Wednesday, February 13, 2008

American Idol: Best. Hollywood Week. Ever. (Ranking the Top 12 Contenders)

MAJOR SPOILER: American Idol Top 24 Finalists Revealed!

Wow, the American Idol folks were not kidding when they said this year's Hollywood round would be better than ever. It was amazing!

There was no drama. None. (Okay, just a little). But what there was in spades was singing. And singing. And more singing.

And I loved it!

Forgive my enthusiasm, but I'm now more convinced than ever that this is going to be the strongest year of Idol yet (read my post Seven Reasons This Season Really Might Be Better Than Ever). )While we're accustomed to fumbled lyrics and off-pitch disasters in Hollywood, what we got was at least a good dozen people who have the potential to be really good.

Based solely on what we saw tonight, here's how I'd rank the Top 12 contenders:

*Note: We did not see several performers tonight who have made it into the Top 50 (Chikeize Eze and Alex Lushington, for example). In addition, some were on for such a small amount of time (Colton Berry, Robbie Carrico) I didn't include them in this list.

1. Carly Smithson has the kind of thrilling voice that there's always a place for on American Idol. Sure, her rendition of "Alone" doesn't compare to Carrie Underwood's Idol-definitive version a few years back. But those high notes! And she wants this bad, which means she's going to push herself -- that's always fun to watch.

2. David Archuleta may just have this thing all sewn up. First off -- he looks like Zac Efron (definitely not a bad thing when teenage girls both watch this show and have cell phones with text messaging capabilities). Second of all -- he's got a great voice. Really great. And, thirdly, he won Star Search a few years back, so he has experience performing on live television. Top 10, easy.

3. Michael Johns' rendition of "Light My Fire" was solid, but his performance of "Bohemian Rhapsody" showed this guy's got serious star potential. And that Australian accent ain't gonna hurt one bit.

4. David Cook has a lowkey charm, coupled with a hot rock voice. My current dark horse fave.

5. David Hernandez was a nice surprise, effortlessly crooning "Love the One You're With" and showing an ease on stage that many of his peers were lacking. Not too shabby.

6. Amanda Overmyer sounded great singing "Light My Fire," but I have to admit, I share Simon's concern that all of her songs are going to sound the same. For now, though, I'm still smitten.

7. Asia'h Epperson had such a tragic backtory I failed to notice this girl could really sing. And she's hot. Not a bad combination.

8. Danny Noriega, quirky as he may be, has an amazing voice. Does he remind anyone else of Christian from Project Runway? I can't wait to see what happens with this kid in the competition.

9. Kristi Lee Cook gave another solid performance of "Amazing Grace," but I'm going to have to hear her sing something else before I can really get a sense of what she's capable of.

10. Syesha Mercado definitely has talent, but she also has a habit of shouting. Girl, I'm right here, you don't have to scream!

11. Brooke White's take on "Beautiful" was interesting, in that she definitely does have a Carole King/Joni Mitchell vibe to her, but I remain unconvinced that she can hit the power notes that really make an Idol contestant soar.

12. Ramiele Mulubay is gonna work that "little girl with the big voice" thing, but she's gonna have to start wailing if she's gonna get my vote.

Potential Sanjaya Alert:

Josiah Leming is adorable, and heartbreaking -- in the kind of way that I want to take him home and feed him a cup of soup. Do I want him to be my American Idol? Not so much.

Kyle Ensley is the new Kevin "Chicken Little" Covais. I'm just saying.


Angela said...

Josiah is my absolute favorite.
but i sadly think his hollywood performance took away his chance at top 24.

and my dad totally agrees with the new chicken little thing. hes convinced the show is fixed.

i totally agree with your top twelve. but i make it fourteen and add josiah and colton swon and i love it even more. but i totally love david, i'd run UP my cell phone bill texting for him. hes gorgeous and has and AMAZINGamazing voice.

Laura said...

I've been thinking the same thought about Danny Noriega and Christian Siriano from Project Runway. Their speaking mannerisms are exactly the same.

wen said...

Carly Smithson is a big reason why some think AI is rigged. She's already had over $2 Million spent by a major label on promo for a failed CD of hers that sold less than 400.

Carly is hardly the fresh new talent that AI is pushing her as.