Grading the Top Ten

Who is this season’s best Idolist? That depends on how you define “best” and what direction you are looking – back to the past or forward to the future. For now, I’m looking backward by compiling the grades I’ve given to the Top Ten’s performances in the form of a mid-term report card.

The graded performances are those that cut the Idolists down to the Top 24, Top 20, Top 14, Top 11, and Top 10. The rankings are based on a traditional grade point average using the five grades I gave each Idolist for their performance in those rounds. Here they are.

FritzB A A A A3.8
LeahA A C A A3.6
HuntergirlA A B B B3.4
MikeB B A A C3.2
NicolinaA C A B C3
NoahB B A D B2.8
Lady KB B C B+ C2.7
EmyrsonB B C D B2.4
ChristianB A D C C2.4
JayC D B+ D A+2.3

A few observations:

  • Fritz, Huntergirl, and Lady K have been the most consistent, albeit at differing levels. Jay has been the least consistent.
  • Leah’s C-grade performance came in Top 14 when I felt she was “too over-charged” on her original song Wisher to the Well.
  • Lady K and Emyrson are the only A-less Idolists so far.

Past performance does not predict future results. Almost every season of Idol has had early flameouts, late bloomers, or both. The pressure increases as the Idolists get closer to the prize, and the inevitable nerves affect each one differently.

At some point, I’ll look forward in terms of “best” post-Idol prospects. However, in today’s highly fragmented (many artists) and top-heavy (dominated by a few), these projections are increasingly challenging to make. But here’s an exciting, forward-looking development involving My Girl Casey Bishop who finished third last season. She was cited in an April 27 Billboard article 10 Cool New Pop Songs to Get You Through the Week:

“Kudos to Casey Bishop, who went from finishing in the top 5 of American Idol last year to snagging a Willow Smith co-write for her new single, the chugging pop-rock showcase “Bad Dream.” The sound and approach suit the tenacity of the 17-year-old, who circles around feelings of paranoia before drilling down on fuzzed-out fear in the hook. — J. Lipshutz”

I’m starting to warm up to it.

Here’s what’s coming this week. On Sunday, the Idolists will perform Disney songs at the Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California. They’ll get help from guest mentor Dancing with the Stars Derek Hough. And on Monday, Paula Abdul, Randy Jackson, and a slew of Idol alumni will return for a taped one-hour special, The Great Idol Reunion.

See you again soon.

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