13. Jermaine Jones
After receiving the ”incredible second chance” to join the top 12 guys last week, Jermaine somehow sailed through to America’s top 10 with his operatic bellowing of ”Dance With My Father.” But could a deep baritone with a gospel bent work on Idol? How white is too white, in terms of pants on a giant? Will Jermaine’s mom overshadow him as a character even though he is a giant? Discuss.
12. Erika Van Pelt
Already the winner for Best Makeover, Erika needs to ”let loose” (according to J. Lo) on a Whitney Houston song teenagers will want to vote for. Letting loose should be easy. The teen part, on the other hand…
11. Jeremy Rosado
Here’s a teen now! The emotional hug monster from Florida is J. Lo’s wild-card pick. ”America, meet Jeremy. Jeremy, meet America,” boomed Randy after Jeremy’s cover of Sara Bareilles’ ”Gravity.” Will America vote for this NICE BOY (two words prominently displayed on posters whenever he’s on stage)? Hard to say: They just met.
10. Elise Testone
The Girl With the Room-Service Hair Flowers was the only one of four contestants to pull off an Adele song last week — ”One and Only” was a decent though not flawless showcase for the dynamics and potential of Elise’s bluesy voice. J. Lo called her ”maybe the best singer here.”
9. Shannon Magrane
Lesson learned: You can never go wrong with a Christian song in a virginal white dress, even if both are from 1995. Is ”16-year-old volleyball player Shannon Magrane” the new ”high school student Aaron Kelly”? I’ll ask Ryan Seacrest as soon as he’s done flirting with Shannon’s famous baseball dad.
8. DeAndre Brackensick
Best in Hair, a.k.a. Steven Tyler’s 17-year-old spirit animal, might be better off picking a tune that’s not overwhelmingly high so his lovely falsetto can be more of a pleasant surprise. I know he’s a wild-card pick, but think about it: Ladies love him, tweens adore him, and he’s a ”safe sex symbol” who just needs to stop gesturing through his hair. OR DOES HE? Maybe that’s how he communicates!
7. Heejun Han
I didn’t like it when dungeoness crab Jimmy Iovine called Heejun Han’s intentions into question. Just because the kid has a sense of humor doesn’t mean he thinks the show is named American Comedian. Everyone knows it’s named American Adele. Heejun wouldn’t be in the top 13 if he couldn’t actually get through to people while the music’s on.
6. Hollie Cavanagh
This tiny bright-eyed woodland creature powered it up more than expected on Christina Aguilera’s ”Reflection.” Little girl, big voice? ”She’s gonna be one of our frontrunners,” J. Lo promised. Now creep on over here, dear — it’s time to let your hair down for Uncle Stevie.
5. Joshua Ledet
I love a man who can make a smoothie, so I was sold on ”Mantasia” even before he started in on Jennifer Hudson?s ”You Pulled Me Through” last week. He was wild yet eerily controlled with his ya-ya-yas and ecstatic high notes. J. Lo was so thrilled with Joshua that she decided she wanted to punch him. Could be good for ratings!
4. Colton Dixon
He has skinny rocker legs, kids love adorable furry animals like the one living on his head, and he tweets Bible verses. A true triple threat.
3. Skylar Laine
I’ve never seen a contestant so desperate to get people to have fun that she ends up simulating her own mental breakdown, but somehow this really worked for Skylar on last week’s rendition of ”Stay With Me.” She’s a country rocker, y’all! And she can’t breathe in that party favor she’s wearing as a dress!
2. Phillip Phillips
I don’t really care at this point if he’s copying Dave Matthews’ style — he’s a young kid with his own voice and his own face and neither are unpleasant to take in. I loved the tranquil watery background that matched the gentle waves of his growling on last week’s ”In the Air Tonight.” I admire anyone who can growl into a high note à la Haley Reinhart, so it was almost like I’d been waiting for this moment for all my life.
1. Jessica Sanchez
Even with swollen vocal chords, Jessica was pitch-perfect on Jennifer Hudson’s ”I Love You I Do.” Her lower register (the one that started out the song) is much weaker than her terrific higher range, but once she got going this turned into of the most memorable songs of the week. She’s young, cute, hungry, and loves to shop at the mall. I can see her winning it.
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