Idol Chat with M&M – Top 8 Power Rankings

Sir Mac & MJ hash out their American Idol Top 9 power lists! Join the discussion in comments below.

Mac: 1) Alex Preston– I gotta keep ranking him #1 on the power list due to consistency. I think both Jena and Caleb are making strong waves, and it is possible that with strong momentum they can collapse Alex’s consistency, but fans seem to be voting this season on a week-to-week basis, and Alex doesn’t just scrape by, usually. He’s probably a solid bet for the Top 3, even if Caleb and Jena continue to be powerhouses.

MJ 1) Alex Preston – I’m still not convinced he’s a star. And although his take on “Don’t Speak” didn’t land well for everybody, Alex is delivering solid, interesting performances.  I agree, he’s very consistent, and even if you don’t like a performance, you’ve got to admire his willingness to take risks.

Mac: 2) Caleb Johnson– Caleb came back this week, and rocked out with an expected tune. Plus, Caleb doesn’t have the unfortunate task of performing Rollin In The Deep this week, which I know belongs to Jena. I can’t help but wonder if Jena is about to get the short end of the stick, after a series of awesome performances, whereas Caleb will be able to phone in a rock performance and skate through. In the end though, I don’t know what a season with a winning Caleb would look like. Caleb needs to be afforded the chance to lose, and form a band (yes, like Chris Daughtry), rather than continuing to go alone as a solo artist.

MJ: 2) Caleb Johnson – Caleb did a great job covering Led Zepplin. He’s the most compelling entertainer left in the competition.  He understands how to work the camera and that performing is more than just great vocals.  I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t make the Top 5 at least. But, like Alex, I’m not sure he has the potential to be a star, or even a compelling front man. I may change my mind when he performs his original song this week. What would a Caleb win look like? Similar to Taylor Hicks, where he makes his living performing live, either on stage or in a spot like Las Vegas.

Mac: 3) Jena Irene– Again, I’m worried about Jena redoing Rollin In The Deep this week. I just don’t see how that can help her, and she might even wind up in the bottom again. If Jena can slide through this week, she’ll be able to get back into her groove, but I’m worried about her song choice this week. If Jena was to be the lowest vote getter, there’s a chance she’d actually be saved on the strength of her past couple performances. As it becomes more clear that the save won’t be used on people like Sam and Dexter, it looks more likely that Jena could be the first wildcard to get saved.

MJ 3) Jena Irene – She’s singing a pretty overdone song. It’s too bad she didn’t sing an original for her audition.  I hope she’s considering playing the piano this week, or mixing it up a bit. I’m not too worried about her being the lowest vote getter when there are others performing worse than she is at this point. I agree, if she lands at the bottom I think there’s an excellent chance she’ll be saved.  She’s had some great performances lately, and she performs well when her butt is on the line.

Mac: 4) Malaya Watson– Malaya’s fans are growing, and she escaped the bottom this week after performing a really slow song. Jess is stalling, Dexter is coasting, Sam is dipping, and CJ is sharply done, so Malaya is the only one left with an upward trajectory. I’m a little concerned about this week, mainly because I’m not sure her audition was amazing enough to stand out this week.

MJ: 4) Malaya Watson –  She has momentum right now and may be able to coast a week on a bad performance. But then, this is season 13 of American Idol, where the contestants are living and dying by their performances, rather than invested fan bases that are voting for them week in and week out.  She had a beautifully modulated performance last week. Let’s hope she really learned her lessons well and doesn’t oversing Aretha Franklin this week.

Mac: 5) Jess Meuse- Still has never been in the bottom. Even though she’s been coasting, and average, for most of the competition. She’s got fans, but she can’t win without cranking it up a notch. Luckily for her, she gets to perform an original song this week, a first for the voting rounds. People will finally be able to buy Blue Eyed Lie on Itunes. She should be safe this week.

MJ 5) Jess Meuse – I have a feeling Jess is going to shoot up my list next week.  “Blue Eyed Lie,” the original song Jess sang for her audition, is fantastic.  There’s a very good possibility that our girl from Slapout is going to SLAY this week.

Mac: 6) Dexter Roberts- Coasting. Obvious song picks. Pandering. It’s working so far, but once Sam and CJ go home… can Dexter survive? I remember his audition being good, but it wasn’t quite a stand out audition. If Dexter can make it through this week, he needs to do what he promised us a long time ago and “Dexterize” a song.

MJ 7) Dexter Roberts – Meh. Dexter isn’t going to win, or even make the Top 3, but I think CJ and his pitch problems, and maybe even the boring Sam, will be eliminated first. I’m not convinced the judges would save him, either. His lack of originality alone should send him home–something that both Keith and Harry have called him out on.

