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Andrew is a staff writer at the “The Hudsucker”. He is a 28 year old lawyer living in Ottawa. Besides legal jargon, his brain capacity is taken up by reality show trivia, video game walk-throughs and room escape strategies. Andrew is also happily in a long-term, long-distance relationship. Follow him on Twitter as @sublymonal.

American Idol XIII: The Top 31 Takes Shape

It was probably deliberate, but many of the people we spotlighted during the audition rounds ended up in the Top 31. For that reason, we won’t be re-reviewing them, but rather, the two of us will give you some predictions in the upcoming rounds. We have 31 contestants going into next week’s live shows, so titled “Rush Week”. We know one of either Ben Briley or Neco Starr will be eliminated by America’s Vote and then, according to sources, the judges will cut 5 guys and 5 girls based on the rehearsal footage, leaving us with 10 guys performances and 10 girls performances to help us decide on a Top 13. I’m guessing America will probably vote through 5 guys and 5 girls and then the judges will pick one each to go through. With that said, we’re going to try and predict what category each of our 31 contestants sits in: Top 13 contender, Victim of Rush Week Cut, or somewhere in between – as in they’ll get a chance to perform during the Top 10 Guys or Girls show, but probably won’t make the finals. So here we go, first up. All the single ladies! *cringes from the memory*

Top ConTENders:

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

1. Majesty York – The judges said that even with her lukewarm rendition of ‘Stars’, she was still an easy pick for them and I think if she can go back to her acoustic roots, they’ll give her high praise on Tuesday night and the same will hold true for America.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

2. Marielle Sellers – They’ve shown her audition twice, show her plenty of times during Hollywood week just to give commentary on the proceedings and the constantly remind of us of that moment that Harry had her look in the camera and prematurely declare herself the next American Idol – so if she isn’t one of the chosen ones, I’m reading the signs wrong here – even if her Wrecking Ball cover on the last night was pretty watered down.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

3. Jess Meuse – Despite the edit she got in Hollywood, I think her talent speaks for herself and I think once people hear her sing again, they’ll forget the drama and say “do not pass go, do not collect $200” to Jess on her way to the Top 10.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

4. Jena Ascuitto – Another easy pick for the judges and I see why. Her rich, gritty rock tone stands out and even when she picks unexpected songs, it turns out well for her. I think America will relate to her like that have previous “girl next door” type rocker chicks (see: Allison Iraheta) and, just for that, Jena will be in too.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

5. Kristen O’Connor – All we seem to know about this girl is that she’s a singing nurse and while her voice is pretty basic (as in she doesn’t have interesting tone like Jena, Majesty or Jess), I think that might bode well for her because she has her own niche. She’s that pretty all-American type and a lot of the social media hype seems to be in her favour, so we’ll see.

Potential Wildcards:

Fox + 19 Entertainment

6. Briana Oakley – She’s proven that she can sing her face off pretty much every time the camera has been on her and has yet to get a negative edit. Plus the judges seem to really like her. I think she could be one of those people who’s just talented enough to fill a slot in the Top 13 that most people wouldn’t think is a mistake.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

7. Kenzie Hall – Another hit or miss contestant, but when she hits, she hits hard. Her rendition of “Can’t Hold Us” was so cool that I think if she can find a moment like that in this week’s show, the voters will advance her without the help of the judges.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

8. Austin Wolfe – As good as her tone is, I feel like all we’ve seen this girl sing is ‘Radioactive’. The judges however, seem to think highly of her so maybe if she finally sings something different this week, we’ll get to see what the hype is about and she’ll find a spot in the Top 13 as well.

Will Perform:

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

9. Emily Piriz – One great performance does not a frontrunner make and as cute and unassuming as Emily seems, I think plenty of the other girls can boast the same. She’s also been one of those contestants that I find myself forgetting about until they show her again which, given that we have to cut about half of the 15 females, probably isn’t a good thing.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

10. MK Nobilette – After being declared Idol’s first openly gay contestant and “unique”, I feel as if the judges have to keep her to show that they’re not as bad as they seem. Will America vote her through? Probably not. Her voice isn’t traditional Idol and neither is her story and, unfortunately, I don’t think America is fully ready for a contestant as comfortable in her own skin as MK just yet.

Rush Week Victims:

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

11. Jillian Jensen – As sweet and likeable as Jillian is, the editing hasn’t been in her favour thus far and we haven’t seen much of what she’s capable of. Sure, she can wield a guitar and has a pleasant voice, but the same goes for a number of the above girls.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

12. Brandy Neely – Our second comeback girl probably hasn’t shown enough spunk and fire to get her much further than the first round. Absent staking her claim as the season’s country girl (Perhaps Kellie Pickler 2.0?), I think she’ll be dismissed as fodder too.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

13. Malaya Watson – Our resident braced tuba player displayed some weakness on her last song before the big reveal and I think that could be what the judges rely on when cutting her before she even opens her mouth on the Idol stage.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

14. Adrina Brogden – As much as I personally like and am gunning for Adrina, I think it’s safe to say that she’s fodder given how little we’ve seen of her since her audition. Plus, unlike some of the other girls, she isn’t drop dead gorgeous so her good voice will only take her so far.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

15. Bria Ania – Being more known for you sparkly lipstick than your voice is never a good thing and a lot of people on twitter were questioning the decision to advance her over other, more talented folks. Fodder anyone?

