Season 12 of ''American Idol'' is anyone's game — as long as she's a girl. The ladies lead the pack in our weekly ranking of the contestants, one of whom may be eliminated by the time you read this. (Hint: probably a dude.)
1. Angie Miller, Age 19
The judges still talk about Angie’s original tune from Hollywood Week (the self-penned ”You Set Me Free”) and obsess over her radio-ready, piano-driven, always pure vocals. She’s also a proud Christian! This competition is hers to lose.
Songs she should do next: ”Little Bit” by Lykke Li
2. Candace Glover, Age 23
Code name: ”The Runs”
Our take: Her range is insane, and she can really sell the attitude of a song — from ”I (Who Have Nothing)” to ”I’m Going Down” — like none of the others. Many fans still resent the soulstress’ brutal cut in Vegas last season.
Song she should do next: ”You Know I’m No Good” by Amy Winehouse
3. Kree Harrison, Age 22
Code name: ”Hell on Heels”
Our take: Her heart is in traditional country, but the down-to-earth Nashville singer could clearly thrive in pop or rock, too — plus, she makes keen song choices, from Faith Hill to Roy Orbison to Grace Potter & the Nocturnals.
Song he should do next: ”I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt
4. Burnell Taylor, Age 19
Code name: ”Hipster Glasses”
Our take: The laid-back New Orleans teen lost everything but his rich, uniquely toned voice to Hurricane Katrina. He’s doing this for his family. (Nicki Minaj can relate!) But will his distracting hand gestures do him in?
Song he should do next: ”Suit & Tie” by Justin Timberlake
5. Amber Holcomb, Age 19
Code name ”Legs”
Our take: She’s the second-youngest competitor and seems game for anything — like going uptempo, or wiping the smile off her face when attempting ”She’s Leaving Home.” Such a darling shape-shifter could be the dark horse of season 12.
Song she should do next: ”Survivor” by Destiny’s Child
6. Janelle Arthur, Age 22
Code name: ”Little Marshmallow”
Our take: Idol loves itself an apple-cheeked Southern girl as sweet as pie, but this country crooner is no Carrie or Kelly. None of her performances have really resonated beyond the standard ”First of all, you look beautiful tonight.”
Song she should sing next: ”Merry Go ‘Round” by Kacey Musgraves
7. Lazaro Arbos, Age 22
Code name: ”Bow Tie”
Our take: The Cuban immigrant with a stutter is way out of his league and barely knows any songs, yet manages to rake in votes from viewers who are sympathetic to his causes (school bullying, the color pink).
Song he should do next: ”Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers
8. Devin Velez, Age 18
Code name: ”Not Interesting Enough”
Our take: Unless the bilingual Chicagoan is singing in Spanish (”Somos Novios”), it’s impossible to remember much about his efforts. He’s hovered near the bottom for weeks. So talented, so boring.
Song he should do next: ”Beautiful Liar” by Beyoncé and Shakira