American Idol: Ranking the Top 15 Women Heading Into the Live Shows
15. Malaya Watson
Adorable, tuba-playing teen has tons of personality, but her final Hollywood Week solo of “I Believe” showed she’s got miles to go before Fantasia loses any sleep.
14. Kristen O'Connor
Pretty nurse with a pretty voice, but hasn’t made much impact with limited screen time. Facing an uphill battle.
13. Bria Anai
Everything prior to her Hollywood solo of “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” lacked subtlety and dynamics. Kindest thing judges can do is cut her before she performs — and ask her to come back in two years.
12. Marrialle Sellars
Idoloonies suspect she’s a producer fave based on their decision to run her audition not once, but twice, but the fact that her wobbly “Wrecking Ball” fell short of Miley’s original makes us wonder if she’s more style than substance.
11. Emily Piriz
Has suffered from a screen-time deficit to date, but her lengthy rendition of “Stars” that kicked off the “Green Mile” episode created enough buzz to make her a potential dark horse.
10. Andrina Brogden
Like Emily, you might find her image on the side of the proverbial Idol milk carton, but her stellar upgrade of Ellie Goulding’s “Burn” in Hollywood hinted at a performer confident enough to shake up the pre-ordained pecking order. (That is, if the judges let her perform at all.)
9. Brandy Neelly
Hasn’t exhibited the undeniable charisma of a Janelle Arthur or a Skylar Laine, but the veteran auditioner wound up being the only straight-up country female in the Season 13 lineup, so if she’s good on Tuesday, she’s got a voting bloc all to herself.
8. Jillian Jensen
X Factor vet has exhibited a raspy tone and a winning musicality, but her penchant for tearful outbursts have made her a “love her or hate her” kind of contestant. Which is still better than making no impression at all.
7. Austin Wolfe
Idol fans love it when a singer sneaks up on ’em, rather than having one shoved down their throats. So while Austin hasn’t been as heavily showcased as some of those ranked above her, she’s got a decent shot at Top 13 status if she can deliver a performance as slick and soulful as her “Radioactive” cover.
6. Jessica Meuse
Unquestionably got the “Mean Girl” edit throughout Hollywood Week, but her Stevie Nicks-ian warble and intriguing songwriting skills have been equally — if not more — memorable. Not to be underestimated.
5. MK Nobilette
Idol‘s first ever openly gay contestant has a quiet, deeply understated style that could either: A. Be drowned out by “Bandzilla” or B. Allow her to stand out in a sea of diva theatrics. We’re betting on the latter.
4. Kenzie Hall
Her final Hollywood solo on “Your Song” was iffy at best, but her prior performance — a spiffy, acoustic Macklemore cover — was one of the season’s most memorable moments. If she aims for that kind of creativity in the live shows, she could be a serious contender.
3. Briana Oakley
Big hair, big smile and even bigger vocals. This Season 12 Hollywood evictee has come roaring back a year later without making a single vocal misstep. As long as she doesn’t get bogged down with a clichéd song choice, she’s got a serious Top 13 shot.
2. Jena Asciutto
Her original track “Unbreakable Me” (which I just bought on iTunes) was the highlight of Season 13 Hollywood Week (if not the entire calendar year 2014). Harry Connick Jr. called her a “sleeper”; we’re calling her “front-runner.”
1. Majesty Rose
We’re still reeling from the effortless artistry and passion she showcased while covering Coldplay in her audition and Feist in her initial Hollywood solo. Yeah, she flubbed the words to “Stars” in her last Hell Week moment, but it’s good to get your mistakes out of the way early, no?