Saturday, March 18, 2006

American Idol - Fearless Predictions

So, in case you don't know, my wife and I have followed American Idol since the end of season 2 (The titanic Ruben vs. Clay steel cage match). We really got into it last year, watching faithfully every week. This year, no different. I like this year's group the best of all and I already have my favourites picked out. You can see the final 11 here. Here's my analysis of the top 11.

First, the ladies:

Paris Bennett - Put on a great show this week, singing Stevie Wonder (which they all did). She's got real talent, but is a little off/on week-to-week. When she gets the stuff she digs, she puts on the show like few others.

Katharine McPhee - has her as the favourite among the women. Why? Sure, she's got a good voice and Shania-like cheekbones, but she's no Mandisa. I could actually see her getting punted before the final 5.

Lisa Taylor - Paris Bennett with less energy. She's out within 3 weeks.

Kellie Pickler - I really liked her story and her early performances. When they announced Stevie Wonder was the artist this week, she made three mistakes: She picked a REALLY obscure tune, wore an ill-fitting dress and then proceeded to sing like she would rather be ANYWHERE else but on the stage. How she avoided the bottom three is a mystery to me. It's becoming clear that she cannot sing anything outside of country rock and this week's run at 50s tunes might be trouble, unless she does Elvis.

Mandisa - How can you not like her? Two weeks ago, she busts out a rendition of Chaka Khan's "I'm Every Woman" that Whitney WISHES she could have done. Week in, week out, the girl shows she can flat-out SING. I see Aretha Franklin 2.0 here and would not be surprised to see her win it all. In fact, I see her as the ONLY woman in the contest that has a chance to go all the way.

....on to the guys.

Ace Young - His rendition of Stevie's "Do I Do" wasn't THAT bad. How he wound up in the bottom 3 this week is beyond me. Ace has the George Michael looks and a really good voice. Plus, he can perform. Top 5, maybe top 3 if he gets on a hot roll.

Bucky Covington - It is criminal that Bucky's here and Gedeon McKinney is not. Sure, his performance of "Superstition" was OK, but I thought (and still think) he's a subpar country singer. His take on Garth Brooks' "The Thunder Rolls" a few weeks back was passable, but seemed to vault him to the Top 12. Out this week or next.

Elliott Yamin - Very good singer. Way too vanilla to get too much higher. Out before the final 8.

Kevin Covais - As bad as Bucky's presence in the Top 12 is, Kevin's is worse. Of course, he's got the support of Vote for the Worst, which means he'll be around to poison my eardrums for a few more weeks. Give him credit though, he made Stevie's version of "Part-Time Lover" (my personal least-favourite Stevie tune) sound great.

Taylor Hicks - How can you not dig this George-Clooney-meets-Joe-Cocker guy. A truly gifted perfomer, he delivered an awesome "Living For The City". I think he's bound for the top 3.

Chris Daughtry - My favourite from the first time I heard him, Chris is this year's Bo Bice with a zillion more chops. Oddschecker has him as the favourite to win and I can't disagree. Outstanding stage presence and a terrific voice, he just sounds like someone who should be making records.

I reserve the right to say that the song choice week-to-week influenced the final result but, based on talent alone, here's my predictions for the next eleven weeks. This is in order of elimination:

Week of March 20 - Bucky, March 27 - Kellie, April 3 - Lisa, April 10 - Elliott, April 17 - Katharine, April 24 - Kevin, May 1 - Paris, May 8 - Ace, May 15 - Mandisa, May 22 - Taylor - leaving us with the 2006 American Idol - Chris Daughtry.