Idol Leaderboard: Who Are Your Favorites From the Top 8? (Take Our Poll!)

Just a few days ago, we had 100,000 screaming auditioners hoping to claim the American Idol Season 11 crown, and now suddnely we’re down to the Top 8. Whether that happened via collective alien abduction or if it’s merely proof that time does indeed fly when you’re having fun, I’m not certain.

What I do know is that we need to rank the remaining vocalists before ’80s Music Night kicks off in just a few hours. So check out my pre-performance rankings, then vote for your favorite vocalist in our scientifically infallible poll!

Idology: Heejun Han on Asian Clichés, Cowboy Drama, Hilfiger-Gate and His One Idol Regret

8. Deandre Brackensick (Previously No. 9) | “Sometimes I Cry” got a standing ovation from the judges, but his all-falsetto-all-the-time style is polarizing, and as Jimmy Iovine pointed out, he lacks the experience and emotional maturity to go much farther against Season 11’s big guns. A Top 5 finish is probably the best he can hope for.

7. Hollie Cavanagh (Previously No. 5) | Has talent and likability in her arsenal, but her song choices have been consistently off-the-mark, and her tour of Big Diva Balladville has often underscored her limitations instead of her strengths. Needs a Major Moment in the next two weeks, but with the dubious mentoring she’s been getting, that seems unlikely.

6. Skylar Laine (Previously No. 2) | Boundless energy and fire make her one of the most entertaining contestants in the competition, and being the sole Season 11 singer courting the country vote doesn’t hurt, either. Still, she needs to remind viewers her chops are on par with her competitors — and underscore her terrific storytelling skills — if she wants to survive till hometown visits.

5. Colton Dixon (Previously No. 6) | He’s had a couple small hiccups in the pitch department, and was the only male contestant not to get a standing O from the judges on Top 9 night. Still, he had the cojones to defy conventional wisdom by choosing a little-known White Lion song for Songs From the Year You Were Born, and by flying his worship flag proudly with his Lifehouse cover. Biggest drawback may be his love of songs that are somewhat hook-free.

4. Joshua Ledet (Previously No. 3) | Astonishing Top 11 night cover of “When a Man Loves a Woman” — the performance to beat in what’s been a stellar Idol season — was followed up by a misfire on Billy Joel night, then a return to form with a deeply personal “Without You.” An Idol cannot win the crown on soulful ballads alone, though, and a reminder of his funky Top 13 “I Wish” would be a refreshing change of pace.

3. Elise Testone (Previously No. 7) | Early Bottom 3 appearances and results-night snafus made her an underdog, but performance-wise, she’s gone from strength (“One and Only”) to strength (“Vienna”) to strength (“Whole Lotta Love”). Idol fans love a good comeback story, and if the judges don’t suddenly turn against her, she’s got a legit Top 3 chance.

2. Jessica Sanchez (Previously No. 4) | May have had the first “Idol Moment” of the season delivering a pitch-perfect “I Will Always Love You” on Top 13 night, but the judges now seem to hold her to a superhigh standard when it comes to doling out praise. Her Billy Joel cover was fabulous, though, and her dark and mooody take on Beyoncé’s “Sweet Dreams” proved she’s willing to take much-needed risks, too. Is a Jessica-Elise all-female finale really such a stretch?

1. Phillip Phillips (Previously No. 1) | Hangs on to the top slot based more on consistency than a single breakout performance. “Still Rainin’,” though, did a pretty nifty job of showing the kind of record the growling guitarsmith might make post-Idol. Would like to see him rework a dance/R&B ditty the way he did with his scorching audition-round “Thriller,” and dial back on the shoutiness, if he wants to win it all.

Who are your Season 11 favorites? Vote in the poll below, then explain your picks in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. rod says:

    Hollie is still my favorite, but she needs to have an idol moment pronto, or she will be gone next week

  2. Kyle says:

    EEELLLLIIIISSSSEEEE!!!! #1, true underdog! I hope she takes it all the way!

