If you’re not excited for the American Idol sing-off, GTFO of here right now

How I'm feeling about some old-fashioned fan-voting competition tonight.

How I’m feeling about some old-fashioned fan-voting competition tonight.

I like the sing off. With six people singing for four spots, the idea of competing was something I couldn’t wait to see.

Then American Idol went and screwed up the Top 14. I was pissed.

Then Idol went and turned six singing for four to eight singing for six and I’ve since downgraded to marginally upset.

With pretty much everyone not related to a contestant on board that the American Idol semifinals were shameful and a complete sham, robbing America of what could have been the most intense season since Season 11, Idol producers changed up the previously announced rules to make the viewers and voters a little less upset.

Anything that improves the competition and takes decisions out of the judges’ hands is great – last season’s two-person sing off decided by Twitter votes is 10 times better than the judges’ save ever was – and having 10 contestants sing for their lives hopefully gives us something better than the previous auditions. It can’t be worse than the duets (except for the good ones and whoops, all those people are gone. Thanks, Idol).

So who’s left? We’ll find out for sure tonight. Here’s who I think we’ll see singing and how I think they’ll do. If you get bored, you can read my blog on who I think is getting a pass to the Top 10 and that should take you right to showtime.

List is in alphabetical order. Can’t be showing favoritism even if the Idol producers do.


1) Jenn Blosil

THE TAKE: If Jenn Blosil doesn’t make the finals America has completely lost its mind. There was genuine concern she wasn’t making the Final 14 after a rough performance in a stacked semifinal (still boggles my mind how Idol got away with that without people going bananas) but the judges/producers wisely put her through. It was a bit of a surprise because her sound hasn’t fared well when it’s been on the show. Jenn got through the hard part of getting past the judges – who have traditionally kicked out the girls who dare to sound different – and now she’s where she can shine. If she sticks with the 80s clothes and the rearranged throwbacks, Blosil is going to become a fan favorite for the show’s primary audience.

2) Trent Harmon

THE TAKE: With Idol executing the older WGWGs that drive the wine-sipping women crazy, Trent’s going to inherit the same fans that carried Nick Fradiani to the Season 14 title. He can slide into any genre he wants and (I’m basing this off his Twitter) despite being a religious guy, Trent’s avoided alienating everyone with the “glory to god” attitude that really wears thin after a while. He’s got the perfect amount of looks and awkwardness that’ll draw in the women and make dudes like me not feel like bags of ass and his voice? The range? It’s not gonna overpower anyone, but he’s shown versatility that whether it’s covering a pop song, doing Motown or banging out bro-country, it works for him. Should be getting voted in safely if Idol producers don’t place him Top 4.

3) Gianna Isabella

THE TAKE: She has to be singing tonight. If she doesn’t, it’s because the producers really want to get another teen girl in the show. She’s got skills, but extended the sing-off from six to 10 didn’t help her chances. Female pop/balladeers already have a bad rep on the show – provided the producers haven’t openly decided to force feed them down our throats, a la Season 12 – so she’ll have to prove she belongs tonight. Can she do it? She has before, coming up with huge performances when it appeared she was on the short list to go home. If she can outperform Sonika Vaid and Tristant McIntosh – and I mean really outperform – she won’t give America a choice but to vote for her.

4) Lee Jean

THE TAKE: There are plenty of people eagerly waiting the opportunity to not vote for Lee. He’s this year’s Daniel Seavey, who someone made the Top 12 and I have a feeling Lee is going to garner up enough social media tallies to find his way to the Top 10. There’s a chance Idol says “fuck it” and throws him Top 4 just to really piss people off. Lee’s talent is undeniable, but one can only take so many Ed Sheeran covers. If he can get out of the WGWG shell and prove he can do something other than coffeehouse hits, he could end up being a force. If he does something completely predictable tonight, America’s not going to be happy, so let’s hope he covers Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ and steals the show (PS Probably the No. 1 candidate for the pimp spot tonight).

5) Tristan McIntosh

THE TAKE: She’s getting a lot of undo hate for how she’s been edited to the show from smarmy bloggers who have a gross approach to breaking Idol down and love to subtweet more than they love Melinda Doolittle. Her issues aren’t with her performances, they’re more with the song selection. If she’s going to sing country, she has to avoid the cheesy ballads and sing something with some oomph. There’s going to be a battle for votes among the teen girls; Jeneve Mitchell, Gianna Isabella, Olivia Rox (if she isn’t one of the four automatics) and Tristan are drawing from the same fanbase and that’s a lot of votes to split. There aren’t nearly enough to go around, so if Tristan proves she deserves the spot by singing instead of pandering, America will fall in her favor. Performance is everything to most of the voters and any bad/cheesy edit will be long forgotten.

