We’ve now come to what is our favorite time of “American Idol” every season: Time where we can actually differentiate all of the contestants on the basis of their talent, and not just their screen time and their edit. While we understand that these factors are still very important in how America votes, there are still the few diamonds who go very far without getting a ton of early airtime (see Lee DeWyze, Kree Harrison, or Jessica Sanchez).
These rankings are going to of course shift and change throughout the weeks ahead, and that is where your commentary will come into play. Every week we do these, we’ll have both polls and comments for you to share your thoughts, and let us know where we may be right or wrong.
13. Kristen O’Connor – Feels mostly like fodder right now, and survives thanks to a pair of pretty dreadful wild-card performances that were not put through to the next round. She’s a decent singer, but she has very little screen time, and she hasn’t done enough with what she has to stand out.
12. Emily Piriz – We struggle remembering who she is at times, even if she does have a pop-rock style that will make her somewhat stand out. She’s just not nearly as memorable or interesting as the other women who have been put through by America.
11. CJ Harris – Talent-wise, we feel like he is actually better than this, and we also feel like he was hurt pretty significantly by not getting to perform in the second half of the show this past time. He just needs to get things together, and not have another mess of a performance like he did in the wild card.
10. Ben Briley – We get that America has already voted for him twice, and everyone at the University of Tennessee probably loves him. But what has really done to stand out? Once we get past this point, you have to have some “wow” performances to really earn our respect.
9. Jena Irene – Like CJ, we feel like she was shafted by the original public vote, but she made the most of her second chance with getting to perform that original song again … regardless of whether or not it was fair that she got a little ore time to prepare for it than some of the other singers did.
8. Caleb Johnson – He’s probably going to get a ton of votes from older viewers who remember this sort of big rock music, but he just comes across as really campy. We have a hard time picturing that doing extremely well in the modern music climate.
7. Jessica Meuse – Jessica is the competition’s biggest mystery right now, at least in that she is far and away talented enough to be a favorite, but was not really edited like one at times. Her story and her song choice from here are going to be what sells her to America, and the contrast between her and some of the teenagers is striking.
6. Malaya Watson – She has the tuba and the big personality, but what we still find ourselves questioning right now is just what sort of presence is there behind all of this. Is she a contestant who is really going to thrive in these conditions, or a little too quirky for her own good?
5. Dexter Roberts – Dexter loves country music. America loves country music. See where we are going here? At least Dexter is a genuinely good country artist, so we won’t have a problem with him inevitably lasting for a month or two.
4. M.K. Nobilette – We don’t feel like there is any questioning that her story has contributed at the moment to some of her success on the show, but when you are as good as she is, we don’t see this as one of those situations that we’ve seen in the past (look at last year) where someone stuck around just because of this. M.K. is ridiculously good, and we’re happy that her voice is getting more exposure.
3. Sam Woolf – His “Babylon” may have been the best performance of this entire past week, and he also has going for him a wide array of musical knowledge and a look that young voters will go for. This is the sort of contestant the show has avoided in a way since season 11, and this time around, there are two of them.
2. Majesty Rose – An awesome, awesome young singer. She hasn’t always been perfect, but she brings so much style, substance, and star power to the mix that she cannot be ignored. With a name like “Majesty,” it is probably pretty hard to be ignored, anyway. She’ll be around for a long time.
1. Alex Preston – Alex is the contestant who reminds us a little bit of Phillip Phillips, Kris Allen, and David Cook all rolled into one. Not only is he a very good singer, but he’s the best musician in the competition from what we’ve seen. Also, he’s fearless. We predict that some of the best song choices this year are going to come from him, and we wouldn’t be too surprised if he and Sam basically forge a “white guy with guitar” final two.
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