Idol Leaderboard: Vote for Your Favorite Singer!

American Idol will name its season 10 semifinalists this week, which means it could be our last opportunity to wave a fan flag for under-the-radar contestants like the White House Intern or the hot, bearded guy who sang “Maggie May” in Nashville. Yeah, I know, a number of dark-sided sites have posted spoilers about the top 24, but I like to approach Idol with eyes as innocent as little Jacee Badeaux (who, incidentally, doesn’t make the Idol Leaderboard cut today). Falling off the countdown from last week are Adrienne Beasley, Paris Tassin, Rob Bolin, Sarah Ames, and Janelle Arthur (all booted during last week’s Hollywood round telecasts), as well as one-song wonder Scotty McCreery and annoying diva Jordan Dorsey. So baby lock them doors and turn the lights down low, our leaderboard’s done and it’s all good to go…

20. Sophia Shorai (new this week) | It says a lot about her big, beautiful voice that she’s made the countdown based on 10 seconds of “Georgia on My Mind” that were punctuated by weird, herky-jerky dance moves.

19. Chris Medina (last week No. 19)| Devastating package about his fiancee’s tragic accident and subsequent brain injury made him a household name, but all three Hollywood Week performances were mediocre at best — particularly his lethargic, breathy “My Prerogative.” Screen-time edge over competition won’t be enough.

18. Clint Jun Gamboa (last week No. 18 ) | Proved to be an adroit, appealing vocalist when he covered “Billionaire” at the San Francisco auditions, but got the “villain edit” during group rounds when he ousted cherbic Jacee from his team. Subsequent rendition of “Georgia on My Mind” was overwrought in the extreme.

17. Da’Quela Payne (new this week) | Showcased a muscular instrument on an a capella rendition of “Get Ready” (alongside Naima Adedapo and Jacob Lusk). Blanked on screen time since then, so her current status in the competition remains murky.

16. John Wayne Schulz (last week No. 17) | Dyed-in-the-homegrown-wool cowboy melted viewers’ hearts in the auditions, but a minuscule snippet of his group performance sounded rough, and his followup take on Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide” didn’t exactly ooze star power.

15. Hollie Cavanagh (last week No. 20) | British teen was a nervous, sobbing mess at her audition, but surprised with a clear, confident Miley Cyrus cover on Day One of Hollywood. Murky editing of her group-round rendition of “Grenade” made it seem like the judge weren’t thrilled with her, but I thought the kid sounded better than all right.

14. Paul McDonald (last week No. 10) | Handsome, bearded fella gave off shades of Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and made a strong positive impression with a smoky, cool cover of “Maggie May” that lasted all of 20 seconds. So how come Uncle Nigel’s kept him locked in the Idol basement ever since?

13. Jalen Harris (new this week) | Showcased a strong, clear voice on “Somebody to Love” as part of the much ballyhooed “The Minors” on Group Day. Can he keep the momentum going without his stage mom in the mix?

12. Julie Zorrilla (last week No. 12) | Gorgeous gal didn’t miss a note — musically or fashion-wise — at the San Francisco audition, causing J.Lo to wonder aloud if she’d just been in the presence of the season 10 winner. Hasn’t made a misstep since while quietly tallying up a decent amount of screen time in Hollywood, culminating with a perfectly fine rendition of “Love Song” behind the keyboards.

11. Molly DeWolf Swensen (last week No. 9 )| Harvard grad and White House intern will probably suffer with the speed-texting crowd for being brainy and ambitious (how dare she!) but her “(Sittin’ on) the Dock of the Bay” was gloriously smooth and controlled. Has gotten the Witness Protection Edit ever since, though. Why The Face?

10. Deandre Brackensick (new this week) | Nailed “Somebody to Love” along with Minors teammate Jalen Harris (see No. 13), but left the most lasting impression of his group with some impressive falsetto runs and equally memorable mane of hair.

9. Lauren Alaina (last week No. 8 ) | Nigel Lythgoe’s “chosen one” closed the Nashville audition episode with a big voice and an appealing personality, but Idol’s subsequent efforts to “make her happen” have been as subtle as a brick to the head. Her “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” in Round Three of Hollywood Week was solid, but we’re not quite ready to dub her Jordin Sparks 2.0.

8. Ashton Jones (new this week) |Made a positive first impression with her jaunty choice of “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops)” in the Group Round, then gave a passionate (if not overwhelming) reading of “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” in the solo round. Buzz is building quietly but steadily.

