The rankings are starting to settle in on American Idol Season 11. After a season of tremendous performances, there is a clear talent leader and three others who could win. The eliminations have been right every week and we are getting to a top 5 with all possible winners. I think we are coming to a difficult and contentious elimination over the next two weeks as Hollie Cavanaugh, Elise Testone and Jessica Sanchez will all be in danger.
Barring a deserved standing ovation from the judges for a break through performance, I think Hollie Cavanaugh will go home this week. The only thing that will save Hollie is another weak performance from Elise Testone. If Elise can return to her carefree rocker style of “Whole Lotta Love” I think she can make it into the top five by delivering a surprising elimination of Jessica Sanchez. Of course, if that happened the judges will use their save at the last minute to save their favorite.
This week American Idol Season 11 will feature the performers singing “Songs of This Decade.” That means the really creative performers will find songs that will fit on their records. The others will pick their favorite song or something they have always wanted to sing on a big stage.
American Idol Season 11 Top 7 Power Rankings
1) Joshua Ledet- Every week, every performance, whether it be solo or group, Joshua Ledet has delivered a powerhouse moment. His weakest moment was Billy Joel week and that was only weak in comparison to his other performances. “When a Man Loves a Woman”, “Without You” and last week’s “If You Don’t Know Me Be Now” were all jaw-dropping, tour de force singing exhibitions that caused the judges to leap to their feet. Yes, Joshua Ledet has received three standing ovations form the judges this season. They have used the adjectives awesome, incredible and spectacular to describe Joshua Ledet. We have been told that Joshua’s music experience is solely from singing in churches and school choirs. When you look at some of the experience of his competitors I am amazed with Joshua’s instinctive ability to deliver the subtle emotions of these secular songs. We may have a major new talent on our hands when you consider how raw he truly is. Joshua Ledet is the one to beat on American Idol Season 11.
2) Colton Dixon- On the other end of the spectrum is Colton Dixon who has continually created surprisingly emotional moments on the show while delivering technically superior singing demonstrations of mostly obscure songs. This week is a case in point. I know that “Time After Time” is anything but obscure. However, get your head around the Tim Tebow of American Idol singing a Cyndi Lauper melancholly love song, and making you fully believe it. That is what Colton Dixon does. Anything but raw, Colton Dixon is a fully formed music professional who is ready to go into the studio. Watching this video, can’t you imagine Colton Dixon fronting his atmospheric, alternative rock band at the Grammy’s? I believe we are headed to another male American Idol winner.
3)Skylar Laine- She has 100% of the country vote. She is a seasoned performer with more that a decade of musical theater experience. She has an electric performing personality. She has the voice of Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Nettles. That combination could enable Skylar Laine to pull off the upset. After she made an early statement with her frantic performance of “Stay With Me”, Skylar has drifted through a series of very good performances of country and pop songs. She had started to fade into the background until this week when she put on her musical theater shoes and delivered big with a version of “Wind Beneath My Wings” that brought J-Lo to tears. Amazingly, she twisted that big pop sing into a country song and still delivered. Listen carefully, there are not many singers around who can pull off the note she did in the last seconds of that performance. If Skylar can continue making smart song choices that feature her big voice she could sneak into the American Idol Season 11 top 3.
4)Phil Phillips- Amazingly, Phil Phillips delivered a surprisingly lackluster performance this week. He did not seem emotionally or musically committed to the “Thats All” and seemed distracted by the presence of his brother-in-law on guitar. We fully expect Phil to return to his highly rhythmic, tonally subtle, manic style this week. He has so much momentum I will be shocked if he does not make it into the American Idol Season 11 top five.
5) Jessica Sanchez- I know I am defying everything the judges have to say about one of the best singers to ever hit American Idol. I do like her as a singer. However, she seems a little too focused on winning. It seems that Jessica’s entire life has been directed toward these next few weeks. I am a little turned off by that and I think, in the end, American Idol voters will be turned off as well. Jessica could be a shocking elimination in the next few weeks.
6)Elise Testone- I thought Elise Testone had found her voice and was going to seize upon her momentum. Instead she returned to the long, flowing, old lady dress and a dour performance of “I Want To Know What Love Is.” We want the strong rocker lady who owns the room and will push you out of the way to get what she wants. Instead we got the sad person who has been knocked down too many times. Unless rocker Elise makes a big comeback this week she might go home.
7) Hollie Cavanaugh- The only thing saving Elise is Hollie Cavanaugh who seems to be overwhelmed as the stage has gotten bigger. We have seen it before on American Idol, the tremendous singer who needs to stretch a little, gets confused by everyone’s advise and then completely loses their way. Both Hayle Reinhart and Syesha Mercado were relentlessly flogged by the judges and still found their way into the top 3. However, Hollie Cavanaugh does not seem to possess the same toughness as those two. Hollie was not in the bottom two last week and, with a tremendous performance this week, she could stick around for a few more shows. We think this will be the end for Hollie Cavanaugh.
Join us tonight for our live impressions of tonight’s American Idol Season 11 top 7 performances.