American Idol Season 8- Top 9 Power Rankings

Michael Sarver is gone and we are down to 5 Christian music performers on American Idol Season 8.  What happened? In this group of talented American Idol performers Michael Sarver was definitely in the bottom half of the Top 10 and probably was one of the bottom three.  I had him ranked ninth in our Top Ten Power Rankings article last week.  There is a groundswell of appreciation for  Michael Sarver on both faith oriented and secular American Idol blogs across the Internet.  He is generally regarded as one of the nicest contestants ever on American Idol. Here is an excerpt form his exit interview that shows why:

“Do you really smile as much as you do on the show?
I do, I really do and I’m going to tell you why: I’m a very fulfilled man. I’ve been screwed up just the same as anyone else, there are things I’m not proud of. But my life is so good right now. I’m blessed beyond words. I have nothing to frown about. My smile? I mean it from one end to the other, I’m just a happy man and I just fulfilled a lifelong dream of mine.”

Before we move on from Michael Sarver, I also found this quote from him that reveals a side I did not know (the writing part, not the hard living part (see our post on Michael “7 Chrsitian Performers on Amerrican Idol”)):

“I am a serious writer,” Sarver told reporters. “I have written over 890 songs since the age of 14. There is a lot of stories, a lot of life, a hard-lived life and a good-lived life … and I’m going to share it.”

I hope that we will see Michael Sarver again.  Maybe he will follow the route of Chris Sligh, also a 10th place finisher, and pursue a career in the Contemporary Christian Music business.  Best wishes, Michael.

The American Idol  Season 8 Top 9

We are down to nine performers on Season 8 of American Idol and five of them are Christian music artists.  Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre will all perform Tuesday night as part of the American Idol Season 8 Top 9.  Here is how I rate the Top 9 based on the performance I have seen so far in Season 8:

  1. Danny Gokey has been consistently, consistently, consistently good.  Michael Jackson, Motown, Grand Ole’ Opry, Danny has delivered every week with every genre.  There continues to be a DannyGokey backlash on the Internet but that will not derail his American Idol train.  The biggest challenge he has is the success that keeps him at number one in the power rankings.  American Idol winners tend to have improvements throughout the season usually have a breakthrough moment (Jordan Sparks with “I (Who Have Nothing)” and David Cook with “Music of the Night”).  Danny needs to find a performance to shock people, in a good way.
  2. Allison Iraheta blew us all away last week when she remade “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” into a Janis Joplin blues romp.  did you hear the note she blew out at the end?  She is one of the best blues/rock singers to ever hit the American Idol stage. She is better than Carly Smithson from last year or Gina Glocksen form Season 6 and without the uncomfortable desperation.  I would really like to see her take on a big ballad, but I agree with Kara’s foaming at the mouth praise of her after last week’s performance.
  3. Kris Allen once again last week took a well known song “How Sweet It Is” and created a new version of an iconic recording.  he has now taken on Michael Jackson, Garth Brooks, Marvin Gaye and James Taylor and created Kris Allen songs.  The arrangements are subtle but the phrasing and meaning he brings to the songs transform them.  I agree with Simon, sort of, that he is being a little quiet.  I want him to drop his guitar and show us some dance moves and stage presence.  If  he can step out a little more, he can make it to the American Idol Top 3.  If not, he may be a shocking casualty in the next couple of weeks.
  4. Lil Rounds better get her groove back.  Her lack of musical training in starting to show as her last two American Idol performances were weak renditions of songs that great singers would be able to sing.  It is almost like she is overwhelmed by her respect for the music.  Lil, quit being grateful for performing these great songs and make the writers grateful you are performing their songs.
  5. Matt Giraud has the talent and he has the musical skill.  His last two performances have been exceptional.  For some reason, he is not connecting with the audiences.  Is he too closely associated with Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and Anoop Desai? Maybe he needs a change of pace.  Leave the piano behind and sing a rock song?  That did not work for him in the American Idol Top 36 elimination shows.  I think he needs to just press ahead with his best stuff, hope some of the others stumble, but get ready to leave over the next few weeks.
  6. Adam Lambert can sing, no doubt about it.  He performed  “Tracks of My Tears”  exceptionally well.  It is the first time I have seen a glimmer of connection with a song all season.  I still think Lambert is a contestant  that the American Idol judges love much more than we all do.
  7. Meagan Joy can really sing.  I wonder if she will ever set aside her affectations so we can hear that.  If she allows us to see her talent just one week, she will have plenty of time to show off her experimentations.  I place her above Anoop and Scott because of potential, not because of her performances.
  8. Anoop Desai is still boring.  He has yet to deliver a performance that rivals performances of the other American Idol Top 9.  I just do not think he has what it takes to compete on this American Idol stage.   He does have a fan club that could carry him a few more weeks.
  9. Scott MacIntyre is not a very good singer and I do not like the lite FM rock stylings he arranges into every song.  Scott is the most acclaimed musician on American Idol this year but pop music is not his bailiwick.  I would pay good money to hear him in a jazz club or on the classical stage.  It is time for his pop adventure to end soon so we can enjoy his true talent.

Look back on the all of these American Idol’s performances and download full length recordings of their performances songs at iTunes:

Apple iTunes

Check in with us in the morning when I will preview Tuesday night’s show and make some predictions about how the American Idol voting might go over the next few weeks.


  1. Michael Crenshaw says:

    I don’t know what your problem is with Adam Lambert, sure he screams and stuff like that, but I promise you that more guys are watching the show this year because of people like Him. Chris Daughtry another rock person has sold more albums than any other non winner and proabobly would sell more than any other if he had won. So screaming isn’t the problem sure he oversells, but he’s a theater guy its what they do I love his singing and I know that its your opinion but week in and week out he’s the first one seated and getting the most amount of votes week in and week out. He will win the competition

  2. chuck says:

    Michael, thank you for your comment. You are possibly right in that he looks like the favorite to win and I can see why many people like him.

    My problem with Adam is not that he screams or that he is a rocker. If you read our artist profiles you will see that I am a big time rock fan. My main problem with Adam is that, for me, he seems fake. If feels as if he is constructing a performance rather than singing a song with heart and emotion. Most weeks it feels as if I am watching a guest on some 70′s variety show who is trying to sing a duet with a rocker. It just feels fake to me.

    Look at my Top 7 power rankings. I ranked Adam 3rd. His performance of “Mad World” was the first time I felt he let us in for a glimpse of Adam Lambert. I liked that. However, this week he came back with a horrid version of “Born to Be Wild”.

    I know he can sing. I know he can perform. For me the test of a true artist (and one many of the AI alumni fail) is can he lay himself out on the stage with vulnerability and passion and express his true feelings. I have not really seen that from Adam and that is why I have a hard time embracing him.

    Keep reading and keep pushing us.


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