American Idol 12- Sir Mac’s Top 10 Guys Power List

I’ve dramatically underestimated a few contestants going into the sudden death rounds. It’s hard to predict how the judges will pick their top 5, but a little easier to guess how America is going to vote. Also, America has had the opportunity to react to all the contestants, and we can tell who they agree and disagree with.

10) Curtis Finch Jr- Any way you cut it, Curtis was given a negative edit in Hollywood. Couple that with a large number of black male vocalists, and it’s likely that the least likeable one of the bunch is certain to go home. Also, Curtis has already had a pimp spot, and is unlikely to receive another this week (same with Cortez). It will be an uphill battle for him, and I just don’t think he’s got a chance. Can anyone really see Curtis doing those phony car commercials? WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Honestly, he has to seem genuine and real, and stop making ridiculous faces during his singing. He would need to probably do a ballad, strip it down and sing it clean, and really pour out his heart to America. The only way America would vote for him now is if he asks for forgiveness.

9) Lazaro Arbos- The general opinion is that he stole someones spot. Universally, I haven’t seen anyone say that Lazaro’s vocal was one of the top 5 of the night. He received a 28 on WhatNotToSing, considerably below Bryant and David (and even Mathenee). Plus, in a season of sob stories (Charlie and Burnell included) it seems as though Lazaro might get passed over. This isn’t Charity Idol, we’re trying to pick someone whose album we might buy. Would you buy a Lazaro album after his performance of Tonight I Wanna Cry? WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Honestly, I’d do something in spanish. Also a ballad. His accent is a bit distracting, and I imagine he sings in spanish beautifully. If he were to do that, he might have a chance of confusing enough voters to make the top 5 this week.

8) Nick Boddington- He can’t be considered a lock for the top 5 just because he’s a white guy. Nick doesn’t seem to understand how to properly choose songs for this competition. I’m not convinced Nick will choose the right song to get him into the top 5. If America had voted last week, I think he’d be going home. I think if that happens again this week, Nick will go home. WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Sit behind the piano, with the right song. That’s what got him noticed in round 3. You have to play to your strengths this round, as half the guys are going home again. Now is not the time for risky song choices. Show America why the judges put you in the top 40 in the first place.

7) Charlie Askew- Like Lazaro, Charlie is a shaky vocalist. The difference between Lazaro and Charlie is that Charlie has had a full week off of TV for America to forget how awful he was. He also didn’t steal a spot from Bryant or David. Charlie also seems to have a few more people who genuinely enjoy his singing. It’s still an uphill battle for Charlie, as song choices like Rocket Man will continue to make it difficult on him making the top 5. He could very well be a wildcard though. WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Honestly? Let someone else pick his songs for him. Rocket Man just isn’t cutting it. I don’t think Charlie knows who he wants to be as an artist.

6) Cortez Shaw- Again, he lacks the pimp spot of last week. His vocal was OK, but not amazing. Cortez and Elijah are really battling against each other for the “current artist” spot, and Cortez also has the added battle of Vincent, Burnell, and Curtis for the black guy vote. Burnell and Vincent are better singers, and they’re likable. I think there’s still a spot in the top 5 for Cortez, if Elijah is awful this week. WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Keep it current, go up-tempo, and shoot for sexy. That’s really the only way he’s going to get votes. He’s not a Josh Ledet. He’s more like Ne-Yo.

5) Elijah Liu- A weak vocalist, who has an unrealistic expectation of his potential within his falsetto range. Sure, he’s cute, and he’s the token asian in the group. His strongest direct competition is Cortez. Elijah is by far the weakest vocalist (least amount of potential) in the top 10. He’ll need to stick to pop songs and keeping it current to attract voter interest. WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Honestly, Elijah and Cortez could both get cut. Just because you’re current (Stefano) doesn’t mean America will fall in love with you right away. Either one of them might need the wild card to get through. Elijah just has to stick to pop.

4) Devin Velez- I’m a little worried about Devin. His personality doesn’t seem to be magnetic, and he doesn’t make that connection with the viewers. There are definitely stronger personalities beneath him on this list. I feel like I might be ranking him too high on this list, but I also can’t deny that he was the best performance in his week. That should garner him some goodwill with viewers, but this is not a sure thing. WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Prove to America that he’s a real person. At this point, we know he can sing, but we don’t know much about Devin’s personality. He should try and do a fun song so he can perform it a bit.

