The Verdict on Idol: Analysis of the Top 13

Well, the top 13 has been revealed. While it isn’t quite the top 13 that I had hoped for, there were no real surprises here. Did anyone think for a second that Phillip Phillips and Skylar Laine wouldn’t make the top 13? The results show was pretty anticlimactic, but then again, so were the performance shows. Right now, this group is doesn’t really have any stand out performers, so it will be interesting to see who steps up in the comming weeks.

Compared to last year, this is a bit of a let down. By this time last year we had a diverse group of finalistsm each with an established musical identity. We knew what type of album to expect from each of them; Jacob was gospel, Paul was Indie, James was metal, Lauren and Scotty were country, Stefano was Pop/RnB. In this group, very few contestants know who they are as an artist. They’re going to need some coaching ASAP in order to define themselves and seize a hold on the competition.

Now, before I get to my analysis, a quick recap of the WILDCARD ROUND!

  • Jen chose “Oh Darling,” and repeated the same mistake she made previously. Vocal gymnastics do not equal soul. Sorry. It was an admirable effort, but she came up short in the end.
  • Jeremy’s song choice was so out of left field, but was probably the best performance on the stage yet.
  • Stephen chose Brielle, who proceeded to prove why she wasn’t chosen in the first place. She absolutely floundered under a bold song choice. Who else? Adele. Way to throw it away.
  • The judges can’t seem to get enough of DeAndre. He is a great singer on a technical scale, but his voice is still irritatingly grating. And I still couldn’t understand a word he said.
  • Erika Van Pelt shouted her way through “Edge of Glory.” It wasn’t a perfect vocal, but it showed potential. The type that could really become something on a show like this. It really sealed the deal.
  • Reed Grim. What. The. Fuck. Was. That. Total waste of a wild card space.
  • DeAndre, Erika, and Jeremy go through. I would have picked Jen over DeAndre, but whatever.

Onto my analysis!

Colton Dixon

Colton is this year’s resident rocker…I think. He isn’t the traditional rocker that we’ve become used to. Hes a bit more of an emo indie rocker who would be wise to steer clear of LED Zep and Lynard Skynard. That said, he is clearly  more relecant in today’s industry. Colton is one of the only contestants that have honed in on the fact that at some point, he may be expected to make an album. Colton has already shown us exactly what his album will sound like, and he is quite commercial and relevant. He now has an army of Twi-tards that will be willing to fight for him!

Plus, this kid has talent. He has a great voice, can play an instrument, and is one hell of a performer. He’s going to have to be careful with song choice, but Colton seems to be in a position were he can sit back and coast through to the later stages of the competition.

DeAndre Brackensick
The judges insist that DeAndre is relevant, but right now…I’m just not seeing it. Yes, he can be pushed into a pop/rnb direction, but is the furthest thing from being the next Bruno Mars. he needs to make some drastic changes before becoming the next Idol.  Number one is his hair. Sorry, it had to be said. He plays with his hair more than most seven year old girls. Next, he needs to stop flaunting his falsetto and sing in a manner that isn’t completely irritating. If he can do these two things (and the first one is really just me being a prick) he can easily become a contender, but right now, I think that the judges are alone on their DeAndre love.
Elise Testone
Its clear that this show will never produce the next Lady Gaga, but could it give us the next Adele? I think so. Many of the girls are trying to be the next Adele, but unlike those girls, Elise is her own artist. She has a fantastic voice that is very distinct. Her raspy, and bluesy sound is very trendy now, so she can be very easily marketed. She has the chops, but right now, her battle will be winning America’s hearts. If Pia Toscano is any indicator, Elise won’t get too far if she doesn’t open up and show us some more personality.

Erica Van Pelt

Erica could very well become the dark horse of this season. She has a great voice and a unique, husky tone that sets her apart from the other girls. She keeps alluding to her “rocker side,” and if she taps into that, she would turn into a force to be reckoned with. Right now, she falls into the same “generic singer” category as the other girls, but stepping out of that box as a rocker would be just what she needs to solidify her presence in the top 6. Erica has a tons of potential, and I fully expect her to deliver.
Han HeeJun
Each season has a contestant that makes it into the finals based on personality rather than talent. HeeJun is this season’s contestant, which is unfortunate, because underneath that quirky personality is a great voice. He is going to have to knock it out of the park soon, or else he risks leaving in the first few weeks when people get tired of his antics. Additionally, HeeJun suffers from a lack of musical identity. What would a HeeJun album sound like? I have no idea. With his voice, I could see him doing some classic soul or RnB, but his best ticket to post idol fame would probably be joining a ballad group in South Korea.
Hollie Cavanaugh

Unlike HeeJun, Hollie made the finals based on a solid vocal performance. Unfortunately, she’s a young, blond, pageant singer…like Shannon. I fully expect these two to go head to head. Between the two, I see much more potential in Hollie. With each of these girls, the goal is going to be to step outside of pageant mode, and become a relevant artist. I think that Hollie would easily fit into Country music. She’s from Texas, and her powerhouse vocals and sweet personality would fit the genre very nicely. If she taps into her inner Nashville Star…she could very well win the damn thing.

