If I heard it correctly, there are 168 remaining contestants. We’ve been given a look at roughly a quarter of them. I came up with a list of forty “contenders”, which I will count down below. All but maybe a couple of the contestants on the list are still in the competition. When I am not sure, I’ll mention it.
X- Lara Johnston, 20– Her father is Doobie Brothers singer Tom Johnston, and there are a couple of videos of them singing together out there. They showed her wiping tears off her cheek as she walked off in the first Hollywood Week show, and I kept thinking “she looks familiar” but I couldn’t pick her out of the audition lineup at first.
40- Tiffany Rios, 21– It won’t be easy for her on Group Night, after she threw everyone else under the bus. I thought that she was at least interesting at first. Now she is just irritating.
39- Ashley Sullivan, 25– Ashley is the skinny girl who looks like a drag queen. She is about as crazy as the girls from Manson Family, though she seems much less homicidal. She cries so much they probably have to follow her around with a mop.
38– Jordan Dorsey, 21- I don’t know if he’s in or out. He is an unlikely contender in any case.
37- Hollie Cavanagh, 17– She is the crying kid from the auditions, who blew the doors off on FHS (first Hollywood show). No finesse, but a powerful voice. She is years too early for this level of competition.
36- Briell Von Hugel, 16– Cute kid, still learning how to sing, and I didn’t see if she survived FHS. She has some nice things going for her, if she can use her voice more effectively.
35- Emma Henry, 15– The good news: I saw her on the previews for next week’s group night show. The bad news: She was crying.
34- Julie Zorrilla, 20– Frosting girl. They didn’t air her singing on FHS, but they did mention her by name so she’s still considered a contender. I’m skeptical until I hear her sing something in tempo, with some demands on her range and intonation.
33- Janelle Arthur, 20– Parking break girl. I don’t know if she’s still in or not. She wasn’t mentioned. She has a good number of videos on Youtube, live performance stuff.
32- Chelsee Oaks, 23– The Exe. They keep pimping her, but I am not a fan. She’s ok, just not memorable.
31- Adrienne Beasley, 22– I assume she’s still in, but I’m not sure.
30- Melinda Ademi, 16– I dropped her a lot, because (a) I didn’t see her at all on FHS, and (b) I had her ranked too high in the first place.
29– Rob Bolin, 23– He has the personality of a toad, but his voice might keep him in for awhile longer.
28- Brittany Mazur, 21- Apparently she was Miss Tucson, might still be. She is an interesting sleeper, but she doesn’t have good command of her high range when she goes all Mariah on a song.
27- Karen Rodriguez, 21– She was the Youtube auditioner fromLos Angeles. I didn’t see if she advanced or not. She survived a pretty tough competition just to make it toHollywood, so I would be surprised if she was gone already. Intuitively she should be a contender, but the producers aren’t showcasing her at all.
26- Emily Ann Reed, 26– I was way too harsh towards her the first time that I saw her. She is very charming, and she has more than just the Lilly voice going for her.
25- Tiwan Strong, 29- Not seen on FHS, not sure if he’s still in.
24- Jimmy Allen, 25- Not seen on FHS, not sure if he’s still in.
23- Scotty McCreery, 16- He’s great at what he does, but can he show any versatility?
22- Clint Jun Gamboa, 26– He’s the kid with the weird glasses, who screamed “No WAY” at the end of the Hollywood Week show.
21- Chris Medina, 26- I dropped him like a rock in the rankings. He just wasn’t that impressive on FHS, and I have serious doubts about his chances of making the live shows despite all the support from the Idol producers.
20- Rachel Zevita, 22– The first auditioner of the season; she sang very well and was showcased heavily on FHS.
19- Naima Adedapo, 25– There is something catty in her manner that might turn her into a polarizing contestant, if she lasts long enough to get some attention. She can really sing, and I might have her ranked way too low. Concerns about her range and experience make me squirrely about ranking her higher. I need to hear her sing again.
18- Molly DeWolf Swensen, 22- Harvard girl. I didn’t see her on the FHS singing, but they showed her face and mentioned her by name.
17- Brett Loewenstern, 16- He is getting a LOT of early attention, and I love the kid’s voice. I have him lower than some others, but his odds for making the live shows are very good at this point.
16- Jerome Bell, 27- Repeated his audition song.
15- Jackie Wilson, 28- Repeated her audition song.
14- Thia Megia, 15- I dropped her a few spots. She is still a contender, but she wasn’t nearly as good on FHS as she was in her audition. She can do better than that, though, and she has in the past. She might jump up several spots with a strong performance next week.
12-13- The Guiterrez brothers- I’ll list them separately as soon as Idol does, as there is no real way to tell them apart at this point. They are both good, but how good? I have no clue.
11- John Wayne Schultz, 23- I assume that he’s still in. He would rank higher if his style wasn’t so pigeonholed. He has the voice to do other styles.
10- Jacee Badeaux, 15- The prepubescent kid made the largest upward move in my rankings of anyone. I have him as short odds to make it to the live shows now.
9- Paris Tassin, 23- Paris took probably the biggest tumble, going from standout to questionable contender. She still has an amazing voice, but it’s hard to be confident when she sang so far out of tune on FHS.
8- Kenzie Palmer, 15- I absolutely love this kid, but I’m realistic. She ain’t going to win. She might have the best tone of anyone in the competition. Her voice is richly textured and naturally emotional. Her intonation and command are years beyond her actual age. Her weaknesses are (a) no fifth gear upper range, which her style of singing demands to be special, and (b) a shy, almost turtle-like stage presence when she isn’t singing. It’s clear to me now what the judges were thinking about when they asked her to move some during her audition. It’s like she has an on/off switch. Does anyone remember that old Warner Brother cartoon, with the singing frog in the briefcase? Kenzie reminds me of that frog; when singing she is animated and dynamic, but once she stops she just stands there, fidgeting, like the shy little teenager she is.
7- Scott Dangerfield, 22- No sight of him on FHS. I would be flabbergasted if they dumped him without even mentioning it.
6- Paul McDonald, 25- At this point the competition hasn’t really started for him. He has a huge experience advantage over almost everyone else. He is a low ceiling contender, but a safe choice. He is what he is, and what he is should be good enough to get to the live shows. I expect his run to be similar to Andrew Garcia’s from last season; making the tour but petering out well before the end game.
5- Stefano Langone, 21- This kid is more of a wild card, but his ceiling is higher than McDonald’s. His intonation could be a real worry, but if he can keep it in tune he could win it all.
4- Lauren Alaina, 15- I only dropped her a single spot, but I’m not completely sold that she will be someone that can keep stepping it up. It’s possible that her audition was herhigh point. It’s never good to peak early.
3- James Durbin, 21- The ghost of Adam Lambert is going to haunt this kid as long as he’s on the show. He is going to have to find a way to separate himself, and I’m not sure that he will. He went for the screaming high range again on FHS, and sooner or later he will have to get away from that and show another side if he wants to win it all. I’d be shocked if he didn’t make the tour, though. I’m a lot more confident in his makeup now, but I’m more worried about him pulling a Sha-Von and getting too carried away with the screaming.
2- Casey Abrams, 19- The more I see, the more I like. I still have Robbie on top, but Casey is 1A. He is going to be a huge asset to the show with his creativity, his manic performances, and his potential to pull of several “moments” along the way.
1- Robbie Rosen, 16- He isn’t perfect, and he can get out of control when he tries to show off his trills and runs. Still, he’s going to be very hard to get off the show once the tweeners start voting.