If you’d have told me when I wrote my last post a month ago (before I had to go on a brief hiatus to focus on getting into graduate school) that we’d be sitting here now looking at a top 6 with more women in it than men, I’d tell you you is a crazy fool. I’d be right to tell you that too, because Idol hasn’t seen 3 women crack the top 6 since 2008, and there hasn’t been a top 6 with 4 women in it since Idol’s 3rd season back in 2004. For many years now, we as viewers have had to resign ourselves to the inevitable fact that American Idol is a man’s world (Click that shit. You’re welcome.). Between last week’s historic first use of a Judges’ Save on a female contestant and this week’s shocking ouster of frontrunner Colton Dixon, it almost looks as though the times they are a-changin! I say almost because as psyched as I am that my girls have made it this far unscathed, the realist in me knows that Colton was the only thing standing in the way of a certain other male finalist and the finale (hint: sadly it’s not this guy). Ah well, only time will tell, and for now we have cause to celebrate! So, let’s catch up with our gals, once again ranked in order of their current potential to win:
#4: Hollie Cavanagh
Oy Hollie. Hollie, Hollie, Hollie. Let me start by saying that I absolutely adore this girl. I think she’s just the cutest darn thing, and that VOICE is straight up crazy, there’s no denying that. She’s also working her butt off trying to stay in this thing and giving everything she’s got every time she takes the stage, which wins major points in my book (and which I might add is more than I can say for a certain finale-bound white male contestant who shall remain nameless). That having been said, I think Hollie may have officially gone as far as she can go in this competition. She’s got all the raw talent it takes to make a real go of it in the music industry, now what she needs is the experience to back it up. She needs to go out and play 100 shitty gigs, she needs to get her heart broken a few times – then she’ll be unstoppable. Without that, right now she’s simply outmatched.
#3: Elise Testone
This hurts my heart. It hurts even more to admit that if we’re really talking potential to stick around here, she should really be at the bottom of this list. The only thing keeping her above Hollie is that I LOVE HER SO DAMN MUCH! After the one-two-punch of awesome that was Vienna and Whole Lotta Love, there was almost a glimmer of hope that Elise might become a front-runner in this thing, but since then, she’s has been in a perpetual state of free fall. She’s been saddled with bad songs, (almost) all of which she’s pulled off anyway because she’s a beast, but she hasn’t had a real “wow” moment since Zepplin, and people seem to be getting bored. (Meanwhile a certain finale-bound white male contestant has also been utterly failing to deliver, and yet he’s coasting right on by. He’s inexplicably hailed continuously as a “true artist” for making the same stylistic choices over and over again while Elise consistently delivers surprising melodic divergences and intricate harmonies that show advanced musicianship and artistry but gets exactly zero credit for it. I’m not bitter, you’re bitter. Shut up.) The other problem Elise keeps running into is… god, how do I say this… the girl really needs to stop talking. American Idol is not entirely unlike The Hunger Games – you should be you, do you, but at the end of the day you need the audience to keep you alive, so it’s really more important to say what they want to hear than what you want to say. Does that make sense? Anyway, Elise is going to have to pull off one hell of a performance this week if she wants a spot in the top 5, but I have a long history of my personal favorites taking the #6 spot, and given her current trajectory, Elise is looking to be the next on that list.
#2: Jessica Sanchez
Alright, so I know everyone was **SHOCKED** when Jessica got the lowest number of votes the week before last, and the conspiracy theorists had a field day crying about how impossible that was, but I had a feeling that was coming. Not only that but I’m glad it did, because the near-ouster might be her only real shot of making it past 5th place in this thing. Jessica Sanchez is a beast of a singer. She’s been nailing it week after week from the beginning, and unlike Hollie she has an uncanny ability to take on songs with emotional maturity well beyond her years and make you believe her. Despite all that though, something has always been missing with her for me, and I can’t be the only one who senses it. There’s a disconnect somewhere, and I can’t really put my finger on it. I just don’t feel invested in her the same way I do with Elise and Skylar, even Hollie. Maybe Jimmy’s epiphany that she needs to be singing more age-appropriate material will help her out, but I’m not sure that’s the solution. There’s nothing in her personality that draws me in, the only draw is her talent, and the unfortunate reality is that in the pop music world she’s trying to break into, charisma trumps talent 100% of the time (as proven by the humongous fan base amassed by a certain finale-bound white male contestant who shall remain nameless). Regardless of that, I think her talent alone should still be enough to carry her at least a few weeks longer, and the Save has at least alerted everyone to the reality that there IS something missing. Now Jimmy et al have their work cut out for them!
#1: Skylar Laine
Don’t let that brief appearance in the bottom 3 a few weeks ago fool you – Skylar Laine is a force to be reckoned with, and she’s still our best shot at the title by a landslide. As much as I adore Joshua Ledet and as much as I’d love to see him under a confetti shower, I’d bet good money it’s going to be Skylar standing next to a certain white male contestant who shall remain nameless on May 26th. Heck if anyone has what it takes to steal this thing from him it’s her. Skylar is the anti-He Who Shall Not Be Named – she’s full of energy, she’s not afraid to take risks, she’s versatile, she’s humble (she even plays guitar! her adorable granddaddy’s guitar!) … I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it: THE GIRL IS A STAR! If she can keep up the momentum she’s been building for a few weeks longer, maybe just maybe the judges and Jimmy and even some of the audience might realize that Voldemort over there has been standing in place for weeks while Skylar and the others have been running laps around him. We might just have a shot at beating him. Whatever happens in the weeks to come, Skylar Laine is going places, you mark my words.
Til next time,