Idol Leaderboard: Ranking the Top 4!

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!

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178 Comments
  1. Alex says:

    #SaveTheGrowler

    • JRM says:

      YES! Haley FTW!

      • Haley Rocks says:

        Haley is amazing!

      • Carriefan says:

        Haley sucks!

        • adamfan says:

          I don’t think she sucks but she is not as good as you would think based on what Michael Slezak and others on this site say. I find it really interesting that this “love” for Haley is part of some vocal talent, and some support for her as a victim. I have not seen this love until the judges started to crap on her. How can we not complain about her constant use of the growl but we can complain about James’ scream, Scotty’s low voice. There is a great bias here that is not necessarily seen on other sites that write about AI. Reading this blog one would think that Haley is growling her way to the #1 spot. She always does the growl, knee bend. When I hear her I feel like I am listening to the same song over and over again. I think that she is a talented girl but relies too much on gimmicks (growl) and the “oh, they really don’t like me” face while judged. I love Slezak but this is a bit much.

          • djm says:

            My “like” of Haley (because honestly, I don’t LOVE any of them and probably wont buy any of their music) has to do with the fact that she is the only one left that’s had any real “moments” on the show that I’ve responded to. I can’t stand Lauren, and Scotty is such a gimmicky pageanty performer it makes me cringe. I don’t like watching Haley perform for all the reasons you listed, but I don’t like watching Scotty even more. I guess James has had some moments too, but of the 4 left Haley is the only one I can see myself potentially listening to post-Idol, so that’s why she got my vote.

          • joy2011 says:

            Whatever your feelings or opinions are there are facts to consider here. Haley and James are the only two left that have brought something different to their performances. Haley sang Blue and sounded like she could break into the country genre as well as singing R&B and Jazz. She did an awesome job with current music, ie: Rolling in the deep. She has interpreted oldies to make them likeable now. James has added drama to his perfomances and attempted to step into other genres as well. He has taken songs and added his own style to them to make rock interesting to those who don’t particulary like that genre. They deserve credit where credit is due even if you don’t like their styles. To say they sound the same is not reality but a feeling of dislike you have for them.

          • Jonathan says:

            Haley has become my favorite contestant this year, but it’s been a really weak year. I wouldn’t put her next to Bowersox, Allison, Kris, Melinda, or even Taylor in terms of my interest in her. Hell, I was just listening to Brooke White’s album yesterday… I just can’t imagine having too much interest in Haley following the show. James is sometimes awesome, sometimes awful, but doesn’t get called on it. Scotty is consistent but only in the last two weeks has he appealed to me (well, that’s not true, I liked one other tune he did early in the season but I can’t even remember what it was called). Lauren is suffering from bad personality and a lack of a “moment” as Michael puts it. Iovine was right-on (for a change) in blasting her for sucking the life out of Simon’s favorite song.

    • hopeful says:

      #Haley
      #HaleyReinhart
      #Rawr #Rawr #Rawr

      • It’s funny how because Mikey got behind Growly that suddenly people at this site have started making her their favorite. At another site, Asperger Jim is the blogger’s fav, so the people on that site are behind him. At the country sites, it’s Twiki and the fans there all follow along and heap praise on him. I haven’t seen a site behind Widdle Wauren, but I’m sure if there are any that the same thing would happen there. It’s always amazing to see people just follow along to another’s lead, but people are sheep aka sheeple. She’s been in the bottom 3 how many times now? Personally, I would like to see Growly and Asperger Jim in the finale since the Kountry Kids have been Making Plans for Nigel’s picks all along.

        • Jason McD says:

          Haley has ALWAYS made me smile, it has nothing to do with Michael. She is a lot of fun to listen to, it isn’t hard to cheer for her.

      • canacetx says:

        #F-ingHysterical

    • Suzanne says:

      If we want Haley to win, we must start voting our fingers off.

      • adamfan says:

        The most important voting will be done with our $ once the winner and most likely the runner up will have their cd’s out. I do not see any of the people here going out to buy a Haley cd. In fact, I do not see any of these contestants having serious careers once idol is done. Scotty might do well, since country fans enjoy his shtick. I will not buy Haley, Lauren might have a nice song on the radio, James, even though I really like him, might loose me if he goes too hard core. Amazing how we started out thinking that this will be the best season, that all these contestants are great. Here we are, left with blah.

  2. michelle says:

    They are all average at best.

    • Linda says:

      Yeah. I can’t even pick a favorite, cause I don’t particularly like any of them.

    • John says:

      Sheesh, what more do you want from them? This is probably the best top 4 in years. Tell me your idea of a “perfect top 4″ then get back to me. IMO this is as close to perfect as you can get. All 4 have different styles-country boy, pop/country girl, rocker, and jazzy blues girl. Its an awesome top 4!

      • DonDDD says:

        If the best vocalist of the year there, then it’s not the best. Pia should be in the top 4 on vocals alone.

        Personally, S8’s top 4 is still the last most rounded group. None of those 4 gave performances with pitch problems like at least one in this top. Also, the buzz is up from last year, but still dwarf by s8. S6 was pretty great too.

        • John says:

          Honestly, S8’s top 4 was overrated by fans. Kris doesn’t hold a candle to Haley, Scotty, or James. Sure, James has some pitch problems, but so did Allison.

          • DonDDD says:

            Say what you will about Kris not having the biggest voice, he never had a bad vocal. He knew how to work his voice to his advantage, and while I think both Adam and Allison outsang him, he’s certainly better than Scotty and James just on pitch alone (not to mention how creative he was on stage). I don’t remember Allison having pitch problem, and certainly never like James has had, especially this past week. Even during her very emotional cry-out, she was wonderful versus James being so very off while crying.

          • RB says:

            Kris doesn’t hold a candle to them!?!?! Seriously? That’s crazy. In 13 weeks of live performance, Kris was ALWAYS in tune, which is a huge achievement in itself. On top of that, he was one of the most creative and bold contestants in American Idol history. He might not be your favorite, but it is completely unfair to say that he “doesn’t hold a candle” to Haley, Scotty or James. Scotty hasn’t had one significant “moment” yet–Kris had two or three. James sings out of tune on a regular basis…sometimes he is EXTREMELY out of tune. Kris was / is a fantastic Idol.

          • John says:

            Oh Kris had a few off key moments, believe me. Come Together, Renegade, No Boundaries, and All She Wants To Do Is Dance come to mind. I can already see both Scotty and James outselling him by a mile. Kris was pretty overrated as a vocalist.

          • SpyKi says:

            Kris, Adam and Allison were way better than Scotty, James and Lauren. Reinhart may just be my favourite Idol contestant ever though so whatever.

          • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

            Okay, now I have to disagree, John. Season 8 was my favorite season, and I loved each of the Top 4 in their own way (Danny less so than the others.) I bought the three Kradison albums and played them for months on end. So sue me. I’m sure you’ve done it with your favorite artist before.
            What can I say? I’m the biggest Idol softy ever. I don’t enjoy saying bad things about Idols; I only do it when I feel it is necessary (like the elimination of Pia and similar injustices.) Even the forgotten Idols are great in my eyes. I’m fascinated by the idea of Joe Citizen making a record, touring across the country, and singing for millions, whether they’re superstar vocalists, average performers, or wannabes.
            The show has been renewed until 2013, and it’ll probably end after that (it should; all good things must come to an end,) but it’s been a great show that I will not regret obsessing over year after year. No matter who takes the title, American Idol FTW!

          • Idolhead Ed says:

            I have to say to Idolflash, if you think Idol is going away after 2013 you know nothing about how TV works. Idol is and has been the top rated show for 10 years and still is. Fox gets around $500,000 for a 30 second spot. There is no show anywhere close to those numbers. None. Idol will be with us until the ratings drop to 3,000,000 a show. When will that be? I think I’ll be pushin’ up daisies before then.