  3. Lyn says:

    I find them all pretty likable, which is nice. Surprised that screechy Elise ranks at the top of your survey, and I tend to switch channels a few bars into Jessica’s songs because she’s so booooorrrrrrring. I like Phillip’s quirky individualism, but don’t feel he’s had a transcendent (i.e. Adam Lambert “Mad World” or Bo Bice “Whipping Post”) moment yet.

    • selena says:

      I find that whoever Michael says he likes is who ppl who follow him like. Just like how many began to like Alison and Haley after Michael pushed for them.

      • MusicGrrrl says:

        I noticed that, too. If Michael loves someone they will suddenly become more popular with the people on this site. That hasn’t yet translated into a win, though. I’ve like Elise off and on but didn’t care as much for her Led Zepplin cover this week as some did. I thought it was full of sound and fury signifying nothing.

  4. sneakin says:

    I’m not getting the Phillip Phillips love. I enjoy his songs, but I have to leave the room to do so. His physical imitation of Dave Matthews is very distracting.

    • Tim says:

      I agree, and please let’s not have another mediocre WGWG winner.

    • pjt says:

      Although it is interesting that he has yet to do a Dave Matthews on John Mayer number. Frankly, I hope he does a Joe Cocker number tonight like “With a little help from my friends” from the 80’s TV show “The Wonder Years”. He’s already got the Cocker facial expression and hand spasms down pat.

  5. I’d rank them differently in terms of win possibility: Phillip, Jessica, Colton, Elise, Hollie, Jacob, Skylar, DeAndre.

    • Mik says:

      I think you mean Joshua. You still have the Lusky-stank? (;

    • RTW says:

      I think Hollie, DeAndre and Skylar will be the next three to go. For some reason, I sense the others have more experience performing in front of crowds that really shines through on TV. By experience, I mean (as Elise put it) “gigging out”, venues and talent shows, not just performing in school choir or at church (BTW, I think there’s nothing wrong with performing at these, it’s just very safe with friends and family there). Just a thought.

  6. Tonya says:

    Deandre is the best. Weather you guys want to believe it or not. That kid has talent.

  7. Mik says:

    I really liked Jessica’s performance of “Sweet Dreams” last week, but I don’t think she is held to a higher standard, I just don’t think the judges want to make her the favorite. It seems like the producers wants this season to be “everybody can win. Everyone has a chance”, that’s the only explanation I got for why Heejun and DeAndre got standing ovations and Jessica didn’t.

  8. Lea says:

    Skylar !!!! and I’m not even a country fan.
    No. 2 is Elise.

    • lalala says:

      I can tell that you’re not a country fan Lea. I’m a country fan and I can’t stand Skylar. I have heard a lot of amazing country singers, so I’m annoyed to death with Skylar.

    • Marsaili says:

      I’m a HUGE country fan and I LOVE Skylar. She’s got it, all!

  9. Badjuggler says:

    Been happy for the job done by voters so far — hoping they can keep it up. I envision a judges’ save tomorrow night.

  10. Annie says:

    It’s a tie between Jessica and Joshua.

  11. Owen says:

    Adam Lambert sucks. Elise owned this version.

  12. G-Mom says:

    My faves are Colton and Phillip. Elise is a good singer, but I don’t LIKE her. Her early surliness and reaction to criticism have ruined it for me. Jessica is an okay singer, but kind of blah. Sweet girl, but too young. Hollie has an amazing voice, but just hasn’t had a “moment” yet. Too much falsetto from DeAndre!!

    • tewence says:

      i personally think your opinions of hollie and jessica should be swapped…except jessica has had more than one “moment” and hollie has yet to score.

  13. bj says:


  14. Malcolm says:

    Elise’s version was great in a different way than Adam. I personally prefer Adam’s version, felt it more. But I’m a crazy Glambert so I’m a bit biased.
    My favorite is Jessica, I don’t see what people mean with her lack of soul. I think she needs to be a bit more original sometimes, but she has tons of soul.

