About five weeks ago I wrote a post called "Is the Final Four Now A Foregone Conclusion?" suggesting that Melinda, Jordin, LaKisha, and Blake would be the final four standing. Turns out, the answer to that question is "Yes!"
But here is where things really get tricky -- who goes now? Each of the final four has a strong fanbase, and while it would seem LaKisha is the most vulnerable going into the Top 4, this has been the round responsible for some of the biggest shockers in Idol history (Tamyra Gray, Latoya London, Chris Daughtry), so, if history is a guide, truly anything could happen this week.
With that in mind, here are my thoughts on which contestants are in danger this week. As always, song choice and performance order could effect the outcome, but here's how I view the landscape with approximately 32 hours to go until showtime.
As the only boy remaining, I think Blake has the best shot of making it to the Top 3. With Chris gone, he will pick up a ton of leftover "cute boy" votes, and his lovefest with Chris at the end of last week's elimination show will surely endear him to fans who had previously spent hours dialing for the comely Mr. Richardson. In addition, his buzzworthy Bon Jovi performance, where he rediscovered the fire and originality he showed earlier in the competition, should carry over the goodwill to this week, no matter how he fares on disco tunes. He's not going anywhere.
Chance of going home: 5%
Jordin took the middle of this competition by storm, gathering momentum with each passing week for about four weeks straight. Her performance of "Livin' on a Prayer" was a slight step back, and I'm starting to sense a bit of a Jordin backlash, which could make her a bit vulnerable this week. However, if she chooses the right disco songs to sing, I'd be surprised not to see her in the Top 3.
Chance of going home: 18%
If there is any contestant likely to fall into the Gray/London/Daughtry trap this year, it's gonna be Melinda. Despite unwaveringly strong performances, I am now starting to worry that it could be Ms. Mindy Doo who, in fact, will be the one who exits before her time. With nary a Bottom 3 showing (or a bum note sung, no less), she would seem to be safe, but that saftey could easily turn into voter complacency, resulting in a too-early ouster. If there is any voter overlap remaining among the four contestants, it is between LaKisha and Melinda, and with LaKisha clearly in danger this week, her fans will probably come out in droves to support her. I still have hope that Melinda's gonna make it to the Top 3, but in order for that to happen her fans are going to have to remember that their girl needs their votes this week.
Chance of going home: 27%
Let's be honest -- Kiki dug down and saved herself from almost certain elimination last week with her brauvara "This Ain't A Love Song" (the watercooler-worthy kiss with Simon didn't hurt either). She is going to have to dig deep in that well again and come out with a couple of total showstoppers, and even then she will still be in danger. Her only hope of earning a Top 3 berth is that voters somehow forget to vote for Melinda or Jordin. Barring a big surprise, LaKisha is a goner.
Chance of going home: 50%
So there it is -- going into the Top 4, I think LaKisha and Melinda need to be the most worried. As I said, anything could change after Tuesday night, but these contestants, especially, better give their performances all that they've got -- it could be their last shot.