59 Idolists survived Hollywood Week to come to Judgement Day. Thirty-five of them were found wanting. The other 24 got some sort of speech by the judges leaving them to think they weren’t going to make the cut, either.
To quote Anderson .Paak, after collecting his fourth award at Sunday’s Grammys, “[I am] really trying to stay humble at this point.” Yeah, this Muser is feeling himself for having highlighted 15 of Idol’s Top 24 in my 5.1 audition blogs.
I’d love to tell you who will win, but at this point, it’s out of my eyes and ears. It’s up to the voters now, and if Idol remains true to its history, the Idolist most likely to become a star won’t be the winner. But my top 15 is a strong group and will make for one of Idol’s most competitive seasons. Here they are in three groups.
The Best (so far): country girl Huntergirl. Yes, that is correct. I have a country singer as my current favorite, and it’s not even close (so far). I don’t have to like country music to recognize a talented performer. She has a distinctive, radio-friendly country sound and a charming persona.
The Next Best: Country singer Noah Thompson and R&B singers Katyrah Love, Mike Parker, and Lady K. If history is a guide, only one at most of the R&B singers will get into the final four. And to be fair, I am always concerned about the post-Idol market for its R&B singers, who tend to skew old-school. The track record hasn’t been good, no matter how talented they are.
The rest of my list: Jay Copeland, Nicolina Bozzo, Emyrson Flora, Allegra Miles, Elli Rowe, Tristen Gressett, Christian Guardino, Candace Baker, Kenedi Anderson, and Scarlet. There is a lot of raw but undefined talent on this list. I’m looking forward to seeing if anyone in this group will break out.
Not on my list, but I approve: Leah Marlene, Ava Maybee, and Sir Blayke. They all improved from their auditions.
These current rankings will change based on the Idolist’s performances. Last year was a case in point. Looking back on last season, I was upset that Casey Bishop was the last Idolist chosen for the Top 24, and she turned out to be my favorite of the season. Even though she finished third, she got a record deal and is working on an EP.
It bears repeating what I wrote last year: “I have long understood and been frustrated that Idol isn’t a competition. It’s a TV show about a competition that’s really a popularity contest, and it’s the producers’ job to use stories and screen time and editing to create a cast that will appeal to as broad a cross-section of their audience as possible.”
Therefore, it will be interesting – and likely disappointing – to see who America responds to in their first round of voting.
Let the games begin!
 The last audition round after the Oscars only qualifies as one-tenth of an episode.