    • Andrea Fisher says:

      Jessica is way over the top, shrill seeking. She has too much vibrato in her voice and it is off putting to listen to. Jessica has to quit mimiking her idols every move and be original or she is headed out the door. Along with Carrie Underwood wannabe but never was what’s her name again?… Exactly.

  15. Diego says:

    Round up the sheep.

  16. Bee says:

    so excited for elise tonight! she should easily be able to rock 80s week. i just REALLY hope they don’t put her in the first hour. that whole hour is a death slot. they’ve done that to her i think every week except the first and this last week. performances like her WLL are what make idol seem legit.

    also, judges: PLEASE only one standing ovation today. two max. if any at all! and stop kissing every boy’s behind. it’s insane.

    • FreeHaley says:

      They stuck her second and gave a full on critique. She ain’t no Nigel favorite. Maybe Skylar bottom three and below Elise put the scare in him. :(

      On the plus, side Gwen Stefani said Elise was her favorite in the competition.

      • abfidy says:

        She’s a Nigel favorite, no question. In the last couple seasons if you perform in the pimp spot, then the next week you are generally put in the front of the lineup, unless your performance is so stellar that it warrants another pimp spot. As for getting a full on critique, I think the judges are seeing the difficulty in not critiquing their favorites. Last season it led to the Casey and James being eliminated before the producers wanted, and so this season if you’ll note if a favorite turns in a messy performance, they are called on it. Mediocre performances are still wildly overpraised (anything by Colton and Phillip, hello!), but if something is plainly not good, they don’t risk ignoring the mess and having the voters call them out for it.

  17. Josh says:

    Phillp and Colton are overrated bores LOVE Skylar Jessica Elise and Holly

  18. philfan says:


  19. mgbhighlander says:

    Adam Lambert will always be my favorite Idol, but Phillip Phillips is quickly becoming a close second. There are several still on the show (Skylar, Joshua, and DeAndre) that need to go soon though.

  20. sherry says:

    #1 Elise #2 Phillip

  21. JBS says:

    As long as any of the girls, or Joshua or DeAndre win it all at the end, then I’ll be happy. There have been enough WGWG winners to satisfy us for a long Long LONG time.
    With regards to my favourite, it’s either Elise or Jessica at this point.

    • tewence says:

      this is right on point. colton and phillip are contrived. although people seem to like phillip better…not sure why. if people closed their eyes and listened to him regardless of whatever vibe or what he looks like or does with songs bla bla bla they probably would be less than please with his forced, disingenuous growl. i pretty much like everyone BUT colton and phillip…and not because i don’t like their style, i just think they aren’t good at the style they have decided to portray.

  22. Forwarddad says:

    Joshua is my favorite. If he makes top 4 I am good with Jessica, Philip, Joshua and the fourth a toss up. I don’t think it will be Elise. I think TPTB don’t want her to win – demographics? Believe they will use a save for her but dont think it will matter she will finish no better than 5th.

  23. Sandi says:

    I LUV Joshua. He is a solid performer, although he always looks scared to death. Phillip’s vane on his forehead looks like it will pop any second.

  24. J says:

    Elise, Colton, and Jessica. These three are tops in my book. Jessica is a masterclass vocally. Colton is a great risk taker as Michael described. Elise is just amazing.

  25. gailer says:

    deandre is my fave……the others i can see at a bar

  26. TheBeach says:

    Has anyone heard what songs they will be singing tonght?

  27. IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

    This has to be one of the most talented, evenly-matched casts ever, and yet ratings for the shows are at new lows. WTH? Perhaps they really do plan on ending soon and wanted to go out with a bang? Anyway, here’s how I see the rest of the season playing out:
    Deandre goes home this week. Sorry, Dre Dreamers, he’s clearly the weakest one left. Then either Joshua or Skylar will go home (Aahhh! Just typing that stabs me!), and whichever one doesn’t finish sixth will finish seventh. Next, it will be Hollie’s turn to say goodbye, and after that it’s a free-for-all. Phillip will most likely be in the finale alongside Jessica, but my little Jay is this year’s American Idol. Period.
    (This doesn’t take into account the Judges’ Save, which they could use at anytime and most likely will to get them back on schedule after Jermaine’s disqualification.)