Jeremy Rosado
Jeremy Rosado made the finals based on a spectacular WildCard performance. Seriously, he made me a fan with his life saving performance. Unfortunately, I don’t see Jeremy going very far in this competition. He’s the type of singer that has zero chance of success outside of the Idol bubble. Ballads can only take a man so far. The best thing that Jeremy can possibly do, is play the game strategically, and sing the hell out of anything that he’s given. If he can do uptempo songs, he may be able to hold on until the top 6, but he doesn’t have much room for error at this point.
 Jermaine Jones
And then there’s Jermaine! I was quite frankly disappointed that Jermaine made the top 13. He clearly only made it due to the fact that Nigel wanted to take a stab at Simon Cowell. Without the producer manipulation, Jermaine would have been toast. I will be very surprised if Jermaine makes it past the top 10. Maybe its the fact that he looks ridiculous? Maybe its the fact that he sounds ridiculous? Either way, the novelty is going to wear off soon.
Jessica Sanchez
Jessica has the whole package. She’s young. She has a powerhouse voice. She’s got killer stage presence. She easily fits in the pop/rnb market. Her only mission will be to come across as young and current, which shouldn’t be too hard. If she can do that, then I do belive that we are looking at a front runner, ladies and gentleman! Then again…thats what I said about Pia last year.
Joshua Ledet

Joshua turned in a solid semi-final performance. In fact, it was the best from the men’s side in my opinion. However, I’m not sold on him yet. He’s going to have to consistently deliver solid vocals in order to stay in this competition. Now, while he does have a solid hold on the RnB vote, that doesn’t mean as much as it once did. In order to win, he is going to have to step outside his comfort zone at least once…and really nail it. I trust that he can do it. He should be here until at lest the top 6.

Phillip Phillips
Ok, just saying…that is the creepiest photo ever. Now, I loved Phillip’s audition, and hated his semifinal performance. I’m trying to get used to him, because he will be here until the very end. How could he not? He is a cute southern boy with an “aww shucks” attitude, and he plays guitar. He’s like the perfect blend of the past four winners in one convenient package. He’s all set to win. All he has to do is go out there and be Phillip Phillips. He is untouchable. Now, don’t get me wrong…I like his raw blues voice, but I think he needs to refine his voice a bit. If he can do that…then I can’t even deny that he earned it when the confetti comes down.
Shannon Magrane
Ah, yes…Shannon Magrane. The other pageant bot. She does have a great voice, and I do think that young girls can relate to her…until she starts belting out 90’s diva ballads. As an artist, she is bland, soulless, and uninspired. Jimmy is really going to have to sit her down and have a long talk about things like “marketability.” Shannon has a powerful tool, and if she can hone that into something current, then she can easily become the next Jordin Sparks. But to do that…this little lady is going to have to put in some extra hours.
Skylar Laine
Skylar is another contestant that really just has to show up in order to make it through to the next week. If Lauren Alaina is any indicator of the power behind a sixteen year old country girl, I don’t know what is…seeing as how she was consistently mediocre through out last year. Could you imagine what would happen if Skylar actually gave a solid vocal? She would be unstoppable! Not that she isn’t already…she has the country vote on lock. If she performs well, she sails through. If she goes on stage and sucks, the South will come to her rescue! Seeing as how this girl easily has the most charisma and star potential out of everyone in the top 13…I’d say she’s a shoo in for top 3.
And there you have it! Overall, I think this group has some serious potential, but they’re going to have to work at it. This competition has been really disappointing so far…so I’m hoping for them to step it up.
My predicitons for the season so far…
13. Jermaine Jones
12. DeAndre Brackensick
11. Jeremy Rosado
10. Shannon Magrane
9. HeeJun Han
8. Hollie Cavanaugh
7. Erika Van Pelt
6. Joshua Ledet
5. Elise Testone
4. Colton Dixon
3. Skylar Laine
2. Phillip Phillips
1. Jessica Sanchez
And there you have it. As of now, I predict Jessica Sanchez to come out as the American Idol of 2012. Granted, I called Pia Toscano last year, and that did not work out so well…and I called Haley as being the first to get cut. Maybe I’m not so good at this. Maybe it just shows that American Idol isn’t as easy to predict as I thought. Oh well!
The competition really begins next week, as the guys take on Stevie Wonder, and the girls sing us some Whitney Houston. Should be a bland and uninspired evening for everyone. Till next week!

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