Power rankings are tough, especially on shows where the contestants are somewhat evenly matched. Like, for instance, Season 12 of "American Idol," where there are a few clear frontrunners and some very good contenders. When compiling a power list, do you want to go with who you want to win, who you think will win, who seems to have the most momentum, who you believe has what it takes for the long haul, who looks as if they might pull a cinderella move, or use some algorithm derived from bits and pieces of each factor? As the Top 9 gear up to perform the "Lennon-McCartney Songbook" Wednesday night (March 20), its easy to see that picking the winner this far out just might not be as simple as it might have looked a couple weeks ago.
The most glaring example of this would be the power move Candice Glover has made in the last two weeks with some extremely well-controlled vocalizations. In short, the girl is on fire. She's moved up in most power rankings lists and even tops SirMac's list at mjsbigblog (posted March 18). Kree Harrison is also belting out well-modulated performances and might be the most consistent singer in the entire bunch (except for Candice, who has also shown no signs of faltering). And Angie Miller, although she seems to be losing momentum, is still banging out solid performances that could see her to the finale. That's why these three girls are in the top three on "American Idol" this year. It is also why, barring any Season 12 shockers, they will most likely stay there throughout the competition.
Those watching "American Idol" this season already know the deal. A girl is going to win it all. And if it hadn't looked like the producers, editors, and judges were trying to get the show out of its five-year WGWG (White Guy With Guitar) rut, it also appears that the rest of America is in proximate agreement. During the Top 10 results show, only one guy, Lazaro Arbos, made the top four.
Singing competitions and the power rankings that are derived from them are sometimes viewed as inaccurate, but that's simply because a subjective view is being subjectively viewed. There are also several variables that go into choosing the power rankings, just as there are in how the votes finally stack up in the final tally, so...
Before we get started, it should be pointed out that the professional oddsmakers at Bovada have place Candice at the top with 2/1 odds, dropping Angie to second with 9/4 odds of winning it all going into the Top 9 performances.
But here's a few:
The aforementioned SirMac gives Candice the overall edge, placing her in the top spot just ahead of Kree. Angela pulls third because, creative as she is, she still did an old Celine Dion tune. And SirMac noted that she should've been smart enough not to compare herself to Kelly Clarkson. So who is going home? SirMac thinks Janelle Arthur gets the bottom, but she has competition in Burnell Taylor and Paul Jolley.
Andrew Payne at Starpulse thinks Angie Miller still has the edge. He bumped Candice up three notches and Kree up four to get them to second and third, respectively. He thinks Kree could overtake Angie by season's end, but finds Candice probably looking at the same fate as Melinda Doolittle and Jennifer Hudson. As for who is going home, Payne thinks Burnell is going to get booted, simply due to the forgettableness of his performances. He's got a point. Still, Janelle and Paul will most likely keep him company in the bottom three.
Marnie Broderson at Wetpaint places Kree at the top of her Top 9 power rankings, citing Kree's consistency thus far. She finds expectations could eventually hurt Angie and places her at No. 2. Candice remains mired in the third spot simply due to a lack of a fan base, something that could hurt her in the long run. As for the bottom three: Devin Velez, Paul Jolley, and Lazaro Arbos fill the slots in descending order.
Overall, it's not looking good at all for Paul Jolley. He was on all three power rankings lists as a bottom dweller. He was there last week, finishing eighth. It looks like he's not too long for "Idol." Burnell Taylor and Janelle Arthur made the lists twice, so unless they put together some powerful performances in the next couple weeks, it's probably safe to say that they're gone. Historically, singing from the Lennon-McCartney songbook has been a mixed bag of poor to mediocre renditions (and an occasional good one), so who goes home out of these three might just be determined on song selection. And since Devin and Janelle seem to be the worst at this (come on guys, "Temporary Home" and "Gone" -- really?), they could be in the most trouble.
Of course, Kree, Candice, and Angie were in everyone's top three. They'll probably stay there unless we have one of those shocking results shows where a frontrunner is eliminated early (think: Pia Toscano and Jessica Sanchez). And of the bottom dwellers, Burnell is probably the only guy they would save, based on the judges opinions of him. (They shouldn't; he's not bringing anything special to his songs.)
But given all that, here's the way the power rankings should read:
9. Burnell Taylor -- He's not stepping up. Besides, his Steve Urkel look and his flat, impersonal delivery isn't winning him any points with the home voters.
8. Paul Jolley -- Never understood his appeal, except for looks and a nice sound. In fact, he and Burnell, except for song stylings, are blandly interchangeable. Nothing he's shown thus far indicates that he has "it."
8. Janelle Arthur -- Never should have been chosen over mega-cheerful Rachel Hale. By far the worst performance in the Top 10 was hers, and if personality and popularity weren't part of the competition, she would have been sent home last week. It will also keep her ahead of Paul and Burnell.
6. Devin Velez -- He's got to do better at song selection. He's got a great voice but Perry Como and sentimental ballads aren't going to win this thing. He might should be ranked lower by expectation, but he doesn't deserve to be. And a good song gets him the backlash vote for coming in ninth last week.
5. Lazaro Arbos -- A pretty mediocre performance from Lazaro in the Top 10 didn't seem to hurt him in the overall standings with voters (he finished fourth). But if it continues, he could quickly see the exit.
4. Amber Holcomb -- She's got the look, the style, the vocal chops. Now if someone would just help her choose something where she doesn't seem to be trying to win a beauty pageant. Still, she's going to have to make an extra effort to catch the top three, who are making it look like winning "American Idol" is an effortless thing.
3. Kree Harrison -- She's got the vocals and the power. She's likable and will most likely make the finale because of her country music vocal stylings. And, as was mentioned earlier, she's consistent -- consistently good.
2. Angie Miller -- With her fan base (she's up to nearly 59,000 followers on Twitter already) and her talent, it is easy to see Angie making it into the finale. Her creativity is a winner as well.
1. Candice Glover -- Candice gets the top spot because she deserves it after her last two performances ("I'm Goin' Down" and "I (Who Have Nothing)"). Can she keep up the pace and pull out an ultimate win? Doubtful. History hasn't been kind to big-voiced, soul-singing black women (not since Fantasia Barrino anyway). And she might not make the finale, but if she keeps nailing the tunes, she just might be the strongest positioned to take the "Idol" title from the presumed winner, Angie Miller.
The gang will tackle the Lennon-McCartney songbook live on "American Idol" Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. on Fox Television, then we'll see if the top three can maintain their stranglehold on the competition and who they won't be worrying about any longer on the Top 9 results show on Thursday.