The final 12 performers have been chosen and when they heard they made the cut, they wanted just one thing: to be the next American Idol. So, what are their chances? Will it be a male or female singer who wins the coveted title? Like previous years, this year will be no different when it comes to crazy antics, unusual song choices, and shocking eliminations. All four judges, (Ellen De Generes joined this season), will be looking for each singer to “have that moment” with their song. Let’s see how the new crop measures up.
Siobhan Magnus: Unorthodox in her style, Simon’s “funny little thing” performs by seat of her pants. She sounds good, depending on her choice of song (I liked how she performed House of the Rising Sun). Cute as a button, but can she win? I don’t think so. She may be a bit too quirky, or, as Simon says, “strange.”
Tim Urban: This Texas guitar-playing contestant is a replacement for disqualified Chris Golightly, part of Idol’s first major controversy. According to mtv.com, Golightly was embroiled in a contract dispute and by the time it got resolved, Golightly was out the door. Enter, Urban. He has the looks but he’s not a serious contender.
Katie Stevens: She’s like one of those cute, wholesome teens, but I don’t think she knows where she fits in musically. Talent is great, but you need stage presence, too, and that is what I think she’s missing.
Aaron Kelly: Here is another teen (16 years old) trying to sing big boys songs. Kelly likes country, so he knows what genre he’s good at, but again, the “inexperience factor” is key. Vocally, he can be a bit pitchy, at times. I say a definite “no.”
Casey James: Country is his niche and he happens to be the best guitar player the show has ever seen. James has had some decent performances, so, I’m expecting him to kick it up a notch with some straight-up rock and roll. And, maybe some southern rock, to feature his soulful sound. He’s definite in the running.
Paige Miles: Simon said this Texas native has the best voice of all the girls. She’s a soulful rocker who can deliver a song, so she does have the talent. Paige’s challenge will be to chose songs that have that “wow” factor and make an impression on the judges. Chose carefully, Paige, cause you are a force to be reckoned with.
Lee DeWyze: As a fan of Dave Matthews, I was impressed with De Wyze’s likable performance of Owl City’s Fireflies, a la Dave Matthews style. So were the judges. And they suggested that he embrace rock, (we have heard this before). Getting down and gritty with some good old-fashioned rock and roll may catapult him away from the crowd and cause him to be a stand out. Remember Daughtry?
Lacey Brown: I like the whole look Lacey’s got going on…the bright red hair. Her sound is unique and nice, like Dido. She definitely has got that quirky factor working for her. Two things. One, I was surprised not to see Lilly Scott, who had the Dido thing going on, as well as played her own instruments and sang better. And two, I don’t think Lacey will be strong enough to hold her own against some of the better vocalists who will be performing different styles of music and showing their versatility.
Andrew Garcia: No doubt Garcia is talented and very creative the way he arranges a song. His rendition of “Genie In A Bottle” was Santana meets the Gypsy Kings-nice combo. I really like his stage presence, too. He has a strong YouTube following. I would like to see him concentrate on his vocals a little more. Garcia is one to watch.
Didi Benami: Based on the judges reaction of Didi, we have yet another case of good vocals, but no distinguishing qualities that sets her apart. Randy said he wasn’t feeling the star power. Uh oh! She needs to find something quick to establish her prowess. She has the pipes.
Crystal Bowersox: Her style is soulful with a folk twist. Her vocals are strong. She plays the guitar. And, she can skillfully deliver a song. This is Crystal Bowersox who Simon compared to former Idol and recording artist Kelly Clarkson. I think Crystal has star quality, so my money’s on her.
Michael Lynche: In his well-executed falsetto, Lynche connected with the song This Woman’s Work, drove it home and received a standing ovation. That was the turning point. Ellen De Generes dubbed him “the one to beat.” His solid performances and dynamic stage presence will be tough to match. He could run away with the title.
When it gets down to the wire, I see Crystal Bowersox and Michael Lynche duking it out for the crown. Although some of our favorites did not make this lineup (and we always wonder why), this is a strong field and anything could happen. You just have to stay tuned until the last show and keep those votes coming in.
Rhonda Manning, www.mtv.com, www.usatoday.com, Associated Content.