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Handicapping American Idol II

Millions of people watched tonight as the top 12 contestants were named on American Idol. We're down to 6 girls and 6 boys. Longtime Wizbang readers might remember I have a decent eye for talent when it comes to Idol.

Here is the low down on each contestant. In Alphabetical order:

The Girls
Paris Bennett is a bit of a wildcard. From a long line of semi-famous musicians and singers, she has -even at 17- what so many thousands of contestants lacked; that ability to bring you into her world versus her protruding into your living room. An incredible performer and a cutie. If a 17 year old CAN win Idol, she'll be the one to do it.

Mandisa apparently only has one name. Not sure why that is, but it goes with that whole commanding Diva thing. She'd never win a swimsuit competition but she has a voice and is a good entertainer. I suspect she'll be around a few more weeks and have a good career in the biz. When asked about an Idol win, my magic 8-ball said: "Outlook not so good."

Katharine Mcphee was actually my "Carrie Underwood pick" this year. From the moment I saw her I thought she was going to make it far. Being gorgeous and having a mom who is a voice coach never hurts. I don't know if she has what it takes to make it all the way. She lists on her bio her "toughest obstacle in life" as being "overcoming personal insecurities" and it shows. Great performers (as opposed to good performers) have abundant self confidence. She has the look and the talent, but does she have it inside?

Kellie Pickler is this year's blond country girl. The comparison to Underwood is obvious and she's sure to get a few extra votes on Carrie's coattails. Simon even said he prefers her to Underwood. The reason of course, is that Underwood could never pull off the sexy (ahem, trampy) look no matter how hard she tried. Pickler gives that raw edge credibility. She's got a better than a 50% chance if she keeps it up.

Lisa Tucker is the youngest contestant at age 16. She turned in a stunning performance a few weeks ago and has been riding that a bit. I don't think a 16 year old can win Idol but she has a bright future in the business. Every time I hear her sing I say, "She's incredible, for a 16 year old." At some point she has to be plain incredible.

Melissa Mcghee. Repeat after me... Florida has 20 electoral votes. Florida has 20 electoral votes. She's a good singer, not a great singer. She is not a star. But being form a populous state has it's advantages. It means you get to stay and basketball girl from Massachusetts goes home.

The Boys
Kevin Covais OK America, it's not funny anymore. Now, Stop.

Bucky Covington is a very, very, very good singer in a contest to find a great singer. He could lead a good regional band and make a good living with his music. I just don't see double platinum in his future. This next week is going to be a big challenge for him.

Chris Daughtry He's a winner if the show gets cancelled tomorrow. He's got a contract waiting for him no matter the voting. Having said that, I don't know if he'll win. His first album goes platinum 1 year from today. It's not that he's IN-credible but he is obviously credible.

Taylor Hicks If you look up wild-card in the dictionary, you see Taylor's gray head in the mug shot. Next week is Stevie Wonder so unless he is a complete moron he'll make it another round. Where he stops I have NO clue. I can't exactly see him winning though. Because while I'm sure he has TONS of support (including in my household) I can't help but think his negatives are high too. SOMEBODY will give him a record deal just to see what happens. I'd even give iTunes Music Store a few bucks to get it.... Even if he is not my favorite. The guy was clearly BORN with something. I don't know if he is a Stevie Wonder or Ray Charles but clearly his brain interacts with music on a completely different level than everyone else. Just the length of this paragraphs tells you he is interesting and that plus a few stunning songs might make him the most unlikely American Idol yet. (Ok, I'm pushing that.)

Elliott Yamin I can't figure him out. Great voice but seemed to be streaky in the performer department. And for the love of God would he do something about that hair?!?! His goofball haircut along with the lighting director's insistence on using a blue hair light on him makes him look like a smurf.

Ace Young OK... I'm far from queer. And I'm not into that long haired look. But this guy is gorgeous. And he has a very, very good, if slightly untrained, voice to match. A falsetto virtuoso in Idol terms but I fear he is a one trick pony. Next week is Stevie Wonder. You 17 year girls in the audience can book it that he makes it thru that round. If he can control his (otherwise great) voice a bit and pick the right songs, he might be hard to stop.

And now my annual disclaimer:

While I picked my favs, any one of them can be sent home on the basis of one bad song. They must not only sing well but continue to improve.

