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!