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'Idol' Power List: The Top 20

The judges have named season 7’s 24 semifinalists; see how Michael Slezak ranks the top 20, then vote for your favorite

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American Idol
Fox

‘Idol’ Power List: The Top 20

1. David Archuleta
Squeezable former Star Search winner nailed Bryan Adams’ ”Heaven” during Hollywood week and topped our latest reader poll. Still, young teenage boys have a frightful history on Idol, and was anyone buying that ”I always doubted myself” remark in his interview package? (Last week’s Power Ranking: No. 7)

2. Amanda Overmyer
The ”rock & roll nurse” solidified her status as the season’s coolest cat by choosing the Doors’ ”Light My Fire” and delivering it with an emotional ferocity that her competitors have yet to match. Still, as Simon noted, she’ll have to learn to find ”light and shade” in her vocals if she wants to win it all. (Last week: No. 3)

3. Michael Johns
Early Internet backlash about his ”semi-pro” status (he once had a deal with Madonna’s label) faded a bit after a spot-on ”Bohemian Rhapsody” during Hollywood Week. And while his vocals have been more solid than spectacular, no one else in the competition can match this dude’s biceps. (Last week: No. 6)

4. Asia’h Epperson
Her audition focused more on harrowing backstory than actual talent, but this impossibly pretty teenager remedied the imbalance with a gale-force performance of Rose Royce’s ”I’m Going Down” during Hell Week. Her willingness to show off her rock-hard abs won’t hurt, either. (Last week: No. 14)

5. David Cook
Simon predicted this season’s resident rocker dude might be vocally vulnerable once he puts down the guitar — and indeed, David’s Bryan Adams cover had a few flat notes. Still, his inventive audition of Bon Jovi’s ”Livin’ on a Prayer” marked him as perhaps the biggest risk-taker in the top 24. (Last week: No. 2)

6. Carly Smithson
Has yet to hit a sour note in the oodles of screen time she’s received, but media buzz about the abysmal sales for her major-label solo release a few years back (under the name Carly Hennessy) has some Idol fans crying foul. Yellow eyeliner and mangy hairdo are not helping her cause, either. (Last week: No. 13)

7. Kristy Lee Cook
Gorgeous Oregonian’s audition to ”Amazing Grace” was, well, amazing, but her decision to return to the classic hymnal during Hollywood Week raises questions about her depth and versatility. Needs to dazzle in the semifinals to prove her former record label wasn’t right when they gave her the boot. (Last week: No. 1)

8. Chikezie Eze
Producers managed to get through Hell Week without giving audiences a second listen to Chikezie’s rich, delicious vocals. Despite the lack of meaningful airtime, we have yet to forget his flawless audition-round ”All the Woman I Need.” Expect him to come on strong in the semifinals. (Last week: No. 5)

9. David Hernandez
Got blanked for airtime during the audition rounds, but his powerful Hollywood Week cover of ”Love the One You’re With” practically leveled the playing field. Simon rained on David’s parade by questioning his ability to win it all, but Simon’s also the judge who vetoed Chris Daughtry’s golden ticket. (New this week)

10. Kady Malloy
Fans of the Britney Spears impersonator are probably ready to put Kady’s photo on the sides of milk cartons, considering she was completely overlooked during the Hollywood rounds. Still, her ninth-place finish in EW.com’s latest reader poll proves the lasting impression of her lovely ”Unchained Melody.” (Last week: No. 16)

NEXT PAGE: Nos. 11-20 on Michael Slezak’s Power Ranking

11. Ramiele Malubay
Okay, judges, we get it: A very big voice comes out of her ”little, teeny body” (Paula’s words, not ours). Still, she’ll need to show better control over that big instrument than she did on her soulful-but-shaky cover of ”Until You Come Back to Me” if she’s planning to crack this season’s top 12. (New to the Power Rankings this week)

12. Alexandréa Lushington
Another promising audition-round contestant — remember her ”My Funny Valentine”? — who proved invisible to Idol‘s cameramen last week. But don’t forget she’s got a serious secret weapon: her feisty and fabulous 93-year-old great grandmother! (Last week: No. 19)

13. Danny Noriega
A booming Hollywood Week cover of Leo Sayer’s ”When I Need You” proved the California teenager has a right to be confident about his vocal ability. Still, he’s going to have to reel in the pointing and snapping and theatrics, unless, of course, his ultimate goal involves Disney on Broadway. (Last week: No. 10)

14. Brooke White
EW staffers are deadlocked: Is the G-rated nanny a breezy change of pace from Idol‘s tradition of vocal bombast, or a severely limited artist whose voice quavers and trembles when she’s asked to hold a note? One thing’s for certain: Polarizing contestants tend to last longer than boring ones. (Returns to the Power Rankings this week)

15. Syesha Mercado
IS IT WRONG TO HIT THE ”CAPS LOCK” BUTTON WHEN WRITING ABOUT A SINGER WHO CONFUSES SHOUTING WITH SHOWING EMOTION? WE THINK NOT. STILL, THERE’S NO DENYING SYESHA SINGS POWERFULLY AND ON-KEY. PLUS, SHE’S UPPER-CASE GORGEOUS. (Returns to the Power Rankings this week)

16. Luke Menard
There’s not much to go on other than the fact that he’s handsome, and that his five o’clock shadow stayed up till around 9 p.m. Still, we’re making him the poster-boy for the four male semifinalists whose voices were never heard during the first five weeks of Idol. Vote Luke if that makes you angry! (New this week)

17. Alaina Whitaker
Boldly compared herself to Carrie Underwood at her audition, and while the 16-year-old’s Faith Hill cover was reasonably good, her subsequent dearth of screen time during Hollywood Week wasn’t exactly a vote of confidence from Nigel Lythgoe and company. Possible cannon fodder? (Returns to the Power Rankings this week)

18. Robbie Carrico
Seacrest keeps introducing this shaggy-haired dude as ”rocker Robbie Carrico,” but his choice of ”Everything I Do (I Do It for You)” during Hollywood week was a lot more A.C. than AC/DC. Is there anyone out there who can envision this guy cracking the top 10 in a deep and talented season? (New this week)

19. Joanne Borgella
Stunning winner of Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance reality show has repeatedly mentioned her struggles as a curvaceous woman in the music business, but we’re guessing wonky vocals will be her undoing. Indeed, her Hollywood-round version of ”When I Need You” was egregiously oversung. (New this week)

20. Colton Berry
Final man to advance to the Top 24 had the misfortune of winning his spot in a head-to-head matchup against Simon’s selection, Kyle Ensley. And after hearing Colton’s wobbly ”A Whole New World,” we kind of understand Simon’s position. Still, Colton seems sweet, which might buy him a week, maybe two. (New this week)

NEXT PAGE: Vote for your favorite singer

Poll: Who is your favorite contestant so far on season 7 of American Idol?

American Idol Poll

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