I decided to bring back last year’s mini bios and combine them with another set of power rankings. At the end are my thoughts about who will make the live shows.
42– Adam Decker, 28: He looks a little bit like Russell Crowe. I honestly don’t know why he’s still in the competition. His voice isn’t unique at all, and he sounds like he’s giving birth while he is singing.
41- Richie Law, 19: Cowboy diva, if you believe the editing. I’d argue about it, but honestly he’s not going to be here by the end of the week. He isn’t a good enough singer, and the deep voice slot is going to Jermaine.
40- Aubrey Cleland, 18: Reed thin jazz singer, decent tone but no real power, dynamics or high range.
39- Chase Likens, 20: Contemporary country styled singer. He has the look, but is he anything unique? Honestly, I wouldn’t take him seriously even on Nashville Star. He’s decent, but not memorable. He’s really good looking, and he seems like a decent guy. Maybe he’s the anti-Keyser?
38- Shelby Tweten, 18: I’d forgotten about her. She is the bi-polar girl that sang “Temporary Home” at her audition. I don’t really have a handle on her talent, and I honestly don’t expect her to make the semifinals based on what I’ve heard. Her audition was one of the most responded-to auditions of the season, though, with over a quarter of a million views. She was the blonde in the poodle dress in the group that sang “Great Balls of Fire” in Vegas.
37- Cortez Shaw, 21: He sounds sort of like El Debarge, with a soft, high pitched tone on notes that aren’t all that high. I like his tone, but he doesn’t really have anything else to recommend him. He doesn’t have any range, and he isn’t all that dynamic.
36- Latia Lee, 22: Who? Latia is a slightly softer, sweeter, less passionate and angry Jessica Phillips, but without the boyfriend who had a stroke. Seriously, they are incredibly alike. Latia doesn’t have the fifth gear in her voice that she would need to be amazing, but like Jessica she has some very nice video out there, original stuff. I actually expect her to make the semifinals as the token adult female African American, because they already dumped all the good ones. I don’t believe that she has much upside after that.
The TABF always seems to get the boot fairly quickly, mostly because they judges always dismiss the good ones too early. Being black AND female is a hidden disadvantage in the Hollywoodrounds. When a white girl sings gospel, she gets lauded as unique. When a black girl sings gospel, she gets dismissed as cliche. It happens every year, or at least it has since Lil Rounds flamed out in season 8. We haven’t had a big black female belter make the live shows since Lil, despite an abundance of qualified candidates.
35- Chelsea Sorrell, 23: She really impressed me in Vegas, but she also has a long history of weak karaoke covers of Carrie Underwood to deal with. I don’t expect her to make the live shows.
34- Blaire Sieber, 26: She has a good deal of power, a sweet, rich tone and she has a few bluesy bends that she can draw on. She is 26 years old and the internet is full of her videos, but I haven’t been able to find anything original; all of her songs are covers. That’s Blaire. A really nice voice, a very attractive girl, but nothing original. The beauty queens don’t succeed on Idol nearly as often as the obsessed dorks do.
33- Wendy Taylor, 29: Her voice and her style are similar to Erica Van Pelt, and they might be competing for a single spot in the semifinals. Wendy won’t win that battle. I would have her ranked in the top 20, if not the top 10, if I were to rank her purely by her voice.
32- Caleb Johnson, 20: Belter/Screamer. He’ll be fun to watch if he survives, but he’s a long shot to survive.
31- Phil Brooks, 18: I missed his name on the final 70 list because he changed it to River St. James. Phil was part of the final 61 last year, but they never aired him singing. He hasn’t been aired this year either, so I’m not the only one who keeps forgetting him. He plays guitar and piano, and he is a singer/songwriter type. Here is a link, Phil singing on the street with (apparently) his sister Lizzy:
I have Phil/River ranked fairly low, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised to see him emerge as a contender.
30- Hollie Cavanaugh, 17: There were reports that she didn’t make it, but the official Idol website has her in the final 42. She’s been on the show for almost two years now, but we haven’t heard her since early last season. She was a total belter then, all power and no finesse.
29- Eben Franckewitz, 15: I like him more now than I did early on, but he’s still borderline for the live shows. He and David Leathers might end up fighting each other for the ‘still waiting for puberty’ slot.
