*EDITOR'S NOTE: I WROTE THIS BACK IN FEBRUARY SCOURING THE YOUTUBES OF THE CONTESTANTS. THE RESULTS OF MY ANALYSIS FROM THEIR IDOL FATE FOLLOWS.
1) Aaron Marcellus--Good voice insofar as I can tell from youtubes. Has past Hollywood experience, is 27 years old, and seems like a vet at this thing which could help him stay consistent in performances on the Idol stage. A bit old fashioned though, and my bet is that he can do well within the competition as Idol's token black contestant, but won't succeed because he prefers R&B over hip hop. Too bad. RESULT: PRESCIENT. GOOD BUT IRRELEVANT AS HE SHOWED ON THE STAGE.
2) Adam Brock--A bit over the top in performance style, more showman than actual singer. Can be a bit boring and monotone in terms of actual voice. Sings a style of music (jazz) that's incredibly niche and not very popular at all, and doesn't look like he can branch that far from his jazz/classical stylings. Danny Gokey look-alikeness might get some of those Idol audience votes however, may be they want him to take some votes from Chase/Colton or whoever during the semis so one or both don't advance? Rings total fodder. RESULT: PRESCIENT. BORING SINGER/SHOWMAN. MY BET IS HE SPLIT VOTES SO HE CANCELED HIMSELF OUT.
3) Baylie Brown--Recorded voice is cookie cutter country pop. She seems too bland personality-wise anyway to make an impact in the country scene, but that same argument was used with Carrie Underwood. Blandness of personality/voice could also make her forgettable during the competition. She will get country votes and past fan votes that could push her to the top 12, but being too cute might put a cap at that and make her a mid card or late card elimination. RESULT: MISS. THOUGHT CUTENESS WAS HER UNDOING, BUT DIDN'T ACKNOWLEDGE HORRIFIC SINGING.
4) Brielle Von Hugel--With so many retreads, there have to be fodder retreads, and she's really easy to pick as one of the fodder. She has a theatrical pop voice, and perhaps a bit bland in terms of personality, so there's no clear path for her to succeed in the music industry anyway. Also, she looks like she's trying too hard to belt some of the notes when she sounds ordinary. That may or may not be a turnoff with this sort of audience. The fact that she's not from the South, however, will be a turnoff to that audience. Easy fodder. RESULT: PRESCIENT. THIS WAS WRITTEN BEFORE I SAW BRIELLE'S BAD EDIT, SO EVEN MORE PRESCIENT.
5) Chase Likens--If he replaced Scotty McCreery last year as the token country guy I bet he'd advance to the top five easily--gets those Idol audience votes for the South/country/male thing which is a killer combination is a show like this. Also sings those down south country songs which will definitely get him those mass votes. But given how the producers stacked the deck with various levels of Idol audience-bait, he might be splitting votes with a lot and not make it in the semis. He's most likely fodder as TPTB won't want another country guy to win, and the easiest way to get rid of him is through the bloodshed from 24 to 13. Expect an early spot for him semis night. By the way, typical lost in the clutter type country voice. RESULT: ABSOLUTELY PRESCIENT. THE CRAZY VOTE SPLITTING WAS HIS UNDOING.
6) Chelsea Sorrell--Decent singer and a perky personality that reminds of Pickler and all that, might succeed in the easily accepting country industry if TPTB ever opted to pimp her. But with three country girls, and she the only one who wasn't shown, what are the odds? Not even a growth arc can save her from Baylie's past fans or Skylar's KLC down-south edit. Too bad. She seems to be fodder. RESULT: PRESCIENT. FODDER AND DEATH SLOT.
7) Creighton Fraker--Way over the top in singing and performance style. There's a voice in there somewhere, but you can tell he wants to be a showman over a singer. He won't appeal to Idol's voting base for that, as well as the fact that he isn't from the South. Those Jamiroquai/Timberfake comparisons by J-Lo were absolutely way off. There's no path forward for him in the music industry. Seems to be fodder for sure. RESULT: PRESCIENT. SURPASSED LOW EXPECTATIONS THOUGH, BUT ALWAYS FODDER.
