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Handicapping American Idol III

Note: This is 3rd season I've done this. See also Season 4 and Season 5 for my previous takes.

American Idol season six has, so far, been the most lackluster in several seasons. Call it happenstance, poor judging or perhaps this is the year VoteForTheWorst.com finally hit its stride; whatever it is, this season has been boring. Last night the contestants where reduced to 12 and of those, about 8 have no chance.

So if you can stay awake, here's this year's handicapping in apathetically random order:

Blake Lewis AKA the Beatboxer. One of the few contestants worth watching, he's an interesting guy and he'll make more than a few bucks off this but he's not going to be this year's Idol. And am I the only one who thinks he and the Heat Miser were separated at birth?

Phil Stacey He's bald, he's a decent singer and he missed the birth of his kid to make the auditions. But that's about all anyone knows or cares about. He'll stick around a few weeks because some of the final 12 are horrific but he's not going all the way.

Chris Sligh Ladies and Gentleman, you're witnessing greatness geekness in action. Chris is -by far- the most interesting of the contestants. He's potentially the best male vocalist, which admittedly is a dubious distinction this season. But what makes him so interesting is that he's playing American Idol like Richard Hatch (the fat naked fag) played survivor; he's playing the game to win. He has studied Taylor Hicks path to success last year and is hoping he can make lighting strike twice in the same place. His teletubbies/Il Divo snipe at Simon was planned months ago but used too early. Realizing he could potentially lose votes, he fell all over himself the next week apologizing. He's trying to play Idol like a game of chess. It's fascinating to watch (to me anyway) and I actually like his voice, having said that, I think he'll go no further than the top 3. - But I could be wrong.

Chris Richardson Is there room for two Justin Timberlakes in the world? He's a decent singer who'll stick around for a few weeks, he'll probably have a decent career launched from Idol. I'm having trouble seeing him past the final four.

Jordin Sparks Go ahead and remember her name; she'll be big as the years progress. She's 17 which is young to win the whole thing, but her future is extremely bright. Sometime during season 7, Ryan Seacrest will give us numbers on how well her debut album is selling.

Stephanie Edwards Here we have a contender. With the (stunning) loss of Sabrina Sloan last night, she's got a more open field. My "problem" with her is that she's a bit of a niche singer. She's very good at it, but that type of music doesn't have the broadest appeal. Another singer who doesn't need to win to make a living in this biz.

Brandon Rogers The male backup singer might not be ready for the spotlight just yet. He's not going double platinum next year but his career is sure to get a boost from the exposure.

Haley Scarnato Who? Simon said he didn't know her name and neither did I. Wonderful, wholesome, girl you wished lived next door looks, but doesn't have the "YO" factor. If she could hit one out the park next week, she'd stick around but I just don't know if she has it in her.

Sanjaya Malakar I hate VoteForTheWorst.com. I hate VoteForTheWorst.com. I hate VoteForTheWorst.com. A nice enough kid but geeze, someone get the hook and put us out of our misery.

Gina Glocksen The judges said they wanted edgy and edgy they got it... but as Simon said, she might have lost much of America with that performance. Another singer who has a career from Idol. She's got talent, not Grammy talent, but talent. She's not going all the way.

Lakisha Jones If Lakisha had a "made for TV" body she'd be a serious contender. As it sits she's going to be in the hunt for the final four but will be hard pressed to make it to the top. (Although the voting has been wonky so who knows) Clearly one of the best vocals.

Melinda Doolittle OK call me a bit biased but this girl is the only one worth talking about. Her range is incredible, her enunciation is phenomenal and control is amazing. She is -by a long shot- the best vocalist. Assuming we don't get another shocker vote, (damn you VFTW) she is this years odds on favorite.

I've said for about 4 weeks now that winning this year was going to be tough if you're not a black female. So far that seems right on.

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. Sabrina Sloan went home this week but probably would not have if Stephanie Edwards where not in the race. Having two of "the same" singers meant they split the vote.

Having said the above, the voting this year as been horrific. As I've hinted above, I think votefortheworst is actually big enough to have some impact in the early rounds where many people don't vote.

So in the past, I've said "No whining" but this year people might have a real reason to... if we can stay awake long enough to get attached to anyone.

