AMERICAN IDOL - "213 (Top 10 Reveal)"- The search for America's next superstar continues as "American Idol"'s highly anticipated live shows begin in the heart of Los Angeles. In this episode, the Top 14 contestants will be narrowed down to 10 finalists, following a nationwide vote. Following Sunday's overnight vote, the seven contestants with the most votes by America will be revealed, securing their spot in the Top 10. Those that are safe will perform a victory song, and the seven remaining contestants will sing to impress the judges. The judges will then choose three contestants, pushing a total of 10 talented Idol hopefuls one step closer to stardom. The high stakes reveal will air on The ABC Television Network, MONDAY, APRIL 15 (8:00-10:00 p.m. EDT), streaming and on demand. (ABC/Eric McCandless) LACI KAYE BOOTH, LAINE HARDY, WALKER BURROUGHS, UCHE, JEREMIAH LLOYD HARMON, WADE COTA, LIONEL RICHIE
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

‘American Idol’ notes: Top 10 power ranking, ‘Idol’ coming back for 2020, Kelly Clarkson/Carrie Underwood “feud”?

Originally posted Friday, April 19, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

Here is my power rankings of the top 10 based on their chance of winning the entire show. It’s definitely a year for the dudes. I can’t see any of the there ladies taking home the crown though I love Laci Kaye Booth. 

Two of these ten will be eliminated in real time on Sunday, May 21. 

1- Laine Hardy. The kid has everything that fits an “Idol” winner. He has a wonderful voice. He has an understated but confident presence. He is cute. He can clearly sing anything and do it well. He is voter catnip. I don’t know if anyone else has a realistic shot at taking him down unless he stumbles big time in the coming weeks.

2- Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon. The only conceivable contender to take down Laine is Jeremiah. Jeremiah is all kinds of talented. And like Fantasia, he is packed with internal anguish that seeps out of him every time he sings. Can he find joy and provide different sides of him? Hard to say. I hope this entire journey is lifting him up, win or lose.

3- Alejandro Aranda. I know some viewers find him one note and super boring. But I get him. He emotes in such an understated way yet it can be mesmerizing. He is distinctive and his guitar playing is superb. I like that he can experiment a bit and take chances without taking his own being out of the equation. 

4- Madison Vanderburg. She is too young and not mature enough to take home the crown. Her talent is readily evident but her lack of life experience is obvious as well. She is just 16 and needs more years of living to become a true artist. Still, “Idol” voters do like youthful exuberance and she brings that in spades.

5- Laci Kaye Booth. She brings her own special kidn of vibrance and earnest cheer to the stage. I like her raspy voice and her sweetness engaging. I don’t know if she’ll make it past No. 5 in the voting but I have never found her off putting and her song choices and arrangements have been eclectic and smart.

6- Uché. He is a powerhouse performer. It’s shocking the popular voters did not place him in the top seven. Honestly, I can’t think of anyone else on “Idol” who can command a stage with  dance moves like Uché. And his opera background makes his vocal style so cool. I hope he sticks around longer than just this Sunday. Voters need to pick him up this week. It would be criminal if he doesn’t at least make it to Queen week April 29. 

7- Walker Burroughs. I had him as a favorite early on in Hollywood. But as time went on, I found him a little too one note. He’s got a very pleasant voice and demeanor but his stage presence is still a work in progress. 

8- Dimitrius. This man is special. He takes chances and he envelops every song like it’s his last. But R&B is a tough arena now on “Idol” based on its shrinking voting base. 

9- Wade Cota. He embraces his inner Joe Cocker and that raspiness is his defining feature. He somehow made the top 7 riding on his aw-shucks persona so I am probably low-balling this ranking.  

10- Alyssa Raghu. I would have preferred Ashley Hess as a wild-card pick, but Ashley’s Stevie Wonder cover did her in. Plus, the judges felt a need for diversity and youth. Alyssa is a lot like Riley Thompson and Madison: she is just 16 and still trying to define herself. She has an exceptionally good voice and her stage presence is improving. But she has zero chance of winning and is doubtful to make it past this Sunday. 

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Two key producers for “Idol” spoke with Billboard about season 17 and the future of the show.

Here are key takeaways:

- Love, American Idol style: While many folks don’t like this judges’ panel, executive producer Trish Kanine raved, calling them “amazing and even better in the second year than the first year, because their charisma and their friendship has grown.” 

- We want results NOW:  Kinane was thrilled about how ABC and the affiliates allowed them to do voting coast to coast with “Idol” airing earlier on the West Coast. She also said correctly that result shows were all padding and Twitter voting was not real. Of course, viewership on the West Coast will be down significantly due to airing it at 5 p.m. PST but it’s better than nothing. “The viewers love it, because at the beginning of the show, you start voting and at the end of the show, somebody's going home because of what you do. People don't want to hang around anymore. People are impatient.”