          • Joe says:

            Season 8 was great. Kris Allen is a super talent. I have his album and I will think it is one of the top idol albums. Kris was not overrated. And think about it, that season also had Adam and Allison. They were all good. Sorry, although I like Michael, I really cannot get into Haley. I do like James, mainly because he is a good performer. He may have had a few pitch problems, but he has been a pretty consistent performer. James is the only one, in my opinion who has had a real idol moment. At this point, he is my favorite to win. Of course, it may be difficult to beat Scotty because he has a big following.

      • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

        Thank you, John. My sentiments exactly. The season is almost over; there’s no need for negativity. I’m sure no matter who wins, each of these four will have a career when all is said and done. I don’t care who wins (although Lauren doesn’t seem to have all the right stuff.) Keep working for it, guys! (Side note: does anyone else find it a little strange that all the remaining contestants are white with dirty blond hair?”

      • best top 4 says:

        Um, just because they rep 4 diff genres (and they don’t really, because scotty & lauren are both country) doesn’t mean this is the most awesome top 4.
        How about S5: Hicks McPhee Yamin Daughtry?
        How about S8: Allen Lambert Gokey Iraheta?
        Those are 2 stellar Top 4’s that would mop the floor with this year’s T4.
        I’d even say the T4s of S2, S6, and S7 outperform this T4 in a big way.

        • John says:

          Funny how you named the top 4’s with MALE majorities. You are the very reason why the boys keep dominating over the good girls. S5 would have been even better if Hicks was swapped out for Paris.

          • Emy says:

            While I generally agree that the Idol audience has become male-focused over the years, you have to admit that stacking those two seasons up against this one just shows how lacking this top 4 is. I would argue that s1-3, 5-8 all are more impressive overall than this top 4. Or better yet, match up the best of the past few seasons (perhaps this differs from the winner in some cases) and tell me how it stacks up against the best of this season? David Cook versus James, for instance, would go in Cook’s favor completely. Jordin versus Haley: as much as I love Haley, Jordin was amazing and stood out so much in all the right ways. Carrie versus Scotty: no contest, even being robotic, Carrie’s vocals were so impressive throughout her run on Idol.

          • Emy says:

            I also thought it might interest you in some quantifiable stats on the buzz (and thus interest) these contestants have in comparison from the years before. Yahoo measured the interest based on who is being searched for, and every year the “buzz” get greater and greater, with a massive peak in s8 (some 52% more than s7). S9 obviously saw a considerable drop, but s8’s buzz was still more than this and last’s years buzz combined. In fact, this year’s buzz in less than s7 and about on par but still less than s6. (the first year they published this info).

          • John says:

            Ok, you could do the same thing for S8. Carrie vs. Kris? Carrie no contest. Kelly vs. Allison? Kelly no contest. Melinda vs. Adam? Melinda has the best vocal control out of anybody. And Elliott vs. Gokey? It goes both way sweetie.

          • Emy says:

            I thought you said Kris wasn’t the best from s8? I was putting the best of the past seasons against everyone from the current season (and trying to pick people that were close genre-wise). For instance, Kris is not country, so why compare to Carrie? She can be compared to Scotty (and Lauren) well. Btw, Melinda would disagree with you on who the best person with vocal skill is: she has many times stated she thought Adam had the best skill and she was envious. In anycase, I think Adam would par nicely with almost anyone from any season as having one of the most electric and impressive run on Idol. Pick anyone top 1 or 2 except s9 and pair them against everyone in the top 4 this season and they come up short (either with actual vocal ability or with number of moments on the show to this point – even your dislike of Kris has to admit he had a couple of “moments” under his belt by the point, though not as strong overall as Adam’s moments).

          • Emy says:

            Also, if you don’t agree with me fine, try to be less of a condescending douche, calling people sweetie.

      • stevenjaba says:

        They’re all good, but none are inspiring like David Cook, Kris, Adam, etc. I can’t pick a favorite either.

      • Ziamp says:

        Best top 4 in year????? On what planet?!?!?! Season 8, even with Danny Gokey, far surpasses this group (Excepting Haley, of course). How can you compare the comic antics of Scotty’s GONE with the emotional connection, and pure artistry of Kris’s Ain’t No Sunshine? And Alaina cry-baby who is afraid to sing cannot hold a candle to the fierce, gutsy, and altogether fantastic performances of The Rocker (aka Ms Iraheta). Finally Adam and Durbin = NO COMPETITION. Adam consistently belts out creative, inventive and technically perfect performances… the other is a hit and miss. I suggest you need to go back to idol tapes and be SCHOOLED!

        • John says:

          Most people think its the best group in years. Its only the VERY small bubble here who doesn’t like it and thinks the S8 group is superior. And just because Allison sings rock doesn’t mean she is better than Lauren.

          And Scotty’s You’ve Got A Friend compared to Kris Allen’s Ain’t No Sunshine? No contest. Scotty wins.

          Its funny, because I can see all 4 of them(except James) outselling S8’s top 4. Especially Lauren and Scotty.

          • already bored says:

            I don’t watch AI at all except last week’s wednesday episode, so I don’t really care. I just read Slezak’s articles(?). But, whenever I read something like this I can’t help but to ask… Where do you get “most people” from? I am sorry, but as a student who love math including statistics, I just have to ask that question whenever I see “most people” mentioned. But, to be fair, some of so called writers of some legitimate newspapers do that sometimes to manipulate information to agree with their articles.

          • already bored says:

            Oh, I just totally disregarded couple or so audition episodes I watched this season. I guess I did that because I don’t think I remember much from those episode except those… annoying people on that episode. First time watching AI and decided it was not worth it… though commenters online are pretty snarky and funny to read.

      • cathy says:

        I would be happy with a top that can carry a tune. I would be happy with a top 4 that are better than the entertainment of a highschool dance. Lauren has no confidence. She plays it safe every week and there are thousands of 16 year olds that can sing as well as she can. Scotty has moved out of his comfort zone once. He is predictable and boring. I couldn’t imagine sitting through a concert of his. James likes the put umph into his performances but unfortunately the judges have not taken issue with his pitch problems. Hayley is the best of the 4 but if I put her up against Allison from season 8 I would have to go with Allison

    • allie says:

      agreed. wouldn’t buy any cd from any of them. but forced to chose – Haley.

    • davey says:

      stopped watching this season weeks ago because I felt the same way – one of these people will be the American Idol? LOL

    • Joe says:

      Without Pia this foursome feels toothless in my opinion. If she were there to really challenge the other 3 it might be worth watching and caring about, but I’m as blase about who wins this as I was last season. The only difference is I’m still watching whereas last season I quit watching the show early on. I honestly don’t care who wins. It’s just silly TV. None of these 4 are getting me to buy a CD or a concert ticket and I still stand by my feeling that Nigel will push Lauren for the win because she’s who they wanted from jump street. However, I do think her lack of “it” is throwing a monkey wrench in the plans and they are tired of waiting for her to break through.

      • Joe Strummer says:

        Pia will challenge them to what? A snooz-off? She was the most boring, predictable singer of the bunch. I’m so glad she’s gone.

  3. SharonM says:

    My prediction: Scotty winner, Haley #2, James #3 and Lauren #4.

  4. Irene says:

    I don’t mind Scotty winning, as long as Haley gets to the finale.

    • D says:

      Agreed, at this point all I want is Haley being one of the final two standing, although she rightfully deserves the title.

      • Jenny says:

        What the heck do you all see in Haley? I don’t get it. She butchered “You And I” .Lady Gaga’s is much better. YouTube it. Haley had ONE outstanding performance/Idol moment. That’s it! She has a lot to prove still.

        • Irene says:

          u mad.

        • DonDDD says:

          This is a season lacking in moments, and the only true one has come from Haley. That’s saying something. Has anyone else come close to House of the Rising Sun? Nope. Every James and Scotty’s bests are only on part with Bennie and the Jets.

        • Amie says:

          Benny and the Jets and House of the Rising Sun were the only two moments this season. Check youtube…they view counts have to mean something

          • Ben says:

            In context, Benny and the Jets was average. It’s pretty much the same performance that she gave on that Gaga performance that people are rubbishing.

            Her last several weeks have been strong. She deserved the ‘not good enough’ she got for the Gaga song. She doesn’t deserve to be in the finale.

