Mac & MJ rank the American Idol 14 Top 16 ahead of this week’s Top 12 reveal. How would you rank the remaining American Idol 14 contestants? Sound off in comments!
MAC: 1) Clark Beckham – God, this is getting so close. Clark is gonna get dethroned if he doesn’t amp up his game. He’s coasting at this point, and Quentin has been coming out punching, while Quassim has been dancing his way to the front of the pack. This week was so close for me to pick the Top 3, but I gave the edge to Clark because Quentin and Quassim are so close in styles that they have to be sharing fanbases. Clark’s closest competitors are flopping around like dead fish. I hear we’re getting two wildcards, but if the Top 5 guys were Clark, Quentin, Quassim, Rayvon, and Nick… I’m not sure we would even need a wildcard. Clark needs to get current, fast. He’s clearly able to follow in Sam Smith’s steps, but he sings a lot of throwback songs. It’s time to change that, as soon as the theme allows it.
MJ: 1) Clark Beckham – Clark is still my number 1. I agree that he should mix in some contemporary song picks to show his versatility. But I like his song arrangements quite a bit–including his take on “Tracks of My Tears.” The thing about throwback songs–they earn votes vs less familiar contemporary fare. He shouldn’t ditch the oldies entirely for that reason. Regardless, Clark is still one of the best singers in this competition, hands down.
MAC: 2) Quentin Alexander – Quentin has gone from being a niche singer to being a consistently strong performer, which is a little what happened to Taylor Hicks back in Season 5. Dude had a great voice, but he started out a very quirky niche performer. Then he snuck up on you, and Soul Patrol was born. I think Quentin is a week away from creating his own mini-Soul Patrol, but he hasn’t had a drop-dead-perfect performance. Not one for the record books, anyway. With all his artistry on the surface, I hope Quentin can rework a song and show us what a Quentin Alexander album would sound like.
MJ: 2) Quentin Alexander – Quentin knows how to present a song! He doesn’t even need to move around the stage. It’s the way he carries himself. There’s a confidence and a dramatic flair in his performances that distracts from his vocal flaws. He’s got a limited vocal range, but makes up for it in his unlimited range of emotion. Quentin makes the best of everything he’s got. Unless he does something really weird this week, I can’t imagine him not moving on to the Top 12.
MAC: 3) Qaasim Middleton – Like I said, this 3rd place finish could easily be 1st place next week. I wasn’t comfortable, just yet dethroning Clark, and really deciding too much between Quentin and Qaasim. The two Q’s are both on upward trajectories. I question if Qaasim can turn it down a notch and deliver a strong powerful ballad. If he and Rayvon merged into the same person, they’d win Idol. For me, I need to see Qaasim tone it down and deliver a solid vocal without running around the stage.
MJ: 3) Qaasim Middleton – Quentin is so much fun to watch, and on American Idol, it’s really important to be a good performer. Most singers who dance either lipsync or perform to a backing track, so Qaasim is at a distinct disadvantage. I agree that it would be a good idea for him to stay still and sing a ballad, just to prove his vocal chops. Or that could be his undoing if it’s revealed that he actually can’t succeed with a straight singing performance. He should probably keep dancing until he makes the Top 12
MAC: 4) Rayvon Owen – He’s slipping. My Girl? Not the right song choice. He sang a boring song beautifully, and I’m worried he’ll need the wildcard to get through. I’m hoping I’m wrong and that Rayvon’s base is strong enough to get him through, but even Jena needed the wildcard. He needs to come back this week punching. Luckily, his audition song was awesome, so if he needs the wildcard, I’m certain he’ll get it.
MJ: 4) Nick Fradiani – I think Rayvon is going to be wildcarded. But I’ll get to that in a minute. Nick lacks some star power, but he’s a very enjoyable, consistent singer. I think he’s a lock for the Top 12 at the moment. But he’s got to mix it up soon. As far as his potential, he does have radio potential, but not on the pop charts. I agree, that’s probably not what Borchetta is looking for.
MAC: 5) Nick Fradiani – I don’t know why he gets harsh critiques while the other boys get free passes. Keith literally told Daniel Seavey to just keep doing what he’s doing. For me, Nick is consistent, but I think he’ll get an early exit. He’s older, and his style is definitely Adult Contemporary. I’m not sure he’d be on the radio right now, and I think Scott Borscheta wants someone he can market on his label. He’s gotta know Nick has no radio potential.
MJ: 5) Daniel Seavey – The adorable Daniel Seavey will need no help advancing into the Top 12, I suspect. At this point, he’s got people.
MAC: 6) Daniel Seavey– I could honestly do without all three of the boys in the Top 12, but I have a feeling one boy will get through. This isn’t me preferring Daniel, this is just me saying that “Daniel has a better shot at Wildcard than Mark or Adam”. Daniel Seavey is the equivalent of Tim Urban. Cute, potential, but there are just way stronger competitors. I’m not sure there’s anything Daniel can do this season to get better.
MJ: 6) Rayvon Owen – Rayvon is a better singer than both Quentin and Qaasim, and on par with Clark. Still, I think he’s going to need the wildcard to advance this week. His performances exhibit exquisite phrasing and skill, but his sweet soulful sounds just aren’t as exciting as some of the others. If America doesn’t vote him through, I hope the judges step in, because I think Rayvon is an extraordinary vocalist.
MAC: 7) Mark Andrew – He’s gotta prove he’s relevant, and can choose better songs to stay in the competition (if he does). I’m betting he goes home. I don’t think he can get the wildcard.
