Here's my guess for the Top 12 final rankings:
- David Archuleta
That kid can sing. And he's like your little brother.
- Brooke White
She is the shrewdest female in terms of picking the right material, which, as the judges have always said, is the single most important aspect of the competition. She knows her limitations vocally and wisely plays to her strengths. No one ever said that the highest ranking female in an American Idol season need have the vocal power of Mariah or Celine or Christina, even though in seasons past such women have risen to the Top [Kelly, Katharine, Carrie]. I think this will be the season when a girl with a more modest voice proves that there's more to being a legitimately wonderful singer than a 5 octave range. Think the Idol version of Julie London or Norah Jones. Plus, Brooke is humble, musically assured (piano, guitar, glockenspiel), and totally attractive without looking like a Barbie doll. It is my hope that she unseats David A. for a surprise victory.
- Michael Johns
Sexiest male idol contestant ever? Heaps of charm. Lots of stage presence. Very good singer. Needs to show a bit more range; every performance thus far has been cut from the same cloth. Did I mention how S E X Y he is? Teenage girls across American right now are discovering the joys of masturbatory fantasy with visions of Michael J. resplendent in their heads. When do we find out if he sports chest hair or not?
- Carly Smithson
Excellent singer, but in the end, I don't think anyone wants their American Idol to be Irish. Regardless, she will get a chance to record a follow-up to her major label debut flop.
- David Hernandez
I think he's a wild card and will rise through the ranks like Elliot Yamin [whom no one would have pegged for a #3 placing at the outset of his season]. Oddly enough, David is the best soul singer in the Top 12, even though he's white. Once Chikezie and Syesha are gone, soul-lovers can root for David or Ramiele depending on their gender preference. I don't think the male stripper thing is going to penetrate (no pun intended) the American consciousness enough to hinder him. Even though he's gay, you can't really tell from his mannerisms, so that will not cost him any votes, unlike Danny.
- Jason Castro
Even though I think he's incredibly charming, both on- and off-stage, I'm not convinced his voice has enough personality to let him go all the way to the top. Also, will the young Moms of America (ages 30-40) vote for him even though they find the dreads skanky?
- Ramiele Malubay
Strong voice, but lacks stage presence; she seems a little stiff. And there will come a point where we finally adjust to that huge voice coming out of that little body and the juxtaposition will cease to earn her votes born from marvel and wonder. Plus, no sex appeal--she seems like a 10 year old; a Filipino Bratz doll? Then again, perhaps I am underestimating the power of the Filipino/Asian/Islander voting bloc which catapulted Jasmine Freaking Trias into the Top 3 over LaToya London a few years back. It still rankles me. So yes, she could end up in the Top 5, though I don't think she deserves it, from the performer vs. singer angle.
- Kristy Lee Cook
Being a tomboy cursed with the body and face of a supermodel actually causes her problems as a singer, because she's not fully comfortable on stage physically. I think she will continue to have difficulty reconciling what people expect of her personality/manner/style with who she is. She will optimize her chances if she mines the country vein for all it's worth. Unlike in seasons past, she is the only singer in the Top Ten with country-market potential. I think confidence is a problem, too. Her nerves may get to her. I like her way better than Haley Scarnato as the resident "gorgeous girl," but I think she will peter out around the same time.
- David Cook
His main competition is Michael, who will instead prevail as the de rigeur rocker of the bunch. Plus, everyone I know thinks Cook is a poser/Daughtry rip-off. His "feeling" when he sings seems very calculated. He's not very authentic. Rock to him is a game of dress-up and play more than anything else. There's nothing wrong with that being an element of one's mission/persona as a singer, but it can't be the engine.
- Amanda Overmyer
Rocker-voiced girls--Melissa McGhee, Jessica Sierra, Gina G.--have never climbed higher than #9, and Carly will be able to siphon some of the rocker vote from Amanda if she takes heed and sticks with songs like Crazy on You. Plus, Amanda seems like the most "love-her-or-loathe-her" figure this season and you can't get far without some uniform support. Plus, her lack of graciousness in accepting the judges' kudos the other night was not appealing and will definitely turn people off if she continues to react in that way to their praise. Smile, indeed!
- Syesha Mercado
Syesha and Ramiele are stylistically the same and people will invariably prefer Ramiele's tweeness to Syesha's regal self-satisfaction. It seems impossible that there wouldn't be a black singer in the Top Ten, but I think it may actually pan out that way, since David H. and Ramiele are essentially R&B singers, and better and more likable than Syesha and Chikezie.
- Chikezie Eze
I loved this guy in his initial audition and have since done a complete 180. He's insufferable, old-looking, not handsome, a shrill dresser, a hammy singer, a mouthy jerk, and he thinks he's a far better singer than he actually is. Mark my words, cheesy Chikezie will not be part of the Summer Idol tour.
GO BROOKE! GO BROOKE!