Green Zone - Safe by a mile!
Boys: David Archuleta, David Cook, Jason Castro
Girls: Carly Smithson, Brooke White, Amanda Overmyer
Archuleta's a no-brainer -- this kid won't be leaving the Green Zone for some time (if ever!) David Cook and Jason Castro gave stand-out performances this week, so they, too, should have no problem cruising into the Top 12.
Smithson and White, meanwhile, have been the most consistent of the female performers, and both should easily make it to the bigger stage. While Amanda's had a rough go of it in the semifinals, she chose the right time to step it up, and as such she's good-to-go.
Yellow Zone - On Shaky Ground!
Boys: Michael Johns, David Hernandez
Girls: Ramiele Malbubay
Michael Johns is losing his frontrunner status quickly, but he's got enough leftover goodwill to have nothing to worry about tonight. While the "stripper scandal of '08" may wind up hurting Hernandez, I think he's got the vocal chops, performance skills and the fanbase to last at least a few more weeks.
Ramiele has fallen into that dangerous middle ground of not being spectacular but also not terrible, but, like Johns, I think she has enough residual favor with the fans to make it to the finals.
Red Zone - Danger, Danger, Danger!
Boys: Luke Menard, Chekezie, Danny Noriega
Girls: Syesha Mercado, Asia'h Epperson, Kristy Lee Cook, Kady Malloy
If there's a sure thing this week, it's that Luke Menard is getting the boot. He's bland, he doesn't have the vocal chops of his competitors, and he had the dreaded first performance slot -- a sure-fire recipe for elimination. But which boy will join him?
While Danny Noriega has yet to show off the skillz he displayed in his initial audition, his buzz-worthy attitude will probably spare him at least one more week. That leaves Chekezie, who undoubtedly has a great voice, but has failed to truly connect with the audience.
As for the girls, I'd say Kady is also likely to go -- how can the audience forgive three straight tuneless, forgettable performances? Who will join her, though, is a much more difficult question.
If I was going based on performances alone, I'd say Kristy Lee Cook is getting the boot. However, being the only country gal left in the competition will likely spare her for at least one more week.
Which means it comes down to Asia'h Epperson and Syesha Mercado, both of whom have good voices but have yet to bring anything special or unique to the competition. In addition, the fact that both chose Whitney Houston songs means they will have likely split at least part of the vote. While I personally prefer Asia'h (although not by much), she, like Luke, was saddled with the first performance slot, and as such I'm afraid she's gonna be the "big, shocking" elimination of the evening.
Boys: Luke Menard and Chekezie
Girls: Kady Malloy and Asia'h Epperson
Thoughts? Agree? Disagree? Let me know!
READ: Ranking the Top 8 Guys -- Three David's Top the List for the Second Straight Week
READ: Ranking the Top 8 Girls -- Brooke On Top, While Amanda Makes a Big Comeback