickers this year, not just strummers. Zach, Ashley, James VIII, Shevonne, Elvie … and there will be others. I’ve never seen so many good instrumentalists on the show. So much for video games and karaoke ruining music.
1: Ashley Lilinoe, 20. Her voice is good, but she isn’t one of the 10 best pure singers, or even the best 20 or 30. Jennifer Lopez could dump her before the live shows and nobody would bat an eye. It would be a mistake, though, and a mistake the show needs to avoid. There hasn’t been anyone on the show since Adam Lambert who can create moments like this weird little Hawaiian picker.