  28. FreeHaley says:

    Ah judges are all into slamming Elise again. She was a bit pitchy, but she was no more pitchy, actually less, and way better other than that, than half the stuff Randy praised to skies last season, so come on Dawg? Why all the double standards? A rocker/jazz chick gets full criticism for all but nobody else does? It’s one thing if you called them all out and it’s another if you single one out. Guess they got upset she escaped bottom three last week.

  29. FreeHaley says:

    At least Gwen Stefani said Elise was her favorite in the competition.

  30. Princess Adora says:

    This is such a hard decision! I went with Elise today.

  31. Sara says:

    Can’t stand Joshua, DeAndre is alright, I like when he isn’t always in falsetto… drives me nuts, just not my style. Phillip is good, but for some reason I don’t think he’s as great as everyone says he is. Elise is good but like others, I just don’t like her — couldn’t tell you why either, there’s just something about her that kind of irks me. Liked Skylar a lot to begin with but feel like she’s gone down a bit….I feel like they’re pushing her country growl way too much. Colton is good but I’m beginning to like him less and less each week. Jessica and Hollie are both incredible, especially for their age. I think they’re my frontrunners now that Heejun (</3) is gone.

  32. FreeHaley says:

    Welllll so far it’s pretty clear just as with Haley, they are no big Elise fans either, they just don’t want her top two or three, at the least.

    Philip didn’t seem that great to me tonight. Not sure if I’m just getting tired with him or whether it was just sort of a whatever, nothing wrong with it, nothing great sorta deal.

  33. Chrissy says:

    I know Jessica and Elise are better singers, along with Colton (don’t hear the vibe in Phil’s songs), but I love Skylar! She’s had some good songs, she just needs to get back on track. Admit it – Elise was a nobody until last week! Skylar could do the same thing. And that energy she has – she’s a little spitfire!

  34. FreeHaley says:

    At least they did give major props to the Elise+Philip duet. That was far and away the best duet so far.

    (Elise was not a nobody until last week!)

  35. FreeHaley says:

    Hollie had a little bit of a slow start, but she totally brought it the second half.
    I’m not quite sure what the judges were saying, they seemed out of proportion with the critiques compared to some of the other contestants.

    It seems clear they are desperate to make sure Skylar is one of the top two girls above Elise and Hollie at all costs. Skylar will be going near the end.

  36. amy says:

    My two cents –
    Phillip – interesting kid, sadly he sounds the same every week. He screams too much when he sings and man im tired of seeing his teeth… lol. I dont think he will go anywhere if he wins.
    Colton – bore bore bore. his fan girls are voting him through (same with deandre). He is pitchy and like phillip i really doubt he will go anywhere after AI.
    Jessica – She has a great voice – but she is this years Pia. Great voice boring personality/stage presence. I doubt she will win because she is fading into the shadows.
    Deandre – I bite my tongue on this kid…. i will just say he should have gone home long ago.
    Skylar – I am so anti Scotty mcrappy it just isnt funny… I quit watching last year when he kept beating out the good singers. (not a country fan… can ya tell? =p) BUT i love Skylars spunk! I think shes a good singer and her energy is fabulous!
    Joshua – this is american idol – NOT CHURCH! He was one of my favs from top 24 but I am now on the Anti-Joshua bus. Sick of his same ol same ol churchy sound.
    Hollie – similar to jessica, she can sing but wow that girl is boring lol…
    Elise – my pick – have been a fan since her audition. She has an amazing gritty voice that blows away the others when she is in her groove. I think what others fail to remember is she is the oldest person and she is with a bunch of kids. Im sure she doesnt feel like she fits in with them. She is a pro – this isnt a game to her so she is a bit more serious over the others.

