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American Idol – The Final Six

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Hard to believe it was just over a month ago that I first made predictions for the AI3 finals. Now, here we are: six down, six to go. It is an ideal time to look back at my picks to see how they stacked up, and also to look ahead at what the coming weeks may have in store.

THE REJECTS

Leah LaBelle

The first to go after a disastrous showing in week one, I had predicted Leah to be a long-shot at 18:1 odds. Leah had been Paula’s wild card pick, meaning she made it into the finals without America ever once having voted for her to be there. She didn’t step up to the challenge and was thus dismissed.

Matthew Rogers

While I was a fan of Matt’s, I had him pegged from the very beginning as a early bootee with 50:1 odds. While he added some diversity to the group, he was simply out of his league.

Amy Adams

Amy was my favorite from the start, and it broke my heart to see her leave the finals so early. I granted her generous 12:1 odds based on her talent and spunk. While she was gone before her time on AI3, I have to hope she’ll find a career in Nashville.

Camile Velasco

I was immensely pleased to see Camile voted off in the fourth round, though would have been even happier had it been one week earlier. At 20:1 odds, I speculated that, like Matt, she was way out of her league.

Jon Peter Lewis

JPL surprised everyone, myself included. Initially pegged with 30:1 odds, he quickly became a favorite with his quirky dancing and solid vocals. His fan base wavered in week five, unfortunately, and not even an encore of his Wild-Card-winning Elvis impression could save him from the chopping block.

Jennifer Hudson

Though she seemed destined to live in the shadow of Fantasia and LaToya, Jenn really came into her own in the last few weeks. I had granted her 9:1 odds, and she certainly deserved better than to have left the show this early.

With those six gone on to bigger and better things (or, for some, merely other things), we are left with:

THE WINNERS

Diana DeGarmo

What I Said Then

Yes, Diana can sing, but it looks like the rest of the finalists can, too. This competition will definitely come down to the whole package: style, presentation, and attitude will matter just as much as talent in the end. I don’t think Diana will resonate with most AI voters in the way some of the other contestants seem to be doing already. The competition is heating up. While Diana will be around for awhile, don’t expect her to make the top two. Previous odds: 13:2

What I Say Now

Diana’s age has been a constant topic of discussion amongst the judges and the fans. Ultimately, her inconsistencies belie her inexperience. She vacillates from complete and utter brilliance once week to sheer mediocrity the next. Her fan base is not large enough to pull her much further, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her bow out soon. Current odds: 18:1

Jasmine Trias

What I Said Then

While Jasmine certainly managed to hold her own in the semi-finals, she’s in a whole other league now. She definitely has the image down, from the trademark flower in her hair to the shy smile. The judges and the audience respond to her, but her voice doesn’t quite stack up when compared with the other contestants. Still, she could surprise us if her song choice is apt. Previous odds: 18:1

What I Say Now

Jasmine has definitely impressed. She’s been consistently good, but not consistently great. Losing the flower this week was a questionable move, but with the entire Hawaiian contingent behind her, she could continue to hang in there. While she is undoubtedly talented, I still feel it would be a travesty for her to beat out Fantasia, LaToya, or even Diana. Current odds: 15:1

John Stevens

What I Said Then

John is something of an enigma among this group. It seems he can sing, and he has a style all his own. While he certainly stands out among these twelve, its tough to decide if America is willing to carry him very far along in the competition. His first-place showing in the semi-final group shows that he has a fan base, but he’s not a powerhouse among these singers. Unless he pulls a Clay Aiken transformation early on, his time could be short. Previous odds: 15:1

What I Say Now

Well, John has turned out to be the most hotly debated contestant of this season. It seems you either love him or you hate him. Right now, there are enough people loving him that there is an outside chance he could actually make it into the top two. I still have to hope against hope that there’s no way he’ll win it all, though. Current odds: 9:1

George Huff

What I Said Then

George wowed America with his smile and unflappable positive attitude. While he doesn’t exactly look like the American Idol, neither did Clay or Reuben. He’s shown that he can really get the crowd going, which can mean a big payoff when its time for the votes to come in. When the viewing audience can tell that the live audience is grooving along with the performer, they respond in a big way. The toughest barrier for George will likely be song choice—he’s shown he can do one thing very well, but he’s going to have to diversify in the coming weeks if he wants to stay around. Previous odds: 12:1

What I Say Now

A quick shave was all it took. George now looks the part as well as sounding it and, despite two less-than-spectacular performances the past two shows, he’s turned in enough quality stuff to build up a good, solid group of fans. Like John, he’s also yet to hit the bottom three. I wouldn’t be upset if he were to be crowned the third American Idol, but I don’t think he’s the best singer in this competition. Current odds: 6:1