7. Kendra Chantelle (new this week) |Managed only a few seconds of airtime during Hollywood Week’s third round, but showcased a mature, silky tone on “Georgia on My Mind.” Here’s hoping she’s not another “blink and you’ll miss her” victim of the producers’ whims.

6. Stefano Langone (last week No. 4) | J.Lo said he had “movie-star looks,” and his audition of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” was soulful and sexy. Followup on “Sir Duke” was pitch-perfect and showcased his ability to work the stage, if not completely deconstruct a classic ditty.

5. Brett Loewenstern (last week No. 1)| Red-headed teenager became a Week One breakout after his audition package explained the way he overcame schoolyard bullying, then showed him nailing “Bohemian Rhapsody” with equal parts power and restraint. Nothing wrong with his Group Round rendition of “Mercy” or followup cover of “The Story,” either.

4. Jacob Lusk (new this week) || His borderline-possessed interpretation of “God Bless the Child” was the buzziest solo performance of Hollywood Week. No doubt his “throw everything on the stage” style — with runs and scat and falsetto and crazy faces — won’t appeal to everyone, but it’s at least separated him from the crowded pack for now.

3. Robbie Rosen (last week No. 7)| Polite 16-year-old dressed a little better in Hollywood than he did for the New Jersey auditions, but his lovely, buttery tone has been a constant during auditions and all three rounds of Hollywood Week. Piano-led version of “Gravity” was terrific, and he’s been consistently showcased by producers without feeling ridiculously pimped.

2. Naima Adedapo (last week No. 2) | Milwaukee contestant was shown scrubbing toilets at SummerFest while fantasizing about performing at the venue’s main stage, and her potent, unfussy Donny Hathaway cover showed it’s not just a pipe dream. Her accompaniment-free version of “Get Ready” in the Group Round was overshadowed by Jacob Lusk’s showier vocals, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t as good — if not better.

1. Casey Abrams (last week No. 3) | Scruffy-lookin’ fella went to town on the melodica while waiting in line in Austin, but his “I Don’t Need No Doctor” displayed smokin’-hot vocals, as did his “Lullaby of Birdland” in Hollywood. Still, it was his emotionally rich “Georgia on My Mind,” performed with an upright bass, that catapulted him to the top of the heap. Needs to be careful not to go off pitch when he’s feeling the music, but unassuming 19-year-old is tough to root against.

Okay, TVLine readers, it’s your turn. Vote for your favorite in our Idol Leaderboard poll, then post your personal Top 10 — and sound off on my rankings — in the comments. Ready, set, prognosticate!

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31 Comments
  1. J says:

    I hope we finally get to see Molly DeWolf Swenson tonight.

  2. Winnie says:

    I really don’t care about any of your top 20 contestants at the moment (truth be told, I can’t remember any of their names or what they did cuz I brushed off both auditions and hell week)..So I am not going to vote this time. I’d rather go back and watch Idoloonies for Jason Castro pimping. :D Yeah!

  3. annab says:

    I voted for Casey, but I have to say I am really intrigued by Hollie Cavanuagh. I love the wild turnaround from totally shaky and unstable to surprisingly good. It makes it kind of exciting and makes me want to root for her, since she’s been able to upend my expectations after her awful first audition.

  4. Rachel says:

    I’ve loved Casey Abrams since I first saw that clip of him in the audition previews – anytime we get anywhere near jazziness on Idol, my faith in the world gets a bit of a boost. It’s really tough for me to overcome my Matt Giraud and only Matt Giraud MUST sing Georgia On My Mind thing, but HOT DAMN Casey’s was a great and pretty special version. Only thing I’m worried about is how the producers will treat him in the upcoming rounds without his instruments and only a crappy sounding cover band to fall back on.
    Other favorite: Robbie Rosen… I feel awkward being a fan because he’s only 16, and Jim Cantiello mentioned the whole ‘you probably recognize him from theater camp on Long Island’ thing, which I most definitely believe I do since I have a bunch of friends who live in his town and totes went to theater camp on Long Island, oy (we have a mutual friend on Facebook! = spazzing). But I’m such a sap for a guy who sings and plays the piano like that.
    Sooo.. yeah, I’m pissed about the no-instrument thing for both of their sakes, but I’m really thrilled that the Idol blogosphere is into them. Hopefully America has some ounce of sanity left and votes for these nice kids over the Jordan Dorseys and James Durbins of the world.

  5. tracy says:

    we haven’t seen much of her this year, but i still have high hopes for rachel zevita.

  6. Logistics says:

    Not named, but Tim Halperin!!