          • Emy says:

            You say in context like it’s a bad thing. Up until tht point, no one had really stood out from the pack, and Bennie and the Jets was the first almost moment of the season (that was what, top 11?). There wasn’t another like it till top 6 with Scotty and James giving their best, and then Haley came back and out-shown there by a clear mile the next week. I’m not sure what we’re basing the rubbish opinions on – most people seemed to really enjoy You and I. The judges? If everyone gets a YOU’RE THE BEST then their opinions don’t matter anymore. Jacob, who had the worst pitch issues I think any contestant before, was still getting the OMG AMAZING treatment. If you’re going to say that You and I was average, then everything else that night was below average and she certainly deserves a top bid.

          • GiGi says:

            I disagree Ben

            Haley’s rendition of Bennie and The Jets was one of the best Idol moments EVER and I have been watching Idol for a long time

            Haley’s tone, pronunciation and even physical gestures were superb in that vocal

            GO HALEY FOR THE WIN!!!

          • takakupo says:

            @Ben

            “Benny and the Jets” was definitely above average but not truly an Idol moment. I’m sure most people would rate it just below James Durbins “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” (which is probably why you’re underrating it). However, saying she doesn’t deserve to be in the finale compared to both Lauren and Scotty who haven’t had any type of resounding bang in the vocal bucket is tantamount to driving your car off a cliff instead of down the long and winding road just so you can save gas. It’s ridiculous. This season has been highly unconventional and I believe that the winner will be as much, hence Haley Reinhart. I think that as of now, the contest is as divisive as possible and will only get more divided as we go into the final three and final two, but Haley still has the chance to win over more fans which is why she’s become such a shining star. Believe it or not, the year of the underdog can strike twice in same decade :D (Cook and Dewyze were NEVER underdogs. They just better counterparts. It was Allen who was constantly beaten down at the judges panel even when he didn’t deserve it).

          • Name That Tune says:

            Got to agree with Ben. There was nothing special about “Benny & The Jets”. I’ll give you “House of the Rising Sun”, but I will take James accapella performance “Will You Still Love Me” as this season’s only true moment. I blame the lack of “Moments” to the input from Jimmy I. He’s stifled their creativity (and outside of James, I don’t think any of these guys are mature enough as artists to know what the heck to do with themselves). Haley would not have thought about opening “House” acapella without the advice of Sheryl Crow.

        • Janice says:

          Haley was AWESOME with “You and I”!!! I didn’t know the song when she sang it and thought WOW! Then it got stuck in my head. Then I watched GaGa on Oprah and can not get that song out of my head! Of course GaGa sings it better, because you know, it is HER song and she is, well, GaGa!! But Haley sang it awesome and did it justice and delivered it the way it was meant to be delivered. I LOVED it and now I am on the Haley train and jumped on the GaGa train as well. I never realized how amazing GaGa’s voice really is.

        • Idolhead Ed says:

          If you mean butchered “You and I” by singing it in tune and with serious passion better than the song’s originator, then yeah, I guess she butchered it.

        • adamfan says:

          Amazing how here they all forget the painful Blonde song. don’t get Haley.

      • hilti says:

        the problem for choosing no 1 is solved when no 3 leaves and where their voted go. That is why the one we usually thing is going to be number one finishes second.

  5. EC_Monty says:

    Would be nice if poll results showed total number of votes received for that particular poll in addition to percentages.

  6. John says:

    I want a Scotty/Haley finale now.

  7. tomitweets says:

    It is anyone’s game. I can’t argue with Michael’s ranking. It would be my top 4 if Casey was there instead of Lauren. We’ve been voting James-Haley (as well as Casey) for a while. But I understand Scotty’s appeal.

    In other words, who the heck knows?

    • Name That Tune says:

      I think writers like Michael are missing the mark. This has been moving toward a James/Haley finale for 3 or 4 weeks now. Without Jimmy I and the mentors, I think Scotty would be gone by now. More than anyone, he has benefited from the mentors advice to show something other than the low notes.
      James did not give a perfect vocal last week. But the audience responded to his heart and soul. I’m guessing with more practice, he would gain more control over his emotions. But I will forgive the flaws as long as he can reach me with his emotions.

  8. bean99 says:

    I think you must attract Haley fans here because I’m pretty sure Scotty’s the favorite to win. :)

    Mine is: 1. Scotty 2. James 3. Lauren 4. Haley

    I do think that James could move down and Haley up a little but she’s the most likely to go next. I know Lauren was f2 according to Ryan but her fans will be voting like mad to save her. I’d like to see James go in the next 2 weeks and would love a f2 with one of the girls.

    • Art says:

      Well yeah. Any blogger will attract people that like to hear what what they say and people that keep getting told what they disagree with are going to read something else. I’m guessing that big Randy Jackson fans have quit reading on this site.
      The question though was who was your favorite, not who do you think will win. My favorite would be Haley but I think Scotty, or maybe James will win.

  9. KED says:

    Based on talent, stage presence, and marketability, I think the order should be 1. Scotty,
    2. Haley, 3. James and 4. Lauren.
    Knowing American teenage auto-tuned to death voters and the producers who have already set up the final show, I think the final order will be 1. James, 2. Scotty, 3. Haley, 4. Lauren.

  10. Kevin says:

    I can see a couple different scenarios playing out over the next couple of weeks:

    1) Haley gets the lead-off spot this week (which, honestly, after two weeks of having the pimp spot she kinda deserves–and I’m a fan of hers) and delivers a couple of ho-hum performances that the judges give mixed responses to. She goes, while Lauren makes a big comeback. She falters again the next week and America finally makes their choice between her and Scotty, choosing the latter all the way till the winner’s circle.

    2) America makes their choice between the two country teens a week earlier than expected and we lose Lauren. Scotty sails into the finals while unexpectedly strong weeks for Haley sink James. She loses to Scotty in the finale.

    3) James goes this week in a Daughtry-style boot. Lauren goes next week but not before damaging Scotty’s fanbase and giving female-supportive voters to Haley. She triumphs over Scotty in the finale.

    No matter what, I see Scotty in the finale and Lauren going sometime in the next two weeks. That all-teen, all-country finale simply isn’t going to happen! Never before have two contestants of the same genre made it to the finale and they won’t this year. I similarly don’t think James can survive Haley performing as strongly as she did this week leading into the finale. He just doesn’t have the fanbase that Scotty does.

    • T2 Genres says:

      “Never before have two contestants of the same genre made it to the finale and they won’t this year.”

      I’m gonna disagree with this completely. Almost every year, the final 2 are at two diff ends of the same genre. If it’s scotty & lauren, he’s traditional country, and she’s pop country. Lee & Crystal were both folk-rock artists, one more HAC, the other more rootsy. Kris & Adam were HAC rock and Glam rock. Cook & Archuleta were both HAC pop-rock artists. Taylor & McPhee were both old-school throwback types. Carrie was mainstream country while Bo was southern fried country. Fanny & Diana were both big-voice divas. Kelly & Justin were at the rock end and pop end of r&b, respectively.

      The only seasons that the T2 were really from different genres were S2 (reuben/clay) and S6 (jordin/blake).

    • Name That Tune says:

      You have to pay attention to the feedback that you’re seeing on boards like this. People are just about fed up with Lauren’s immaturity. She has not been gaining voters. She will exit this week.
      Haley has been gaining momentum every week. I believe she got the most votes last week, followed by James. In fact, I beleive Haley and James have been 1 & 2 in votes for the past 3 weeks. Scotty has been declared the frontrunner for several weeks now. That’s always dangerous during an Idol run. If you don’t grow your fanbase, you will lose to the one who is gaining on you (see Crystal vs. Lee). This season that is Haley. So the Idol world will be “shocked” when Scotty leaves after Lauren.
      BTW, if it is a Haley/Scotty finale, expect a Haley win.

