MUSIC, LEADERSHIP, CULTURE… and humor (sometimes)

American Idol Power Rankings

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So I’m a pretty avid sports fan and I check in with ESPN about once a day.  For those of you who have that in common with me, you’re probably familiar with the concept of Power Rankings, where the author of the article ranks the teams of a particular sport in order based upon their performance the previous week while taking into account their overall performance throughout the season.  For instance, the Lakers are number 1 right now on Marc Stein’s weekly power rankings on ESPN– and rightly so!  The Clippers (big surprise) are number 30, dead last.  Even if the Clippers win all their games in one week, you won’t see them climb up the rankings chart all that much because their overall performance throughout the season has been poor.  The rankings are very much cumulative in that regard.  Keep that in mind as you read on…

I’m also a pretty big watcher of American Idol in case you couldn’t tell from my previous post regarding Scott MacIntyre.  It’s a show that I often love to hate, given that so many deserving people were not put through to this round of 13 while other subpar singers (like the aforementioned MacIntyre) were given a shot.  In any case, the top 13 just performed and I felt that it was time I put together my own power rankings, starting with 1 (the one who’s headed toward winning the next crown of American Idol), all the way down to 13 (whom I feel will, or should, be eliminated first).  Keep in mind, I am taking into account several things: 1) The first impression – the initial audition leaves a pretty indelible mark and it’s pretty much carried my opinion of most of these artists;  2) The total package factor – do they have the voice, the look, the charisma, and confidence?  3) Would I buy their album?  

So without further ado, here’s my first stab at the American Idol power rankings!  

1.  Matt Giraud

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The dueling piano singer.  Perhaps this surprises some of you but I’m telling you, Matt’s got the total package:  a killer voice, ridiculous chops on the piano, he’s pretty good-looking, not to mention he’s just got that intangible swagger about him.  Reminds me of Justin Timberlake and that’s gotta be a good thing, right?  The judges got it right when they brought him back through the wildcard and he’s only going to be better with each week.  The key question of would I buy his album?  Yes, I believe I would– especially if I had itunes credit sitting in my account.  

2.  Alexis Grace

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I am placing Alexis here because of a couple non-music related factors that may play into her garnering tons of votes.  1) She’s young at a tender 21 years!  2) She’s a mom.  My wife was nearly in tears when they kept showing clips of the baby and she just about dialed in her votes right at that moment!  I’m sure America’s collective hearts melted as well.  3)  That pink stripe on her hair.  The signature hairstyle will make her memorable; think Aniston or Meg Ryan.  Oh yeah, she’s a pretty dang good and unique singer too.  She was a “dark horse” in the earlier episodes but I think it’s safe to say she’s a front runner.  Why do you think the producers had her go last in the first episode of the top 13?  (Always pay attention to that…)

3.  Danny Gokey

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 I think Danny was the early favorite and I’m sure he’s the guy most people are getting behind… he had me as well.  Not only is he a white guy with soul (which is always impressive) but he’s got that crazy heart-wrenching story of the loss of his wife.  That alone will garner votes from people like me who can’t imagine such tragedy.  Danny will also get the votes that would have gone to his buddy Jamar, who also deserves a spot in the top 13, if not the top 6–but that’s a whole other blog entry.  So why is Danny not #1, you ask?  I don’t know if that comparison to Michael McDonald from last night bodes well for him in the long run and I just think the star-quality of Matt Giraud is a lot to overcome.  

4.  Adam Lambert

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I once saw the musical production of “The 10 Commandments” starring Val Kilmer several years ago in Los Angeles.  An absolutely horrible musical except for one shining performance by Aaron, Moses’ brother.  He brought the entire crowd to its feet and his performance alone redeemed the entire musical for me.  That was Adam Lambert and that’s the kind of ability he possesses.  Adam is also the total package– ridiculous vocal range, good-looks (I guess I’m man enough to comment on good-looking dudes), stage-charisma, and experience.  I wouldn’t be surprised if Adam ends up winning the whole thing except for a few factors: 1) He is definitely much more fit for the musical arena rather than pop or rock, 2) His range, although extremely impressive, can get very tiring and annoying if he relies on it for every performance… he is at risk of being a one-trick pony like Peja Stojakovic, NBA 3-point specialist or the recently ousted Vladimir Radmonovic–no relation.

5.  Anoop Desai

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Now, here’s a guy who’s got a lot going for him.  1) The underdog vote, especially since he was technically the 13th and final guy accepted into this last round.  If the judges didn’t like Anoop Dawg so much, this would still be a round of 12.  2) He’s a surprisingly great singer.  You have to admit, when he approached the audition panel in the preliminary rounds, you didn’t expect much from him.  He’s not a bad looking dude but he does have that “academic” look to him which is not always cool.  3) 2 words, “Slumdog Millionaire”… such a horrible stereotype and association I know, but you know some of America is thinking, “aww… he’s just like Jamal!  Let’s vote for him!”  Will Anoop win it all?  Unfortunately not.  You have to remember that America voted All-American blue-collar boy, Michael Sarver in over Anoop in the round of 36.

6.  Lil Rounds

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 I truly believe that any of the top 6 here have a legitimate shot at winning it all and Lil Rounds probably has the best shot outside of the top 3 to climb to the top.  If there weren’t so many dominant men in this competition, I would probably place Ms. Rounds up higher in the rankings but today, this is where she stands.  She is scary good and her confidence is what really impresses me.  Nothing is worse than a singer who makes you feel nervous for them throughout their performance but I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way with Lil on the stage.  I can’t say that about any of the other performers on this list so this counts for a lot!  Don’t be surprised if Lil makes it all the way… but then again, don’t be surprised if she exits early.  America’s voting has been THAT unpredictable.  