- The big finale/results all in one: The May 19 show will be a three-hour extravaganza blending the competition portion with what used to be the results show plus real-time voting. Producer Megan Michaels Wolflick - who has been around since season two - said “we're going to have our traditional competition where the singers will compete, as well as the hometown hero packages everyone loves, as well as the all-star shebang celebrity extravaganza. So it's literally going to be a show for everyone. There's going to be competition. We have a celebration. We have a winner at the end. It's going to be amazing. This is the first time we've ever done this.”

- Pushing harder for quality contestants: It sounds like “Idol” hunted on social media for people they thought could be great performers with a penchant for original writing, if possible. And they did. This is a strong top 10, no doubt. 

- Bringing people together: Wolflick said “I read an interesting article about the music industry being very segmented now with stars on TikTok, stars on Instagram, stars here. Music is kind of divided but “American Idol” to me is the music unifier, because you have the 15-year-old kid who's super into watching it, as well as the moms. Look at our top 10. No two are alike, and they represent all different facets of America. That wasn't our intention. It's what organically happened, which is so magical.”

-Monday’s first-time-ever special meet-the-finalists episode details: Kinane said “We've got eight or nine-minute in depth pieces about the contestants, with material that's not been seen. If they sang two songs in Hollywood Week and we only showed one, we're going to show the other one. It's going to be really interesting if you want to know more about who the top eight are. That's a two-hour show.”

“Idol” IS coming back in 2020: Based on how the producers are talking about setting up auditions for season 18, it appears a renewal is imminent. 

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AMERICAN IDOL - "214 (Disney Night)" - "American Idol"'s Top 10 contestants head to The Happiest Place On Earth, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, to prepare for the next phase of the competition, Disney Night. The finalists will be joined by celebrity mentor Rebel Wilson, who will offer up her pitch-perfect expertise as the superstar hopefuls prepare for their Disney-themed performances. All-star judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie will perform a timeless Disney song in Disneyland Park's Fantasyland. The Top 10 will then return to the iconic Idol stage in Los Angeles to perform fan-favorite Disney songs, in hopes of winning America's heart and vote for a spot in the Top 8. Joining the Top 10 to perform the beloved song "Part of Your World" from Disney's "The Little Mermaid" is singer and actress Lea Michele. Also, America's sweethearts, ABC's Season 1 "American Idol" winner, Maddie Poppe, and runner-up Caleb Lee Hutchinson, return to the stage to sing a Disney classic during a special duet performance. The magic takes place SUNDAY, APRIL 21 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT/5:00-7:01 p.m. PDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Eric McCandless) MADISON VANDENBURG, REBEL WILSON
Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC

Disney synergy night on “Idol” Sunday will feature Maddie Poppie and Dallas GA’s Caleb Lee Hutchinson singing a duet. Hutchinson and Poppie appear to still be a couple! Plus “Pitch Perfect” star Rebel Wilson and “Glee” star Lea Michele will appear as well. 
The top 10 will visit Disneyland Park in Anaheim where the three judges will perform. 

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MJ’s Big Blog saw Maddie Poppe say there will be no “Idol’ tour this year. Too bad. I’m sure last year’s tour did not make enough money to justify the effort. 

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Tabloid “feud”: Star jimmied up some sort of “feud” between Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. Clarkson laughed it off, saying she had a feud with the person who chose her photo.

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HOLLYWOOD, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 24: Adam Lambert (L) and Brian May of Queen perform onstage during the 91st Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2019 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Top 8 will be Queen week!

Adam Lambert will pop in to mentor on Sunday, April 29 for the top 8. The day after, ABC will air a special about Lambert and Queen. He will also perform on the May 19 season finale. The show opened the season with this promo video of the first-night auditioners singing “Don’t Stop Me Now.” Three of them are in the top 10: Laci, Uche and Walker. 

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Carrie Underwood had one of her worst performing singles on the country chart ever with “Love Wins,” which peaked at No. 10 on the Mediabase airplay charts. She typically finishes in the top 5 but she has seen diminishing returns of late. 

Lauren Alaina’s “Ladies in the 90s” appears to have stalled just outside the top 40, peaking at 41. 

Kelly Clarkson’s “Broken & Beautiful” from the “UglyDolls” movie is now at No. 28 on the Hot AC chart. 

Danny Gokey’s latest Christian pop single “Haven’t Seen It Yet” is at no. 11 on the Mediabase Christian AC chart. 

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About the Author

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