8) DeAndre Brackensick--This guy is overrated. From a music industry standpoint, the last Hawaiian with the ukulele was that Israel whoever, and Jason Castro already attempted that schtick and didn't find much success. I think DeAndre has more of a R&B style which helps, but that easy-breezy style then going into falsetto thing is a bit old school still to succeed in today's environment. Still, he'd get votes from the many Idol audience types who like tweens, he has fans from last year, and Idol will push him because of the lack of ethnic diversity in this cast. So, expect him to be at least a mid carder. RESULT: MISS?. THE FALSETTO DOES GET ANNOYING, BUT BARELY MADE IT TO T13.
9) Eben Franckewitz--Seriously lacks depth in his voice. Also that theater background will hinder him in the real world. More Broadway than credible recording artist. In a related note, Idol's search for Bieber clones are terrible--between this guy and Jacee, both have zero personality. Bieber is a robot with "attempted swag" to appeal to the pop-buying tween girls. Eben doesn't look like he can be molded at all, and his singing is so way off to handle Idol's theme weeks. I think they'll give him a chance, but expect him to bomb in the semis. RESULT: PRESCIENT. HORRIFIC AND HE DID BOMB.
10) Elise Testone--Old school singer with that jazzy soul type voice. With her age/experience/style she can probably easily handle the theme weeks of Idol. I also feel she's a bit like Crystal Bowersox, in that if she makes it far enough to get signed, she'll be the type to fight against Jimmy and insist on her own music. She's more relevant than Bowersox, but still very far off from what's poppin' in today's industry. She has done inspirational hip hop, so look for Jimmy to tap into that side more. Adele caught lightning in a bottle so none of these peops can emulate her or whatever. My bet is that she'll only get votes due to good singing, so she needs to stay consistently good (I think she's capable of that) to keep advancing. RESULT: PRESCIENT.
11) Erika Van Pelt--Has a personality that stands out, good stage presence, keeps you awake, and a good voice. Might be fighting with Elise for a spot in the finals, but both can make it through and that soul/rock type stuff appeals to members of the Idol audience. Has a R&B type edge that Jimmy might like, too. Her base is probably the older types post-Idol, but it's unclear if she can sell, or even advances far enough to sell. But those four things in the first line make her way more interesting than 90% of this year's crop (and most year's crop), so she has that going for her. We'll see. RESULT: PRESCIENT.
12) Haley Johnsen--Good voice for sure, but a bit snooze-inducing after a while. Again, with the acoustic guitar and all that, she appears to be going the Indie vote, so the upshot is again Adele. Cute, but with this audience it's a point against her. Too bad. Being from Oregon too. In a related story, the songs she sang in her youtubes are generally not contemporary. So between her style, the fact her audition was not shown and the fact that she seems highly unlikely to draw votes, she just seems fodder. RESULT: PRESCIENT. BUT AT LEAST WASN'T SNOOZE INDUCING AT THE SEMI'S
13) Hallie Day--TPTB will probably push her into the top 13 between a back-end semi spot and the sob story promo, but her personality isn't cut out for this show--you have to be smiley, pretending to be happy or singing rawk or country. Since Hallie is not the latter and isn't smiley at all (she's too serious for this show), she can't get votes. Also, being from the non-South won't get votes either. She was from a girl band and is probably trying to go the adult contemporary soul type route, but again, Adele clones...the odds of finding success are 0.001% now. Decent, but really an overrated voice. I can see her collapsing in theme weeks too. Late carder, shock elim type I bet. RESULT: PRESCIENT BUT DIDN'T THINK IT WOULD COME THIS FAST. BUT KNEW SHE WAS RIPE FOR A SHOCK ELIM DESPITE COMPETENT SINGING, DUE TO NONEXISTENT PERSONALIY.
14) Heejun Han--Good voice, but personality overshadows that. He's a ripe target for TPTB to make as fodder--his personality doesn't seem to be the type to get votes, and East Asians don't have a great track record on this show. Unfortunate, since if Heejun can't advance far in this competition, which Asian can? Paul Kim was too breathy in vocals to make an impact, and John Park was personality-free. Heejun combines a decent enough and a good personality. But, this is Idol. I think it's way more likely he slips into fodder status rather than TPTB pimping him. But, he can go to Korea, go into ballads or kpop and make a good living out of that. So, unlike 90% of this crew, there could be an audience for him. RESULT: MISS. TPTB IS PIMPING HIM, BUT ONLY TO DEPIMP HIM LATER ON.
