This guest post comes from Maryville, TN native Whitney Reisser. We are honored to help fulfill her dream of being an American Idol blogger and we look forward to having her share some more Idol Thoughts in the future!
It’s officially my favorite season…American Idol season! My name is Whitney Reisser, and I am a self-proclaimed Idoloonie. It has always been my dream to be an Idol blogger, so you can imagine my excitement when Clayton asked me to join The Wise Guise and share my passion for Idol with you.
Let me start of by telling you a little bit about myself and my own Idol journey. I’ve been avid watcher of American Idol since season one, and I do not miss an episode. I calculated the hours per season, and I think I’ve watched around 800 hours of American Idol. That doesn’t include the fact that I often watch episodes multiple times to ensure I really know the performances and the contestants. In my spare time, I love reading Idol blogs, doing research about contestants’ lives “before Idol,” and watching my favorite Idol recap webisode “Idology” at TV Line.
Okay, so I could either be making myself out to be a total nerd or as a well-educated and trusted Idol source…I’m gonna assume it’s the latter. So with the first week of live shows behind us and a huge 12-person elimination last week, we embark on our first theme week this Wednesday. Before we see our top 13 battle it out, I want to do a quick run through of our contestants this year (listed in the order they were announced). Feel free to give your input in the comments below.
1. Phillip Phillips: Okay, I’ll be honest. I LOVED Phillip Phillips after I saw his first audition! Looooooved him! My fiancé Jonny (The Wise Guise contributor Colin’s brother) was annoyed because I always gravitate towards the cute hipster guitar-playing contestants (ie. Paul McDonald last year—still loooove him!) Clayton brought it to my attention, though, that Phillip is an exact copy of Dave Matthews. Seriously watch their videos back to back—it’s undeniable. His performance of “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins last week was exactly how Dave Matthews would have performed it. Everything from the facial expressions, the goofy dancing, the way he held his guitar, and even the musical arrangement were exact replicas. I thought he was original when I first saw him, but he is a total cliché. I think he’ll stay on the show for a long time though. I’d predict he’ll at least make top five because girls will vote for him, and the judges love him. I would have voted for him in past seasons, but the hipster will not reel me in this year!
2. Jessica Sanchez: This girl is something to watch. She is definitely in my top three this year! Very rarely can a 16-year old sing with the equal parts talent, emotion, and confidence. This girl’s got it all! If you missed her performances of “The Prayer,” and “Love You I Do,” I encourage you to check them out. Get to know Jessica cause she’ll be around a long time. Also, did you also know Jessica was a contestant on America’s Got Talent five years ago?
3. Hollie Cavanagh: For those of you who consider yourselves fellow Idoloonies, you may recognize Hollie from last season despite the fact that the producers never once mentioned that she auditioned last year. Thankfully, Hollie has updated her repertoire this year. Last year every song she sang was originally sung by the one and only Miley Cyrus. In all seriousness, this girl can sing. She has really improved since last year, and if she could get over her nerves (her hands shake like crazy when she performs), she could be a definite frontrunner for the ladies. Her performance of “Reflection” last week was pretty awesome.
4. Joshua Ledet: Joshua killed it last week with his performance of “You Pulled Me Through” by J-Hud. This is the first season in I don’t know how long that there is not a single black diva, but I think Joshua Ledet satisfied that quota with this performance. Even Jennifer Hudson tweeted at him the next day about how awesome his performance was. According to various Idol polls I checked out (and voted in) after last week’s performances, he is ranked as a definite frontrunner at this point in the competition. I think we’ll be seeing a lot of Joshua over the next few months.
5. Heejun Han: I normally hate contestants who are kind of a joke. Remember Norman Gentle? However, Heejun is actually hilarious. I hear my other favorite show, The X Factor, is looking for a new host, and I nominate Heejun to take Steve Jones’s place. Heejun’s singing ability, on the other hand, is subpar. He drops off at the end of his phrases, and his strong accent sometimes makes him difficult to understand. At this point, I’m okay with Heejun sticking around for a few weeks to add a little humor, but I don’t know if he’ll last much longer than that.