Winning AI is similar to winning a campaign, you have to get votes... that means appealing to a base. There is NO WAY that Bo Bice and Constantine Maroulis will be the final 2. [Of course not, they were from last year's post. But I was right last year and it still applies. -ed] They are both 29 year old, hard rock, white males... They will bump each other... thems is the breaks.

I remind people of that because when good people go home, it will probably have as much to do with genre and demographics as talent. (In other words, no whining)


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Comments (20)

Taylor is who I want to win... (Below threshold)

Taylor is who I want to win, but the closest I'll guess it is down to the final four: Chris, Ace (or Taylor, if I'm being hopeful), Paris and Mandisa.

Beyond that, I make no predictions.

I agree that Chicken Little... (Below threshold)
DAWN KATE:

I agree that Chicken Little, The Mayor of Munchkinland, the Davey and Golitah reject or whatever you want to call him NEEDS to go home!! His singing is HORRIBLE! I am sure he is a nice person and the chess club is cheering him on but I don't care for his singing.
HOW did he get where he is? It's not JUST the granny vote. Randy, pill poppin' Paula and Simon made that choice weeks ago.
SHAME ON THEM!

That little goober would be... (Below threshold)

That little goober would be an absolute STAR...at any high school musical production. He'd bring down the house. But that's about it.

I'm on the Taylor bandwagon, too, his song choice has been more original than anybody I've seen on the show (admittedly have only watched this year and last). And it's good that he's got the Ray Charles thing a little more under control.

I don't think she'll win, but Mandisa can sure sing, her song this week blew everyone away.

Oh, and didn't Bo sound like crud last night? He needs to take a couple of months off and not sing or probably talk at all.

Mandisa is the most talente... (Below threshold)
lakestate:

Mandisa is the most talented woman they've had in the history of AI (young Aretha clone,) Katherine has little charisma, but could pull off the upset. Elliot is the best pure singing voice of the men - but doesn't have the charisma to win over the teenybopper votes (and let's face it - they're the ones who really vote.) Chris will appeal to rockers whereas Ace appeals to the teenaged and 20 something girls... so Ace may have the edge there - but not on raw talent alone. Gidgeon got robbed, he's as talented as any of the male singers. I thought Bo sucked last night even though I was a big supporter of his last year.

I dont come to this blog fo... (Below threshold)
heymike:

I dont come to this blog for american idol updates. I have never seen a minute of that stupid show--cut the crap

What heymike said. Please p... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

What heymike said. Please put the Hollywood fluff in Wizbank Pop, not here.

Wow. People already complai... (Below threshold)

Wow. People already complaining about where someone posts something. Paul has been at Wizbang! for a very long time. I think he has a right to post what ever the hell he wants. If you don't want to read it, scroll down. You wasted your, and mine now, time by posting pointless comments.

*climbs down from soapbox*

My favorite to win is definately Taylor. I managed to find his CD and then found mp3s of the CD. I love his personality and his singing ability. I truely hope he goes a long way.

Taylor comes off too phony ... (Below threshold)
lakestate:

Taylor comes off too phony to me (his "trade mark" smile with his head on his shoulder, etc and the woos! drive me nuts.) He's a Joe Cocker wannabe. Better than average voice, but no Michael McDonald. He does blow a mean harp though.

I like Elliott. You're righ... (Below threshold)
Jim:

I like Elliott. You're right about his looks, but I think he has a pretty good voice, he doesn't do all that melisma and oversinging that so many men feel the need to do ("I said AAAA AND BBBBBBBBB AND THEN A CCCCCCC I SAID CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCC"). He also seems like a nice guy. When he picks the right songs, no one's better than him on this show. Moody's Mood for Love was a classic.

With the women, I like Mandisa, not most of the others. They're kind of forgettable.

Apologies. This is not my h... (Below threshold)
Old Coot:

Apologies. This is not my house and the owner can put the furniture anywhere he wants. It was also rude of me to interrupt the Valley-Girl chatter. I'm gonna ban myself for 24 hours as punishment.

I love Bo, but I don't love... (Below threshold)
NCGal:

I love Bo, but I don't love his single... please let him sing his own music!!! Valley of Angels is the best song on his CD... a song HE wrote.

As for this year's AI... Mandesa warms my heart everytime I hear her sing. I look forward to her performances every week.

Being from NC I am a big supporter of the 3 NC contestants and they are makin' us proud!