7.  Allison Iraheta

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She has been the most surprising contestant from the round of 36 until now.  You can’t help but draw Kelly Clarkson comparisons by the way she can scream out and stay in tune.  She probably isn’t as versatile as Kelly but Allison can certainly tear up any rock/pop tune she chooses to lock on to.  Why won’t she win?  There’s something off about her and her behavior hinges on weird and uncomfortable.  Have you noticed how awkward she is during her interviews and post-song comments by the judges?  I think she’s taking the same “meds” that Paula Abdul is taking and that’s just about the worse thing I could say at this point…

8.  Megan Corkrey

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I can’t believe she sang that “tweet tweet” song last night but for some reason, I really liked it!  She is super unique, also has a cute child, she’s young, attractive and overall a pretty interesting candidate.  Her lack of stage experience may play against her along with her strange choice of dance moves– which is a mix between the 50’s twist and a poor-man’s krump.  Her arm tattoo is a bit weird but I think she’ll get votes based on her charisma alone.  

9.  Kris Allen

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It’s a little unfair but I’m ranking Kris this low because I think he looks like a chimpanzee.  Otherwise, he’s a pretty good singer and talented acoustic guitarist.  I just don’t think he has what it takes to get to the top and Kris with a “K” will just confuse people.  Career suggestion: team up with Jack Johnson for the next Curious George project.  

10.  Jasmine Murray

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She’s a few years away from stardom so I don’t know if this is her time.  My wife also thinks she looks really weird despite the judges’ apparent love affair with her star quality.  My wife has a lot of bearing on how I feel about some of these contestants, because my wife is hot. It’s pretty clear that Jasmine has a great voice but she’s been extremely inconsistent.  Wait your turn Lebron–er, I mean, Jasmine.  

11.  Jorge Nunez

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Probably the guy my wife hates looking at the most.  She swears he looks like a claymation or “animatronic” character and that’s a problem if you’re a human being.  He’s a good singer but I now have a thing against robots that sing.  It was also a bit annoying that a week ago he insisted his accent was gone.  Embrace the truth, young man!  You’re out.  

12.  Michael Sarver

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I still wonder how this guy made it this far.  He has a very average voice, has a lumberjack body, and was voted in over Anoop in the round of 36. To make matters worse, he was the guy along with the other big dude who was accepted over Jamar which is a crime I will never forgive.  He seems like a nice guy but I can’t help but detest him.  I also can’t help but assume that he won the votes of the millions in the mid-west who wake up every morning to that “proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free” song.  Bleh.  So cheezy.  

13.  Scott MacIntyre

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You know how I feel about this guy from my previous post and he’s still getting no sympathy from me. Every time I listen to him, I think, “why? why? WHY?”  Every time I look at him, I think, “someone please lend him a pair of blue blockers”– he either looks like he’s seen the ghost of Christmas past or like he’s  getting poked in the rear with a candy cane, 24/7.  

There you have it.  Now, what’s your top 13?

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10 responses

  1. yo dk!! i thoroughly enjoyed your rankings!! i had such high hopes for AI this year, but it’s pretty much been pissing me off ever since the JAMAR fiasco, and especially the top 36 disaster (and the wildcard travesty).

    i have to say that alexis is way overrated, and i HATE HATE HATE how they’ve been skanking her up more and more each appearance. i want to enjoy her singing, but when i close my eyes, all i hear is a white girl trying to sound like she’s got soul.

    i know everyone and their mom loves anoop, as do i — but if he has one or 2 more “beat it”‘s, i’m afraid he’s going to become the next sanjaya. what, because he’s indian? of course not!!! i just don’t want him to become the guy that everyone says ‘WHY IS HE STILL IN THIS COMPETITION???!!’

    speaking of ‘WHY IS HE STILL IN THIS COMPETITION???!!’, i thoroughly agree with your sentiments on scott m. again, yes, he is an inspiration – but he is not the awesome!!! he is the good, even the very good — but the fact that he took the spot of 40 other people who can outsing him in the dark, and the sneaking suspicion that HE will become the next sanjaya (but without the HEEBS factor), i’m worried for him!

    some peeps i really wanted to see in the top 123:
    – Felicia Barton
    – Ju’Not Joyner
    – Kristen McNamara
    – Jamar Rogers
    honorable mentions:
    – Mishavonna Henson
    – Ricky Braddy

    March 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm

  2. DK

    @soomp <– my tribute to twitter. hahaha… i like your response. I completely agree with Felicia, Ju’Not, Kristen and Jamar but I also thought Kendall Beard deserved a shot. Here’s to Anoop being leagues better than Sanjaya!

    March 11, 2009 at 2:46 pm

  3. tracymo

    awesome post 🙂 thanks for sharing! i think….i still want gokey to win it all..haha i think i’m probably totally bias though because of his story..and i agree..i think he got my vote even more b/c i wanted jamar to make it..so since he didn’t, my votes go automatically to him too!

    i really want anoop to do well though..i think his voice is really smooth..and i keep wanting him to have a rockstar performance..but this past week i guess was pretty bad…

    matt – i think he was forgettable for me..until this past performance. i didn’t remember anything he did, but last night he was really good.

    March 11, 2009 at 3:26 pm

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  5. Hanah

    I haven’t been following this season as well, but OH MY GOODNESS, I had NO idea THAT was Adam in the 10 commandments! I TOTALLY remember him!! He STOLE the show! This makes me want him to win!

    March 17, 2009 at 9:36 am

  6. DK

    Yup… that was Adam Lambert alright. he was crazy

    March 17, 2009 at 10:45 am

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