“American Idol” is typically a show that you can identify a few favorites by the time that the top 11 rolls around, but we cannot really say that is the case here. Instead, we have to start wondering whether or not this is the most inconsistent group at this stage of the competition to date.
While last season had a pretty terrible crop of guys, at least you could say that the women were a step above. This time, we’re really not that sure you can say that anyone is that strong week to week maybe with one or two exceptions. That makes for a more level playing field (which is good); but, it also could mean lower ratings down the road if there is nobody to get excited about.
As always with our “American Idol” rankings, we consider a number of different factors into the equation, whether it be performance quality, voting history, and also the past trajectory of similar contestants. We’re at the point now where we don’t quite feel like the edit leading up to the live shows really matters.
11. MK Nobilette (last week: 4) – We do not feel like the criticism about MK maybe not wanting to be there is legit. However, what we do feel is that she is not doing a good job convincing us of it. Maybe she is just used to being really low-key, but there just isn’t a lot of passion or energy behind anything that she does. It almost feels like she is maybe taking herself a little too seriously.
10. Jena Irene (6) – By no means should Jena be in this spot, but history is history at this point. She’s got one bottom three appearance under her belt already, and she also was a wild card to even get to this point in the competition. This stuff collectively cannot be ignored.
9. CJ Harris (11) – Sooner or later, a guy has to go, right? The top candidate right now has to be CJ, since he hasn’t really given a single performance since the live shows that the judges have necessarily loved. Also, he may have trouble getting votes from the public, given that R&B and country fans have their favorites within their genre.
8. Malaya Watson (12) – Malaya feels in some ways like an athlete who comes out of high school with a ton of potential, but has no real idea yet what to do with that ability. She’s all over the place; that means that she is capable of great performances, but it also means that she is capable of ones that have serious pitch / shouting problems. We’ve seen a little bit of both from her so far, and her voting patterns are equally uneven.
7. Ben Briley (7) – The interesting thing with Ben is that he’s been pretty good in just about every performance that he has done on the show so far. He just hasn’t blown the doors off of the studio, and he’s such a low-key guy that he needs to do this to find a huge following that gets him beyond the top seven or eight. He’s safe for now, but watch out in a few weeks.
6. Dexter Roberts (10) – A nice jump for Dexter coming off of a much-improved (and emotional) performance. He has fans that will keep him here for a long time; the larger issue with him is going to be trying to find a way to ensure that he can choose country songs that appeal to his audience, but then also other people, as well. If he keeps up the individuality he showed this past week, he’s a contender.
5. Caleb Johnson (5) – Now, we turn to someone who attended the school of Being Really Good at Doing One Thing. Caleb’s a great rock singer, and we applaud him for having the guts to do big songs every single time. However, we’ve basically heard the same thing three weeks in a row, and he needs to show another, more emotional, side of himself.
4. Sam Woolf (2) – Sam was somewhat exposed this past show as a guy who can win over the ladies, but doesn’t really have a huge connection to anything. His songs are pleasant, but there’s an inescapable hollowness to them that needs to be worked out. Rest assured, though: He’s going to have the time to do it.
3. Jessica Meuse (4) – We’ll be the first person to admit to being too easy or too hard on someone, and in going back and re-watching her performance of “White Flag” from Wednesday night’s show, we realized we were far too hard on it in our initial review. While the pitch wasn’t perfect, the feeling was there; plus, Jessica probably has the most distinctive sound in the entire competition, and it’d be a shame to see her leave. Given that she is one of the only two women without bottom three experience, we figure that we will have her around for a while.
2. Majesty Rose (3) – Majesty has suffered some inconsistency issues, but there was a lot that she did right in the first half of her “Fix You.” She’s a great performer, and the biggest thing we are actually afraid of with her was that it was a little awkward watching her during the results show as she seemed almost like she didn’t want to be on-camera much of the time. Um … isn’t this a TV show?
1. Alex Preston (1) – Sure, his “I Don’t Want To Be” cover was pretty safe compared to his past performances, but he still did a very good job giving it a unique sound versus the theme from “One Tree Hill.” He is still pound for pound the best, most original contestant of the season, and we’ve been given no reason to move him yet. Sure, you could probably blame that in part on none of the other contestants really rising to the challenge yet, but it is what it is.
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