28- David Leathers, 17: I am guessing that either Eben or David will get a spot in the semis, but I have no idea which one.
27- Brielle Von Hugel, 17: “I wanna be the next American Idol. NOW, Mom!!!!!!” I don’t trust that she can hide behind perfect vehicles very long, and she’s one exposed vocal from getting bounced. She doesn’t know how to sing well enough yet. She looks a lot like Meadow Soprano, doesn’t she?
26- Baylie Brown, 21: Lauren Alaina type, not as good as Lauren.
25- Phillip Phillips, 21: Only the general attitude that he’s making the semifinals gets him ranked this high. I personally would rank him 40th. Love the guitar, though…
24- Scott Dangerfield, 23: I just don’t know. I had him as a standout last year, when he didn’t go to Hollywoodbecause he had to finish up his teaching degree. I’ve seen a lot of video of him since then, and he doesn’t seem to have that edge that made me like him in the first place.
23- Haley Johnson, 23: She lacks a bit dynamically, in that her style is a bit laid back, BUT she has a terrific tone with even better intonation. When she holds a note I get chills. I get the feeling that she will miss the semis, but I really hope she gets a chance. She is right on the tuning fork, and her voice just fills up the room.
22- Heejun Han, 22: If he makes the semis it will be for reasons other than his singing. He wasn’t one of the top 200 singers inHollywood.
21- Jen Hirsch, 25: Haley Johnson is laid back, with perfect intonation. Jen is wired, energetic and creative, but with terrible intonation for a contender. Combine their best features, and we would have a superstar.
20- Lauren Gray, 23: This is the ‘year of the tone’, isn’t it? I don’t remember so many singers with such sweet tones in a single year. That’s not good news for Lauren, who has little else to help her stand out other than her smoky, scratchy tone.
19- Clayton Farhat, 23: Heavy Metal singer, and pretty good at it. He doesn’t have the dog whistle range that JD has or nearly as strong a voice, but he has the killer scratch and he goes all out. He could be interesting.
18- Hallie Day, 24: Can she bring some passion, or is she just a big voice?
17- Colton Dixon, 19: We all know him by now, don’t we?
16- Jeremy Rosado, 19: Bruno Mars type; I really like his smoky tone. He has the kind of thick voice that can hide imperfections.
15- Deneco Pittman, 20: He goes by Neco Starr now. He’s a softer, sweeter version of Stefano Langone. He seems to have really good control of his voice, and he moves like a real pro.
14- Aaron Marcellus, 27: James Ingram styled singer, sideburns guy. He just missed the top 24 last year. Plays the piano.
13- Creighton Fraker, 28: Dude can sing… can he sing under control? Should he? He’s unique, which is always good.
12- Jermaine Jones, 25: Deeeeeep voice might take him to the tour, but he’s sort of a one trick pony. I don’t see him getting away with that like Scotty did last year.
11- Elise Testone, 28: Oil up that squeak, and you can make the tour.
10- Skylar Laine, 18: Miranda Lambert styled maybe, but in every way a big voiced, belting spitfire of a country singer. Her toughness inHollywood and her performance in Vegas lead me to believe that she will make the live shows. Once there, she might build a following, and make the tour.
9- Ariel Sprague, 16: Her sweet, soaring tone is her best asset. She’s still fairly green with her intonation and her rhythm. Unlike most of the really young kids, she does better at tempo than on ballads. She doesn’t have the trilly chops yet, but she has the power and the attitude to blow up the up-tempo stuff.
8- Shannon Magrane, 16: I’ve said:
– No way she’s serious; she’s a rich kid athlete
– She might win it all; she sings so well for a rich kid athlete
– She’s this year’s Katie Stevens
So….. I’m not sure. I believe that she’s ahead of where Katie was in season 9, but she’s going to have to crap out too much experience in the next couple of months to win. She’s either going to be in the mix for the tour, or Idol is going to tell her to go home and come back in a couple of years, when she can actually win the whole thing. I’d say that it’s a coin flip, but Idol doesn’t make a habit of sending the kids home if they are good enough to be in the semifinals.Shannonwill almost certainly be on the live shows, and this is where Katie finished in 2010.