      • JBanana says:

        “BTW, if it is a Haley/Scotty finale, expect a Haley win.”

        while I would love this to be true, I think it would be near impossible. There has never been a final 2 where a southern contestant lost to a non-southern contestant. The only times a non-southerner has won was when they were up against another non-southerner. There’s just a huge voting bloc rooting for the southern contestants. So if it actually comes down to Chicago/N.Carolina (as it should be Haley/Scotty if it is actually based on talent) then N.Carolina wins. I’ll cross my fingers and hope for an upset, but I don’t think it’s likely.

      • Kevin says:

        First off, you gotta pay attention to boards NOT like this one. Frankly, this is and will continue to be an enormously pro-Haley board. Not only that, but tweens voting don’t go for “weird” contestants like Haley, they go for the girl they see as their friend, like Lauren.

        Second, if you REALLY think that Haley and James have been going 1-2 in the voting, you’re not paying attention to Dial Idol. Scotty has been consistently ranking safe each week while almost no one else has managed the same consistency. Not only that, but Dial Idol doesn’t track Facebook/online voting, which Scotty is surely winning thanks to teenage girls. I’ll agree that last week Haley was probably #1 in voting because of “House of the Rising Sun” and the backlash towards the judges for bashing her song choice on “Yoü and I”, but I’d bet Scotty was #2 and James was #3.

        Finally, you can’t compare how Scotty’s been perceived as the frontrunner to that same perception of Crystal because they’re two completely different kind of frontrunners. Over on WhatNotToSing.com, Crystal would get five-star ratings almost every week, indicating that critics loved her, but the Dial Idol numbers wouldn’t match up every week. Scotty is actually the lowest-rated contestant remaining on WNTS, but yet he’s still sailing through on Dial Idol. He’s a frontrunner with the voters, not with the critics, so unless he starts turning in absolute stinkers (unlikely considering his voice is actually quite good), he’s gonna win.

        And as JBanana said, Scotty’s a Southern contestant and that trumps Midwest.

  11. Jenny says:

    They are average. James is the only who has shown true star quality. He knows who he is as a musician. Haley is blah to me. So is Lauren. I seriously can’t picture little girls attending Scotty’s country concert. They’re just in love with HIM.

    • Mark says:

      Star quality? Yes. Singing ability? Not so much. I like James, but he’s really kind of a poor man’s Adam. He’s generally off key when he’s not in scream/screech mode. And he’s pretty entertaining when he is in scream/screech mode, but a career that does not make.

      • Markus says:

        Yes, James has peaked and as Adam said in an interview the other day he is so over James and his missed notes and pitch problems that the judges ignore. He went on to explain that James can sing but needs help, and metal is not going to cut it for him. Adam said he has never seen talent like Haley, whom he said is ready right now to record. I like Haley, too.

        • SajiNoKami says:

          I love Adam.. but his need to pimp Haley is beginning to bother me.

          • agrimesy says:

            To be fair, every time Adam makes an appearance (which is pretty often because he’s very popular with the media), he gets asked about American Idol. They ask him if he’s watching and they ask him who he likes. Adam doesn’t have a “need to pimp Haley” as you put it. He tweeted her his support just like Kelly Clarkson showed her support for Casey. If anyone is doing any pimping, it’s the media themselves. That isn’t Adam’s fault.

          • Emy says:

            You do realize that many other Idol have also “pimpd” her, right? Kelly Clarson, Allison Iraheta, Melina Dolittle… just to name a few from the last results show. Kelly actually tweeted that House of the Rising Sun was one of her favorite performances on Idol ever and that she thinks Haley is one of the two that might win. So, it seems a lot of Idols just like Adam see the best vocalist should win.

          • SajiNoKami says:

            @Emy oh I know, Haley has got the idol army behind her. And if they want to say she is god’s gift to the world, that is fine too. They are people with opinions. I mean support your favorite, we all do it. That does not mean it doesn’t get annoying. I have artist shoved in my face on a daily bases in the media.. it just gets old. The explaining why you may not like someone else is fine too.. Just the bit of ‘being over James..’ it really doesn’t makes sense, he never seemed to like him in the first place. Adam was all about Pia. I am guessing he was trying to help James with his issues, but doing it the most passive aggressive way possible.

          • @SajiNoKami says:

            “Pimping” is selling — exploiting — someone else for your own gain (as in “pimps and ho-s”?). If you start using any word for just anything, they’ll all lose their meaning. The AI producers can be said to “pimp” contestants, since they’re in the whole biz for themselves in the end.

          • @SajiNoKami says:

            In other words, you can say you’re sick of Adam “extolling” Haley, or “praising her”, but it is absurd to call him a pimp of any sort.

    • Kelly says:

      I don’t get this concept of James showing himself a musician at all. He’s been pushing this hard rock/metal as who he is, but on the show ast week said he agreed with the judges/Jimmy in saying he’d be doing something more like 30 Seconds to Mars. That’s as far from hard rock as you can get without going full on Nickleback. I’m not saying that’s a bad direction to go, but it clearly is against everything he’s claimed to be.

      Scotty and Lauren are the most clearly defined with the most viable real-world market. Haley has a specific sound and niche genre, but I’m unsure how that will translate post-show, and like I said above, I think James potentially has marketable qualities, but he’s so hit or miss for me and pulling back on what he’s said in the past that it’s disappointing to watch.

  12. Karen O'Connell says:

    EFF YOU I’M VOTING FOR HALEY. http://www.cafepress.com/votingforhaley

    I agree with the above- Scotty has proved he would be a solid and likely successful addition to the Idol Winners canon, but Haley would be a must more interesting one. I’m #TeamHaley all the way.

  13. BevL says:

    Scotty FTW! Seriously, his post-Idol career in Country music is so certain that it won’t be affected by the infamously horrid Idol Victory Single or by any producer tomfoolery when he releases his first CD.

    The others need to come out of the gate with their best to have any chance at a post-Idol career. So they are probably better off NOT winning.

  14. Notformetosay says:

    I don’t care who wins. And it won’t matter. Whoever Fuller wants to pimp, he will whether they win or not. We’ve seen this every year. Sometimes it works, like in Chris Daughtry’s case and sometimes it fizzles. No names mentioned. So if Fuller doesn’t like you…you won’t get promoted or publicized and it will be up to the public to support whom they want.

    There are three guys I can think off right off the top who Fuller and Lythgoe and Warlock don’t like. All three are doing well and one is now on the verge of major victories.

    Fuller, Lythgoe and Warlock can stuff it. They’re dynasty is at an end. Two years in a row of boring singers and a boring show with Lythgoe coming back and making it worse.

    I use to love this show. Now…whatever.

    • Markus says:

      Yes, you are right to a certain degree. I know they don’t like David Cook who has fought for control of what he sings until they stopped promoting him. He knows himself and he can sing but he also has other things going on in his life (more family illness and other major responsibilites) that require he curtail his appearances. But to Idol bigwigs NOTHING is more important than making them money. I admire David Cook for not giving in and appearing last year as they wanted him to even though his brother was not expected to live through the night. He has his priorities right. Scotty will do fabulous regardless of AI, in fact he would probably be better off without them. Not real sure about Lauren, she doesn’t have the wit and personality that Kelly Pickler had to make a spot for herself. I think Haley will be okay if someone could mentor her. Jimmy Lovine has done a great job with Haley. But James is sunk without AI, and they won’t give him much time to learn the ropes. Now he is wanting to change genres, he should have done that in the first place and not pegged himself as a rocker/heavy metal artist. He is getting bad advice from the judges, he should have listened to Jimmy.

  15. Trisha says:

    Just a suggestion, Michael – go back and review all of James’s performances. This last week was his worst, but he has been consistently out of tune all season. Every week I’ve watched with the same dropped jaw that fell even lower last week, appalled that not one of the judges ever calls him on pitch problems. Check out Jim’s Idol Party of last week – he and his two in studio co-hosts all remarked on James lack of accuracy – from day 1. Based on last week alone though, either he or Lauren should go. Neither is qualified, emotionally or musically, to win.

  16. VeeKay says:

    Not a Haley fan..like James and Scotty..to me Haley stands there, holds mic in one hand and moves the other arm around..I see no show-man-ship in her, yes she is cute and has a nice voice, but always sounds the same to me….BORING, at this point, I don’t really care who wins (but like James)..and I don’t really care. They have all worked hard, so, luck to them all.

