Radio and TV Talk

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

'American Idol' bits: Top 11 power rankings, Maddie Walker's illness; Jennifer Hudson, Clay Aiken

By RODNEY HO/ rho@ajc.com, originally filed Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"American Idol" is off Wednesday for the "Empire" season finale and will return Thursday for the first two-hour live show featuring the top 10 singing movie songs. Song spoilers probably won't leak until Thursday.

Here is my Power 11 rankings, which is where I feel each singer is at in relation to the others. This is not a prediction of who will win.

1. Tyanna Jones. She has yet to offer us a bad performance. And last week's cool and energetic "Tightrope" pushed her to the top this week. (last week-2)

2. Jax. While her "Blank Space" last week was less than inspired, she is still very much a favorite to take it to the finals. (3)

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3. Qaasim Middleton. He tried to stand still and (kinda) sing last week. It was a sloppy mess but his charm remains infectious.  Question: will his vocal yips eventually take him down? (5)

4. Nick Fradiani (1). He needs to show just a bit more personality or he might fade into the woodwork.

5. Joey Cook. She is all jazzy quirk but it worked last week with "Fancy."  (7)

6. Clark Beckham.  He is no Michael McDonald or even Taylor Hicks. He needs to break out more and move outside his comfort zone. (6)

7. Adanna Duru. She is upping her game when she needs to. Her "Runaway Baby" last week was inspired.  (9)

Quentin Alexander. I felt his "Rolling in the Deep" felt shallow, as HCJ said, but he is holding his own. (10)

9. Rayvon Owen. Again, Quentin and Qaasim are overshadowing him and his effort to go upbeat last week failed. (7)

10. Maddie Walker. She has a good voice but a personality on stage of cardboard. (11)

11. Daniel Seavey. I have a soft heart for Daniel. He seems like a sweet kid who has musicality in his heart. But that voice sounds like it's going to go all Peter Brady on us at any moment (12)

***

Jennifer Hudson is going on Broadway to play Shug Avery, Celie’s rival-friend-mentor-lover, in a stripped-down version of "The Color Purple." This is Hudson's debut on Broadway, believe it or not. Fantasia has played Celie in the past on Broadway and on the road, including the Fox Theatre a few years back.

***

What was Maddie Walker's medical issue Ryan Seacrest alluded to after her performance? A ruptured appendix, resulting in a hospital stay, according to Savion Wright's Twitter feed. UPDATE: Scott Borchetta said she was sick enough to land in the hospital for a few days but said the appendix rumor was "exaggerated." So what was it? He isn't sure.

***

Esquire's four-part documentary "The Runner Up" about Clay Aiken's failed run for Congress last year debuts April 7.

According to the press release:

THE RUNNER-UP spotlights what it takes to run an American campaign from the perspective of a candidate who is a newcomer to the political scene with few resources and little support. Throughout the campaign, Aiken struggles to convince voters - and America - to take him seriously as a political contender against those who would write him off as simply a reality TV star.

***

Kelly Clarkson's "Heartbeat Song" edges up to No. 6 on the Mediabase 24/7 Hot AC chart and No. 18 on the top 40 chart.

Iggy Azalea's "Trouble" (with Jennifer Hudson) is at No. 36 on the pop chart and Jordin Sparks' 'Double Tap" is at No. 45 on the rhythmic chart. Danny Gokey's "More Than You Think I Am" is at No. 20 on the Christian chart.

***

Here's Kris Allen mashing up "Chandelier," "Take Me To Church" and "Stay With Me."

About the Author

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

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