Lorie adds: I hope Paul doesn't mind me sticking my nose in here, but I am an avid Idol watcher and have been since season 1. I agree with absolutely everything Paul said. The point about splitting the vote is one I made last night when explaining to my kids how some of the good singers (Sabrina in this case) could end up getting sent home and I am surprised that the judges have not made a reference to it when commenting on some of the more "surprising" votes. I also strongly agree that this year is lackluster. Good singers, but few with originality. With the exception of the rocker chick, the beatboxer, and Chris Sligh it seems to me the contestants all fit the pop/R&B mold. I miss having a country artist in the mix, but that is just me showing my bias. One last comment -- Simon is going to have to stop "100 percent" promising contestants they will be back the following week because this year I don't think you can say that about anyone.


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Comments (21)

I too was shocked when Sabr... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I too was shocked when Sabrina went home. She sang well, had great stage presence and was very easy on the eyes. I wouldn't underestimate Chris Sligh, as the weeks go on, he will clean up his act. Plus, when they have theme shows such as disco, country, etc., I think he can transition into that genre easily. Melinda Doolittle is absolutely my fav. She is humble and very talented. I wish she had a neck. ww

LOLWW, I believe y... (Below threshold)
Paul:

LOL

WW, I believe you're one of the folks, I called a moron on an earlier thread... if so, with that comment, you went a far way to demoronifiying yourself. ;-)

P

No problem Paul. I have bee... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

No problem Paul. I have been called worse and probably deserved it a time or two. ww

They need to bring back the... (Below threshold)
Eric:

They need to bring back the Wild Card round. I think Sundance got robbed by Sanjaya. Every Indian in America must be dialing in to keep him in the competition.

Now that VFTW has made him their posterboy he may end up winning the whole thing.

You're kidding right. You r... (Below threshold)
disbelief:

You're kidding right. You really pay that much attention to a stupid TV show?

her annunciation is phen... (Below threshold)
Brian:

her annunciation is phenomenal

I assume you meant enunciation.

ooooops crap, thanks Brian.... (Below threshold)
Paul:

ooooops crap, thanks Brian.

Paul, Votefortheworst had b... (Below threshold)
jwehman:

Paul, Votefortheworst had both Antonella and Sundance as their picks, and both went home. In fact, Sundance should have stayed longer, despite VFTW. So, in effect, maybe VFTW has the *opposite* affect on its picks.

VFTW has absolutely no bearing...never has and never will.

You're kidding right?... (Below threshold)
Paul:

You're kidding right?

Antonella and Sundance should have gone home weeks ago. They also had Sanjaya and he beat both A. J. Strata and Sundance.

I've stopped watching this ... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

I've stopped watching this season.

All of the final 12 combined have the personality of pocket lint. Honestly, I've watched from the start and even to this day none of them have made enough of an impression for me to even know their names. In fact, the wife and I had to come up with different names because we couldn't remember their real names. The one who made the TeleTubbie reference? No clue what his name is. I called him "Jack Osbourne" because that's who he looked like. There is the Timberlake look-a-like from Virginia. I can remember where he is from easier than I remember his name. He's "Justin". The African-American female with the close cropped haircut?--she's the "Fantasia wanna-be" only she utterly forgettable. Barba was "Barbie" and the other girl cut last night was "Gloria Estefan--30 years ago".

The other big girl with a big voice? "Aretha". She's got pipes but nothing new.

The one with the colored hair and the judges wanted to be "edgy"? She didn't even rate a name. She's just "the biker chick".

The one Simon couldn't remember? I don't remember her either. She didn't even rate a nickname.

The young kid who shouldn't have made it out of Hollywood and wore that stupid hat? "Hair Boy"

I gave them these names because I was so unimpressed by all of them that I didn't want to waste the brain cells to remember their names since they were obviously going to be voted off. Their performances to date haven't changed that opinion.

I don't want to see another Timberlake clone. I don't want to see or hear another Gladys or Aretha wanna-be. Talented? Sure, but you can find Aretha singer belting singers in every choir in every church in America. Dull. Dull. Dull.

The Idol folks need to speed things along. Wrap this up in 3 nights next week. First night, cut all the males as even the best male doesn't have the singing chops of the worst female. Second night cut half the females. Which ones doesn't matter. Randomly pick one of the remaining three, give her a contract for a year and bury her deeper than they did the second place winner from the first season.