Then my pick is Taylor Hicks. But can't wait until the stylists get a'hold of him! :-))

KATE DAWN, you said "Randy,... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

KATE DAWN, you said "Randy, pill poppin' Paula and Simon made that choice weeks ago.
SHAME ON THEM!" Great Point! But shame has a name and it is(was and for years to come will continue to be): DAVID (and the less said...)! WINNER: Mandisa's to lose though the dark little girl (name?) with the pedigree has nice tone. 2nd place is Elliott Yamin: excellent range, could pull upset. 3rd: The shaven one has the pipes but has a definite comfort zone he seems unwilling to leave (if an amateur singer doesn't have an early 70s soul tune in his repetoir to show his range he MUST be hiding something! Billy Paul, the Chi-Lites, "Love Won't Let Me Wait", "Who's That Lady?" DA BEST!) MOST-OVER-RATED: Taylor! If your gonna imitate Ray Charles AND Joe Cocker could you AT LEAST sing better than ME? And yes, we noticed you didn't even attempt Elton's three-octave run on "Levon". Why chose the song then?? GOOBER! (p.s. Bush sucks)

Paul, BTW Good Post! The co... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Paul, BTW Good Post! The complainers who bother to post messages are obviously repressed homosexuals whose time would be better spent perusing tranny mags at the local adult bookstore.

Re: Bo and Constantine from... (Below threshold)
Jude:

Re: Bo and Constantine from last Season, I was in the audience in LA recently to see Constantine perform with his rock band, and his "special guest" for the evening was Bo Bice; they rocked the Roxy together and left no doubt that BOTH are legitimate rockers, so they probably DID split that base in last year's AI competition.
However, I also saw Constantine in his U.S. debut solo shows in Dec and found myself jammed in between fans of his from 8 to 80 yrs. old who had come to New Jersey (his home state) from all over the U.S. and even as far away as Australia and Brazil to see him perform!
There were grammar schoolers, theater geeks, Sinatra and swing-era grandparents, fans from AI (of ALL ages), singles, families ..Constantine has an incredibly eclectic fan base; they come for different reasons-to hear him rock out to The Doors and Stone Temple Pilot, swing like Frank Sinatra, do beautiful classic love ballads, soulful original music from his band, Bob Marley in dialect or belt out One Song, Glory from his lead role in Rent.
In the words of a Philippino newspaper editor following Constantine's solo tour there in November, he has the perfect mix of "vocal pyrotechnics, rock star theatrics and animal magnetism" to excite even the most deadbeat concert goer.
So while the 'ideal' American Idol may be someone like Carry Underwood who sticks to one comfortable genre, those finalists like Constantine who have the combination of vocal strength, stage presence AND versatility, can also turn out to be sure winners in the end.

Totally agree with Jude abo... (Below threshold)
lucene:

Totally agree with Jude above ... I was in that audience that Constantine and Bo performed for and it rocked! I realised that sometimes the whole structure and stress of American Idol sometimes does not show what a person really sounds like in the "real world". None of these current people excite me like those two performers did, I'm sure they all can sing much better "out there"... but, unless he messes it up totally, I think Chris Daughtery will win this season.

Jude and lucene are...MR.HO... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

Jude and lucene are...MR.HO!!!

I saw Constantine in concer... (Below threshold)
audrey:

I saw Constantine in concert once. I was blown away by how incredibly good he was. I think he has that "it" factor. Not sure I ever saw how talented he was on AI - except maybe when he sang Bohemian Rhapsody. (Someone told me that Queen asked him to do the remake of that song)
I think that they should have choosen the top 12 vote getters and not the top 6 boys and top 6 girls. I think overall that the boys are more talented than the girls.
Little Kevin needs to go home... but I agree...he would bring down the house at a school play.

My money is on Chris.

i think elliott is going to... (Below threshold)
nikki:

i think elliott is going to win
hes got the best voice out of anyone in the competition !

Taylor is an interesting fe... (Below threshold)
Bergeed:

Taylor is an interesting fellow all right! I wonder if anyone of you have put any thought into the fact that he may just be autistic. He shows so many charestics of an autistic preson including the ability to excell in the one thing that he loves the most. Music!

Taylor Hicks didn't come in... (Below threshold)
PJ:

Taylor Hicks didn't come into the audtions saying " Hey look at me I am Joe Cocker and I sound like Michael McDonald". The Judges started that whole thing! He is being himself, I have seen him perform a couple of years back and he is still the same now as he was years ago, but much better live.




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