Posted: 9:44 am Wednesday, February 26th, 2014
By Rodney Ho
Every year, I predict how the top 12/13 will finish on “American Idol.”
Some years, I do pretty well. During season 11, for instance, I actually picked the winner early. But then there are years like season 8, where I notoriously predicted the first two to be eliminated as Kris Allen, followed by Adam Lambert. (Danny Gokey was my pick to win.) I couldn’t have been more wrong that year.
The fact is I often under-estimate some people’s appeal. Others rise to the occasion when the live shows begin. Some stumble badly.
So take this with a grain of salt but it’s fun to do anyway. Here is my top 13, in order of predicted elimination:
13. Kristen O’Connor. She was the first contestant I noticed while I was at the Atlanta auditions at the W Hotel in Midtown. I even took pictures of her thinking she might be a possible finalist. And she made it! But once I watched her sing, I immediately felt like there was no there there. She is a technically solid singer and she’s pretty but otherwise, I don’t get it. She was not voted in and had to be placed by the judges as a wild card for a reason. ODDS OF WINNING: 1,500-1
12. MK Nobilette. She has a sweet voice and seems to be very nice. But from what I’ve seen, she has zero stage presence. She sings with this disturbingly blank look on her face. She’s the first openly gay “Idol” contestant ever, which is amazing in and of itself. But otherwise, I can’t see her turning into a great performer this week and sticking around very long. ODDS OF WINNING: 1,000-1
11. Malaya Watson. I like her a lot due to her inherent nerdiness. But she is young and she seems a little over-caffeinated on stage. I hope she does better than 11th but I think Majesty Rose, her closest peer on the show in terms of vocal style, will outlast her. And if I’m dead wrong, so be it. ODDS OF WINNING: 100-1
10. Dexter Roberts. For some reason, I like Ben Briley and C.J. Harris more than Dexter at this stage. Dexter lacks distinctiveness and style, as the judges noted. So I think he will have trouble lasting more than a month. ODDS OF WINNING: 100-1
9. Emily Piriz. She has confidence and a certain level of sweetness. But like Dexter, I don’t see a star at all here, nothing that makes me think she’ll be a true artist. ODDS OF WINNING: 90-1
8. Alex Preston. He evokes the word quirky. He also knows who he is as an artist, kind of like Casey Abrams a couple years back. I anticipate interesting song choices and he won’t disappoint in terms of stagecraft and vocal stylings. But folks like him don’t tend to win. ODDS OF WINNING: 30-1
7. Jenna Asciutto. I can’t quite figure her out. Will she go singer songwriter or pop? She can belt, that’s for sure. So she’s one of those I have a hard time placing. I have a feeling she’s going to be inconsistent and if she has two bad weeks in a row, she’s a goner. ODDS OF WINNING: 20-1
6. Jessica Meuse. She is someone I can’t stop watching. She brings a special vulnerability to the stage, like a wounded robin. That, I think, will generate votes, no matter what she sings. I will be rooting for her and I hope she makes it at least this far. ODDS OF WINNING: 15-1
5. C.J. Harris. I may be over-estimating his appeal since he didn’t get the votes the first time around and had to be placed in “wild-card” land. But he possesses an innate likability that is impossible to fake. I feel like if he can stay in his lane and pick great songs for his voice, he can last into April. ODDS OF WINNING: 12-1
4. Ben Briley. We know country does well in this competition. Ben isn’t that much more distinctive in my mind than Dexter but holds himself with a little more confidence, has a wee bit more potential star power. The country contingent will keep him around no matter what. ODDS OF WINNING: 10-1
3. Caleb Johnson. I see him as a bit of a retro rock guy a la Meatloaf. The aging “Idol” audience will love him and he will perform week in and week out, predictably bombastic and loud. He could even win this if Sam stumbles. ODDS OF WINNING: 7-1
2. Majesty Rose. She has a great name and a sweet Jordin Sparks-like presence about her. She is the only woman I think that has a shot to win but even then, she is going to have to bring it. She may just be the Kat McPhee of this season who could make it to the finals but then has no real shot against Sam. ODDS OF WINNING: 6-1.
1. Sam Woolf. I don’t know if I’ve ever been this confident this early about any single singer but Sam has all the ingredients to win. He’s young, good looking, confident, likable and vocally mature beyond his years. He’s the total package. He’s going to have to screw up big time for several weeks in a row to make me doubt him. ODDS OF WINNING: 1-2
The recent horrific, Olympic-killing ratings prove this show will never be able to get back to even where it was a couple of years ago. It may have only one more season after this, if TMZ’s financial predictions are correct. But at least for the few of us who are still watching, the show is watchable. And the talent appears to be decent this year so we won’t get bored either. Harry Connick Jr. may not be a ratings savior but he is a comfortable throw pillow for us “Idol” survivors.
I just hope the show can generate 12 million viewers a week Wednesdays and 10 to 11 million viewers on Thursdays the rest of the way.
“American Idol,” 8 p.m., Wednesday, top 13 live performance show, Fox
I do know some of you are watching “The Voice.” Here are some of the better ones from last night:
Delvin Choice, a return from season 5 who didn’t get a chair turn, doing “A Song For You” and getting all four to turn:
Madilyn Paige has a very sweet voice but she appears very raw:
And check out Deja Hall‘s audition of “True Colors.” She has some soul:
Here’s some country love from Cary Laine doing “Better Dig Two.” All four judges turn for her:
And “The Voice” did have a season 3 winner Cassadee Pope who has generated a couple of hits on country radio. She’s not burning it up like a Carrie Underwood but she’s doing okay.
About the Author
I'm the media writer for the Atlanta Journal Constitution and ajc.com. I've been following radio since 2001, TV since 2005. I cover everything from the local radio and TV news scene to shows shot in Atlanta ("The Walking Dead," "Real Housewives of Atlanta") to networks based here (CNN, TBS, Up, Weather Channel) to celebrities who visit town.