6. Shannon Magrane: Now Shannon is the perfect example of the opposite of Jessica Sanchez. She is the typical 16-year old we see on Idol. They’ve got a great voice and a great look, but they never seem to quite connect with their songs. Shannon could surprise me because I’ve seen moments where she shines, but I’d be surprised if she cracks the top 8. I’m looking forward to seeing her outfit this week after working with the Idol stylist though because I did not care for the prom dress she wore last week.
7. Skylar Laine: Love this girl. She has got so much spunk! Her performance of “Stay With Me” last week was one of the most fun and realistic performances I’ve ever seen on Idol. I’ve rewatched it several times, and I can’t help but smile and sing along. I can totally imagine what a Skylar Laine concert would be like, and I want to be there! And I don’t even really like country music! She is the total package in my opinion. She’s got confidence, stage presence, and a great country voice. I’m rooting for her.
8. Elise Testone: This is my girl!! I have watched her performance of Adele’s “One and Only” over and over and over again. I love everything about her. She’s a professional musician and vocal coach, and she just has such a maturity to the way that she performs. She also was genuinely humble when the judges were praising her saying that she was maybe the best voice in the competition. This girl is 28, so this is her last chance to claim the Idol crown. Just check out her performance from last week, and I’ll let that speak for itself. VOTE VOTE VOTE!
9. Colton Dixon: I hate Colton Dixon. Everything about him annoys me. Each year I have a contestant who I absolutely despise. Not sure how it happens, but it happens early every season. I shared the same negative feelings towards the following past contestants: James Durbin, pretty much every contestant from season 9, and my most hated contestant of all time…Danny Gokey. Feel free to contact me if you wish to know more about my distaste for these contestants. I have legitimate reasons. I hate Colton almost as much as Danny. I’ve tried to give him the benefit of the doubt, as I do feel like the producers contribute to my initial hatred of some contestants, but I can’t seem to find it in my heart to like him at all. I hate everything about him from his scrawny legs, his man cleavage (did you see his deep v-neck t-shirt last Thursday?!), that idiotic faux-hawk, his style of music, his attitude…I could go on. I also hate how he pretended to not want to audition again this year when he showed up at his sister’s audition. Anyone else think that was staged? Jimmy Iovine says Colton could win, and I will just die if he does. I’ll be voting like crazy for everyone else just to ensure that Colton is not crowned our 11th American Idol.
10. Jermaine Jones: How can you not like Jermaine Jones? He really is a gentle giant. I was pleasantly surprised when the judges chose to bring Jermaine back for a second chance after they initially eliminated him in Las Vegas. He has such a different tone than any previous Idol contestants, and he had a really strong performance with “Dance with My Father” last week. I’d be surprised if he didn’t make the tour, but he could have difficulty with picking the right songs to hang around longer than a few weeks.
Then we have our wildcards for this season!
1. Erika Van Pelt: Erika is an awesome singer, and I thought she was very deserving of a wildcard spot. However, I think that she and Elise are similar types of singers, but Elise is better. Unfortunately Erika could be our first casualty.
2. Jeremy Rosado: I’m so excited that Jeremy got the wildcard and that he cured his yellow tongue this week. He can sing, but he is soooo cheesy. J-Lo loves him, but I think he’ll be around three weeks max. Sorry, Jer Bear.
3. Deandre Brackensick: Deandre is by far my favorite guy this season. He is unlike any other Idol contestant I’ve seen before and is very different than my typical favorites. If you don’t know much about Deandre, just take a look at this performance. It speaks for itself. I love the way that Deandre seamlessly transitions between his falsetto and his chest voice (I’m sure there’s a more technical term for that…). I think if Deandre picks the right songs, he could be a dark horse in the competition.
Overall, I’m so pleased with this year’s top 13. I think it’s one of the most evenly balanced groups of contestants I’ve ever seen. I’d say it’s pretty unclear at this point who will be crowned in a shower of confetti come May, but at this point I’m rooting for Elise Testone, Jessica Sanchez, and my boy Deandre Brackensick. Tonight we will get to see our top 13 showcase their talents to the tune of the late Whitney Houston. Who wants to put money on Shannon Magrane singing “I Will Always Love You?”