And now for the boys:

Top ConTENders:

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

1. Dexter Roberts – What Marielle Sellers is to the girls, Dexter Roberts is to the guys. We’ve seen him more often than anyone else and been reminded numerous times about how “authentic” he is. The Southern states, where the most votes come from, will be all over this guy so absent some ridiculous blunder, I think he’s a sure bet for the finals.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

2. Sam Woolf – Another sure bet is someone who the internet buzz seems to favour. Sam has show great tone, vocals and song writing chops and he’s just cute and unassuming enough to snatch up a bit of the tween vote. I foresee him putting forth a great performance and advancing, no problems.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

3. Spencer Lloyd – He’d probably advance on his face alone, but because his Say Something cover is still stuck in my mind, maybe he’ll go down that route again and remind America that he’s more than his looks. Either way, I think he’ll be the token good looking guy of the season.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

4. Casey Thrasher – Also known as 1/3rd of the ‘Bama Boys and Dexter’s bff. I think with the way their playing up that friendship and how much they’ve shown of Casey as well, he’s going to sing a country song and find himself advancing on high praise from the judges and votes that echo the same sentiments.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

5. Malcolm Allen – This one might be a stretch, but it shouldn’t be if we’re basing it strictly on talent. Malcolm is like a more mature, confident version of Burnell from last season. He’s got that John Legend type tone that can kind of conquer anything and I hope America understands just how good he is and puts him through.

Potential Wildcards:

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

6. CJ Harris – Likeable as all heck and just talented enough to back it up. He’s got that Darius Rucker thing going for him and I think with his story and the judges on his side, he could be one to watch, for sure. Especially since he’s been dubbed part of the ‘Bama Boys along with front runners Dexter and Casey.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

7. Alex Preston – He’s shown some creativity with his musical arrangements, but he’s also a very polarizing figure. I haven’t fully latched on to him yet because his covers seem to throw out the original melody entirely and I’m not really a fan of that or his tendency to slur the words, but maybe those who like him will push him through.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

8. Ben Briley – I’m going out on a limb and saying Ben will be the one to advance between him and Neco. He’s got that middle America type of guy thing going for him and the voice to back it up. I still remember his audition to Arms of A Woman and I think if he performs that well again on Wednesday night, the judges will be reluctant to let the Little Wildcard That Could go.

Will Perform:

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

9. Maurice Townsend – Talented guy, no doubt. I loved what he did with Wrecking Ball and he’s got that Idol look. He’s very reminscent of early season contestants like Anwar Robinson but I think the Idol audience is kind of over that so, unfortunately, he’ll just get one shot at singing.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

10. Briston Maroney – He’s a cute 15 year old boy who plays guitar, but his voice has a very unique almost Lee DeWyze-esque tone to it that will be polarizing among viewers. I think, with the more agreed upon talent in the mix, Briston will probably disappear behind other tween-favourites like Sam and Spencer.

Rush Week Victims:

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

11. Caleb Johnson – The judges took the words right out of my mouth when they told Caleb that’s he’s talented but too much of a character and I think that will be his downfall before the live shows. There’s no way this guy is going to win the competition, so may as well cut him off now.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

12. Ethan Harris – The boy with the love affair for Keith Urban. He’s cute, but blow-you-away talented? I’m not so sure about that. I just don’t feel like he’s a star yet and if Harry really wants that cut-throat battle for that title, I think Ethan’s going to have to be cut from the pack who end up in the Hunger-Games style Idol arena.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

13. George Lovett – This cut is going to sting a bit. I think George’s Jason Mraz cover as his final solo was stellar but he’s been basically non-existent all week and while that hasn’t stopped previous success stories like Bo Bice and Kris Allen, I think with the judges having one final say, he’ll be an easy cut that the average viewer won’t miss as much as I will.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

14. Jordan Brisbane – To paraphrase a Damien Rice song that Phillip Phillips sang a few years back: “He’s still too young”. Jordan is one of those contestants that I wish the judges cut and told to come back because there is a glimmer of talent in there, but his voice has yet to develop to the point where I’m comfortable saying he can outsing any of the guys above him.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

15. Emmanuel Zidor – He’s got personality out the wazoo but his voice just isn’t strong enough, in my opinion, to seal the deal and I feel like someone in bootcamp (hopefully Adam Lambert) will tell him that and that will be the end of him before he’s even begun.

Credit: Fox + 19 Entertainment

16. Neco Starr – So why don’t I think our Bruno Mars clone will survive America’s vote? I just think his comeback story hasn’t played as well as Ben’s guy-next-door type story. Although he probably isn’t, Neco seems to come across as arrogant at times and most of the clips we’ve seen of him singing haven’t been as good as what we saw back in Season 11. I think despite the judges saying it’s a close race between him and Ben, it won’t be for America.

Take everything I’ve said above with a grain of salt. I tried to be as objective as possible, but I also know who I like and dislike. I think this season has a tone of potential to be a great year for Idol, but as we’ve seen in the past, a great crop of talent can yield the perfect group of finalists (see: Season 11) or an inconsistent mix (see: Season 9, Season 12). I’m hoping for the former so that we truly do get a fight to the finish, like Harry said, but all that depends on the judges cuts and America’s votes. If the judges make their cuts to try and force America to pick the 5 people they want them to pick, then we could be in for some robberies, but remember, they have to pick three wildcards from those who don’t advance from the votes, so hopefully they don’t stray too far and leave us with slim pickings. In the words of Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday: “Make good choices”. All I really want is for them to base their decisions on the performances which we have yet to see, making it all the harder to guess and rank these contestants.

And with that, I’ll leave you there to ponder everything and Ashleigh and I will be back on Friday with reviews of the 2 nights of performances plus the result! Let’s hope we’ll all be happy by then but with Randy Jackson’s resurgence on our TV’s in a few hours time, I have my doubts…

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. American Idol XIII – Rush Week | The Hudsucker - February 24, 2014

    […] on each of them. For statistics purposes: I got 8/10 girls picks right and 7/10 guys picks right (including the bold Ben Briley prediction). I will say that some of their choices to sing shocked me, but some proved me wrong (Caleb and […]

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