LaToya London

What I Said Then

After a stand-out performance in Group 3 that brought the first standing ovation of the finals that included the judges, LaToya is the one to beat. The only potential problem I see at this point is her stoicism. The audience likes to see contestants get excited when they win and cry when they lose (hence, the many lingering shots of Leah LaBelle when she didn’t make the cut on her first try). When we get to the finals, LaToya can’t continue to be as stoic as we’ve seen her so far. Previous odds: 2:1

What I Say Now

Despite being in the bottom three tonight, LaToya now only has one opposing diva to contend with rather than two. She’s the real thing, and if her fans rally, they should easily carry her into the final showdown. Whether she wins this thing or not, she will get a recording deal out of it. There are only two things stopping her. First: she has yet to show a personality that would make fans want to vote for her. Second: Fantasia. Current odds: 3:1

Fantasia Barrino

What I Said Then

Not only does Fantasia look and sound the part of the next American Idol, she’s got an incredibly positive attitude and outlook on the competition. In her interview on the official site, she claims Simon is her favorite judge because “he is real.” When asked which professional singer she sounds most like, she replies: “No one. I try to be Fantasia.” As Paula said after Fantasia’s rousing rendition of “Something To Talk About,” this competition needs Fantasia. If she doesn’t stumble, she could go all the way. Previous odds: 3:1

What I Say Now

Yes, I know she was in the bottom three tonight. I don’t care. If there is any justice at all in this world, Fantasia will win this thing. Current odds: 2:1

THE BOTTOM LINE

No one is safe, as we saw quite clearly tonight. I can appreciate the fact that many people like John Stevens, but if he continues on over any of the other five, this whole thing will have turned into a farce. This is American Idol, not American Crooner. The kid is only 16, for crying out loud. Give him a few years to grow some confidence and then he can take another shot at it.

Everyone wants to see it come down to Fantasia vs. LaToya. Hopefully, their fans will rally and keep both divas in it to the end. I wouldn’t be devastated if George were to sneak in, but an all out showdown between these two ladies would make for an outstanding show.

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About Nick Danger

  • http://www.squub.com I

    I’d say there’s no way it’ll come down to Fantasia vs. Latoya. I think there are too many people who watch this who enjoy things that aren’t diva-related. They’ll be fighting over each others’ fans, while a whole other contingent of fans will be fighting between the white kids. At least that’s what I predict.

    Not sure where that leaves George… I’m hoping it’ll end up being him and Fantasia in the final two; but that could have the same things going against it as I mentioned above.

    Also: saying it’s “American Idol” not “American Crooner” is obviously missing the point: apparently there are a lot of Americans who think the crooner should be the Idol. I’m always befuddled when the judges and critics say this sort of thing; it’s set up as a contest wherein Americans pick a winner; that’s all it means to be the American Idol. So where is this assumption coming from that American Idol = American Diva? Or American Soul singer? Why are those styles more idol-worthy than crooning? (In fact, though, I think John’s strength lies not in his straight-crooning, but in his blend of that with “modern” ballad singing.)

  • IluvIdol

    Fantasia was not just in the bottom 3, she was in the bottom 2, nearly gone.

    Not everyone wants to see Fantasia Vs. Latoya. Many people cannot stand Fantasia. They see her as a Macy Gray wannabe.

    What I find funny is that you had no problem in the past referring to the “Hawaiian” vote, and how you thought Jasmine and Camille split it up, but when someone like myself suggests that Fantasia/Latoya/Jennifer/George split the black vote, that, among other things, gets no response from you. Plus not everyone wants to see a diva showdown. I find it interesting that the day after the judges refer to the battle of the divas, that the 3 so called “divas” were in the bottom 3. Voters were scared that it might come to down Fantasia/Latoya/Jennifer and responded by voting for everyone else.

    You can have all of your opinions, but it’s so obvious your predictions are based on your bias towards Fantasia.

    As JS#1 said in your blog comment, if there is a Big Band night, say next week, John Stevens can shine again and his fans will vote even harder to keep him on, leaving Fantasia out of the loop.

    If there is any justice, IMHO (now I’m not being objective for a second), Fantasia will be gone soon, and then Latoya…

    Objectively (now this isn’t my bias opinion anymore), don’t be surprised if the finals pits George Huff vs. John Stevens.

  • AIExpert

    Nice post Scott, and nice replies here people.

