First off, I’ve decided to include contestants I know didn’t make the Top 40, much like Slezak at Idology. Because, Kez Ban ultimately deserves to be on any power list made right now. By anyone. Even if you PERSONALLY didn’t like her, her audition has generated so much buzz, it’s impossible to find 20 other people who would deserve slots on the list. If Idol doesn’t explain to me how she got cut in Hollywood, I’m going to put gum in Ryan Seacrest’s hair. I’m going to be doing this weekly, while MJ will continue to do recaps of the actual shows. :)
Caution: Some spoilers ahead…
20) Zoanette Johnson- National Anthem- Oklahoma City- 208,945 views
There’s no such thing as bad press when you’re trying to stand out among 300 other people. While Zoanette is viewed as a laughing stock right now, everyone does know who she is, and there’s something to say for that. While you’re trying to remember other contestants, and what they sang, and what their last name was… Zoanette is memorable. Thus, she cracked the list.
19) Ashlee Feliciano- Put Your Records On- New York City- 167,077 views
I really hope she comes back next year. I feel like she’ll do really good next year. She’s a sleeper hit, that’s for sure, but I think she’s got “semi-finalist” written all over her… just not this year.
18) Charlie Askew- Breakthrough/Nature Boy- Baton Rouge- 166,867 views
He’s story over substance right now, as Breakthrough wasn’t strong enough to put him through. Nature Boy made him a keeper, but I struggle with the idea that Charlie can survive a voting round (or be in the top 10 boys).
17) Seretha Guinn- Fresh Prince of Bel Air- Charlotte- 175,718 views
Her cool rendition of a rap song, mixed with her heartbreaking story, and a tiny child who was super adorable have combined into a supernova that maxes Seretha memorable. However, there are better singers. And as Andrew Garcia proved… there is such a thing as a one trick pony on Idol.
16) Matheus Fernandes- A Change Is Gonna Come- Long Beach- 368,203 views
If he got to the voting stages, he’d be someone to worry about. People who haven’t seen Glee Project connected with his story, thinking he was really an innocent child. People who have seen Glee Project know he’s whiny and annoying. I’m guessing we figure this out fast in Hollywood.
15) Paul Jolley- I Won’t Let Go- Baton Rouge- 91,576
When Country Guys Attack pt 1. Also, potential frau bait. He reminds me a lot of Phil Stacey mixed with Clay Aiken. Both of whom did very well.
14) Ashley Smith- Cowboy Casanova- Charlotte- 222,326 views
We all thought this girl was going to be terrible, and she was actually pretty good. I’m hoping she stirs up some awesome group round drama.
13) Jimmy Smith- God Bless The Broken Road- Charlotte- 83,397 views
Strong male contestant. Even Nicki couldn’t ignore his talents. Possible frau bait.
12) Angela Miller- Mama Knows Best- New York City- 243,639 views
Her strong audition has resonated with both critics and idol fans. Plus, she’s got a sob story to boot. She’ll stay memorable for a while.
11) Christina Isabelle- Summertime- New York City- 128,744 views
Idol lists her now as just “Isabelle”. She’s losing parts to her name as we speak. Changing her name over and over is going to make it hard for people to remember her, but she is one of the most technically talented people in the group right now.
10) Adam Sanders- I’d Rather Go Blind- Long Beach- 160,307 views
Speaking of technically talented… Adam Sanders “Go Big Or Go Home” audition puts him high on the list. He took a big risk and gave everything he had. I think he’ll fizzle fast, but right now I’m grading only his audition.
9) Jesaiah Baer- Slow Down- Long Beach- 140,850 views
Her jazzy rendition in the middle of a fire crisis was all anyone was talking about in her episode. I hope we don’t just lose her in the crowd in Hollywood. I’m invested in this girl. I want to know what happens.
8) Nate Tao- For Once In My Life- Oklahoma City- 113,796 views
He has the distinction of being adorkable, and standing out in an audition city that didn’t produce any real standouts. He’s self-depricating, and has a really good voice. He’s not a star. I think if he made the voting rounds, he’d be a top 20, not top 10 finalist.
7) Rachel Hale- People Get Ready- Long Beach (no official video… for some reason)
Everyone is talking about Rachel Hale. I don’t really understand it. I think there were better girls, but Rachel has a strong buzz right now heading into Hollywood week.
6) Johnny Keyser- Try A Little Tenderness- Chicago- 237,378 views
I’m basically ranking him this high due on part to his large fanbase last season. There are new frau bait people, so it’ll be interesting to see if they still care about Keyser.
5) Janelle Arthur- Where The Blacktop Ends- Charlotte- 80,806 views
Gave off a Carrie Underwood vibe. I think this girl is a contender. I believe it in my soul that Janelle can win this thing.
4) Burnell Taylor- I’m Here- Baton Rouge- 249,465 views
He’s taking the Joshua Ledet spot right now. I think he’s a strong contender for the Top 10. I’m not sure if he can win, but he can definitely come close.
3) Candice Glover- Syrup and Honey- Charlotte- 146,298 views
I’d love to see her in the finale. Honestly. I’m worried about her getting knocked out early (like Mandisa/Lakisha/JHud). Hopefully she can go a bit further.
2) Kez Ban- I’ve Got No Strings/ Wandering- Chicago- 424,940 views
Everyone is talking about Kez Ban. I would have LOVED to see Kez Ban given the voting rounds. I hope Idol does her justice and puts her through next season. I know it’s scary sometimes to have an artist on the show, but Kez Ban is the real deal.
1) Lazaro Arbos- Bridge Over Troubled Water- Chicago- 1,996,798 views (he has over 48K on his Road To Hollywood)
Everyone is talking about Lazaro. The boy with the stutter. 1.9 million views don’t lie. He’s the standout right now. That being said, I don’t think he’s a front runner. I’m just naming him as the most memorable audition heading into Hollywood Week. I think we’re going to see standout performances over the next two weeks that will change his ranking. But right now, he’s the only Idol over a million, and he’s almost over 2 million. You can’t ignore that in a power rankings list.
Honorable Mention: Schyler Dixon, who has somehow managed to get 19,394 views for her Road To Hollywood, despite not having her audition shown. The average views is around 2K, and that’s for contestants who had their auditions aired on TV. Some contestants have Road To Hollywood’s with as little as 300-400 views.