Here's my rankings of the contestants after the first week of performances. A very hot/cold season. I have a strong top-five, all of whom I would be ok with seeing them win, at this point. There are two stuck on neutral, who I don't really love or hate, and then a dismal bottom five, who ALL need to dissapear. Quickly.
1. Chris Daughtery - I love this guys voice and so far he has been 100% flawless. He has a strong rock voice and truly shouldn't be in this competition. He need to be fronting a rock band. He's miles ahead of Bo Bice, in that: he's real. Bo Bice, who I still like, played the southern rock role well and should just go on tour singing with Skynyrd. His album was pretty tame southern rock, not what I had expected from him. CHRIS, can be a legit lead singer of a "Live" style band. He reminds Melissa of Ed Kowalczyk. He might have a problem with some of the theme weeks that this show has, but so far he's 1-for-1, sailing through Stevie Wonder week with a rock version of Higher Ground, ala the Chili Peppers. Hopefully he'll get so lucky every week.
2. Paris Bennett - Another seasoned performer, who hasn't taken a misstep. I REALLY like her, Chris is higher because he's much more in my prefered genres musically. Paris is fun to watch. She's young and cute and can sang. She has the best stage presence, and is probably the one who "should" win this show. Chris is awesome, but he's not the best "american idol" type of winner.
3. Taylor Hicks - I was saying to some friends last night: If I were, for some reason, going to see the top-12 on tour this summer (which, of course, I won't), THIS is the one guy I would be most looking forward to seeing. He is so fun to watch. He's a total kook, but he's got a great voice, a unique style and he stands out as a VERY original performer. I can't wait to see what he does post-idol, when he gets to work the harmonica on stage. He mentioned that the show stylists want to change his grey hair. That would be a huge mistake. I think if he dyed his hair, he would lose some of the unique appeal he has accross America.
4. Katharine McPhee - After last night's performance, I, too, have the McPheever. My hesitation with her has always been that she comes across as a cocky, seasoned performer, and just sort of fake. But the chick can SING. She got her first comparision to Kelly Clarkson, how they both truly emerged as front runners at this part of the contest.
5. Mandisa - Being a big-boned guy myself, I've got a connection to this next-aretha, and I want to see her to REALLY well. She stumbled a little last night, but that doesn't detract too much from the fact that she has THE best voice in the competition. As Randy says, "The girl can BLOW."
6. Lisa Tucker - Lisa has a great singing voice, but her youth is going to come into play pretty soon. No matter how great a voice she has, she just can't stack up against Paris and Mandisa, and, unfortunately, That is where she's going to be compared first, and where she's going to lose the votes. It's also fun to root for a local girl, since she goes to high school in Anaheim.
7. Cletus - As my wife mentioned last night, I just don't know how anyone can say "Bucky" and not start laughing at him. He is a TRUE redneck. He is a hick-from-the-sticks in a way that Bo could have only dreamt about. Where Bo was sort of a manufactured NECK, Bucky is a true-blue southern-fried white trash trailer jockey. With all that said, He's got a GREAT country voice. He, too, will struggle fitting his style into the themed weeks. Where Chris seems to have more musical "know-how" and can work with the band to tailor a song to fit his needs, Cletus will probably just try to fit his voice INTO the other genres, and that will be his down fall. He's still about 42 miles ahead of the bottom five...
8. Elliott Yamin - Congratulations! You're at the top of the dung heap!! This kid can sing well, about one out of every three weeks. But he's got the personality of a rotting tomato.
9. Melissa McGee - She probably has the worst voice of anyone in the top 12, and shouldn't have made the top-12 over the basketball player, but she's got a good personality and I don't exactly hate her. She can stay a while, as far as I'm concerned, just to get the next three gone as QUICK as possible.
10. Kelli Pickler - Read This. She makes me want to vomit.
11. Kevin Covais - He's cute, he's cuddly, and he's annoying as hell. He just simply isn't an american idol, no matter how great his personality is. Since he's the Vote-for-the-Worst pony this year, he might make it as far as Scott Savol did last season. And that would just be sad. But funny.
12. Ace Young - I just want to kick this guys ass. I know he'll be around for a long time, and he's got the chick vote, He's the biggest poser ever in this competition. And DUDE needs a flipping haircut!!!!!!