Thursday, January 9, 2014


We learned Idol's semis are going to be separated by different age brackets.

If only we knew the definitive ages of the contestants, but here's my guesses, and predictions for how it's going to go down. It's a top 31, so I'm guessing 10, 10 and 11 were carefully chosen based on age brackets to begin with. It's going to be cut to a top 16, which means that since I'm counting 10 juniors, 10 intermediates, and 11 seniors, that means we'll have 5 juniors, 5 intermediates, and 6? seniors in there, I bet. 

I'm guessing:

Juniors (17 and under): [10]
Briston Maroney (16)
Jordan Brisbane
Sam Woolf (17)

Kenzie Hall (16)
Austin Wolfe (17)
Bria Anai Johnson (17)
Briana Oakley (17)
Jena Irene Asciutto (17)
Malaya Watson
Marialle Sellars (17)

If there are only 5 choices to take, they might take only one-two boys, and two-three girls. To be honest, with the boys' side here, it already feels like Jordan Brisbane is already screwed. Briston and Sam feel like they both can be taken through, as they are different enough in the younger Casey Abrams/Phil Phillips type dynamic, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was just Sam Woolf, who has gotten some pimpage early on already. While we are absolutely littered with WGWG types this year in all the junior, intermediate and senior categories this year, I have a feeling they want to put Briston through the voting rounds for the unique disconnect he represents, and the possible tween-grabbing angle. 

We can break up the remaining girls into different subsets: Marialle Sellars probably has one earmarked for her already as a R&B/guitar strumming hybrid, and major pimpage. Kenzie Hall, Jena Irene Asciutto and Austin Wolfe are fighting for the emo young singer/songwriter spot, with maybe two getting in because the last two (Austin and Jena) are good for Idol standards. However, Jena's type is slightly similar to Austin, and her style might be represented in the seniors category. For those reasons, I'm only thinking Austin as the surefire bet here, who is more accessible for the mommy votes this show loves.

Malaya Watson, Bria Anai Johnson and Briana Oakley are vying for a possible R&B/soul spot. The last two are somewhat derivative from Idol's past seasons, and only Malaya appears interesting. As mentioned, it's landscape dependent: Malaya's R&B stylings are more interesting than the other R&B girl offerings in this and other categories, so Malaya seems like a good choice, as a R&B counter-punch to Marialle's hybrid R&B/guitar offerings.

Predictions: Briston Maroney, Sam Woolf, Austin Wolfe, Malaya Watson, Marialle Sellars

Intermediates: (18-21) [10]
Alex Preston (20)
Caleb Johnson (21)
Emmanuel Zidor ?
Ethan Harris ?
Malcolm Allen (21)
Spencer Lloyd ?

Brandy Neelly (18)
Emily Piriz (18)
Andrina Brogden (19)
Majesty York?

Again, another five taken through, and logic would dictate three boys and two girls out of this bunch. But if you look across this category and the landscape, the girls' side is so weak and derivative here that they might take four boys here. At the same time though, producers are thinking about having an even number--eight guys and eight girls--in the top sixteen, so if that's the primary matter then they'd settle for three guys and two girls here, with one of the girls really being fodder.

R&B spot is between Malcolm Allen and Emmanuel Zidor, and Malcolm's easily got this one in a landslide, as they need to fill the token guy R&B spot and he's majorly pimped. Caleb Johnson's in a unique spot as he's the only one here who represents for the loud rock contingent, and he has a very good chance of making it through. I'm betting the final guy spot are between the emo guitar strummers: Alex Preston, Ethan Harris, and Spencer Lloyd. Of these three, Alex is probably the best, even if a bit similar to Sam Woolf, and I'm thinking he'll make it through.

For the girls, it's a very weak field. Andrina and Majesty are vying for the same spot, but we have easily seen both types before in previous Idol iterations. Emily and Brandy are very basic for the archetypes they want to represent. Looking across the field of girls this year, I'm assuming girl R&B is filled in the juniors category, Emily's singer/songwriter type is heavily represented in the other categories, and Brandy is the only country girl in the list. So I'm thinking only Brandy will be taken through easily. The last girl--well, let's go back to the R&B fodder Andrina Brogden's from North Dakota, and for that reason might be the representative--and she can be a "shield" for Marialle Sellars, if you read my past "shields" article regarding TCOs.

Predictions: Malcolm Allen, Caleb Johnson, Alex Preston, Brandy Neelly, Andrina Brogden

Seniors (22 and over) [11]
Ben Briley
Casey Thrasher ?
CJ Harris ?
Dexter Roberts ?
George Lovett (24)
Maurice Townsend (25?)
Neco Starr (22)

Emkay Brazil?
Jillian Jensen (22)
Jess Meuse (24)
Kristen O'Connor (24)

Six will be taken here, and with 7 guys and 4 girls, that typically amounts to 4 guys and 2 girls taken through. But so far above, we have five guys and five girls, so for even-ness, three guys and three girls will be taken. I actually could see scenarios where all four girls are taken, but that would be way too obvious. 

With already three WGWGs in fold from other categories, presumably the lone WGWG from this crew, Ben Briley, is out of the picture, and he's a bit basic to begin with. The R&B side of things is pitted between George Lovett, Mo Townsend and Neco Starr--Lovett was subpar, we don't know much about Townsend, and possibly Neco Starr is the guy they bring to the top twelve, to get two R&B guys in the mix. Three country WGWG types, Casey Thrasher, CJ Harris and Dexter Roberts, are vying for the two country spots--they all appear competent and a case can be made for any one of them. Roberts might have the Florida Georgia modern grungy country voice, but physically and sob story wise, Casey Thrasher is more for the demographics, so for those reasons, I'm thinking Casey will make it through, as he has also been showcased. I'm thinking CJ Harris gets the last spot, because he gets another black and country guy in there, and that fills two quotas.

The girls side is pretty competent at this side, and Jena's replacement here is likely Jess Meuse, who will very likely get a spot. Emkay Brazil should also have a place, for the quirkiness and singing from the heart type factor. Jillian Jensen and Kristen O'Connor are likely battling for the pop guitar twisting side of things, and with so many retreads making it through (Caleb, Neco, Brandy), even if it 's from the XF, I don't think Jillian has the shot, because her heart singing is similar to what Emkay brings, but also because Kristen brings a more current pop vibe some of the others might lack (and could also act as a shield for Marialle). Jillian might get more votes, but it's about gamesmanship and the landscape at this point, and Kristen is probably worth more to TPTB.

Predictions: Neco Starr, Casey Thrasher, CJ Harris, Jess Meuse, Emkay Brazil, Kristen O'Connor



Alex Preston
Briston Maroney
Caleb Johnson
Casey Thrasher
CJ Harris
Malcolm Allen
Neco Starr
Sam Woolf

Andrina Brogden
Austin Wolfe
Brandy Neelly
Emkay Brazil
Jess Meuse
Kristen O'Connor
Malaya Watson
Marialle Sellars


Top 16 --> Top 12

Typically, TPTB do their best to weed out duplicate genres or representations: On the guys side, Neco Starr, CJ Harris and possibly Alex Preston look very susceptible here, but if put to voting, Alex is likely to garner the votes anyway. On the girls side, Andrina Brogden, Kristen O'Connor and maybe Emkay Brazil are at danger here in the early going, and none really look like frau vote garnering types. Most girls will have that problem.

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