3) Paul Jolley- He seems to have a decent fanbase. The producers have twice painted him as scraping through, first in round 3, an then again last week when he had the mysterious tie against no one. He’s definitely not being pimped. They even threw his song to Lazaro, thinking maybe Lazaro would show him up. He might be the only white guy in the top 10 this year, but the producers are working hard to make him seem like an underdog. WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Song choice is key. Obviously, he knows he needs to keep it country, but he also needs to convince America to vote for him. Sitting on a stool is going to make it hard for him this week.

2) Vincent Powell- After a breakthrough performance last week, Vincent has had a ton of buzz. I think there’s this idea that he came out of nowhere too, and is a nice alternative to people who don’t understand the hype behind Burnell. He’s also a genuinely nice guy, where Curtis is the complete opposite. WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: Keep doing what he did last week, and he’ll sail through.

1) Burnell Taylor- I literally saw people posting during the first week on twitter about how upset they were that Burnell wasn’t singing. Then people were tweeting during the second episode that Burnell hadn’t sung yet. Burnell is the one “hyped” sob story that might actually make the top 10. He hasn’t let us down yet, even if he wasn’t at his best last week. WHAT HE NEEDS TO DO: He’ll be fine, as long as he’s on pitch. I don’t see a top 12 without Burnell. Even if he sucked and America passed on him, the judges would wildcard him through.

Coming tomorrow: The girls!


Contributor to EIC of, Contributor at Holds a BA in Film from the University of Central Florida.

  • Kesia Monteith

    It’s funny, I can’t say whether I agree with your ranking or not, because I think any of these guys can be in the top 10. I don’t know if that shows how even the competition is among the guys…Or how bad the guys really are :p

  • cheese1

    I agree that the guys seem to be on a pretty even playing field.  The better singers have less going for them in other areas, and the cuter guys can’t sing, cry too much, etc. 

    Burnell left the most favorable impression on me during the last round (not his best vocal, but he had a bit of “it” and a nice tone), so I hope he makes the top 10.  I don’t care which other four make it.

  • John Rocketship Potter Clayton

    I agree. To varying percentages. i tried to pick the ones with the best shot though as the higher ranks.

  • aj rabin

    I doubt the producers care which guys to pimp as its all about the girls to them. I mainly agree with this list but I would switch Curtis and Elijah. Elijah almost certainly not making it unless he somehow gets the pimp or next to pimp spot. As for most of the guys it all depend who sings towards the end.

  • raya

    If we’re talking how I think the guys will rank in terms of scoring votes, I’m guessing you have Lazaro too far back on the list.  While there were many complaints online about Lazaro getting through, he’s also one of the most popular on social media.  Plus backstory and cuteness and etc., I can easily see him being voted through unless all the other guys magically come alive tomorrow night.  Not to mention if the judges finally get real with him and it comes off as a “harsh” critique so to speak, then that will spark more sympathy.  I’m not personally a fan of Lazaro’s voice, or what he has put forth on the stage so far, but I’ll be shocked if he gets cut pre-Top 10.

  • forwarddad

    I agree. As we have found out on this show; personality trumps talent. At least in the early rounds.

  • ptebwwong

    I actually think there’s one guy that’s already a lock to make it. Lazaro. I think he will still make no matter what he sings or even if he is a trainwreck. He seems like a nice person, but right now IMO he wouldn’t deserve to be in the top 10. But the majority of guys don’t deserve to be a finalist.

    Also, I don’t see any possible way the voters will vote all 3 of these guys in (Cortez, Burnell, & Vincent). Even if all 3 have great performances, knowing the recent Idol contestants who have been voted into the finals I can’t see all 3 contestants making it in.

  • Kody Baker

    I actually disagree with you a lot. I don’t think Burnell is at the top of the leader board, I’m not even sure if he will make it this week. Devin, will make it i’m sure. Vincent is going through, and I’m pretty sure Paul Jolley will go through. If Curtis performs again this week like he did last week, I’m pretty sure he will make it and if Nick Boddington performs well this week he will go through. I don’t think Elijah has a chance at all. I think the last place will be a fight between Burnell and Nick. Lazaro or Charlie may get through on popular vote but I don’t know. My ideal top 5 would be: Devin, Curtis, Vincent, Nick, and Paul or Burnell (although it will probably be Lazaro). It will be easier to know for sure after we hear all of them perform.

  • raya

    Plus the other thing to keep in mind is that this is the first week viewers get to vote, which means that the Idol fans who usually vote and powervote have been itching to get going for the last few weeks.  This is the first week they get to show their love and devotion for their faves.  So even if their faves literally take a big dump on stage, they aren’t going to let that deter them.  So bringing us back to Lazaro, it’s too early for his fans to get complacent and accidentally let him slip through the cracks when they haven’t even had the chance to vote yet. 