    Now… who do i think will win? Sadly I will guess Phillip because the little girls will keep him on the top. darn you little girls! you ruin AI most years =/

    heejun… i miss you! ok he wasnt the best singer but man he had the absolute best personality!

    • FreeHaley says:

      +1 to everything (except Skylar totally annoys me, voice and all, hard to imagine, but I actually found Scotty less annoying)

      Skylar sounds so twangy and boring right now but watch the judges call it best of night and they give her pimp spot, they are desperate to save her from bottom three, ok she wasn’t bad for a few bars near the end, but Hollie was too and they bashed her down to pieces. Watch the forget that 85% was boring and bad and focus 100% on her 15% good. Yup here they go hah. What a total joke.

  37. Kellie says:

    They are all so darn boring. I won’t watch anymore.

  38. FreeHaley says:

    Hah totally knew it they would have Skylar at the end and solely praise whatever bits she did good and ignore whatever was boring or whatever. Yup. Check.

    They are desperate to have Hollie and Elise come in below Skylar at all costs.

  39. FreeHaley says:

    Jessica sings well, but yeah there is always just something missing. Sure she sang a tough song really well and yet it had none of the infectious catchiness of when Whitney sang it (plus the voice didn’t have the same quality and tone and all, granted that’s not really fair, since just about anyone would fall there). Not sure what it is, but as great as she is, something is just missing.

    Hah, Randy mentions just about the entire group can win…. except Elise hah. So typical for the dawg. You could see Elise get a resigned oh well great smile after Randy’s blabber.

    • Jake says:

      I agree about Jessica. Hollie is reaching that point, too- especially last night. I expected a “robotic” comment to come up, because Hollie was so rehearsed in doing what one would expect to do in a “fun” performance: Interact playfully and/or dance with one of the musicians? Check. Twirl around like a little girl to show your youthfulness? Check. Use every part of the stage to build presence? Check. Except all of this was done with the vivaciousness of a potted plant.

  40. Well, looks like the judges are all on board with continuing the vagicide. My thoughts:

    Deandre – Very good job, although I never really look forward to his next week’s performance like I do for some others. He deserves to stick around this week though.
    Elise – Not her best. Not by a wide margin. In danger.
    Phillip – Was good, but as the season progresses, I feel his lack of versatility vs. Colton is really highlighted. Might start to lose some of the power voter fan girls but he is in no danger.
    Joshua – Was good, but the oversinging is a bit much for my taste. Still, he always has the potential to be awesome and I look forward to that potential every week.
    Jessica – Good change of pace and nice to show versatility with something up beat. She is always strong, so it really takes a mindboggling perfomance for her to over-achieve the high expectations.
    Hollie – I thought the singing was better than the judges’ assessment, but it is pretty clear she is not the whole package. Yikes on that outfit! Looks like she is being thrown under the bus!
    Colton – Great song for him and he worked it well. Another week or two and I can see him taking over Phillip’s #1 spot.
    Skylar – Did not think it was worthy of the overpraising – I felt like she was trying to pound her finger through the chest of the person she’s singing too. That is not how a sweet ballad is supposed to sound. There is no anger in that song!

    B3 – Deandre, Elise, Hollie. Elise gets the save and I am ok with that as I loved the 8 solo and 4 duet format!

  41. Josh says:

    Colton or Phillip all the way – think both of them will be in the top 3 along with a girl (either Jessica or Elise). If Skylar sings like she did tonight, she’ll have a shot as well.

  42. Karrie says:

    Agreed! I picked Elise from the time I heard her smoking voice! I love her voice; she just needs to relax as she did last week!

  43. RedInDenver says:

    Although Jessica has an amazing voice, I don’t like anything else about her. She seems phony, her performances contrived, and the alter-ego thing makes her seem completely self-absorbed.

    As I’ve said a couple of times: Phillip, who seems to be a nice guy, also seems to me to be nothing more than a lead singer in a Dave Matthews cover band.

