American Idol: Ranking the Top 15 Women Heading Into the Live Shows

American Idol‘s Season 13 live shows begin tonight — with J.Lo, Harry and Keith brutally whittling down the Top 15 girls by a third, then turning it over to the voting public to decide the fate of the 10 singers left standing.

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To get you ready for this jelly, we’ve ranked the deep bench of ladies from least- to most-promising, with a twist of analysis explaining their strengths and weaknesses.

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So click through the gallery below to see how we’ve handicapped the race, then hit the comments with your own thoughts! And for all my Idol recaps, news, interviews and exclusives, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

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. Ben says:

    I feel as though Malaya is consistently underrated, and Briana overrated – just in my opinion. My rankings, based partly in personal preference, and partly in thinking of people (such as Brandy) who seem very likely to make it to the top 13 simply because they are the best in an area which we know gets votes, is as follows:
    1. Majesty (definitely my frontrunner to win).
    2. Jena
    3. Austin
    4. MK
    5. Brandy
    6. Marialle (because of edit, I almost guarantee she gets to sing and gets a wild card if not voted through, unless she really drops the ball).
    7. Malaya
    8. Kenzie
    9. Andrina
    10. Jessica
    11. Bria (I absolutely loved her last performance – but didn’t even notice her before that. I guess it depends which Bria turns up – if she is given a chance to perform at all. This is my dark horse pick).
    12. Jillian
    13. Briana
    14. Emily
    15. Kristen – the only one who I really can’t see how she has any show of singing in the top 10 tonight.

  2. Timmah says:

    Most overrated IMO is Briana. Most underrated is Andrina.

  3. Ryanne says:

    From what I’ve seen of MK on YouTube, I’m impressed, but I don’t know if she has shown such skill on the show yet. The same goes for Jillian. I don’t know what it is about Malaya, but I kind of love her because she’s a great singer and she’s wacky – she won’t win, but I’m hoping she gets through to the Top 13. The ones who are stand-outs to me are Majesty, Jena, Austin, Malaya, Kenzie, and Jillian, with honorable mentions going to Emily and MK (thanks to YouTube, not necessarily the show itself).

    • Ryanne says:

      *Didn’t mean to include Austin in there – she’s good, but for me she wasn’t a stand-out, probably because half of her performances were of the same friggin’ song.

      • Ben says:

        I reckon things are ultimately grim for one of Kenzie and Austin anyway. They are quite similar, and so I wouldn’t be surprised if the judges only allowed one of them to sing (I’d like to see both).

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Ryanne, I agree about the “same friggin’ song” but that’s an editing/programming problem. It’s not Austin’s fault. I like what I’ve heard and at this point I like her better than kenzie.

  4. R says:

    I’d say MK is my favorite to this point, just for the simple fact that her voice appeals to me more than the other girls’ do. It’s the same reason I rooted for Caroline Pennell over the likes of Tessanne Chin and Jacquie Lee on The Voice, despite thinking one of the latter would ultimately win.

  5. Ben says:

    What with Austin Wolfe and Sam Woolf, what are the odds Randy refers to his ‘wolf pack’? Anyone?

  6. C.I.L.O. says:

    I can’t say I majorly disagree with this list. But for the top 6, I’d make it like this:
    1. Jena
    2. Kenzie
    3. Majesty
    4. Briana
    5. Jessica
    6. MK
    The rest of the list is good though.

  7. Emma says:

    I would rank them like this:
    1. Jena–has been consistently strong every round and has a distinctive style
    2. Majesty–final solo wasn’t great, but she picks good songs and has a lovely tone
    3. Brandy–the only real country singer and her final solo was her strongest moment by far
    4. Jess–got a bad edit, but her performances have stood out
    5. Austin–beautiful tone, nice stage presence, not as memorable as a few others
    6. MK–not a ton of screentime, but she has been memorable, and has great tone/control
    7. Kenzie–likable and creative–Macklemore cover was great–but not very strong vocals
    8. Briana–strong, powerful voice, but she’s a little shrieky at times
    9. Jillian–beautiful voice, but can lapse into whiny singing on occasion
    10. Bria–audition was a mess, but final solo was pretty great
    11. Emily–lovely version of Stars, other performances have been a bit cheesy
    12. Andrina–mediocre audition but good final solo in Hollywood
    13. Marialle–a lot of presence and charisma, but weak vocals
    14. Malaya–great audition, oversang both Hollywood solos
    15. Kristen–pretty voice, but dull and kinda pageanty

    • Cherrie yother says:

      Right about Jess…she is the real deal.