7- Reed Grimm, 26: This year’s Casey Abrams; maybe not quite as funny and definitely not as charismatic, but an even better arranger and he sings in tune. I would be shocked if he won, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he ended up joining the Idol band next year.
6- Joshua Ledet, 19: Does he look a little bit like Johnny Mathis, or am I delusional? He sort of sounds like him, too. I love his voice, but let’s be real. He is going to have some rough moments on the stage, because he isn’t a pro and he takes a lot of chances with the melody. He’ll get compared to Jacob Lusk. His chances will go up or down with his intonation.
5- Erica Van Pelt, 25: I can’t predict what the voters will do with her, but she might be the most accomplished singer in the competition.
4- Adam Brock, 27: Fat (Phat) Gokey; more of a blues belter than the original, but the same basic model.
3- Naomi Gillies, 22: I gotta share a link here:
I had Naomi as cannon fodder based on her audition, and I had seen some of her other stuff and I wasn’t impressed at all. I was surprised that she was still in. With this video, though, we now know that:
– She is a Berklee School of Music student
– She is one hell of a live performer
– She has the wide variety of vocal chops that can keep her interesting through the grind
– She has the range and the power to sing just about anything
– The videos that I watched of her were several years old
There is a very good chance that Naomi will this year’s semifinals sensation. I hear a little Siobhan in there, but Naomi made Berklee while Siobhan was rejected, right about the same time (Naomi is a year older than Siobhan). Siobhan is a monster now. Naomi might be, too.
2- Jessica Sanchez, 16: She isn’t new to these kinds of competitions, having been a sensation onAmerica’s Got Talent back when she was about three feet tall. Her youtube videos have over 22 MILLION combined hits. She is a contender, and she will be a lot of fun to watch. She is a real spitfire on the stage, but a shy, self effacing kid when she isn’t singing. Thia Megia is her BFF, and she also hangs around with Allison Iraheta. I didn’t know any of this until about five minutes ago.
1- Deandre Brackensick, 17: Getting jobbed out of a spot last year might end up being the best thing that ever happened to him. He’s a contender for the whole thing this season, while he wouldn’t have had a shot in hell last year. There is a shortage of the cute young boy candidates this year, and most of them aren’t very good.
I ranked them according to a combination of what I personally think of them, what my perception of what the judges think of them, and whether I see them as having any upside. Also I did it in a short time. I would come up with an entirely different ranking every time, even if I did it a thousand times. A simpler task would be to figure out who is going to make it to the live shows. Let’s delve into that:
The virtual locks:
Erica Van Pelt
Eben Franckewitz/David Leathers, one or the other
Brielle Von Hugel
Ten female slots remain open, so let’s start there: Skylar or Baylie (most likely Skylar) will get the country slot, and the other one goes into the pool. Latia or Aubrey is likely to get another (if they decide to fill the TABF slot, they are the only ones left. Ariel is too much of a kid to pretend to qualify). Jessica, Naomi, Ariel and Elise are likely in because they fill the demographic slots of“being really good”.
That leaves us with four slots among Baylie, Hallie, Lauren, Jen, Haley, Brielle, Hollie, Wendy, Blaire and Chelsea.
How fun would it be if Baylie, Hallie, Haley and Hollie got in? Ryan would hang himself…..
My best guess, and it’s really just a guess, is that Hallie and Jen will get in, while Baylie, Haley, Wendy, Blaire and Chelsea will be done. That leaves two spots between Lauren, Brielle and Hollie. I have a sneaking hunch that Hollie will get in, just based on the fact that she just missed last year and they haven’t shown her sing a single note this year. I feel like they might be saving her. That means that either Lauren or Brielle will get the last slot. I prefer Lauren, but her Vegas edit might mean that they want Brielle. I’ll predict Brielle, and hope for Lauren.
Three spots for males: I’ll just assume, for working purposes, that Heejun is too demographically tempting to pass up. That leaves two slots. Phil-Phil is probably going to get one, so we are down to a single slot. Aaron and Demeco might be seen as fitting a specific demographic because of their ethnicity, though they are very different singers. That ethnic demographic is already filled, so they might be screwed. If so, the last slot will go to either Scotty or Clayton. Clayton has the more interesting demographic (hard rock), so I’ll guess that he survives.
My predicted final 24:
Erica Van Pelt
Brielle Von Hugel