In the spirit of last night’s American Idol episode–where the remaining 40 contestants were told, in rapid succession, whether or not they’d been chosen to go on to the round of 24–we’re going to give you our take on this year’s crop of finalists. Be warned: This is an entirely subjective exercise, and it’s based on what we saw on TV and our tendencies to make snap judgments about people we’ve never met.
We’ve divided the contestants into two groups–the top 12, who will make up the bulk of this season’s competition; and the bottom four, who will probably be out on their Old Navy-clad butts after next Thursday’s episode. (The other eight either had so little screen time or so much “meh” surrounding them that we were left with nothing to say.)
THE TOP TWELVE
Chris Richardson: His to-a-tee Timberlake impersonating will inspire preteens all over the country to wear out their text-messaging thumbs.
Melinda Doolittle: After getting in, she got a kiss from Simon. When does that happen? (Okay, we’ll admit it: She’s our favorite.)
Jordin Sparks: Her dad’s in the NFL, which will gain her points from any sports fans forced to watch.
Sanjaya Malakar: Getting highlights = a good idea. Gaining audience sympathy by consoling his sister instead of celebrating his victory = an even better one.
Chris Sligh: Sure, the Internet loves him, but will Fox’s ban on blogging take away a key part of his appeal?
Blake Lewis: Yes, his beatboxing gimmick may only take him so far, but he’s pretty charming.
Lakisha Jones: Her single-mom story will garner her sympathy, and her dynamite voice will reel in the voters.
Rudy Cardenas: We wrote down the phrase “Scott Baio appeal” when he came on screen. Ladies?
Phil Stacey: He may look like Daniel Powter, but thankfully, the resemblance ends there. (Our advice: Ditch the hat next week.)
Gina Glocksen: Her shock of Manic Panic hair = votes from former Avril Lavigne fans who think the Canadian chanteuse “sold out” when she got hitched.
Nicole Tranquillo: Anyone who big-ups Erykah Badu in their meet-and-greet interview gets extra points from us.
Leslie Hunt: We didn’t see much of her in the early rounds, but considering that her backstory involves having her life saved by a team of doctors in Brazil, we expect that to change.
THE BOTTOM FOUR
Alaina Alexander: Do not pass Go; head directly to Glitter.
Paul Kim: Talk about schtick in a box: He has both lucky underwear and lucky barefootedness.
Antonella Barba: We’re still bitter.
Sundance Head: Perhaps they’re keeping him around in anticipation of Human League Week, when he can sing and re-enact “Being Boiled.”