    • Cherrie yother says:

      Marialle is in love with herself… Confident, not as good as she thinks

    • Sieves says:

      At this point, I’m not sure you should rank them so much on their vocal performances so much as what you estimate their overall talent to be. One bad audition or one really good solo doesn’t really mean anything in the grand scheme of things. How far can they really go? What potential is being displayed? Rankings should be more comprehensive and take trajectory into consideration.

      Also Marielle has no charisma. She tries too hard.

  8. Kaba says:

    Not getting your Malaya hate. Certainly not understanding why you’re bothering to hold her at the same pedestal as Fantasia. I wouldn’t go about comparing the two by any means.
    I’m not sure who I want as the top 6 but it’s something composed of this combination of girls:

  9. Sarah says:

    My prediction:

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  11. Amy says:

    Michael, re: Marielle, with all due respect, speak for yourself…is there anyone else here that is wondering if she is “more style than substance?” I haven’t wondered since, well….ever.
    Majesty is honestly the only standout in terms of memorable to me at this point. That is, someone who managed to make a statement that stuck in my mind, both in presence and sound, given the snippets of talent we see in them all up to this point. It really takes a standout for me, as it has other years, this early. The rest are a sea of varied talents and decent voices that I’m interested in seeing more of after tonight to see who rises to the top.
    I’m finding more of the guys memorable so far.

  12. JayNC says:

    I hope but don’t predict the following 9 girls make it, in this order:
    Majesty, Jena, Emily, Briana, Jessica, Kenzie, MK, Austin, Andrina. I don’t care who makes the 10 spot, but hope it isn’t Marrialle, Malaya, or Brandy – just don’t care for them, sorry. I vaguely remember Kristen, but don’t remember anything about Jillian or Bria (except that I hate her black lipstick).

  13. Lauren says:

    In my opinion, they need to cut loose Kristen, Austin, Marielle, Andrina and either Bria or Brandy before the voting commences. None really bring much to the table that isn’t already being represented better elsewhere.

  14. Amber says:

    I hope the 5 they cut loose first are : Brandy, Bria, Kristen, MK, Jillian. Then out of the 10 remaining, I hope the 5 to make it to the top 13 are : Emily, Majesty, Brianna, Jena and Kenzie

  15. C.I.L.O says:

    FYI (no spoilers) they’re revealing the top 10 1 at a time, not cutting the bottom 5 right away.

  16. Timmah says:

    It’s a shame they couldn’t just cut an extra half hour of filler and commercials and let all 15 sing. Sometimes I really hate American TV.

  17. J says:

    I am for Majesty Rose for the win, but I was disappointed in her performance of “Stars.” That song is so hard but Emily sang that song amazingly well! I am also a fan of Jena’s and think she is a frontrunner as well. I hope Majesty Rose gets stronger and more confident and just makes all of us just throw the crown at her.

  18. Spencer says:

    Literally I am like the only one who’s favorite is Malaya

  19. Bonquisha says:

    1. Majesty
    6. Briana
    8. Jessica
    9. Austin
    10. Emily
    15. Marrielle

  20. Cherrie yother says:

    Kudos for Harry and Keith really enjoyed them tonight…..

  21. trf says:

    I really remember Harry C. Jr when he was a mentor. “do you know what this song means??” “…..just sing the song, don’t over sing it…” a real bad uncle of a complainer to the performers when they are just trying to show their vocal ability. He did the same thing tonight. And I am not surprised. When you’re singing for your future career with ever performance, it’s not a time to do ‘the studio version” . IMHO.

  22. Captain Hindsight says:

    Not so much. Anyone should have realized that Andrina Jillian, Austin, Kenzie and Brandy had no shot. The producers are looking for a special kind of talent that only shines when auto tuned to perfection. Pretty singing girls are a dime a dozen on these shows. Train wrecks are what sells.

  23. Jaszy says:

    Slezak didn’t rank the boys yet, did he? Or is he even going to? It wouldn’t surprise me if he didn’t because it’s pretty obvious that he likes girl singers better. Not going to complain about that, because I do too. I could care less about the guys, who I think are just taking spaces away from more talented girls who could’ve made it. But these stupid gender quotas! They are ridiculous! More girls should’ve been in the top 30 to begin with.

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  25. Sara says:

    Here is my ranking: (Yes I know that it is late and that many people will probably disagree)

    Nonetheless, here is my ranking:
    Favorite to least favorite:

    1. Jena
    2. Kenzie
    3. Emily
    4. Kristen
    5. Austin
    6. Briana
    7. Brandy
    8. Jess
    9. Jillian
    10. Majesty
    11. Andrina
    12. Malaya
    13. Bria
    14. Marrialle
    15. MK