Monday, March 10, 2008

WHO WILL BE THE NEXT VANESSA OLIVAREZ? If indeed I'm right that the key to a satisfying American Idol season is that Those Who Can't Win should be eliminated before Those Who Can (and that the internal order within each group is largely irrelevant), I suppose I ought to sketch out the preliminary tiers for the final twelve who take the stage Tuesday with the songs of Lennon and McCartney:
  • Cannon Fodder: Constantine Maroulis didn't make it that far, and neither will David Cook, who's like Constantine without the looks (and only 80% of the talent). David Hernandez is just going to be too squicky for people to vote for much longer, though if I'm wrong about this he could easily be final three based on talent. I know others disagree with me on this, but Ramiele Malubay ain't that good or interesting. And Amanda Overmeyer's going to be exposed soon enough.
  • Should Make It To April, But Can't Win: I like Chikezie Eze, but he ain't winning, and I don't like Kristy Lee Cook, but singing country will pull her further ahead than she should get on merit. And Carly Smithson can get far on competence, but she doesn't have "it".
  • The Special Case: The warm feelings we have towards Clifford the Crunchy Muppet can't overcome the fact that once he's on the big stage in front of the larger audience, I have a feeling he's going to seem small, quiet and out of place, even though his pipes are apparently big enough to have pulled off Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy" in the auditions. God forbid he ever has to dance. To me, he has the widest range of possibilities out of anyone in the field -- if he can project to the big crowd, he's final three with an outside shot of a Taylor Hicks-sized club of supporters to give him the win; if he can't, he'll go "surprisingly" early like Chris Sligh did -- which is to say, ultimately not that surprising.
  • Have A Legitimate Shot At The Final Three: Michael Johns, Syesha Mercado (who now has demographics in her favor), Brooke White.
  • The Anointed One: Young David Archuleta. Biggest pre-Final 12 favorite since Chris Daughtry ... okay, and we know what happened there. But for now, it's his to lose.
All tiers subject to revision based on actual performance, but I feel pretty good about these groupings for now.

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