15) Hollie Cavanagh--She clearly is trying to brand herself as an old soul/ballad belter in her youtubes, and she's a young Adele wannabe. Given that she doesn't sing cookie cutter pop and given that Adele types are hard to find, there's no clear path for her forward. Unlike some of the older Adele wannabes, she's going to be less consistent and I'm betting she's lacking in musical identity. Also, her personality is really bland, so she can easily be forgettable. She's from Texas which gives her voting points, but being British...I'm not sure? She might have fans from last year, but again she isn't the type the Idol audience goes for. A lot of points against her...I'm betting TPTB cut the cords in the semis with her. RESULT: MISS. DIDN'T THINK SHE WOULD TURN UP A DECENT PERFORMANCE.
16) Jen Hirsh--Has personality, decent singer. Soulful. I wouldn't say she's Adele, as she has more of a poppish edge, A bit theatrical/jazzy, which really hinders what she can contribute in a post-Idol world. Tbh, the best I can envision is hearing her music in a coffee shop or at Border's. She already had a CD out so she's a bit of a known quantity. Also, can she get votes, given her non-South roots and her personality? We'll see. I can see her putting up decent performances but getting cut, and I'm thinking she's a wildcard-late cut at this stage. RESULT: PRESCIENT. I THOUGHT HER STYLE WAS A TURNOFF FOR VOTERS AND WAS NOT CONTEMPORARY. THOUGHT THE SAME DURING PERFORMANCES.
17) Jeremy Rosado--Absolute fodder. He has some soul and has emotion behind his singing, but all his youtubes only reveal him singing a niche brand of music--gospel. He doesn't look marketable enough or swaggish enough to form a career in R&B, either. There's no clear path for him post-Idol. He seems really insular in his musical choices but gospel is something that gets voted en masse in this show, so we can't totally discount this guy. At the end, TPTB stacked the deck with low-level Idol audience types so they'll all split votes with each other, and this guy might be one of the casualties. RESULT: MISS. I UNDERRATED THIS GUY--SURPASSED MY ADMITTEDLY LOW EXPECTATIONS, BUT I WAS RIGHT IN THAT HIS GOSPEL BKGRD IS A PATH TO GAIN VOTES HERE.
18) Jessica Sanchez--Has by far the most current youtube choices out of all the contestants (and most likely 99% of past contestants). Good voice, has what some might call swag, but her style might run counter-current with the safe havens of the Idol audience. I think she can be fighting a storm through the competition--between TPTB's pimping because they think she's marketable (and she probably is) versus the the Idol audience pushing back by not voting much for her. It's unfortunate, but that's what Idol has transformed into for the past four years. Also, as the only ethnic girl, you can tell TPTB are already setting up a growth arc for her in Hollywood and getting ready to pimp her. Smartly so, as virtually all of this crew is unmarketable in some degree. Jessica might also get combinations of the youtube and Filipino vote, the same combination that pulled a terrible Andrew Garcia to 9th place. So we'll see. But she's really in a storm when it comes to this competition. RESULT: PRESCIENT. IS BEING PIMPED.
19) Joshua Ledet--Another in a loooooonng line of Idol's gospelly, churchy black singers. This guy sort of epitomizes Idol's predicament--because black guys who sing hip hop are too offensive for a show like this (see what Astro did on X Factor) they have to resort to unmarketable, too nice black guys for whatever reason. It's also the reason why black males don't do well on this show. Joshua's influences are all female belters that are from another age, or are now irrelevant, so we know he'll conform to the competition but again won't be marketable off of it. Anyway, my bet is they pimp Aaron Marcellus instead and give this guy the Jordan Dorsey treatment. Except this time he'll be butchering a song where he can't reach the high notes. RESULT: MISS. SERIOUSLY WHIFFED ON THIS GUY. NOT EVERYONE'S CUP OF TEA, BUT HE'S YOUR TYPICAL IDOL BLACK CONTESTANT, FOR WHAT THAT'S WORTH.
