It’s the end of a tradition that started one week ago – duets with former winners and current contestants, and also the end of my new tradition – ranking the contestants based on who I think has been the best so far before we start the wild card round next week.
Here’s the breakdown:
1 – Jenn Blosil
She hasn’t been all that great in her two live performances, only showing moments of brilliance that get lost in odd timidity and an inability to stay consistent. That may be true of the performances on the big stage, but her auditions were so stunning, that I still think her body of work is better than anybody else’s.
2 – Trent Harmon
Everybody’s favorite mono sufferer is becoming one of my favorite vocalists this season. Trent knows how to really connect with a song and sell it on a lyrical level. And he sings the song instead of singing whatever he wants just to show off his vocal range – and he has a great one too. If he could just stop hunching and being so twitchy when sings then he’d have a shot at my top slot at least.
3 – Lee Jean
Lee was a little shaky from a vocal standpoint in his first performance, but a lot of those issues disappeared when he took the stage with Daughtry on his duet. Lee always showed great rhythm on this show, but finally showed a voice to match in his second showcase performance. He still has the nerves of a sixteen-year-old and they’re very apparent, but if he can shake them he could go all the way this season.
4 – Adam Lasher
I really like this guy. I dig everything about his yacht rock sensibilities. I think he absolutely sang the hell out of his performance on night one and then he followed it up with a very sweet duet on night two. He’s the oldest guy on the show and has the most mature and accomplished voice because of it. I have no idea why the judges seemed to dislike him so much and kicked him out.
5 – Tristan McIntosh
I should really dislike Tristan because she’s everything I hate on this show. She’s a pretty straight-ahead country singer. She’s super young and not mature enough to be great yet. She refuses to do anything original with any of the songs she chooses. There’s nothing there for me to really like. The thing with Tristan though is that she seems to be the best possible version of all of those bad things so I guess that’s at least tolerable.
6 – CJ Johnson
CJ is very good at being vanilla. He’s carved out a perfect little white guy with guitar dream land for himself this season and seems poised to go down the Nick Fradiani path of choosing nothing but middle-of-the-road alt-rock from yesteryear to appeal to the large voting bloc who seem to like nothing more than to hear that. I’m glad the judges got rid of him so we didn’t have to see that ride toward the end of the show.
7 – Dalton Rapattoni
I commend this kid for his energy and his desire to rework songs so it’s not just a karaoke contest, but at the end of the day he’s just a poor man’s James Durbin which makes him a starving man’s Adam Lambert. He just doesn’t have the vocal ability to match his ambition.
8 – Olivia Rox
Olivia has a great voice. It’s impossible to get around that fact. She probably has the best pure vocal ability of anybody on the show. I just wish she would use it to sing instead of trying to blow the roof off with every single note. Her total disregard for melody gets pretty irritating at times when you wish she’d just stop reaching to the ends of her range and sing the notes on the page. If she can reign herself in, she’s got a voice to beat anybody, but she’s young so who knows if that type of maturity will ever come into play.
9 – Manny Torres
This guy just isn’t connecting for me. He was totally undone by his song choice on the solo performance night and even if he had a great voice we wouldn’t have known. Then he got completely blown off the stage by Jordin Sparks who was doing everything she could short of walking off the stage to make it as much about Manny as possible. I don’t think this guy has the package to make a real impact and I’m not sure why they kept him around.
10 – Kory Wheeler
I hate this guy’s face so much that I almost haven’t heard a lyric he’s sung. What I did hear, I liked better on the first night: He kind of got lost with Haley in his duet. But really, I was just hating his face so much the entire time. I’m glad I won’t have to see it anymore.
11 – Amelia Eisenhauer
This side of the draw’s little country girl who can’t really sing. Amelia is kind of cool because she plays the fiddle as she exhibited in her duet with Kellie Pickler, so that makes her not so reprehensible. It also helps that in her duet she transcended the teen-girl talent show performer she appeared to be on night one with a pretty solid vocal. You know, for a little country girl who can’t sing that is.
12 – Shelbie Z
I really can’t stand Shelbie. I can’t stand singers who think sassing people with a country twang is some sort of legitimate musical style. Even on her duet with Constantin on “Bohemian Rhapsody” she’s still basically coming at us from a bar in a lame music video and snapping her neck like she’s yelling at us a la Meredith Brooks. Seriously, check the attitude at the mic stand and focus on actual singing.