‘American Idol’ top 7 rankings: Colton Dixon leapfrogs Jessica Sanchez

Here we go again.

There are changes all over the top half of our “American Idol” rankings this week. and there are two primary questions that we have to ask as a result:

1. Who is peaking at the right time?

2. Who has never been in the bottom two before?

When it comes to our top-ranking singer this week, we really have to consider both of these points more so than who has given the best overall performance during this season.

So here we go … ranking the top 7 again!

7. Hollie Cavanagh (last week: #7) – Outside of her being a pretty great singer, Hollie’s “Perfect” was hardly that. She really doesn’t seem to have command of her voice just yet, and her other major problem is merely that she doesn’t know what to do with herself when she’s on stage. (She’s like the Ricky Bobby of this competition.)

The one thing Hollie has going for her is that she is incredibly likable as a person, and her fans did come around for her this week and kept her out of the bottom three. However, the odds of this happening again seem lower than most of the other singers.

6. Elise Testone (last week: #6) – Now that the save has been used, Elise is going to be in much more dangerous waters. Her fanbase seems to be the smallest overall out of anyone left in the competition, which means that she is going to have to campaign heavy and hard over the next week.

The main reason we’re ranking her above Hollie? It’s all because she has the potential to give a knockout vocal that could keep her safe. “You and I” was fantastic, but it was not “Whole Lotta Love.”

5. Phillip Phillips (last week: #5) – While it’s admirable that Phillip has been able to avoid the bottom three every week, the novelty is starting to wear off on what the guy brings to the show. While he looks a little bit more like Kris Allen (and Klaus from “The Vampire Diaries”), his love-show trajectory is more like Casey James — a man who came out and gave so many similar performances that he began to be maligned over time.

However, Casey was able to turn things around with “Jealous Guy” — which to this day remains one of the top five performances of season 9. We don’t say this much, but Phillip needs to slow things down, show some vulnerability, and take on a ballad. If he does that, he may be able to avoid a fifth or fourth-place finish.

4. Jessica Sanchez (last week: #1) – We’re lucky that we are even talking about Jessica this week, and we argue that there are really two reasons for her near-elimination — her picking a song that most of her voting block had never heard of (even if it was a bold, cool choice), and her fans thinking that she was safe by default.

We’re still ranking Jessica at #4 this week because we think she’ll recover in a big way from the save and make it through at least a couple of weeks without any problem — but what this did show is that her dedicated fanbase in America may not be as large as a Phillip Phillips or a Colton Dixon.

3. Skylar Laine (last week: #4) – Ever since falling in the bottom three, Skylar has bounced back with a pair of pretty rock-solid performances. We actually think her version of Kellie Pickler was the most underrated of the night, and she is a darkhorse to win this competition.

Skylar’s biggest challenge? While some other singers may see their fanbases grow after eliminations, it’s going to be harder for someone who sings in a genre that is either loved or despised. She may already have her voting block set, and there are a contingent of people out there who don’t want another country winner.

2. Joshua Ledet (last week: #2) – We still don’t know how it happened that Joshua was in the bottom three, but like with Jessica we have a feeling that this will awaken some Joshua fans who thought he was too good to need votes.

The challenge for Joshua, though, is that we really don’t know if he’s doing anything at all with his song choice. He just needs people to realize that he a bona fide star, and (big statement coming) he is the best male R&B / gospel singer to ever appear on this show. (Sorry, Ruben.)

1. Colton Dixon (last week: #3) – We’re not sure that Colton is the best overall singer in the competition, and there are some moments where he ventures into nasally territory.

However, there are some things that we cannot deny when it comes to Colton at this point. Not only has he never appeared in the bottom three, but he has grown and gotten better every week. At this point in his season, there was another person that we could say this about — Lee DeWyze, and he ended up pulling one of the bigger updates in “Idol” history. So long as Colton continues the artistry of his sublime “Love the Way You Lie,” he could become the new favorite without anyone noticing.

What are your rankings for the week? As always, we want to hear from you! Shoot us a comment below, and answer in our handy poll. We’ll be back Wednesday night with another review of the top 7 performance show.

Photo: Fox

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