    • BevL says:

      While I would agree with you about Haley’s stage presence, I would also point out that during her season Carrie Underwood was considered to be robotic with no stage presence and look at her career now.

  17. Emy says:

    If James wins, he’ll be the most “pitchy” winner of all time, and that’s saying something when Lee won last year. No winner has ever had an absolutely sh*t vocal before Lee, and I guess they might continue that tradition.

    • John says:

      Interesting how the tides have suddenly turned against James…

      • Emy says:

        He was much more consistent vocally in the beginning, so that might be why. His best performance was later, but overall he’s been all over the place vocally since top 8. He’s got amazing range, but lack the skill and control to sound good all the time, and I think that’s become apparent as the show has gone on. If he’s continued to perform at the vocal standard in his Judas Priest cover and his redinition of Baby I’m Amazed, then I’d be talking about how finally someone with range and control is going to win.

        • JohnH says:

          The problem is that he keeps taking the performance up to arena-style theatrics, and I think the vocals are suffering. That, combined with the appearance of some cracks in the seasoned performer armor (walking out of a rehearsal with Jimmy?), is going to cause him to miss the finals.

          • Lily says:

            Agree with JohnH – James needs to focus on the singing, not on the big show of running around the audience high-fiving everyone. There’s a much larger audience outside of the studio that needs to vote for him, and those will votes depend on his singing and hitting all his notes. We’re down to the point where no one can expect to just coast by anymore, whether by relying on showmanship (James), or on adequate but not great singing (Lauren). Haley and Scotty have been bringing it pretty consistently every week, and no doubt will again, so I think the battle for that third spot may be between Lauren and James.

      • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

        Yeah, I’m not too happy about that. James is my favorite, he has been since the beginning, and I get defensive about these things. If you want to call him unworthy of the title because of pitch problems, you can penalize the judges for not criticizing him (or anyone, for that matter) for it. Also, today’s music is all about Auto-Tune, so pitch problems don’t matter as much as they did before. I have Asperger’s Syndrome, too, and I sympathize with James in multiple ways. So go easy on him, just a little bit, for my sake! (Please?)

        • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

          Not to mention what an impressive artist he has showed himself to be. I like my music with a pinch of high notes, a teaspoon of grit, a cup of guitar, and a heaping pound of heart.

        • Emy says:

          Can you name any winner besides Lee that had as many pitch issues? Runner ups even? One of the most impressive things for Idols is that they often sound as good if not better live than they do on their albums. Kelly, Clay, Fantasia, Carrie, Bo, David Cook, and Adam were all pretty much pitch perfect throughout their Idol run and they sound as good on and off their albums. We as an audience should be striving to uphold this standard, not lowerly them to the likes of the auto-tune robots that are usually flash-in the pans anyway.

          I hate the mentality that Idol should be catering to the real world obsession with auto-tune. The whole point of Idol is to be a singing competition first. There have been amazing performers on this show, both natural and trained, and none of them let their vocals suffer. Hell, Gaga in concert has some of the most over the top and demanding performances but her vocals are always on point. Granted, she doesn’t have the same range as James, but that’s why he should be working his voice better instead of trying to go to hard or too low. His best vocal was due to him staying in a middle zone with just enough power and he had minimal stage antics. And I do blame the judges for overpraising him (and pretty much everyone). He may have been able to grow more on the show and learn from his mistakes, instead, he’s gotten worse vocally.

          • Rodeoblu says:

            Bullcrap…no one remembers Bo Bice and Carrie Underwoods Finale…to name just 2….It was amazingly off key…Nerves..Tired..Everyone mentioned has had their moments..Yeah even Archuleta..and Carrie….and Fantasia sure as heck did.(close to me you’re like my brother…)and all without trying to put in the Arena performance of a James…can’t hold pitch and move like that…not a good idea.
            With the possible exception of Jennifer Hudson..every one you mentioned had pitch problems through-out..in big or small ways.

            How about the first six weeks of Haley…not a performance without an off key run…or for that matter the most affected “growl’ of all
            time..and Scotty..is just a joke…all 3 country contestants on
            the Voice are better. You think that 5 note, Howdy Doody lookin
            lounge act ..is gonna be the next Randy Travis…think again….he’s just the Lee DeWhatta ya kidding..of the moment.

    • da says:

      I think Lee’s record of being the pitchiest Idol of all time will continue to hold. Still can’t believe he won over Crystal, especially since he was so bad on finale performance nite – “deer caught in the headlights” / stagefright bad.

      James is the only person I want to win Idol this year. Such a shame that the tide has turned against him after one rough week. I absolutely do not agree that he has been pitchy every week. He has an impressive range and he’s the best performer in the top 4. James has never said that he only wants to do metal/hard rock. He has always said that he wants to do more than that, but that genre is his favorite. He was singing Zeppelin, AC/DC, Dio before Idol, but also Journey, Clapton, and the Beatles.

      Even if James doesn’t win, I think he will have a career. He has so much talent and passion for music. You can tell that Jimmy Iovine is very impressed with him.

  18. Brecken P says:

    Based on overall performance throughout the course of the competition, James is easily my favorite, followed by Lauren. They’ve easily been the most consistent. However, Haley has come on strong in the past couple of weeks and I would be content if she won the title, as well.

    Unfortunately, the only person left that I do NOT think deserves the title is the one most likely to win. My prediction for a while now has been that Scotty will defeat James in the finale, and that hasn’t changed (although Haley remains a dark horse). Lauren is unlikely to make the finale–she was in the bottom 2 this past week despite delivering two great performances (although YMMV on “Unchained Melody, I thought it was great), so if she fails to deliver a true knockout performance on the level of “House Of The Rising Sun” or “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” within the next couple of weeks, she’s got no real chance. Which makes it all the more frustrating that Scotty will most likely sail into the finale without having to deliver anything of the sort.

    • Kelly says:

      James is certainly the most consistently off in terms of pitch. If you’re actually talking vocals, Scotty and Haley and even Lauren should last longer. None of them have had any major pitch issues, even if Scotty doesn’t really try to do too much vocally and Lauren always shies away from going big.

      • Brecken P says:

        I find it amusing how James has one off night and everyone suddenly turns against him. Yes, his vocals are not always on pitch, but he’s not been nearly as off as people have suddenly been saying. Until this week, James had never given a bad performance (unless you count that silly duet last week), and that’s why he’s been the most consistent. Scotty has been boring and has given several terrible performances (e.g. “For Once In My Life,” “I Cross My Heart,” “Swinging”), and hasn’t had anything close to the moment James had with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow.” Lauren has had a couple of missteps (“Any Man Of Mine” and “Where You Lead”), but those missteps fell into the realm of “average” rather than “terrible.” She also hasn’t had a real moment on the show, though. Haley’s been improving greatly, and she, too, has had a moment (“House Of The Rising Sun,” obviously), but she loses points because up until “Bennie And The Jets” she was right down at the bottom of the pack in terms of performance quality.

        I suspect that the sudden turn against James on this site has more to do with the Haley madness than anything else–people have followed Slezak on his Haley train (and I admit, she’s won me into thinking she’d be a worthy winner) and don’t want anyone to threaten their favorite’s chances.

  19. Gablegirl says:

    This is the top 4 based on WHAT? Your opinion or that of people who only visit your website? Gimme a break.

    There is no way Haley is going to be in the finals. I will be voting my fingers off for James.

    • Kelly says:

      Do you even go here? It’s based on a poll on the opinions of his readers. If you don’t like the outcome, go somewhere else.

    • Cup of Joe says:

      This is the Top 4 Power Rankings based on his own analysis of the field. He gives his own explanation as to why a contestant is ranked where they are at this point. YMMV.

  20. Scottytowin says:

    Scotty needs to win. But I think win or lose, he will be the biggest selling idol since Jordin.

