It’s a bit unfair to handicap the top 24 since we have not see any of them perform live (or more or less live, since this week’s shows were taped last Friday). But who ever said blogging was fair? We are here to make snap decisions based on limited information!
So here we go:
Likely to go into the top 13:
Casey Abrams - Sure, he’s a bit doughy and looks 15 years older than his 19 years, but he is a classic archetype that can excel on the show. He’s likable, approachable and talented. His bluesy voice has plenty of range. Think a more skilled, less cheesy Taylor Hicks. His ‘Georgia on My Mind” with the stand-up bass is an instant “Idol” classic.
Robbie Rosen – The Long Island teen with the Barbra Streisand nose has impressively mature depth and texture in his voice. He could go far in this competition given his consistently smart performances so far.
Jacob Lusk: The R&B/gospel singer got zero airtime during the initial auditions. We first noticed him in the group round of Hollywood when he closed out “People Get Ready” with panache. He then ripped apart “God Bless the Child.” Question: will mentor Jimmy Iovine be able to rein him in?
Stefano Langone: Jennifer Lopez properly said he has “movie star” looks. He also happens to have a vibrant personality and super pipes. In other words, he seems to have the “package” to get him not just into the top 13 but the top five.
Lauren Alaina: Our only Georgia representative has a corn-fed small-town persona (Rossville!), a penchant for cutesy dresses and a deep abiding love for Aerosmith. The 15-year-old also has chutzpah, getting Steven Tyler to sing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” with her during her initial audition. She sang it even better during her Hollywood solo. But does she have what it takes to be an artist at her young age?
James Durbin: The guy with Tourette’s and a woe-is-me life has the loudest voice in the competition. He also has a bad habit of screeching like Adam Lambert. His control issues could be a problem. He clearly is one of the most divisive figures on the show. Fans should get him into the top 13.
Julie Zorrilla: This fashionable 20-year-old Colombia native is a siren with an undeniably pretty voice to boot. Her “Summertime” in her initial audition was overly practiced. Jennifer Lopez noted during the final top 24 decision that she sometimes lacked a connection and emotion to her singing. But she sounded assured during group rounds with “Get Ready” and pure during the solo rounds with “Love Song,” cruising into the top 24.
Thia Megia: At a mere 15, she possesses Adele-type vocal stylings and beyond-her-years maturity. She took some unusual vocal chances on “Here Comes the Sun” but it worked. Ditto, with “Georgia on My Mind.”
Pia Toscano: During “Grenade” in the group sing round and “Can’t Buy Me Love” for Beatles Week, she smoldered and vocally, she showed depth and control. But she has not been given much airtime compared to most of the top 24 and has no notable back story.
Naima Adedapo: This mom of two cleans toilets for a living . Reminds me of Nadia Turner from season four. She dresses with style and sings with heart and soul. In a competition like this, that matters.
Tim Halperin: The man with the crush on Jennifer Lopez, he has an excellent rock-pop style voice. We hardly saw him in Hollywood, save for his wonderful duet with Julie Zorrilla during the Beatles round anda snippet of his original song in the “sing for your life” portion. With good looks and a singer-songwriter vibe, he seems like he’s a potential keeper, but we need more information.
Ashthon Jones: She did an excellent job with “And I’m Not Telling You I’m Not Going” and during the group sing of Blu Cantrell’s “Hit’Em Up Style.” Lopez called her consistent. But does she have a truly distinctive vocal styling that could generate votes and take her beyond merely being a pretty gal with a great voice?
Brett Loewenstern: Carrot Top was picked on in school. The 15-year-old sang “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Let It Be,” a snippet of “The Story” and an original tune. He has an unusual look and interesting intonations in his voice. The kid has passion and real talent. But is he a heartthrob that will draw the votes? Not sure.
Haley Reinhart: She has a vibrant vocal tool there but I’m not sold on her for reasons that are hard to define. She is lacking, for lack of a better phrase, that “X Factor.” She is missing stage “pop.”
Jovany Barreto: The shipbuilder with super abs can sing in the higher registers with gusto. But he may split votes with the warmer, better-looking Stefano.
Paul McDonald: He has one of the most unusual male voices and that is good and bad. Some folks will find him intriguing but otherwise, he seems a bit too much like a street musician.
Scotty McCreery: He has received more airtime than anybody else who made the top 24. That and his incredible baritone country voice should give him plenty of votes regardless of what he did Friday night. He may just be a one-trick pony, though, able only to imitate Josh Turner over and over again.
Going to need to a big-time performance this week to survive:
Jordan Dorsey: Arrogance is not an attribute that endears people to vote. Music teacher Jordan has arrogance (or what he’d call confidence) in spades. He has a voice (great opening audition with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow”), but his personality seems overbearing and that could hold him back.
Clint Jin Gamboa: Sure, he has a versatilie voice but being a karaoke host is to his disadvantage. He has learned to mimic many artists’ songs but where’s the artistry? Who is he really? I don’t feel anything behind his vocals, which tend to be overwrought.
Tatinysa Wilson: We did not see her original audition, always a negative at this stage. Our first actual impression of her was not good: she forgot the lyrics of “I Hope You Dance” and sounded off key during the solo round. Yet she survived to the Beatles portion, where she did some R&B riffs on “I Saw Her Standing There.” She made it to top 24 with Toni Braxton as her final song. So far, what we’ve seen hasn’t been anything special.
Rachel Zevita: An opera singer from New York, she was a season six contestant and struck me as arrogant and unlikable at the time. Four years later, she strikes me as… less arrogant but still annoyingly unlikable. Jennifer Lopez actually remembered her as a viewer. Sure, she can sing but she’s missing a connection with the audience.
Lauren Turner: This housekeeper has a big voice but is otherwise pedestrian. At best, she reminds me of Gina Glocksen from season six.
Karen Rodriguez: The lone MySpace auditioner, she was inspired by Jennifer Lopez to the point of singing “If You Had My Love” and a Selena tune in Hollywood. She seems sweet but unmemorable.
Kendra Chantelle: She received relatively little airtime and has given us very little reason so far to stick in the brain.
Here’s MTV’s Twitterized takes on the top 24.