20) Michael Colton Dixon--This one's a weird case in terms of marketability. He may find a market in Christian music, but it seems like he has some emo rawk influences from the likes of Relient K, Owl City, Fall Out Boy, etc. He likes Lifehouse, so at least he has a pulse on something that was relevant within the past five years, and tbh his style seems more current than 90% of most Idol contestants. Also, his emo style is something that might be unique in Idol. There could be a path forward for him in the industry, so we'll see.But, his voice is grating after a while. In a related story, I'm betting his stage presence is all kinds of awkward, which could negatively impact him as the weeks go by. Again, he'll get a ton of votes just for the retreadness and being on Ellen last year, and also for being from the South and being a guy. That's a lethal weapon in this competition. RESULT: PRESCIENT. DOESN'T SEEM AS AWKWARD THOUGH, BUT THE EMO STYLINGS TO HIS MUSIC ARE THERE.
21) Phillip Phillips--WGWG alert. Won't sell records. We have treasure troves of data--ahem, the last three years--to prove this. Story over. Again, this guy illustrates the disconnect between what the Idol audience thinks is "hip" and "current" versus what the international/world buying audience thinks is good. Can you see this guy in your adult contemporary stations? I'm even having a hard time envisioning that, and tbh, that's not even a good place to be right now. He clearly isn't a top 40 type. I'll admit, he does bring a different edge than other WGWGs--this guy loves his hip hop. So Idol, rather than casting black hip hop contestants, casts a white guy who puts acoustic twists to hip hop songs, and since he's inoffensive he'll appease the audience. Way to go X_X. But, at least the hip hop sings he's singing is current, so again, he has a pulse in that stuff where 90% of Idol contestants do not, so Jimmy might like him. I look forward to him singing/rapping Linkin Park and Eminem songs in the competition. But at the end of the day, he's got a relatively bland personality, a grunge voice that's too early 2000s and is now extinct, and is a WGWG. All of which makes him irrelevant post-Idol. RESULT: PRESCIENT.
22) Reed Grimm--He's not a total WGWG, but looks the part enough where he might be discredited after the show just for being one. This guy's musicality is actually a bit interesting--he branches off and does some pop rock, jazz, experimental hip hop and progressive rap. With that resume, it's like he's made for Idol's theme weeks. His voice is incredibly average, and he's definitely style/showmanship over substance, but with the voting patterns of Idol he can go the Blake Lewis and still gain a following. Just not win. Anyway, I'm thinking with the Idol audience type overdose this guy can be a shock mid to late card elimination. We'll see. But, he should be entertaining, and he does have a pulse in current music with some of the hip hop stuff he does. He's probably way better in a band, and post-Idol probably should branch out into the hip hop and see if there's an audience for it. But hey, at least there's a path for him going forward. RESULT: MISS. WHIFFED ON THIS GUY, BUT A HUGE PART OF THE REASON IS THAT HE DUMBED HIMSELF DOWN INTO SHOWTUNES AND OLD-FASHIONEDNESS, COMPARED TO HIS PRE-IDOL YOUTUBES.
23) Shannon Magrane--Can easily be forgettable in a competition like this. She gives off the Ayla Brown vibe, being rich and athletic, and from the non-South, and being a relatively pretty girl, all of which give her the zero-vote vibe with this audience. She's a bit interesting--she tries to play the "fly" white girl and has branched off into the Skyler Grey route where she sings the hook for hip hop songs with a rapper on her side. At least she knows what's current. Decent voice and stage presence, and seems pretty likeable too. But given that the audience hates current and given the variables above, she appears to be a semifinals cut, unless TPTB pimp her, in which case she's the 12th or 13th place exit. I know, this show. That's the way it rolls. RESULT: PRESCIENT?. THINK I'M RIGHT--SHE'LL BE A LATE CARDER IN THE T13.
24) Skylar Laine--This person seems built in for a girl to get votes. Being from the deep South, singing that deep South country music with that voice, and from her youtubes she seems like she can sing R&B and some theatrical music as well. She definitely seems polished and versatile enough to maintain consistency during the theme weeks. And given that Idol is a breeding ground for country contestants, she might be marketable. But then again, they should just rename this show "Country Idol", or "Nashville Star Two" at the rate they're going. RESULT: PRESCIENT.
17 prescients and 7 misses in pre-Idol, spoiler-based evaluations of the contestants. Misses were Baylie (worse), Deandre (worse), Heejun (better), Hollie (better), Jeremy (better), Joshua (better), and Reed (worse).