  21. JayK* says:

    Honestly, not trying to be negative, but I don’t have a favourite. I have enjoyed performances from Haley and James the most I guess, but whatev. (Remember Adam and Kris? Sigh.)

  22. Cup of Joe says:

    As I see it…

    4) Lauren – Weeks of giving frustratingly underwhelming performances have put her in this spot. Without any more stragglers left as a safety net, either she needs to turn in a showstopper or have someone else turn in a major fubar. Emotionally breaking down after reaching Bottom 2 for the first time makes me question her readiness in handling the music business.

    3) Haley – At this point, she’s on fire. All she needs to do is to keep on keeping on with stellar performances and she MAY see the light of the Finale.

    2) James – The most consistent performer has just turned in two clunkers in one week. He may have shown no visible chinks in his armor yet but if he turns in ANOTHER week’s worth of mess-ups, I wouldn’t be surprised he goes home earlier that this.

    1) Scotty – Seemingly unstoppable at this point. Whether he wins or not, he’ll still have a great career in the music field. Guess he needs to keep doing what he does best.

  23. Henrique says:

    Haley is my favorite contestant since Allison. She can’t be voted off 4th! I can’t take it again!!
    She gives me chills everytime, just like Allison.
    They are all very talented and all, but HALEY FTW!

  24. JohnH says:

    At first I felt like I couldn’t pick a winner because there was so much talent that it was difficult to single one out. Now, it’s tough to pick a winner because their quirks and flaws have been heavily exposed. If I was held at gunpoint and asked to pick a frontrunner, in my mind it’s Scotty, but I don’t think it’s a done deal. Haley could pull this out if she can pick a couple more songs that captures the best aspects of her voice and personality.

  25. McFudge says:

    4. Lauren. Unless she shocks the heck out of me, she’s a goner this week. She would need to have one heckuva comeback performance to move on. Of course, the judges will turn something mediocre into the Second Coming, so there’s a chance she’ll pull it out, I guess. She might get pity votes because of her clearly fragile state.

    3. James. Would have put him second forever, but is losing momentum just as Haley is gaining it. Horrid performance last week and general pitchiness gives Haley the edge. Plus when Lauren leaves, her voters will throw them either to Scotty, the other country candidate, or Haley, the other female. James is going to be odd man out on that one.

    2. Haley. The most interesting of all the candidates at this point. I think with fresh material, she could be a very viable recording artist. I love her raspy voice and she is virtually always on pitch. She’s got great momentum right now; peaking at the right time. Plus her attitude toward the idiot judges is awesome.

    1. Scotty. Nice boy. Good vocals. Always on key. Interesting bass voice, especially for a kid. Very comfortable with who he is. Really mature for a high schooler. Has the country vote, especially once Lauren leaves. Doubtful anyone can stop this freight train.

    • Yo says:

      Yup, I find Scot to be tremendously comfortable in his skin; I’ve never seen another teen his age quite like him. I would like his parents to consider adopting me; they have done an exceptional job of child-rearing. A Scot-Haley final would be the most interesting and best: He is not First CD Wreckable and she needs the more post-Idol independence she would have as second banana.

  26. Steph says:

    I live in Wheeling and will be voting my butt off for Haley this week… She HAS to at least make it to hometown visits! I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for Idol before!!!

  27. SajiNoKami says:

    Definitely a pro-Haley vibe here on this board. TBH and against popular opinion, I want a James/Scotty final.. [don't care which wins]. I am going based on: Who would I be willing to buy an album from. Last female I bought an album from was Allison [who IMO should have won over Kris and Adam], before that Kelly. I just prefer male vocalist over female. Haley seems like an awesome person and I bought her: Rolling in the Deep [studio]… but other than that.. *shrug*

    • Robin says:

      You prefer male vocalists but you bought Allison’s album (AND you think she sounded better than Adam and Kris) I don’t get this at all….)and you think James and Scottie sound better than Adam and Kris and than Haley and Lauren). Wow! I am puzzled…

      • SajiNoKami says:

        Over all I do prefer male vocalist. But the fact I thought Allison should have won, really speaks for it’s self. To me, she is one of the best females from American Idol.

  28. Rebecca says:

    Haley is really the Kris Allen of the season. I used to get so angry S8 when Kris would do really great and get lukewarm critiques from the judges or Simon’s sarcasm and insults. But Kris just kept brushing it off and did his thing. Notice how that turned out for him? Same with Haley, she has had some great performances only to get beat up by the judges when she really did not deserve it. Now people are really starting to get behind her because they can see her talent. Lauren is cute and her voice is quite lovely, but she can’t seem to put it all together to sell herself on this level. Scotty is really good at what he does, and James…I’ve been so back and forth on him that I don’t even know anymore. I do know he has consistently sang off key or has hit bum notes since the beginning. So if that is having one consistent performance after another, then I guess he really IS rather consistent then, isn’t he? ;)

  29. agrimesy says:

    I tend to agree with Slezak and many comments here. I can easily see a Scotty / Haley finale. However, I think it is quite possible that Lauren will rally more votes from viewers trying to “save her” this week and snare the third spot. I don’t think James got any new fans with his clunker performances lately and that could send him home. If Lauren and James both just sing well (no over the top moments for either one) I think Lauren has the advantage. I would actually enjoy Scotty, Haley, and Lauren in the homecoming episode, especially Haley since we’ve seen so little about her family background. Regardless of the others’ finishing order, Scotty will undoubtedly take home the crown.

  30. algalhi says:

    Questions to be answered this week: Will Lauren’s fans vote like crazy to keep her out of the bottom 2 so they don’t have to see her cry again? Will Lauren pull herself together and fight to stay in the competition? Will James continue to implode as he misses his family, or will he also fight to stay in? Will James finally go so far off-key that even the judges realize that under all the flash he’s not as great as they say he is?

    I think Scotty will continue his good, but not spectacular, performances, and his huge fan base will again keep him out of the bottom 2.

    As a Haley fan, I think all she can do is to continue to hit it out of the park every week. I think Haley is a risk-taker, a good thing. Think: singing Adele’s song when it was the #1 pop song on iTunes and singing Gaga’s song last week. But, taking risks sometimes doesn’t pan out, so we will see how it goes. I do know that Haley is feisty and a fighter, so I think she will give it her all this week. She has been in the bottom 3 so many times that I have to think that if she doesn’t perform extremely well, that sadly, she will be eliminated. I would love her to win it all — she’s got the voice and vocal chops, the musical background, the drive, and she is stylish and gorgeous.

    • agrimesy says:

      Haley has gained a lot of fans and a lot of momentum since those early bottom three days. I feel she may not be in the danger zone afterall. That won’t prevent me from voting like crazy for her, though! One good thing this week is Lady Gaga is guest mentoring. That could not have come at a better time! Gaga is the perfect mentor for Haley especially after their communication last week. I have a feeling Gaga will give her the boost of confidence she needs to go for it. I would love for Haley to break the top three.

  31. sofi says:

    omg is idoloonies haley’s fan club? all haley fans are here, I thinks michel it’s bacause your obvious propoganda. But I dont think she is enought interesting or enterteining to win ai. I like her, but it’s just not my type of music. You can burn me now micheal!!!!. I think you are being a little annoynig with this HALEY THING. please DONT PUSH IT. if she is good, she will win. I personally think (in randy’s words) that James is in it to win it. But who knows. Have a nice week

    • Robin says:

      Um…James is in it to win it and the rest are in it – why ?

    • Cup of Joe says:

      Do you call turning in two stinkers of performances in one week “in it to win it”?

      Well, considering that that hackneyed, meaningless phrase is used to practically everyone in the show, then I guess he’s “in it to win it.”

    • cj says:

      I respectfully disagree with your high opinion of James, but yes, this has turned into more of a Haley fan club page than anything else.

    • Mark says:

      Yes, Michael, you must stop promoting this mega talent using your blog. I mean what next? Are you guys going to use your “propaganda” on behalf of Justified? The Good Wife? How awful! We must not have you promoting Haley Reinhart, who has merely gone from this little noticed (sure, she was good, and kinda cute) American Idol finalist to a burgeoning star, fighting Randy Jackson (and often Jennifer Lopez) all the way.