  • fuzzywuzzy

    “Plus, in a season of sob stories (Charlie and Burnell included) it seems as though Lazaro might get passed over. This isn’t Charity Idol, we’re trying to pick someone whose album we might buy. ”

    I’m not a fan of Lazaro’s singing either, but as far as the Idol viewing demographic goes, I think that there will be a LOT of them who will empathize with Lazaro and want to ‘mother’ him along in the competition. Plus, his backstory can be viewed as an inspiration to young people with speech disabilities. He’s already leading the guys by a wide margin in twitter followers, and I think that he may be a sure thing for the top 5.

  • maxie10

    Burnell is the number one spot for me.

  • richiek88

    IDK next to Lazaro, I think Burnell is the 2nd most popular guy. I think both of them are locks. Curtis would be a lock if it was for Vincent, he will be in the top 10 over Curtis. I think Elijah will be in it along with Nick.

    The top 5 will be and this is probably wrong be Lazaro, Burnell, Vincent, Nick, and Elijah. 

  • tigervixxxen

    I agree, I think Lazaro will be tough to get out at this stage. They’d really have to put him early in the lineup and give him weak praise and try to minimize his backstory as much as possible. This all doesn’t sound very plausible. I think he’ll take Elijah’s spot who hasn’t had much screen time. As much as I’d like Nick higher on the list because I do like piano guys it’s probably not likely he makes the cut either. Cortez or Charlie could take Devin’s spot but they’d need the pimp spot or the like to do that.

  • Jake W.

    I just want Charlie to make it. I’m giving him one more chance to not screw it up like last week. As for Lazaros, he will be very hard to get rid off. I see him being the only one making top 5 for sure. 

  • Stefan Wind

    Who cares? Hopefully, barring any male wildcards, that the first five eliminations in the Top 10 are all guys. I badly want a female winner, but the producers made it pretty obvious that they want one even more badly by presenting the voting public with this pathetic group. 

    With that being said, the dramatic gay country singer cough Paul Jolly cough cough has the most interesting voice for me. With that being said again, I hope he makes it no further than Top 6. 

  • CB40

    These male vocalists are just putrid compared to the girls this year and so many from seasons past. 

  • too-cool-for-school

    By America’s vote, I predict Paul, Nick, Lazaro, Devin and the last is a tough call, but I will say Vincent.

    Curtis, Charlie, and Elijah are not likely to survive. Burnell does seem popular but I don’t know that he is on top… and could easily be one to fall by the wayside if he gives a mediocre performance. The judges will keep him though. Cortez is cute and maybe via the judges that will carry him, because his voice sure ain’t gonna do it.

    Could be wrong but there’s my speculation. :D

  • CB40

    You know what song would be PERFECT for Charlie if he can actually pull it together? Carry On by fun.

  • jammasta

    I’d go with Burnell, Paul, Charlie (I think he deserves another chance), Devin, and Nick.

    Paul’s probably got the most appealing voice to me this season so I kinda hope he wins, but he’s gotta cut down on the drama. Theatrical and country mix, sure, but no more tears.

    ….Can we just have nobody win this season? Only 3 people are somewhat interesting to me so far, and I don’t see either as really winner-ish (Zoanette, Paul, Devin). 

  • H.A.

    Burnell and Charlie are the most interesting in the bunch. Vincent is a great singer but I don’t see the AI demo pulling through for him. I don’t think it matters which boys goes through one of them will surely win. ;)

  • Cory Patrick ??

     Okay, for me I’m not a Burnell fan. I think he’s okay, but again I don’t see the hype about his vocals. That’s just my opinion. Same thing goes for Lazaro, he is not a good vocalist to me. He is hyped because of his speech, and although it’s amazing what he can do with his impairment he is not that great of a singer.

    I think the female contestants are much stronger, and the only male contestants who I want to see advance is Vincent, and Devin.

  • LeahKittyS

    I’ve been dropping by the Top 20’s Twitter pages. Burnell and Lazaro are locked into the finals based on their Internet followings. I’ve liked Burnell’s performances thus far and while Lazaro has been very wobbly in his singing, I love seeing him on TV and really think he can improve if given a chance. Curtis and Vincent have very small followings, but they wouldn’t be big losses for me, especially Curtis who is a little too haughty (to put it nicely) for my taste. Paul has a decent sized following, so his odds are good for the finals. That leaves two more guaranteed spots plus one possible Wildcard, and beyond the 3 I think are in for sure, I couldn’t care less who gets them. If I absolutely had to fill those spots with men, I would pick Nick and Cortez based on their Hollywood work, and Devin just so I wouldn’t have to listen to the folks here complain. Charlie’s following isn’t very big, and I don’t care at all about Elijah.