6) Jeneve Mitchell

THE TAKE: Probably the one contestant I can’t get a read on. I’m all in on Jeneve, who might be the only Idol left who’s performances have improved as the show has gone on. She’s going to get pegged as the country girl, but she’s not the pop-country girl that’s done well; she’s old school, down-and-dirty country and it works. How will America take it? Well, there’s two camps; there’s one that appreciates her naivete, her talent and gets past the wardrobe; and then there’s the people who ignore her talent and blissful youth and focus their hate on her wardrobe choices. Yahoo’s Lyndsey Parker discussed her clothes on the “Day After” and I agree with her take; Jeneve needs to change it up, but she doesn’t need to start dressing like 1999 Britney Spears (which was awesome for teenage me). If she modernizes the gear and performs like she has been, it’ll be tough for anyone to not vote for her.
PS Should be noted she’s involved in this whole sing-off thing tonight because she tweeted this today while every other Idol tweeted something about “see if I make the Top 10”:

7) La’Porsha Renae

THE TAKE: La’Porsha’s going to benefit because she’s the only one who can sing with soul. She’s felt pain the rest of the cast don’t quite understand, even if Idol producers are going to try and get us to believe they can. In sports you always keep your eye on the athlete who wants it more than anyone else, the guy who has to overcome more than everything, the one who’s had the most doubters. That’s La’Porsha. She had a kid, is going through a divorce and is doing everything she can to make sure her and her child don’t become a statistic. That’s a driving force nobody can match and it’s going to show up in her performances. America’s going to take to La’Porsha. She’ll dominate the black vote, the church vote, the R&B vote and the white people who love old-school music vote. There’s no tricks with La’Porsha, no musical gimmicks. It’s going to be heart and soul and it would be a shock if she didn’t get the votes to get through.

8) Tommy Stringfellow

THE TAKE: If anyone is going to have beef with producers at the end of Season 15 it’s going to be Tommy because their either going to screw him over in favor of MacKenzie or Dalton or try to as he steamrolls his way through the competition. There’s something about this kid that screams star and as I’ve been writing all season, the fact he isn’t fronting a boy band is a shocking failure by the music industry as a whole. If there’s a teenage girl vote, it’s his. Sure, Dalton is crazy popular among the tweens, but if there are any 15-18-year old girls watching and voting Tommy comes off – at least on social media – as more approachable and a hell of a lot less cocky. Watching him play coy in Periscopes the last couple of weeks is insane because he’s got the talent and looks that should control a room at all times. Turns out he might just be the casual contestant everyone likes and could be the “safe” contestant the older female population turn to if Trent isn’t around anymore. I don’t think Idol will make him a Top 4, but he should be safe for a while.

9) Manny Torres

THE TAKE: Manny is going to have to deal with the burden of the producers’ decisions because there are a lot of people not happy he’s in while Adam Lasher, Shelbie Z and Kory Wheeler are out. He’s going to have to figure out a way to carve a niche and become something other than J-Lo’s hand-picked hero because there isn’t a non-Manny fan watching who isn’t thinking that. He’s been at his best with a guitar in hand and for some reason, ditched it in a disastrous Final 24 solo performance that barely got better in his duet with Jordin Sparks. He’s got the most ground to make up with the voters and has to find a way to get them on his side. His performance tonight doesn’t have to be good; it has to be the kind of performance that makes people bring up the greats as they hold back tears. Anything short of perfect, Manny’s Idol journey ends Thursday night.

10) Sonika Vaid

THE TAKE: Sonika, oh Sonika, I have no idea what to do with you. These are the singers that befuddle me. The 20-something balladeer. A little too old for the teens, old enough for the older mom vote to get very judgmental (every woman who’s taken a chorus class in high school thinks they know singing better than anyone on earth. It’s amazing because most of them know less about singing than the guy writing this blog right now) and really is up there without a fan base to speak of. Songstresses don’t do well on the show. They just don’t. Without the musical instrument gimmick, you’re going strictly on vocals because any idiot with a mic can be entertaining on stage. You should see me do karaoke. If she misses a note, it’s over. If she nails every note, it still might be over because the song selection was dull. As a soloist, you have no choice but to pick monster songs every week and you have the pressure of hitting them every time. As the only of age pop soloist left, Sonika needs a big night. But maybe not. This genre confuses me and Sonika is no different.

So who’s getting in? Without hearing anything it’s tough to guess. I think Sonika, Manny, Lee, Jeneve, Tristan and Gianna are fighting for four spots, but a lot is going to depend on who the automatic four are and how things go tonight. Can’t wait.