Mac: 7) Sam Woolf – Good news for Sam. He gets to perform Lego House this week. The last time Sam was a buzzed about contestant was during his audition. He was arguably one of the most memorable auditions of the season, so this week should actually allow him to rebound a bit. In the long run? He can’t win. He has no emotional connection to any of his material, and is consistently the most boring performer on stage. Acctually, not only do I not think he can win…I don’t think he can make the Top 5.

MJ 6) Sam Woolf – Hm. “Lego House” sounded pretty good when it was just Sam, his guitar, and the judges sitting inches away from him. I’m betting the performance, now on the Idol stage with a band to back him, will be dull and lacking connection, just like his other competition songs. Nostalgia for that first exposure to him will rule the day, though. I don’t think Sam will be eliminated after singing the song that endeared him to fans in the first place–which is why I have him ahead of Dexter on my list.

Mac: 8) CJ Harris– I think its time for CJ to go home. I think America has figured out that he has pitch issues, and they’re ready to send him home. His audition was pretty strong, but I’m not sure that will be enough this week (unless voters completely abandon Jena and her Rollin In The Deep). It seems like it is time for CJ to go home.

MJ: 8) CJ Harris – Put a fork in him? Maybe. He’s always pitchy, which the judges always point out. At first they cut him slack. But that’s over.  I think America will figure they shouldn’t be advancing a singer in the competition with such obvious flaws. He’ll hit the B3 this week, at least.


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

  • inmyslumber

    Matt Giraud was a wildcard that was saved.

  • Guest

    I think they saved Matt so that the save wouldn’t be wasted. Simon actually said, if i remember correctly, that he has zero chance of winning that season.

  • Tinawina

    I think Alex has gone early to mixed reaction and still hasn’t hit the seal so he’s in a good place along with Caleb and (probably) Jess, who has not been exciting at all but has not hit the seal anyway. I agree that she is poised to make a big comback this week after performing her orginal song.

    I can’t get a handle on where Jena really is. I like her but not as much as some of y’all. Ditto Malaya. She’s done well the last few weeks but what happens the first time she doesn’t? I can’t see her winning,

    I don’t really see star in anyone left yet. Malaya would be good on a TV show and Alex sounds fantastic recorded, but other than that I don’t think anyone actually deserves the crown other than sorta by default. Jena certainly seems to want it the most and tries the hardest IMO so I kind hope she finds her inner star power and brings it home I guess. Besides her Caleb seems to be trying hard to entertain too. And Alex is taking chances. But nobody is all there yet.

  • pj

    I agree with these ranking. Would prefer for Sam to go home over CJ, but I think the writing is on the wall. I am interested in Jess’ original song. Missed the auditions. I have to say, I am enjoying this season. I may be the only one. :-)

  • Marko

    Poor Sam. At least he sings in tune :)

  • Marko

    Yes, they only wanted to create some drama.

  • cableknitgal

    I predict Jena having a rough night. Harry pointed out that she rolls her tongue to produce that “accent” she has. It’s what causes her to swallow her words sometimes. What the judges advanced in auditions may not fly on the idol stage. Sam is case in point. Malaya should be safe. She had a good audition and now working with the coaches she should be even better. Dexter should be safe. Jessica’s original packed a punch during auditions because she was “the one woman show” who had to do it all. With a band behind her to take that persona away? May not be as spectacular as some are predicting. I really like CJ. Yes he has pitch problems but he is better than Dexter. Caleb’s should be interesting. If he were wise he would keep it stripped down instead of the big showcase he is known for. Alex needs to shed the guitar. Go solo or play a different instrument. He’s going to be safe so why not take it to a different place?

  • b_james

    I still think they should’ve saved Majesty.

  • cableknitgal

    I didn’t see star potential last year. Not even Candice or Kree. I do see Alex being an indie star, and I could definately see Jess fronting a band. All Jena needs is some Selena Gomez level marketing and grooming. Caleb could do worse than front an older band in need of a singer (look at Adam). In short I see alot more potential for career making with this year’s group than last’s.

  • dawnage01

    I’ve always believed in Jena and think that she’ll slay her performance tonight. I also think that she’s improved tons since her audition. I agree that she twists the words, but (at least to me), she’s learning when to use that and when not to. Plus, she has a song which allows her to use her big range which many of the other singers don’t have. Jena has fandom momentum & judges’ support so she’s a lock.

  • Eilonwy_has_an_emu

    Eh, I’m seeing CJ Harris as this year’s person who’s always at the bottom of Idol pundits’ rankings but who skates all the way to Top 5, singing sharp with deep authenticity and earthiness.

    I wouldn’t be sorry to be wrong, but I also wouldn’t be sorry to see Sam Woolf go home first. Woolf’s performances sap my will to live. I always feel like my grandma has sat me in front of a grainy black-and-white video of an old TV performance and is saying: “This was big when your mother was in middle school and I can’t understand why she didn’t like it.” And I’m all “I totes agree with Mom, can we turn this off now, pls?”

