Yes, it's time once again to try and figure out who will be going home tonight, joining the illustrious company of former 3rd place finishers Nikki McKibbin, Kimberley Locke, Jasmine Trias, Vonzell Solomon, and Elliott Yamin.
As I have done since the beginning of the Top 12, I think the best way to make a prediction as to who is going to get kicked off tonight is by process of elimination -- figure out who is most likely to be safe, and go from there.
I've identified three zones: Green (safe), Yellow (not on solid ground), and Red (danger danger danger!) Here goes...
Green Zone: Safe
Nobody is 100% safe this week.
Yellow Zone: Not on solid ground
Melinda Doolittle certainly got the endorsement of the judges last night, and with good reason -- she added three very solid performances to her already impressive list of past triumphs. As Simon said, if the voters are going to reward the most consistently excellent performer with a spot in the finals, Melinda certainly fits that bill. Her rendition of "Nutbush City Limits" alone will likely give her the push she needs, as the combination of Melinda with a Tina Turner song was as thrilling as any Mindy fan could have hoped it would be. Sure, she flubbed some words in her final song, and she repeated a song she has already sung instead of choosing a new one, but I think Melinda is the surest best for a Top 2 berth.
Red Zone: Danger! Danger! Danger!
That leaves us with Blake Lewis and Jordin Sparks-- in my opinion the likeliest candidates to be eliminated tonight.
Three weeks ago I would have said Jordin had the title all sewn up -- now, I'm not so sure. The quality of her performances hasn't diminished (her "I Who Have Nothing" and "She Works Hard for the Money" were as vocally spectacular as anything any contestant has performed this season), but I can feel a palpable Jordin backlash brewing. And as her snarky comments on Simon's song choice and comments illustrated, she seems to have gotten a bit too cocky. Will her "judges and producers favorite" status end up backfiring on her? Very possibly. I think she's on thin ice.
Luckily for her, Blake Lewis is just vocally out of his league. Don't get me wrong -- I love Blake, I definitely think he is the most original contestant the show has ever had, I thought his performance of "This Love" was fantastics, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up selling more albums than both Melinda and Jordin. However, American Idol is first and foremost a singing competition, and when it comes down to the Top 3, voters have, over the years, generally chosen the contestants who have the best voices. Now, even though being a divisive contestant didn't hurt Taylor Hicks last year, I'm guessing this year the voters will choose to reward the ladies with the best voices.
Which means Blake Lewis will be eliminated tonight.
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