I've ranked the contestants (click for the BOYS and for the GIRLS) -- now it's time to figure out who's going home!
Years of Idol history have shown that, especially during the first few weeks of the show, having the worst performance doesn't necessarily mean you're getting the boot. In fact, it's often better to get lambasted by the judges than to fall somewhere in the middle of the pack. Keeping that in mind, here's my take on where the Top 24 stands:
Green Zone - Safe by a mile!
Boys: David Archuleta, Michael Johns, Jason Castro
Girls: Carly Smithson, Ramiele Malubay, Brooke White, Syesha Mercado, Asiah Epperson
The members of this group has either large existing fanbase (Archuleta, Johns, Smithson, White) or gave stand-out debut performances -- none of these folks are going anywhere.
Yellow Zone - On Shaky Ground!
Boys: David Cook, David Hernandez, Robbie Carrico, Danny Noriega
Girls: Alaina Whitaker, Alex Lushington, Amanda Overmyer
Not good enough for shoo-in status, but not in extreme danger of imminent elimination, expect this group to last for at least one more week. (Whitaker is an exception here- she was excellent last night, but may suffer from lack of screen time.)
Red Zone - Danger, Danger, Danger!
Boys: Garrett Haley, Luke Menard, Jason Yaegar, Chekezie Eze, Colton Berry
Girls: Amy Davis, Kristy Lee Cook, Joanne Borgella, Cady Malloy
Garrett Haley was definitely the weakest of the boys, but his wispy looks (and Simon's harsh comments) probably earned him some sympathy votes. Chekezie talked back to Simon (never a good idea, especially this early in the game), but he's different enough from the other contestants I think he'll stick around. I'm worried about Colton -- his middle-of-the-road showing may spell doomsday. However, I'm predicting bland and boring Jason Yaegar and Luke Menard will be the first two to go.
As for the girls, Amy was easily the weakest of the Top 24 -- it's a no-brainer that she'll be sent packin'. Cady Malloy and Kristy Lee Cook made terrible song choices and may end up joining her, but I think it's more likely to be Joanne Borgella, who threw away the good will she'd engendered over the past few weeks with a totally off-key (and off-base) performance.
Boys: Luke Menard and Jason Yaegar
Girls: Amy Davis and Joanne Borgella
Who do you think will get the boot tonight? Take the polls now!