Sir Mac & MJ hash out their American Idol Top 9 power lists! Join the discussion in comments below.
MAC: 1) Alex Preston- As if there could be anyone else. Alex has had two strong weeks, and has been pretty consistent throughout the competition. As long as he keeps making smart artistic choices, as opposed to reggae renditions of I Don’t Wanna Be, he should be a lock for the finale. Diverting back to odd song choices and bizarre arrangements could derail his chances. But, that would still mean someone else would need to step up.
MJ 1) Alex Preston - Finally, Alex sits at the top of my list. For me, personally, there’s still something lacking in his stage presence. But, more than the other contestants, there’s something about Alex that’s resonating with Idol fans. He’s earnest and unique. There’s an honesty and authenticity about him that makes him relatable. He could win the whole thing.
MAC: 2) Jess Meuse- Alright. I’m gonna finally give this girl props. She’s managed to never be in the bottom, even on weak performances, and her performance actually charted on Itunes (one of only 3 people to see their performance trend). I’ve twice predicted she would be in the bottom, and twice been wrong. So, I’m now projecting she’s the tops! Unlike CJ, one of the remaining contestants never technically in the bottom, she didn’t make it through based on wildcard. Maybe she’s here to stay?
MJ: 4) Jess Meuse - Jess is a little further down the list for me, because there are other contestants who are delivering more consistent week to week. But Jess is the real deal, and even when she performs early, or has a problematic performance, she stays out of the bottom 3. Like Alex, she’s demonstrated artistry on the show.
MAC: 3) Jena Irene- Two strong back-to-back performances make me think that Jena is our Haley Reinhart of the season. She’s the fighter, who despite bottom appearances, will end up in the Top 3 of the competition. I wasn’t a huge fan of last weeks performance, but I saw a lot of people who were. Considering last week was pretty disappointing, kudos to her for rising to near the top.
MJ: 5) Jena Irene - Jena scores lower on my list, because I felt there was something missing in her performance last week. I think “Clarity” was a great song pick for her, but she wasn’t as vocally strong or confident as her “Decode” performance was the week before. So far, I’ve only really liked her when she’s sitting behind the piano. I’m still on the Jena train, however. The studio recording of “Clarity” is A+.
MAC: 4) Caleb Johnson- Something wasn’t right about Caleb’s Edge Of Glory last week. He felt off. It seemed off. It was almost as if Caleb was performing with the flu or something. It was a low energy performance, which is shocking for Caleb (who is trying to be as silly as possible). If Caleb doesn’t snap out of his funk, he’s going to lose all the steam he was working so hard to build up.
MJ: 2) Caleb Johnson - Caleb’s performance last week was a misfire, I think, due to a poor arrangement. He’s still the most consistent performer of the remaining contestants, so I have him sitting behind Alex at #2. I expect him to bounce back this week. He’s also the best at working the stage with confidence.
MAC: 5) Malaya Watson- It’s time for me to pull Malaya off my shitlist for Runaway Baby. she’s been pretty strong every week since then, and her cover of If I Was Your Man ended up one of the top performances last week. Malaya is the dark horse this season, coming back from a very weak start and emerging as an unlikely contender (at least for a Top 3 upset). I’m still positive she can’t win the whole thing, even if Alex starts messing up.
MJ: 3) Malaya Watson - Malaya was VERY strong last week! And if she stays on a roll, she could remain at the top of my list. Like Caleb, Malaya is a very energetic performer. Most of her problems stem from youthful exuberance, but the beautiful dynamics she displayed in “If I Was Your Man” could mean she’s learning to rein it in.
MAC: 6) CJ Harris- CJ was quite dreadful last week, and yet he was still safe. I was 100% sure CJ would hit the bottom for his pitch-less performance of the Hunter Hayes diddy, and yet his fans kept him safe. I think his time will come. You can only sing off pitch for just so long before your fanbase eventually gets tired of saving you on the grounds that “he’ll do better next week”. Mark my words, CJ Harris is not long for this competition if he continues to ignore his pitch issues.
MJ: 7) CJ Harris - Oy. CJ. He was so sharp last week. And what a lame song choice. He’s falling down my list, because his problems don’t seem to be fixable–at least not in the short term. I said this already, but CJ should leave the pop country to Dexter, and stick with country blues. Honestly, I think his weeks are numbered.
MAC: 7) Sam Woolf- I’d call that a nice rebound from last week. I still don’t think Sam connects to his songs the way he needs to, or has the stage presence required to win the competition. If Alex wasn’t around this season, it’d be easier to be impressed with Sam, but with Alex around it seems more like Sam is the weakest link every week. He’ll be lucky to make the top 5 at this rate.
MJ: 6) Sam Woolf - He performed last, and the judges supported him. Obviously, they want him to stick around. “We Are Young” had it’s moments, but he’s still not connecting to what he’s singing, or performing with much verve. I agree, the former front runner could wind up a middle packer. Or a shock boot–in which case the judges would save him.
MAC: 8) Dexter Roberts- I’m 99.9% certain that Dexter’s fanbase will pull him to safety this week. That being said, Dexter needs to rally his support by choosing better songs so he can make it further than Top 8 week. He’s made it to the middle of the pack by being average, but he needs to be extraordinary to rise to the top. There’s a difference between Scotty McCreery and Bucky Covington, and Dexter needs to be more like Scotty, and less like Bucky.
MJ: 8) Dexter Roberts - WHOA. I was SO SURE Dexter’s fan base would keep him out of the bottom 3 last week! I came just thisclose to calling people who thought he was in danger crazy. Look who’s the dumb one! But I agree, Alabama will rise up and keep their guy safe this week. Also, expect him to play it SUPER SAFE this week, with an extra dollop of pandering.
MAC: 9) Majesty Rose- I hope I’m wrong, and I hope Majesty can survive for another week. I honestly believe her performance last week was NOT in the bottom 3 (in terms of quality), yet she was there… and back-to-back. Not only did she perform well enough to be safe, her fanbase should have triggered (like Sam’s did) to save her. Unfortunately, her fanbase is apparently really small, and couldn’t save her. As much as I love Majesty, it looks like her time is up soon, unless we have a shocking elimination this week, or unless Majesty can pull out a “moment” and save herself. She was almost there this week, but didn’t quite nail it. This week, there is no room for error. She has to hit a home run, or she’s going home.
MJ: 9) Majesty Rose - I think Majesty has lost her nerve and confidence. When that happens, elimination is just around the corner. I sincerely hope Majesty can reverse this downhill trajectory she’s on. Right now, the competition is messing with her head. Her problems are all psychological. If the Majesty we met at the beginning of the competition doesn’t come back, she could be eliminated this week. The good news for her: The judges would surely use their save on her.
MAC- I normally don’t respond, but I felt I had to. I really like the judges save, but it should be used to save someone whose elimination is actually surprising, not just disappointing. Majesty leaving this week would be what statistically should happen. She’s been in the bottom two times consecutively, and if America sends her home this week, while I would hate it, I would hate it even more if the judges wasted their save on someone who was in the bottom for 2 weeks prior to their elimination. America didn’t forget to vote, they just aren’t digging Majesty.