      On a more serious note, I cannot stop listening to Haley’s performances on YouTube. This young woman is just fantastic. We hear about connecting with the song. That’s pretty much all she does when she opens her mouth. And it’s so effortless. And it’s with such incredible range. She is really wonderful, really ought to win, really probably won’t, and really hopefully will do great things anyway.

    • takakupo says:

      So if he were promoting James like you are you wouldn’t consider it propaganda would you? You’d consider it really coolz, huh? Lametard -____-‘

  32. Sue says:

    Don’t forget to vote for Haley!! Vote for Haley!! Vote for Haley!!

  33. dan says:

    I say Scotty will be a surprise elimination this week or next. He gets the country audience, who have been loyal to him, but that’s it. And even worse, he had been very specific in his appeal, so I can’t see him picking up votes from the elimination of James, Haley or even Jacob Lusk, maybe if Lauren gets the boot, he would get some of her votes, but they might just as easily go to Haley or James.

    That being said, I think Scotty will be the most successful of the contestants post-Idol, because he is talented, and does appeal to the country music audience. The bottom line is, he will sell records

  34. blingedup.susan says:

    I totally agree with your rankings, Michael, and I’d be very happy with a Scotty/Haley finale.

  35. J. Conway says:

    I visited youtube.com to listen to the Idol performers. Pia was my fave, but was gone. Long story short, Haley knocked me over with “Beautiful” and “Falling in the deep”. Her Jazz duet was excellent as well. I like all the remaining four Idols, but listen for yourself. Haley’s sound and performance overwhelmed me. She just snuck in touched me deeply.

  36. Yael says:

    Hailey is theatrical. Hailey did give great performances last time – showed vocal capability , she’s very musically talented . I think in all her performances she is more on the theatrical side. I don’t remember any strong personal emotional feel performance. I think she does kind of Broadway touch singing not enough singer-artist songs.
    No one of all 4 is a big fav. Still, the performance I keep listening and keep remembering is James Durbin doing ‘Will you love me tomorrow’. I thought it was brilliant musically and emotionally,

  37. theglencocox says:

    Epic fail if Haley wins, gal has no set direction with one or two good performances. She takes the title, I’ll be done watching American Idle unless the voting system changes. There was no spelling error in that previous sentence, just to be clear. Good day!

    • dkw says:

      Do you honestly believe that Haley is the beneficiary of powervoting? Between her, Lauren, Scotty, and James, it’s Haley with the unfair advantage?

    • takakupo says:

      No…set…direction?
      While I see that a lot of people have posted Haley’s name in the genre of Jazz, I heartily disagree with a brusque assertion that she’s been hardest rocker chick this season. Classic rock and pop have definitely been Haley’s thing or rather, her ‘direction’ as you would put it. If Haley winning is an epic fail to you then I don’t see why you’re still watching the show nor do I see how Haley has benefited from the voting system in any way.

  38. MrsFitzDarcy says:

    With Lauren as my least favorite Idol this year, I think that the country fans, tween ‘n’ teen voters may try to “save” her this week, which could take votes away from Scotty. Like Pia, Scotty could be in danger, and we could have a surprise elimination, leaving Lauren, Haley, and James.

    1) If James is solid – not even impressive, just solid – he will make it through to the finale. With Scotty gone in a mind-blowing elimination (“Folks, tonight the results might just blow your mind,” invoked Ryan.), James may pick up some late teen – mid-40s female votes.
    2) If Haley is solid (always is), and especially if TPTB give her some good air on the Homecoming episode, she will go through the top 3 to the Finale. If she is stellar, as she can be, I think she is a lock. She is getting some of the girl next door votes that Lauren once had. People are feeling bad for Lauren as she doesn’t seem to be holding up under the pressure, but no one wants a party pooper, and Haley is the life of the party and the proverbial grace under pressure.
    3) Pobrecita, Lauren. (Scotty, you’re 1/4 Puerto Rican, so you must know what that means.) Seriously, the conspiracy theories converge at Haley and Lauren. The scissors were poised. Atropos’s hand was trembling in anticipation as loud sob distracted the hag. She looked at Haley’s face. Smiling. Still smiling. A bent figure in the corner. Little Lauren. The Fates stopped short of cutting Haley’s lifeline, and moved into Lauren’s shadow …

    • Eurydice says:

      I don’t know, if my nieces and their friends are any indication, tweens and teens are kind of harsh. They’ll feel sorry for the rebel who’s misunderstood (or that poor brooding vampire with a heart of gold), but they won’t feel sorry for someone who comes off as a blubbering weakling.

  39. Jamie says:

    4. Lauren–Has worn out her welcome (esp. after missing the power note in Unchained Melody) and is hanging by a thread. She has failed to live up to the (contrived) hype.

    3. Haley or Scotty–These two are interchangealbe for 2nd place at this point. Both solid in their fan bases and performances (for the most part). Clearly two different styles so it’s a toss up.
    2. Scotty or Haley

    1. James–he’s male, he rocks, he’s emotional, has (IMO) the largest voting fan base. What more could screaming teens & cougars want? He’s no DC or AL, but he gets a pass for being as close as one can get to those two this year.

    That is what I THINK will be the order, however, what I WANT is another thing. Would love to see a James/Haley finale with Haley taking it all.

    SIDE NOTE: As much as I am not a big fan of Scotty, I do have to admit that I am taking gleeful satisfaction in the fact that he is in the top 4–and may even win this thing– despite all the pompous wannabes who turned him away during group week, especially that tall black dude (can’t even remember his name!) who so soundly dismissed him.

    • Lily says:

      LOL, agree with this – I have been thinking that for the finale, they should bring back Jordan Dorsey and have Scotty serenade him with “Baby Lock Them Doors” as the confetti rains down.

  40. takakupo says:

    I’m thinking that James or Scotty will be the shock elimination next week (Scotty is my pick because it’s the only rightful shocker as he’s less complained about than everybody and more overpraised than anyone left). Lauren will advance with a lackluster performance and then she’ll be ousted in top 3 because people will feel a genuine lack of trust in her since she didn’t provide that special something that we’ve been waiting for all season long. It’ll be a Haley/James finale with Haley taking the crown because even while she’s the underdog, she’ll have an impressive catalog for everyone to look back on :D

  41. Peggy Sue says:

    There is not a clear winner yet . . . and we have a very nice top 4! All talented, likeable performers. They seem young this year compared to Lambert/Allen/Gokey/Iraheta or other past top 4’s. Maybe it was a good idea to lower the contestant age since 3 of them are around 16 years old. I personally like Haley too. She is like a ray of sunshine and her talents are so interesting that I think the people who don’t get her are looking for something more straightforward. I like James too. He needs to pull it together and not screech this week. Lauren is probably the best of the 4, but she is so young that she can’t get past her insecurities and looking at her mamma in the audience. The down side of letting 15 year olds try out. Scotty is really good, he will have a career, he’s just not “idol” material to me – but I know he is to country fans.

  42. PAidol says:

    1. I agree about Lauren being 4th…only because 11th is no longer available! They pushed her down our throats since the tryouts and she never came through…she is NO Carrie Underwood!
    2. I love that Haley is still in it…and she’s fun to watch as well…she’s hot.
    3. It’s a REALLY tough call but I think you are too hard on James…I actually think he’s the most talented
    4. Scotty – as a 30 year Country music fan…Scotty is fun to watch and will be just fine no matter what happens from here on. Will be seing him all over CMT for a long time. Yes he is definitely as likely to win at this point as anyone!

  43. Veruca Salt says:

    Daddy Slezak,

    Where is Idoloonies?
    I want IDOLOONIES and I want it NOW!

    Veruca

  44. Ashley says:

    Just because Haley sang one good song, ‘House of the Rising Sun’, does not make her good enough to win. Shes extremely inconsistent and the growling needs to go. Anybody but Haley for the win.

    • Mark says:

      You’re kidding, right? Bennie & the Jets, Moanin’, Rolling in the Deep and House of the Rising Sun have all been Idol moments of surprise connection and power, and both Blue and You & I were pretty darn good. Don’t be a hater!