MJ: 7) Adam Ezegalian – Meh. His Jackson 5 cover was mediocre. But he just might make it through regardless. He’s a likable guy, and with American Idol audiences, that means a lot.
MAC: 8) Adam Ezegalian– Why is he still here? No wildcard potential.
MJ: 8) Mark Andrew – I’m not sure how Mark keeps advancing, because he seems charisma free to me. But it may be the end for the singer after his tuneless cover of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” last week.
MAC: 1) Sarina Joi Crowe– Sang a beautiful song perfectly. She’s had two very strong weeks. She’s the best vocalist and Jax’s slip-up this week allowed Sarina to solidify her lead in the competition. For the long run, Sarina will need to keep it current.
MJ: 1) Sarina Joi Crowe – Sarina-Joi is the QUEEN this season. I thought the judges’ critiques were way too harsh last week. I agree that she sang “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” darn near perfectly. Sarina has already demonstrated she can go current, so no worries there. I think she’s very marketable.
MAC: 2) Jax– I actually loved the reworking of Ain’t No Mountain High Enough, but not more than Sarina. Jax’s determination to be her own artist is why this competition needs Jax. Can she turn it around and win though?
MJ: 2) Tyanna Jones – Tyanna gets my second spot. Her song choice, “Rockin Robin” is basically a novelty song, (Megan Joy literally turned her performance of the song into a joke). but somehow, Tyanna made it fresh and fun. She’s an incredibly gifted singer, but young, and not as seasoned as Sarina, so she’s destined to follow right behind her all season.
MAC: 3) Tyanna Jones– Tyanna is shaping up to be the Amber Holcomb of the group. She’s that really great singer who could have won if there just weren’t two better girls ahead of her. In a different season where she’s not having to go head to head with Sarina and Jax, she might make the finale. There’s nothing wrong with her, and I could see her even outpacing one of those girls. The thing is, with Sarina and Jax performing and getting noticed, I feel like Tyanna is never going to be “the best girl” in the competition, or even for the week. She’ll always be second or third best. This week? She was second best for me, outpaced by Sarina. I’m still glad she’s here, but it’s becoming clear to me she’s not going to win this season (and neither is Rayvon).
MJ: 3) Jax – Ugh. I thought her arrangement of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” was ridiculous. She’s a great and gifted singer, but she hides behind a wall of pretense. If she doesn’t stop that, she’s going to lose ground in the competition. She performed that classic as if she had never heard the words before. We get it Jax. You’re quirky YOU’RE DIFFERENT! Now show us your heart. Throwing in that dumb dress meme didn’t help. She’s not ranked lower in my power ranking because she DEFINITELY has people. I would still consider her a front runner, despite some missteps.
MAC: 4) Joey Cook – Her quirkiness will keep her around. America has chosen to get on board with quirk, as we can see by them loving the weirdest people in the top 24. I think she’ll make the Top 10 on her own. If not, she’ll get the wildcard over the girls below her.
MJ: 4) Joey Cook – Joey is intriguing, and always entertaining. I think she’ll advance to the Top 12 without wildcard help this week. But down the line, she runs the risk of seeming all quirk and no substance. At some point, she should tone down the affectations maybe sing a straight ballad, if she can manage that.
MAC: 5) Adanna Duru – The bottom four girls all disappointed. I put Adanna above the others because her vocal was the strongest. It was a dull choice, and her first week song was dull as well. She’s a decent singer, but she’s dangerously forgettable. I wouldn’t be surprised if she went home this week, but she deserves the wildcard the most of the bottom four.
MJ: 5) Adanna Duru – She had the strongest vocal of the rest, I agree. “Hello” was such a DULL song choice. Although her vocal was decent, the loungey vibe she put out was off putting and dated. She might actually make it through without the wildcard, though.
MAC: 6) Loren Lott – And if one more girl gets a wildcard, I’d give it to Loren. I like that she performs and works the stage. I think Loren could also easily go home this week. I can’t imagine she made it through based on America’s votes.
MJ: 6) Maddie Walker – Maddie was not at her best this week, but she and Alexis are the only remaining country singers left in the competition, and I think that counts for something. If she doesn’t get America’s vote, she’s definitely a candidate for the wild card.
MAC: 7) Maddie Walker – I actually think Maddie has a slightly better chance of making it through based on America’s votes than Loren, but I think she has less of a wildcard chance. If the judges are reminded one more time of how boring Maddie is, and how lively Loren is, I can’t imagine that they’ll pick Maddie. This is the show that embraces Jennifer Lopez, after all, and Loren is much closer to that vein of performer. Maddie is just a huge letdown. Good singer, but not a good performer.
MJ: 7) Loren Lott – I didn’t like her performance at all last week. I thought there were a lot of pitch problems that the judges didn’t seem to notice. But she does know how to work a stage, and she has a certain kind of charisma. She may not need the wildcard this week either.
MAC: 8) Alexis Gomez – She wasn’t great last week, and this week she was actually the worst girl. Her performance is the kind that I feel will definitely send her home, pimp spot be damned. She also can’t get the wildcard against anyone. I don’t think the judges love her that much anymore.
MJ: 8) Alexis Gomez – Alexis was literally Kristy Lee Cook levels of bad this week. Lucky Alexis–in order to craft the most dramatic Top 16 they could, the producers left her performance for last. Will the pimp spot help her advance, or was her rendition of “Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” just too terrible to earn votes? In any case, I do believe she’s a candidate for the wildcard if both she and Maddy are eliminated. I can’t imagine a Top 12 with NO country artists representing!