I thought it was going to be time for me to step away from watching American Idol as I have done with plenty of television shows, due to the lack of time and how I would go for the book before the remote when I hold control. It seems that I am just unable to walk away from Idol just yet. Sure, the panel of Nicki Minaj, Mariah Carey, and Keith Urban along with the original Randy Jackson is an interesting bunch, but the talent is desirable enough to keep on watching. While it isn't like the fantastic tenth season of the show, there is a talented bunch nevertheless.
I like the decision to just go right to business and have a top ten, where if you make this crucial level of the competition, then you're on tour. The thing I disagree with is having the sixth place male and female compete for an eleventh spot on tour. This is unnecessary and takes away from the concept of having a solid top ten. We have something spectacular already. Why shake things up in such a fashion? I understand that this was the case where the judges save prevented such an occasion, but there is no intentional need to interfere with this process.
Moving right along... I will be making predictions as to how the top ten will finish off. I was quite successful last time around (check the "My Prediction: American Idol 11" post that I wrote last year to see what I'm talking about), so let's see if I could make something similar for this go around. Here is how I see the top ten finishing...
#10: Burnell Taylor- The person I usually suspect in be in tenth place is the person that best suits the question that I continue to ask myself: "How did this person make the top ten in the first place???" Burnell was a decent vocal talent, but so were many of the others he performed with. There isn't anything that sticks out on Burnell, except the fact that he's the top ten performer that wears hipster glasses. If I have complete control of who made up the top ten, Elijah Liu would have made it instead of Burnell. Even Vincent Powell would have been in my top ten before Burnell. His ride will be a quick one.
#9: Paul Jolley- Like Burnell, he was on the same level as Elijah and Vincent. The difference I see with Paul is that he sticks out slightly more than Burnell and this should help him... for about a week. Paul has a strange personality and that's something the show really enjoys. A prime example is the run that Heejun Han had on the show. I don't see Paul as being that odd, but that's his style and more power to him.
#8: Amber Holcomb- I am jumping on the bandwagon of those that believe that season twelve is bound to be a female victory for the first time since the sixth season in 2007. Unfortunately for Amber, I don't see her as being the season's victor. I do see a segment of the top ten in which more men will be eliminated over women, but Amber sticks out least of the females. She will be fighting for different votes and fall short in each. We will, however, see Amber as a singer with a great voice.
#7: Devin Velez- Devin is the Latino heartthrob of season twelve, even going to the point of including Spanish in his songs. We saw the same out of Karen Rodriguez in season ten, though when she did this with "Hero," it proved to be a one-hit wonder. I don't see Devin going down the same route, as I expect him to do slightly better. In fact, I expect to see Devin stick around and prove to be a mighty force in the world of singing ballads and covers in his own fashion, kind of how Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jr. have made a mark in the current music industry. He may only be #7 on this list, but he'll have a career outside of Idol.
#6: Candice Glover- Candice is a dynamic singer who should have a dynamic run into the competition. She's the female that can belt the strong notes and I expect her to do the same through the weeks to come. From who is in the competition, I would say that Candice will have an average run. We do have a male belter this season (Curtis) and a belter vs. belter run isn't usually common. Candice may fall short, but most definitely not before she has a dynamic performance or two.
#5: Lazaro Arbos- Lazaro has touched us with his background. While he stutters while he talks, he's glorious when he sings. It's like he's in a completely different place, floating through clouds as he takes us along with him. I could see Lazaro following the path of singers such as Josh Groban, though as I tend to believe, Lazaro will be a star in his own right. He's an inspiring contestant who doesn't let his condition get in the way of his dreams. He should be exciting to watch and pull off dynamic performances as well.
#4: Angie Miller- Angie had an excellent performance behind the piano, singing to a Colton Dixon song. Like Colton, she should break out throughout the competition and show that she possesses a special kind of talent. Unlike Colton, she should also see a further run into the competition. Despite having hearing problems, Angie has been a power force in the competition and she is underestimated, but incredibly talented. She's the northeastern competitor of the season, which should help geographically, but only to the extent that a non-southern contestant usually reaches.
#3: Kree Harrison- Kree's my dark horse of the year. She is definitely likable at the moment we speak, but she should have enough staying power to advance throughout the rounds and all the way to the final three. While she doesn't have an unusual reason for sticking out, she has a voice and that voice will be the reason she proves people wrong and makes it all the way to the final three. I could see her on contemporary stations more often than not.
#2: Curtis Finch Jr.- Curtis is the powerhouse of the season. Of each of the male contestants, I believe Curtis has the staying power and the likability to be one of the grand finalists in the competition. He has a powerful voice that can move just about anyone that listens AND a personality that makes him so likable that listening to him is an experience and a half. He should definitely see a high level of likability, which should contribute to his staying power throughout the competition.
#1: Janelle Arthur- I will stand with my mindset of believing that a female will win the twelfth season of Idol and say that Janelle is that female. I find her to be incredibly charming and is outgoing, but at the same time humble and tight with her roots. More importantly, she has a beautiful singing voice and that's what matters above all things. Janelle is just what American Idol is looking for and will show that you should never, ever give up on your dreams, as she did not make it live in seasons ten and eleven. This time around, she's back and better than ever. Her first live performance was of Elvis' "If I Can Dream," which was great," and shows she is a star in the making. Not only will she take part in some mega hits, like Carrie Underwood, but she will be a grand addition to the Grand Ole Opry and country music family, which is a strong and gracious one. Everything about her says star and that will mean an American Idol 12 victory. The third time is the charm!
The top ten performances start on Wednesday, with the first theme being of performances from past Idol's. This could be performance of theirs on the show or singles they released afterward. I don't know what to think of this theme, but if executed properly, could help steer them in the direction they're bound to go in the competition. I just hope they seek the opportunity to hold themes that they haven't touched upon before and that the performers sing songs that aren't touched as often. I don't want to hear "Hallelujah" or any other song that's performed just about every season of the show (it's not saying I dislike the song, it's that I don't like songs being performed time and time again, one moment is enough). Should be a great season and I look forward to seeing it progress!