  44. mark says:

    Two a-idols to compete on finals..
    1.) Jessica
    2.) Phillip
    Eliminated Idols
    3.) Colton
    4.) Joshua
    5.) Skylar
    6.) Hollie
    7.) Elise
    8.) Deandre

    • TC says:

      if Phillip and Colton end up lasting longer than Josh, then there is no justice. He is BY FAR, the most talented of all the male contestants (I’d go as far as saying all the remaining contestants). He should be in the finals, but we all know how the 14 year olds vote……

    • Macky says:

      WOW YOU GOT IT RIGHT ON THE SPOT!!! And I’m from the future so I can verify this :)))

  45. Rachel says:

    i prefer artists who could possibly write their own songs, and could play an instrument. it shouldn’t be all about the voice. it should be about the personality, the ability to connect with an audience, to sing songs which the audience can feel and relate to.. in this regard then i think the best of the bunch are: Phillip, Colton, and Elise in that order.

  46. well for me all of them are very good singer they have all potential to be a singer they have great voices yet for me there also a great one to be an amrican idol and for me it should be
    jessica sanchez or jushu lebet they have great voices a and they have great voices and i really love most of them and i really like to sing because this things made me feel that im good peson this is very healthy past time because it can enhance your talents in music and give you positive side of your life and gave you an inner of music and positive feeling toward negative side of life be love of your life and always puts your side of your life

  47. Sem Perez says:

    5 Reasons Why Jessica Sanchez Will Win American Idol 2012

    She’s a fantastic singer.
    As soon as Jessica brought down the house with her rendition of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” she became an obvious frontrunner. The crowd, viewers, and judges alike were blown away by her powerful vocals and impressive range. As Steven Tyler put it, she “may be the one.”

    She’s got that swagger.
    An incredible voice won’t get you far without stage presence, but this San Diego girl is lucky enough to have both. Even at just 16 years old, Jessica seems confident and sure of herself when she’s performing. Whether she’s belting out a ballad or dancing around to something more upbeat, she keeps the audience’s attention.

    She’s charismatic.
    If her nearly 53,000 Twitter followers are any indication, viewers like Jessica. American Idol’s supposed to be a singing competition, but we all know that popularity matters. The winner needs to inspire people all over the country to vote obsessively, and so far, it looks like Jessica can do that.

    She’s experienced.
    At 11, Jessica garnered a lot of attention while she was a contestant on America’s Got Talent. Since she’s already gotten a taste of what it’s like to be on a high-stakes performance show, she’s better equipped to handle the pressure week after week. It’s no wonder she always manages to stay poised and focused.

    We’re overdue for a girl to win.
    It has been five years since the last lady — Season 6’s Jordin Sparks — won the title. Although it looked like we might have a female winner last season when two of the final three contestants were girls, it didn’t happen in the end. This year, we’re expecting voters to take a stronger stand for their favorite gals.

  48. Sem Perez says:

    Jessica Sanchez is a confident( cause she’s experienced ), 16-YEAR-OLD girl. In terms of singing ability, jessica and joshua would compete on the finals. It is evident on their rendition of the song ” I Knew You Were Waiting”. But in terms of vote (which I don’t really like), it would be colton and philip >:-( . So PLEASSEEE!, vote the one whose WORTHY of the SINGING title. And that’s JESSICA SANCHEZ!

  49. ally says:

    Jessica is my pick for the win…if we’re voting for voice/ singing. Her voice soothes me and cheers me up. i’ve read other posts about her from other fans and she has this affect on people all around the world. i could listen to her all day long as well as millions of others. if she wins she will be not just an american idol but an international idol. 6 billion asians…a gazillion more latinos…and also the soul/ r&b fans. it’s time to bring back awesome vocals to the radio and Jessica is just the one to do it.

  50. Sem Perez says:

    @ally–I REALLY AGREE WITH YOU. it’s time for a girl to win this competition. I have all jessica’s songs in my cellphone and she really is awesome..the only thing lacking to her is her choice of song..she must make all the judges stand!

    –i hope she still retains her good personality even if she’s globally famous.. :D…i hope jessica can read this..