Four reasons why Georgia’s Will Moseley could win ‘American Idol’

And two reasons why he might not prevail in show’s 22nd season
Will Moseley during the "American Idol" top 3 Disney night that aired Sunday, May 12, on ABC. (Disney/Eric McCandless)

Credit: Courtesy photo/ABC

Credit: Courtesy photo/ABC

Will Moseley during the "American Idol" top 3 Disney night that aired Sunday, May 12, on ABC. (Disney/Eric McCandless)

Georgia country singer Will Moseley is in position to win the 22nd season of ABC’s “American Idol.”

But the 23-year-old graduate of Georgia Southern University is up against two worthy competitors: Texan rock/pop singer Jack Blocker and California crooner Abi Carter. There is no obvious winner at this point with the three-hour finale set to air at 8 p.m. Sunday.

Here are four reasons why Moseley could take the prize:

1. He sings with poise, confidence and likability. “He has a great smile,” said MJ Santilli, who runs MJs’ Big Blog, which has tracked “Idol” for two decades. “He appeals to people who like ‘Idol.’ He has that Southern charm.” Indeed, Moseley possesses that aw-shucks vibe similar to season two winner Ruben Studdard.

2. He has a distinct persona and picks songs that fit that persona. With his raspy drawl, soulful delivery and full beard, he resembles a younger cousin of Chris Stapleton, who is now an arena-filling monster star. In fact, Moseley has sung Stapleton songs three times, along with covers of songs by Travis Tritt, Johnny Cash and Lynyrd Skynyd. He smartly chose “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf as his second song this past Sunday, catnip for the Boomer-age “Idol” voters. He can write songs, too. His original audition was his own tune “Gone for Good.” Reg Griffin, a 61-year-old Atlanta resident who has followed “Idol” since Kelly Clarkson won, said Moseley would be welcome in the country music world along the lines of Jelly Roll and Luke Combs.

3. Country singers have had a decent track record on “Idol.” Several “Idol” singers have thrived in the country world. There’s Carrie Underwood (season four winner), Scotty McCreery (season 10 winner), Lauren Alaina (season 10 runner-up) and Gabby Barrett (third place, season 16). Season 20 winner Noah Thompson pursued country as well. though he has not yet broken through.

4. His season 22 country competitors are gone: On top 5 Disney night this past Sunday, the two eliminated singers, Emmy Russell and Triston Harper. were in the same genre as Moseley. It’s possible that their fans might end up moving more votes over to Moseley.

Here are two reasons why he may not win:

1. He doesn’t take a lot of chances: Moseley hadn’t had a lot of emotional moments that pull at the heartstrings like his competitors. All his performances have been solid, and his journey has been so consistent as to be a little dull. “He’s very risk averse,” Santilli said. “He hasn’t done anything all that surprising compared to Jack and Abi.”

2. Is he too r back? He gives off the impression, whether it’s fair or not, that what he does feels so effortless, maybe he doesn’t want or even need the victory as much as his rivals. “He doesn’t seem as invested,” Santilli said.

And here are reasons why his rivals might win:

Abi Carter:: She has the strongest voice of the three remaining singers, enabling her to easily sing multiple genres, a la Kelly Clarkson. The 21-year-old Californian started as a pianist with a singer-songwriter feel, opening with Billie Eilish’s “What Am I Made For?” in her initial audition. The judges saw her promise, giving her one of three Platinum Tickets, which allowed her to skip a round in Hollywood. She continued through with covers of songs by Coldplay, Elton John and Taylor Swift. But her breakthrough performance was top 8 week with a bracing “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence, showing her rock bona fides. The next week, she wowed Lionel Richie with her cover of “Hello.” Her momentum got her into the finals, and while only two of the last six past winners have been women, she could surprise with a victory.

Jack Blocker: Judges Katy Perry and Richie initially rejected him, distracted by his odd facial contortions. But in a possible first on the show, flabbergasted crew members behind the cameras rebelled, convincing Perry and Richie to change their mind. Blocker then defied expectations throughout the competition, winning the judges over with his quirky pop rock vocals and stylings that resembled season 11 victor Phillip Phillips. “He could win this with his personality,” said Deirdre Crescimanno, a former Peachtree City resident who now lives in Nevada and became a regular participant in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Idol Blog from 2005 to 2011. “He’s extremely likable. He has this big grin on his face and this whole underdog story.” Her favorite performances: his cover of Willie Nelson’s “Always on My Mind” and this past Sunday’s take on David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.”


“American Idol” season 22 finale

8 p.m. Sunday on ABC and on Hulu on Monday