Monday, March 11, 2013

American Idol: The List

A while back, I wrote a blog post about how to win your American Idol office pool.  Ultimately, however, what I’ve learned is that I do a semi-decent job figuring out who is going to be cut in the early rounds, and then, at least over the last two years, one of my middle-of-the-pack people eventually ends up winning.  (Thought the top of my list is otherwise fairly accurate.)


Of course, the last two years went to White Guys With Guitars, as has been so frequently noted everywhere that covers Idol.  In fact, the last FIVE winners were WGWG.


I put forth a theory a couple of weeks ago that perhaps they were trying to kill Idol by putting through the bizarre over the truly talented.  Elsewhere, I’ve read that it was more likely that the judges were deliberately cutting all the WGWG this year, just to give the girls a shot at winning.


Oddly, Billboard recently released an article that showed the top 100 Idol-created hits from the last eleven years.  And that kind of tipped Idol’s hand.  They have a lot more male winners than female winners.  But the females (particularly Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson) have had more and bigger hit singles.


I’m guessing between the two women, they’ve probably sold more records than all the rest of the Idols combined.


So maybe they just realize that female winners can do more for them in the long run. 


I was pretty impressed with myself this year, actually.  I correctly called eight of the top ten, with a hand wave at the last two because I knew in my heart that they were, essentially, cannon fodder.


When it comes down to it, there are four really great female singers.  And two great males, with one approaching near-greatness.


So here are my thoughts, in the order I think they’ll get dropped:


Paul Jolley:


I fear that Paul will probably be my Hollie this year – the one who just clings and clings even as he continues to give weak performances.  The fact that I think he looks like Wil Wheaton probably doesn’t help my perception of him.


If there was a genuine surprise for me this week, it’s that he got through, especially after the judges had to debate keeping him around in the first place.  That said, he’s also the sole “cute-boy-white-male” among the guys, and everyone seems to think that carries some weight.


Still, none of his performances have really done anything for me, and if they didn’t need a top five guys, and could have dropped him for a girl… I bet they would have.


Or maybe everyone just really wants a male Taylor Swift, which is what he said he wanted to be. 


Janelle Arthur


It’s probably not fair to her that I think of Janelle as “the other country girl.”  Frankly, Kree is a better singer by a country (sorry) mile. 


She seems sweet, so there’s that.  But mostly she’s boring and on-key.  No shame there, but she was the other, “Well, someone had to round out the top five…”


Lazaro Arbos


Man, I hate to say it, but Lazaro isn’t gonna stick around long.  The fact is, he’s a good but not great singer who sometimes misses notes and chooses wrong keys for his voice.


Above this line, everyone hits all the notes.  Perfection must be attained.  And so it goes.


Angie Miller


I’ve come to think of Angie as “the girl at the piano,” and I suspect that, like Colton before her, she will eventually make the mistake of trying to come out from behind it.


Even this week, even as she sang her victory song, she was out there singing, looking awkward, and generally giving a good vocal instead of a great one.


I don’t think that’s enough. 


Burnell Taylor:


This one hurts to admit, because I really dig Burnell and I think he could have an amazing career in musical theater.  The man can plant himself on the floor and flat-out CONNECT to a song emotionally.  And then he can take that song and pump it into your veins. 


But is he capable of more?  That remains to be seen.  But I think that’s his wheelhouse, and when they start throwing challenges at people he’s going to fumble sooner or later.  So it is here that I lay him.


Curtis Finch Junior


Curtis is Joshua and Jacob again.  Joshua got to the top three, and Jacob crashed, I think, because he got a little big for his britches. 


Curtis’ biggest problem is that for all the power in his voice, he’s a bit robotic, and I suspect that his bag of vocal tricks is just about exhausted now. 


Still, great tricks, and unlike Jacob, this man never misses a note.


Candice Glover:


Okay, this year I freely admit that you could probably take my top four and shake ‘em up and get a different set of answers, but as I type this, I think I’m going to put Candice here.


Man, she’s a really great performer, and I don’t know that I can add anything to that.  What will finally get her, I suspect is that Amber and herself share the same wheelhouse, and Amber makes it look easy while Candice makes it look hard.


Amber Holcomb


Okay, I kind of want her to win because it’s clear she’s been groomed as the new Whitney Houston and I want to see her and Mariah duet on Believe. 


But we did this last year with Jessica Sanchez, who was a great singer with no life experience who could perform anything but not quite connect to it.


Of course, Jessica got dropped last year and had to be saved.  So maybe Amber will get the axe surprisingly early.  And I haven’t heard anything about a judge’s save this year.


Still, this lady makes every note look so, so, so simple, even when what she’s doing is kind of impossible for humans to do.


Devin Velez


Dude can sing.  Dude can connect.  Dude has one of those voices that can go anywhere and do anything, and he sounded just as great last night being funky as he did singing a Perry Como(?!) ballad.  In Spanish.


If a guy is going to take the contest this year, I can’t really see it being anyone but Devin. 


Kree Harrison:


Kree has one of those voices that just makes you shiver, and she has a range that probably rivals that of Mariah, the woman judging her.


She’s also hilarious, willing to kid with the judges, and went out of her way to talk about how good the band his.


The lady has music in her, and she knows exactly how to get it out of her.


My only fear for her is that she could pull a Pia.  Pia, however, never, ever moved, and we’ve at least seen Kree walk.  The question becomes whether or not she can also look good during terrible group numbers, and tackle the uptempo stuff that ultimately killed Pia in the competition.


The best news she could get is Janelle getting dropped early on.  Janelle’s votes would move to Kree and keep her afloat for a very long time.  All the way to number one?


It’s in American’s hands now.


1 comment:

  1. I fully agree with your opinion. I'm from Brazil and I love the voice of Devin. For me, he is the winner!