We’ll be honest in saying that there have been times this season where we’ve been worried about the talent on “American Idol.” Everyone has it within them to give great performances, but there have been so many little mistakes and bad song choices. Can we blame Randy Jackson? That’s the easy thing to do, and we certainly understand the temptation to do so.
At the end of the day, the contestants are just going to have to figure this all out for themselves, and some of them are starting to do this. We’ve based all of our rankings on a number of things, but with performance quality and fan voting history at the top of the list.
8. CJ Harris (last week: 7) – We actually really enjoyed CJ’s last performance despite his tuning issues, but we’re one of the one people who did seemingly. Sooner or later, the audience is going to feel like he is not listening to the judges about his tuning problems. It’s already hurting him, and that could continue moving forward.
7. Dexter Roberts (9) – Dexter somehow continues to be spared going home despite coming out and doing karaoke country, and we figure the reason why is just because his music, while generic, is at least well-sung and solid. This may get him as far as final 5, but he won’t win doing it.
6. Sam Woolf (5) – The reason we feel for Sam much more than Dexter is that we can see that he is trying musically, and isn’t even that comfortable in the whole “cute guy” position he has been thrown into. He just needs to find a way to really connect to a song. It’s the only thing holding him back.
5. Malaya Watson (6) – Slowly and surely, Malaya is climbing the rankings. She has improved greatly the past two episodes, and until proven otherwise, we’re going to keep saying that she has potential to be a Jordin Sparks or Haley Reinhart or can continuously improve and make it much further than anyone thought going into the top 13.
4. Jessica Meuse (3) – Jessica is very good, and her take on “Rhiannon” was one of our favorites last week. For whatever reason, the judges still treat her like a far inferior performer than how good she really is. Our theory is that because she’s cut her teeth out in the business, they feel like they can be much harder on her than some of the other contestants.
3. Jena Irene (4) – Jena has been in danger, but it feels right now like her trajectory is shooting up faster than Jessica’s. She’s got a few standout vocals plus a great original song, and this bodes very well for when there are only four or five singers left and fanbases of eliminated artists want to cling to someone new.
2. Caleb Johnson (2) – We do feel from time to time like Caleb’s rock numbers are emotionally hollow, but his vocals are so consistently strong that you don’t always notice. The worst-case scenario we see for him is a surprise James Durbin or Chris Daughtry elimination, and that’s still pretty darn good company to be in.
1. Alex Preston (1) – Alex is already sitting pretty with so many great performances, and if Sam goes home soon, that only helps him even more to be the sole guy getting that white-guy-with-guitar vote that has helped so many in the past. At least we don’t feel this season like he will win just because of that, though; the voters seem much smarter this year when it comes to overall talent, and if he wins, it will be because he deserves it.
Who is your favorite of the top 8 right now? Share your thoughts below, and to get more news around “American Idol” and some of its former contestants, be sure to click here. You can also sign up for our CarterMatt Newsletter to get some more updates worth singing about sent right to your email.