My prediction? It doesn't matter who wins this year. No one will remember them by next season.

Didn't watch any of the pre... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Didn't watch any of the previous seasons at all, but I caught the tryout episodes this season to see the freak parade, and I kept watching because of Chris Sligh. And after his Teletubbies, Il Divo comeback, I'll keep watching until he's axed. Then I'm done.

Geekness indeed.

I agre 100% that Doolittle ... (Below threshold)

I agre 100% that Doolittle is the class of the field. Aside from (perhaps) Lakisha or Stephanie, no one can touch her. And her story is irresistible.

It was quite apparent to me that Sanjaya truly understands that he is still in this competition illigitimately -- his face really gave it away.

As for the comment about "a stupid TV show," once the field gets down to twelve, those of us that interested in musical talent like to watch the birth of a star. I mean, this ain't "Flavor Flav."

>The one Simon couldn't rem... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>The one Simon couldn't remember? I don't remember her either. She didn't even rate a nickname.

Yikes, and I thought I was harsh. ;-)

(BTW She's "Disney World Singer" in our home. Can't you see her in a Belle costume singing with that plastered on smile?)

Worst season ever! Melinda... (Below threshold)
Sarahk:

Worst season ever! Melinda is the one to beat and she CAN SING,,,but she has no potential star personality (and no neck, I agree). Worst season ever absolutely! Lakisha has the voice that millions of other young black women have. Nothing new. The guys are the worst and will all be voted out. I think they should end this show now while they can go out (somewhat) on top.

I think you're selling Laki... (Below threshold)

I think you're selling Lakisha a little bit short there Sarah. Even Simon is complimentary (in as genuine a way as he is capable of conveying).

Wavemaker, he is being a ta... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Wavemaker, he is being a tad hyperbolic but not that much...

There are *thousands* of large black female "church singers" who can keep up with her. Go to basically any black southern baptist church on any Sunday and you'll find one. or two. or three.

Didn't watch any o... (Below threshold)
Didn't watch any of the previous seasons at all, but I caught the tryout episodes this season to see the freak parade, and I kept watching because of Chris Sligh. And after his Teletubbies, Il Divo comeback, I'll keep watching until he's axed. Then I'm done.

Eerie. I could have written this myself.

Tuned in to the Festival of Delusions (AKA "open tryouts") with the intention of turning it off when they got to Hollywood, but got interested in Sligh, whom my family has nick-named "The Brillo Pad" because of his hair.

Lakisha Jones and Melinda D... (Below threshold)

Lakisha Jones and Melinda Doolittle are the ones to beat. They are an order of magnitude above everyone else in the competition.

And at the end, it will be Doolittle because Jones' body is lumpier.

I NEVER watch this show--ne... (Below threshold)
T. G. Scott:

I NEVER watch this show--never ever. I have enjoyed some of the talent that's come out of it like Carried Underwood and Bo Bice. But I can't stand to watch people being humiliated. It hurts my feelings. They don't have to be cruel to them. If they can't at least be semi-cordial, just say, "Okay, thank you. Next...."

I can't stand to w... (Below threshold)
I can't stand to watch people being humiliated. It hurts my feelings. They don't have to be cruel to them. If they can't at least be semi-cordial, just say, "Okay, thank you. Next...."

The judges generally(1) don't do this. The snark usually begins because the auditioner is

(a) manifestly talentless,
(b) completely delusional about (a), and/or
(c) showing a lot of 'tude.

(1) and by "generally" I mean yes, you can find some counterexamples of underserved cruelty, but from what I've seen of the show, this doesn't happen as much as you might think. If the auditioners were reasonably well-behaved and polite to the judges, that is usually how they were treated in return.

This is an old debate, and I doubt I've contributed anything new to it.

I can't believe the amount ... (Below threshold)
TUNGINGROOVE:

I can't believe the amount of losers that actually get into this crap. It's a stupid tv show. Here's an idea, instead of parking your ass on the couch and worrying about some minimally talented loser who wants his 15 mins of fame, you go outside and deal with REAL people. I mean if you let some tv show be the major topic of conversation you seriously have to evaluate your life. IT'S A STUPID TV SHOW. Get over it, eventually it will be played out like everything else and maybe then people who actually like this kind of crap can get back to having a real life.




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