Only three weeks and six episodes remain until American Idol sends a startling amount of confetti onto the head of its misty-eyed Season 10 champion (a person who’ll hopefully be singing something a little more radio-friendly than “Heaven, I Believe This Is My Proud Moment of My Life”). Which of the four remaining vocalists will have that honor? Not to sound all Randy Jackson, but it’s truly anybody’s race.
I’ve taken the liberty of ranking the field at a moment like this, so check out my countdown, then head to our poll to vote for your favorite, and hit the comments to justify your pick. And for all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.
4. Lauren Alaina (Last Week No. 4) | Lauren’s exhausting journey toward either blossoming self-confidence or total emotional collapse took a turn toward the latter on last Thursday’s results show when she was spanked by Jimmy Iovine and sent to the bottom-two naughty step for skipping the glory note on “Unchained Melody.” Eleven weeks into the live performance rounds, is America losing patience waiting for the season’s youngest contestant to finally have a true Idol Moment?
3. James Durbin (Last Week No. 1) | Has never hit bottom three, and had his big moment during Carole King Week solo, but his out-of-tune followups on “Closer to the Edge” and “Without You” during Top 5 week did not sound like the stuff of an Idol champ. Everyone’s entitled to an off week, but this late in the competition, the sudden downturn in vocal consistency is a little alarming.
2. Haley Reinhart (Last Week No. 3) | Was nothing short of spectacular on “You and I” and “House of the Rising Sun” during Top 5 performance night. The judges threw dung at the former performance, then gave a Standing O to the latter, but Haley’s fans (and the contestant herself) seem to have accepted that Team Nigel would like her “Idol journey” cut short before the hometown visits. Producers beware: Underdog appeal can morph into front-runner status with continued vocal awesomeness. Heck, even Jimmy thinks continued forward momentum could make Haley a lock for the finale.
1. Scotty McCreery (Last Week No. 2) | “Now & Then” Week rendition of “Gone” was concert-quality, and provided a nice bookend to a tender, textured “You’ve Got a Friend” during Carole King Week. Has confidence, momentum, and a clearly defined niche in the post-Idol world. It’s a closely matched field at this point, but I still think the competition is his to lose.
Okay, TVLine readers, it’s your turn. Vote for your favorite in our Idol Leaderboard poll, then sound off in the comments on how you’d rank the whole Top 4. Ready, set, prognosticate!