No longer do I give a hoot about where I expect the singers to finish or how popular they are.
These rankings will be based solely on where they should finish based on their performances.
This week, the Idols will take on the songs of Now and Then, meaning a current hit since 2000 and a soul song from sometime earlier than 2000.
As always, last week’s rankings are in parenthesis. And the links attached to each singer’s name will take you to a page where you can watch all their performances since the voting started.
The rankings …
1. Jessica Sanchez (2): She always shows up looking like a star. She hasn’t shown a hint of nerves, even though she’s the youngest contestant remaining. More important — she’s been the most consistent and most vocally versatile of the final 7. Plus, she’ll get a boost of support from last week’s ridiculous near ouster. Her many fans simply won’t let that happen again. She ranks 2nd in Facebook support and third in Twitter followers.
2. Elise Testone (5): Consistency hasn’t been her forte. Delivering memorable performances has been, and she did it twice last week. In fact, she’s delivered more Idol “moments” than the two male favorites — Phillip Phillips and Colton Dixon — combined. Her prospects are more bleak than Jessica’s. After all, she still landed in the bottom three last week. And the save I figured she’d need is gone.
3. Joshua Ledet (4): He’s clearly the most talented male singer, despite last week’s bottom three finish. He also showed us something last week we hadn’t seen — he can dance around the stage, have fun and still deliver a killer vocal. His performance of Bruno Mars’ “Runaway Baby” silenced my only criticism of Joshua — that he does nothing but sing power ballads, gospel style. And Idol is pushing him as a favorite.
4. Colton Dixon (3): A more likely winner than any of the three listed above, and I admire Colton’s strategy. Two weeks ago, he sang Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time.” Last week, it was “Love the Way You Lie.” He was superb on the former, OK on the latter and scores high marks for originality even if I’m not a big fan of his vocals. And since Idol has dumped duets for at least a week, he won’t have to sing another country song with Skylar.
5. Phillip Phillips (1): Right about now, an Idol winner should be hitting his or her stride. Instead, Phillip is heading in the opposite direction. His shining moments the last two weeks haven’t been his solo performances — which have been just so-so — but his duets with Elise. On Wednesday, he’d be wise to steal a trick from Colton on one of his songs, stripping it down and delivering a solid, tender, emotion-filled vocal. Perhaps minus the guitar.
6. Skylar Laine (6): She’s been much improved the past two weeks, but her vocals just don’t match up to what Elise and Jessica are capable of delivering. That said, let’s not forget that she’s the only country singer on a show where country singers finished first and second just a year ago. And she has a solid fan base that kept her out of the bottom three for the second straight week.
7. Hollie Cavanagh (7): She’s beginning to remind me of Kristy Lee Cook, the Season 7 contestant who kept landing in the bottom three and surviving. Somehow, she avoided the bottom three last week. But two solid performances in the same night might be a bit much to ask of someone whose last really solid performance was at least a month ago. By the way, if you’re wondering, Kristy Lee finished seventh.