  7. samanthafromitaly says:

    wow, it seems that Casey, my favorite since the first audition, is EVERYONE’s favourite. I’m ok with that :D

  8. Amy says:

    Looking forward to Casey, Robbie, Stefano, & Sophia.
    I’m interested to see how Hollie does. Also, not sure on Julie Z., she seems overly “packaged”, but I like that she’s Casey’s friend.

  9. Kary says:

    I like Casey A, Robbie R, Lauren A, Jovany B, Jacob L, and Julie Z.

  10. Candice says:

    Kind of wondering how Colton isn’t on this list… Half of these people I don’t remember and I’ve watched Colton’s version of “What About Now” multiple times.

  11. john t. says:

    so glad you added kendra and sophia onto the list. quite honestly, they were the only two who impressed me on day 3 of hollywood

  12. Amanda says:

    Really hoping we finally get to see some Paul McDonald this week. There’s been nothing since his audition and he’s still in the running. Really think he could knock a Beatles song cover out of the park this week.

    Another snubbed Idol contestant I’d like to see more of was Molly the Harvard grad and Whitehouse intern. Yeah, her package was a bit of a turn off but her voice was really good.

    Loved Casey Abrams and newcomer Sophia Shorai did a great job this past week, so looking forward to more from her.

    Idol upsets me in that way because they pimp these sob story, average voices like Chris Medina to death and we never get to see the hidden talents on that show like Sophia who just got her first air time last week. Such a waste!

    • kt says:

      Agreed about Paul McDonald! He has sorely been missing from the first week of Hollywood. Hopefully they show him soon.

      But out of the people they’ve been showing, I’m a Robbie Rosen shipper.

  13. Tj says:

    I dig Casey Abrams but I think we all know he’s in so I gotta vote for Paul McDonald (hot voice with interesting tone) & Caleb Hawley (great voice with mad guitar skills). And hate to admit it but I enjoy Carson Huggins, super entertaining & fun.

  14. sherimoonzombie says:

    Got to go with Paul M. for now too. Thank heavens I could check him out on MySpace and iTunes – wouldn’t want to have to rely on Idol to actually hear more than 5 sec of him singing *sarcasm*. Love what I’ve heard so far.
    Casey needs to stick around awhile, it will be great to see what he comes up with week after week.
    So NOT impressed with either Jacob (dial it back dude) or Naima (weak link in group round).

  15. sherimoonzombie says:

    PS – Hooray for bringing the voting buttons back!

  16. Titina says:

    I am so excited for Casey! Maybe he won´t win but I really hope he makes Top 4 at least.

    By the way, if you like Casey don´t assume he is safe I would hate to see him in the bottom three or anything remotely close to that because people assumed he was fine.
    I tink we already know what happens now.

  17. Rebecca says:

    Rachel Zevita, hands down!

    • Joe says:

      Thank you! Rachel Zevita is uber talented and may surprise a lot of people. Check out her audition from season 6, girl can sing.

  18. Margie says:

    Why get invested at this point? Half these people aren’t even in the top 24.

  19. Alaric says:

    I agree with Candice why isn’t Colton Dixon on the list we haven’t seen much of him at all but he was really good,and i don’t remember the young girls name but she was about to have a nervous break down in the auditions and then sang Miley’s “When i look at you” in week one of Hollywood she was a thousand times better

  20. danielle says:

    You left the Derminator off your list so I didn’t vote. My money is he is going to steal the show. Everybody has him judged based on a few snippets, wait until he gets some solid screen time, I bet he blows everyone else out of the water. You ain’t seen nothing yet, it will be James everyone will be waiting to see what he does next!

  21. Damon says:

    Pictures TV Line! Pictures! Would it kill you to post a little picture of the contestant being discussed? I prefer not to devote the few brain cells I haven’t killed with booze to remembering their names.

  22. melissa says:

    Wow, I’m actually really surprised that Casey is getting so many votes. I think he’s talented, but it seems like he goes off-pitch really often. I dunno, we’ll see.

  23. Jessica says:

    Out of that list I pick Paul McDonald-love his voice. I actually really like Scotty McCreevy. I didn’t like that I’ve had to hear him sing that signature song for him 2.5x BUT he’s got a great voice. I like Pia Toscano- sings great and always looks amazing. I’m not at all for Casey Abrams, Naima, and Jacob Tusk- talented sure, Casey is different, but not for me.

  24. Gwen says:

    Jacee is my favorite, but he’s not on your list. I don’t really plan on watching Idol again this year, but if he makes it, I might.

  25. Kevin says:

    Why not publish the leaderboard on Friday the day after last weeks episodes air, rather than Wednesday afternoon a few hours before the next weeks shows. The list is out of date by the time we get to read it.

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