    • Aaron says:

      I’m really sorry to be so defensive, but I honestly don’t understand how you could say Haley is “extremely inconsistent” and doesn’t deserve to win, yet you don’t bring up the fact that James just barely squeaked by last week with two train wreck performances…I’ll echo what Mark said…””Bennie and the Jets”, “Moaning” “Rolling in the Deep” and “HOTRS” were all spectacular performances, and I would also add “Piece of My Heart” and “Beautiful” to that list as well.

      I would be hard-pressed to name four songs that Lauren has sang this season…everything has been so lackluster and just average that I honestly can’t remember what she sang as early as two weeks ago. Same with Scotty, although I do believe he is a bit more consistent and entertaining than Lauren and deserves to outlast her.

      I like James just fine, but in my opinion no other contestant this season has been given a pass more than him…I could not believe that Randy said last week after his terribly off-pitch performance of “Without You” that the competition was “his to lose”….what the crap? I worry about him winning, because out of the four left he is–in my opinion–the most vocally inconsistent…He can be great a la “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” “Maybe I’m Amazed”…but he can also be terrible (two performances from last week, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”)

      • agrimesy says:

        I don’t even think I’m watching the same show as the judges are. They criticized Jacob for singing a song too emotional for him to pull off vocally then praised James to the point of declaring the competition “his to lose” for the very same emotional outburst. They tell Lauren to reach higher and try harder but tell Scotty to just keep doing what he does because it works. Their bias is astounding!
        ~
        Meanwhile, Haley brings passion and power and solid vocals every single week, and they pick her apart. They warn the contestants not to sing songs that are too well known or they will force the viewers to compare. They criticize them for not making their performances contemporary enough. Haley sang an obscure song by a popular contemporary artist, and she nailed it! Every judge told her she made a mistake, but not one of them commented on the quality of her vocal. Ridiculous!

  45. SajiNoKami says:

    This is what I want to happen on Wednesday:

    -High quality stellar performances from the 4 contestants, to the point, people have this look on their face :o or O.O

    -‘moments’

    -boys vs girls in duets

    -gaga to give great advice that actually makes a difference

    -true critiques from the judges that make sense

    -no gimmicks

    -no doubts

    -no fears

    -not to regret taking a half day vacation to watch this show

    ——————–
    the way people are talking, if the voting had a visual, it would be a war zone

  46. Doug says:

    Perhaps, it’s just a coincedence, but after Googling for Wheeling, IL, (Haley’s hometown) preparation for her homecoming I haven’t been able to come across any plans are preperation. Interestingly, that can’t be written about the other three contestant’s hometown. Lockemdoors, the Jaundiced Teenager and the Screamer from Santa Cruz all have hometowns publicly awaiting their returns.

  47. agrimesy says:

    I’ve been reading through the posts as Idol fans speculate why these particular contestants have reached the top four. It’s really interesting. I guess it could be kind of obvious that there are three factors to consider: talent, judges’/producers’ support, and fans. I wonder which combination of strengths will define the winner. Unlike any other year, the winner this time will most likely determine whether the tenth season is my last.
    ~
    Scotty has all three strengths. He has talent as a singer and performer even thought there are some valid criticisms against him including a lack of variety and awkward stage presence. The Idol machine loves him with dollar signs in their eyes. The viewers at home find him wholesome and safe. I don’t think anyone can beat him.
    ~
    Lauren HAD all three strengths, but she has begun to slip. She has a lot of talent as a singer, and she looks good on stage. The Idol machine fell in love with her early on, but they seem to be losing interest. I don’t get it exactly. Is her lack of confidence that big a turn off? I’m not sure how they distinguish Lauren from Scotty other than the fact that Scotty seems more ready. Her fans are loyal, but I think they are simply getting out-numbered now.
    ~
    James is perhaps one of the best game players ever. Only a very few of his fans even bother to claim that he’s a great singer. James is not still there due to stellar vocals, but the judges have been very fond of him every single week regardless of his talent. His fans have adopted him as a kid with a handicap and a dream. As the competition gets down to the wire, I wonder if his story will be enough. I want American Idol to remain a singing competition first and foremost. I’m not sure how many others feel that way since there’s talk on this board of autotune being a totally acceptable crutch. Will people outside James’ fandom buy his record if he wins? The winner has to do a lot of live performances on day time TV, National Anthem appearances, etc. I just don’t see it somehow.
    ~
    Haley has talent and finally enough fans to keep her out of the bottom two last week in spite of the fact that she has never been a judge/producer favorite. If she keeps her momentum this week and totally nails another performance, I wonder if the Idol machine will have a sudden change of heart and pull a 180 in favor of Haley “in it to win it.” It will be unfortunate, I think, if a lack of producer support inevitably outweighs talent. In my opinion, Haley deserves to win because she has shown the most growth developing a stage presence she lacked early on, taken the most risks by exploring a variety of musical genres, built her confidence and personality even though she has yet to be showcased in any “get to know me” package, and bottom line all the while consistently sung very well.
    ~
    For me, the future of the show depends on this season’s outcome. I will accept any winner but James. If James wins, I’ll be ready to try the Voice or X-factor since apparently American Idol will not be about the music anymore.

    • flivr says:

      Lauren has fallen off because the wee teen girls don’t like her. It’s just like in high school……..they’re either jealous or the don’t like her “poor little me” attitude.

      • Cup of Joe says:

        I’ll agree with you on the latter part of your statement. With all due respect to her, that “poor little me” attitude has been wearing thin for the past couple of weeks. Her breaking down at the very first encounter of criticism makes me wonder if she’s going to be able to survive any setback that’ll be thrown at her in the music business. Being given kid-glove treatment sure isn’t helping her AT ALL.

    • claudia says:

      Agree with most of what you said, but I would also have a hard time accepting Lauren as AI. Yes, she has a good voice but thousands of singers have a good voice. She has shown no growth, in fact the reverse.

      One thing going for Haley is that I think Steven Tyler is in her corner now. And I do think she has been the most consistant. I liked her audition, didn’t like her in Hollywood, thought Fallin was very good, but the next week just fell in love with her doing Blue. Since then I don’t think she’s had a bad week. Some are better than others but she hasn’t had a flat performance.

    • SajiNoKami says:

      Actually James is the one that got me to vote this season and to be honest I didn’t know his back story until after the fact. Kid has rough vocals, but he also has great ones. Personally I wish he would explore that soulful side he showed in the a cappella. Funny you should mention the national anthem, there are videos of him doing it on Youtube and he sounds great. I personally like the energy, stage presents and general charisma he brings. I can understand if people don’t like him, but they should not be surprised if people actually do. Calling the show ‘American Idol’ was not really a good idea if they were just looking for vocalist, because in all reality there has to be more than just a voice. No matter how technically perfect a singer is, if they have no personality, are boring to watch and don’t have any sort of ‘it’ factor for me.. I am just not going to be interested.

      I have been enjoying Scotty as well, not really his country half, but the side heading toward rocker.

  48. flivr says:

    The only reason Scotty will win is because of all the wee teen girls voting for him. Again, I say, voting should be LIMITED.
    I think AI should have a competition among the winners. Who would win that one? I still think Adam was robbed.

  49. paidol says:

    Prediction:

    Whether any of us like Lauren or not ( and I think she is really overrated), She can cough up a furball this week on stage and you are going to hear Randy Yelling….
    “She’s Turned the other Cheek”
    And “Lauren is in it to Win it…She’s back!!!!”

    They will push her down our throats…

    On a side note, I hope she doesn’t turn that butt cheek, she might knock over the stage….good God!

  50. Yo says:

    Lauren Turner for the win! Barring that, Haley is left as the most flexible, diverse singer. While I appreciate Scot and believe he will very successful, I would like to see Haley take at least the third spot. I’m not sure I want her to win and put out an “Idol” album. I like James, too, but am not sure winning is a favor to him. Lauren Alaina has the voice, but so far has not brought it competitively; she heeds to come back to music after high school.

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