Radio and TV Talk

Rodney Ho covers TV and radio, from Atlanta’s stations to the hottest “American Idol" news.

'American Idol' bits: predictions, Caleb Johnson Keith Urban, Corey Clark

A week has now passed since "Idol" has ended and most of America barely blinked. "Caleb who?" is the likeliest response you'll get if you bring him up.

But life goes on and "Idol" auditions for season 14 start next month.

I did fairly well predicting who would be eliminated each week season 13. I got nine out of 13 right. I can take solace in that because my predictions before the finalist live shows? Not so hot.

Here is how I thought each contestant would end up and where they actually ended up.

predicted 13. Kristen O'Connor. She was very pretty and had a decent voice but she lacked a sense of "realness" on stage. That doomed her. I predicted her 13th and got it right. (actual -13)

predicted 12. MK Nobilette. I wasn't impressed by her stage presence or her voice. Somehow, her fans kept her around an extra two weeks, just long enough for her to make it to the live tour. (actual - 10)

predicted 11. Malaya Watson. Another miss. I really thought our very own "Ugly Betty" was just awful early on, totally out of control on stage vocally and physically. She was teachable and she ended up doing fairly well. Did she ever have a chance of winning? Nope.  (actual - 8)

predicted 10. Dexter Roberts. I was off yet again by three slots. I never thought much of Dexter. He wasn't terrible, just ordinary in so many ways. There was no star power there. Yet. he somehow finished 7th.

predicted 9. Emily Piriz. Again, I'm off by three slots. Here's someone I quickly forgot about. She was a bit like Dexter. A decent singer without that killer spark. (actual 12)

predicted 8. Alex Preston. Another sign how I misread the tea leaves. I  was off by FIVE slots here. I thought he was too one-dimensional to make it to the top three. I'd say now he's more singular in the sense he has a very distinctive style and was quite good in reality. I hope he gets a career out of it. (actual -3 )

predicted 7. Jena Irene. Whoops - again. I didn't foresee how she would improve over the weeks, how good she ultimately was. Heck, she almost won! So again, I'm off by five slots. Boo - to me. (actual - 2)

predicted 6. Jessica Meuse. Finally. I'm "only" off by two slots this time. She was our very own wounded bird. I wasn't sure whether she'd collapse or rise to the occasion. She did get better and warm up a bit, finishing a solid fourth. I'm happy she made it as far as she did. (actual -4)

predicted 5. C.J. Harris. Interestingly, I was really close with C.J. I liked him for his style and his personality. His singing? Meh. But I had this thought that country and Alabama would equal votes. I was right to a degree. Plus, I thought he'd do better than he did during the live shows. What's amazing is how far he actually got.  (actual 6 )

predicted 4. Ben Briley. My worst prediction so far, off by seven places. He finished out of the money at 11th place. I liked him more than C.J. or Dexter. Clearly, not enough others did.  (actual -11)

predicted 3. Caleb Johnson. I saw his potential early on, as did all of us who read this blog. He was already a fully formed singer. But I didn't think his 1980s-style rock singing would carry him to victory. It did. (actual -winner)

predicted 2. Majesty Rose. This ties with my Ben Briley prediction in terms of ineptitude. She actually finished in ninth place. What happened? I liked her singing but she didn't seem to know what vocal style would work for her. She was a bit of a chameleon but not in the best sense. She never ultimately blew us away despite what I thought was great potential. (actual 9 )

predicted winner. Sam Woolf. He finished both 8th and fifth since he was the judges' save. It was obvious after just a couple of live performances after the top 13 live shows started that Sam was NOT going to be the winner. I loved his audition and thought his smooth singing stylistics would bring home a Scotty McCreery-like victory. But he was nowhere near ready. Even though he got better as the show went along, he could improve only so much. He should be thrilled he made it as far as fifth. (actual 5)

How do I grade my predictions? Naturally, making predictions on such a small sample of performances as we saw before the top 13 is tough. But I can only give myself a D. The only one I predicted 100% right was the first one out (Kristen). On the most part, I was off by a lot. Nostradamus would not be impressed.


The finale ratings: the show finished just above 10 million viewers. That's down from 14 million last year, 22 million season 11 and 29 million season 10. Almost two-thirds of the viewers disappeared over three years. At least it beat the "Survivor" finale (and that show was in its 28th season.)


I listened in on part of the Caleb Johnson press conference last Thursday while I was in Nashville and asked him a couple of softball questions (because really, was there any point in rehashing the "retard" quote at that point?). I asked him where he planned to live once the "Idols Live" tour ended.  He said he loves Asheville, of course, but would consider either Atlanta or Nashville and would prefer to stay in the South vs. going to NY or LA. I also wondered what he would sing for the "Idols Live" tour and he said it was too early to know for sure but some greatest hits from the show itself are likely. (Led Zeppelin anybody?). Plus, he and Jena Irene are actually going to her prom for real even though he is 23 and a wee bit too old for such rites of passage. They do appear to be tight friends and that's a good thing.


Michael Slezak and Melinda Doolittle parse out season 13 for TV Line's finale weekly "Reality Check."

I agree with them that this season was not the worst ever in terms of talent. I'd say season 9 and 12 were worse.  But it was definitely not the best, though the top 4 could all have arguably made the top 10 any previous year.

They also brought up other good points. Too many judge cutaways during the performances. Not enough behind-the-scenes stuff that was meaningful and interesting.  Too many singers who were clearly not ready for prime time (Sam Woolf, Malaya Watson) and needed more seasoning.


AMERICAN IDOL XIII: L-R: Judges Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and Harry Connick Jr. answer questions from the press on the AMERICAN IDOL XIII stage in Boston, MA on Wednesday, Sep. 4. CR: Michael Becker / FOX. ©2013 Copyright FOX.

Keith Urban confirmed last week with CNN on the red carpet that he is returning to "Idol" for a third season. He joins Harry Connick Jr. . Jennifer Lopez is the only one who has yet to confirm but she has said she'd like to rejoin the crew.

Despite the ratings problem and budgetary issues, I'm sure all three will come back at reduced cost since they will only have to show up once a week instead of twice a week. Why? They like each other. That's not something that can be faked. I personally find this the most enjoyable judges' crew "Idol" has ever had, surpassing even the original three.

Ryan Seacrest is returning, too, of course. There's a man who knows loyalty. As I've said before, the show needs him more than the other way around at this point.

As for Randy Jackson? I couldn't care less.


The ever hideous roach of an "Idol" contestant Corey Clark has his defamation suit against MTV dismissed. He had claimed the network defamed him by writing about his arrest for assaulting his sister. A Tennessee judge threw out the lawsuit because what MTV reported was true.

His other lawsuit against "Idol" over racism with nine other "Idol' black contestants  still lingers.


Kelly Clarkson is almost ready to have her first child but reports say she's had a difficult pregnancy.


Miranda Lambert purchased a motorcycle for her duet partner Carrie Underwood.


A few months back, North Carolina Democratic congressional candidate Clay Aiken scrubbed his Twitter feed of anything that might be construed as controversial, including a line about wanting to punch Ann Coulter in the face. Some conservatives are now calling him out and saying the media has let this advocacy of violence slide - though it was clearly a joke.


Adam Lambert has moved to the Hollywood Hills, purchasing a home worth almost $3 million. Clearly, he has not done badly for himself.

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About the Author

Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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