  • onlooker

    Why? She does not know where she is going. She was not getting the feedback which could have given her direction. She did not watch her performances after the fact which, if she did, she would have found out were not as perfect as she thought. She did not do any research in the media to see what the audience thought of her.
    She has some talent which she needs to work at honing and she needs to realize that it has not all come together as yet. Basically, she needs to get out of “la la land’.

  • b_james

    Honestly, she was one of the few contestants left that didn’t bore me to death. I actually wanted to root for her, I enjoyed many of her performances (I’ll admit none of them have been perfect since Tightrope), and I love her itunes recordings.

  • Roimeister

    Shock-boot Season has unofficially begun!

    but…. at this point, the only shock-boots available are Caleb, Jena, Jess, and Alex and I just don’t see any of them falling below the fodder that’s left… unless there’s a major meltdown…


  • fuzzywuzzy

    where the contestants are living and dying by their performances, rather than invested fan bases that are voting for them week in and week out

    I think that some of the contestants do have “invested fans” this season, but because of the voting limits, they can’t cast 10’s of/ thousands of votes every week, so their influence has been minimized.

  • onlooker

    I see your point. For me, they almost all “bore me to” distraction. I’ll use the word distraction instead of “death” because I am still here. But I know what you mean.

  • chillj

    What accent?

  • Marko

    Which I actually appreciate this season.

  • Marko

    Lol. There are some contestants with that kind of “super powers” to turn color TV picture to black & white. I felt the same way with Anthony Fedorov in season 4 and Hollie Cavanagh in season 11.

  • Larc

    Taking nothing except basic vocals into consideration, I think Sam is the best of the bunch. But it unfortunately ends there. It’s not so much that his performing is bad as that it’s practically nonexistent. He may as well be a robot.

  • Pat H

    The thing about Jena singing Rollin in the Deep is that the TV audience will love ir. Idol audiences love familiar songs! I am more worried about Jess!

  • Marko

    I agree 100%. On a plus side I find his Chandler Bing creepy smile kind of endearing :)

  • Pat H

    Absolutely agree! For the first time, since AT & T was a sponsor, every voter is equal. I am voting more than I have since S8. It is fast, easy, and I feel like they count! Yes, I am voting for my 3 favorites every week. Sometimes even before they perform! LOL!

  • Larc

    I would be shocked by Jena or Alex getting eliminated, but not so much by Caleb or Jess. Their vocals sound more generic to me. The judges would probably save either of them, though.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    In the early years of Idol, viewers could pretty much take that for granted. Not so much in the past few years, and particularly this year, when someone who is so consistently out of tune as CJ (probably the worst of any Idol contestant ever) has advanced to the Top 8.

  • Marko

    Exactly right and I’m puzzled why is that. Even the infamous Sanjaya sang (mostly) in tune compared to CJ. In the “good old days” 2 crappy performances = elimination.

  • tomr

    But at least he doesn’t scream.

  • MarySNJ

    I would call Jena’s “accent” an affectation. Jena’s pronunciation is odd, slurred, and sometimes sounds gargle-y (and not pleasing) to my ear because she swallows the words. I think it sounds fake which is why I can’t get into Jena’s performances.

  • MichaelG

    I’d say the only shock boots, imo, would be Caleb, Jena or Alex. I like Jess…lovely voice and she has a nice style. But she is hot and cold as far as her performances. Quite boring too, actually. I don’t think her performances have been great, or even very good. And she does have the talent.

  • weareallinnocent

    I don’t know about worst in Idol history. But, I guess we’re not counting those who created their own key, like Lee?

    I like CJ. He’s not sounded that bad to me. And, yes, I can hear “pitch.” :-) CJ draws me in with all that soul.

  • MichaelG

    Nice rankings. The season has been pretty predictable, thus far. A shock boot might make things a bit interesting…but not sure I see that happening. This is how I see them dropping (not saying this is how I want it):

    7. CJ (eh…but it could be farm boy)
    6. Dexter
    5. Sam
    4. Jessica
    3. Alex
    2. Malaya
    1.Jena/Caleb finale (it might even be a bit exciting with these two…)

  • weareallinnocent

    NO! :-)

    I could go with Dexter, Sam, Malaya, CJ going home in the order I just listed them though. Then, the Top 5 would be my favs (sans MK, snif, snif.)

  • shell29

    You know it’s a rough season when the finalists get praised simply for singing in tune. That’s the least that should be expected from an Idol finalist (or so I thought).

  • maymirabella

    I agree with the rankings this week. I just know I want a guy to go home this week and not another girl. There are only 3 girls left and 5 boys, time to send a male home this week, I hope.

  • fuzzywuzzy

    I have to say that CJ is worse than Lee (but not by a lot). I like CJ’s studio recordings, where they have cleaned up his pitch and his expressiveness comes through, but his live performances are painful.

  • steve2013

    the simple fact she has been in the B3 i wouldnt say Jena would be a shock boot. As i just think even with this new voting system it’ll be someone that hasnt been B3 that wins