    I tend to agree with IluvIdol, on the objective stuff. You cannot deny that Fantasia and Latoya (And until Wednesday, Jennifer), split the black vote. While people debate who is better, Fantasia or Latoya,, John, George, Diana, and Jasmine end up getting more votes as they have defined voting blocks.

    The only way Fantasia or Latoya could win this thing is if one of them if off soon.

    Example: If next week Fantasia is off (I’m already predicting it by the way), her “Fans”, along with Jennifer Hudson fans, will throw their votes to Latoya, which could finally make Latoya a worthy competitor to John Stevens in terms of fan base (you cannot deny that Stevens has the largest fan base out there, especially now with the JPL fans who converted to save the last white person).

    The same thing would happen if Latoya was off next week. Then Fantasia could build a big fan base.

    BUT if the next weeks start seeing Diana, Jasmine, and George drop, leaving only Fantasia, Latoya, and John Stevens, that makes for a interesting final 3: Fantasia and Latoya, just as they do now, could split enough votes to make John the highest vote getter in that situation, leaving either Fantasia or Latoya out of the finals.

    Even then, Fantasia vs. John or Latoya vs. John in the finals does not mean John will automatically lose.

    Keep in mind if you look at the demographics, more white people than anything watch this show. They are rallying around the “Great white hope.”

    Although many of the finalists will get record deals, you cannot deny that John Stevens probably needs to win AI to get a deal now (he could get one later though as he matures). That could be a driving force propelling him (his fans) to victory.

  • http://www.geocities.com/mondoirlando Aaron, Duke De Mondo

    Does anyone know the episode number for the tarantino American Idol? The one where he was guest judge? Has it aired in the US yet?

  • WhiteDiva

    This is American Idol, a singing contest. Not Popularity Idol. JS is out of his league. If he wins, American Idol ratings will fall. It will be a big joke!

    This shouldn’t be a black or white issue. It just so happens that ALL of the BLACK people have outstanding voices. But Diana, who is white also has an outstanding voice. Jasmine is okay but she needs vocal lessons.

    If JS fans really cares about him, they need to make sure he DOES NOT WIN. His 15 minutes of fame will make him feel good for a moment, but when he realizes that no one really wants to listen to his boring voice (when no one buys his CD), he’s going to cry….hard! Look at Justin Guar….whatever his name is, he is already featured on “Where are they now?”. If John Stevens wins, his fans will bring him more harm than good.

    It should come down to Fantasia, George, Diana, or Latoya. As long as one of the “real singers” are in the final two, the show can continue to refer itself as a singing competition and not a popularity circus!!

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Indeed. I am getting so sick of the apparently popular assumption that most people vote based on the melanin level of the singer. How stupid does that make the American people? “Great white hope”? That is totally offensive. Is that really the way it works? If so, there is another reason to be sad for this nation.

    If people end up voting for JS, I sincerely hope that it is because they believe him to be the best singer. Any other reason is just stupid.

  • Eric

    “If people end up voting for JS, I sincerely hope that it is because they believe him to be the best singer. Any other reason is just stupid.”

    Is it stupid to vote for him knowing the only way for Stevens to get a CD now is to win AI?

    We already know Fantasia and Latoya will get record deals if they don’t win AI.

    If Stevens doesn’t win AI, he may need to wait several years before he can land a deal.

    John Stevens may be one of the few people left (perhaps Diana and Jasmine are included) who need to win if they want a CD now. I don’t think it’s stupid if his fans know he needs to win to get a CD out now, and thus vote for him.

    I have to agree with AIExpert on this racial issue. You may not like how America works, but we do live in a racist country. Sure people are not as openly racist as in the 60’s and before that, but there is subconscious racism that you cannot easily see. But it is there. I know many black people who act funny around white/asian/hispanic people, but claim to love all the races. I know many white people who act funny around black/asian/etc people, although they swear up and down they are not racist.

    Racism aside, you have to keep in mind that soul/R&B/Hip hop music is identified with black people. Thus you know that a large block of Fantasia/Latoya/George fans are black, because black people like that music MUCH more, than say, Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra.

    On the other hand, Dean Martin/Sinatra type music is identified with white people. Thus you know that a large block of Stevens fans are white, because white people like that music MUCH more, than say, soul/r&b/hip hop. Keep in mind that Martin/Sinatra type music is nowhere to be found these days, thus John Stevens is getting people into the retro thing, much the same way people got into swing in the late 90’s (think “Cherry Poppin’ Daddies” or “the Mighty mighty bosstones”).

    I don’t think it’s racist if white people go for Stevens and black people go for Fantasia/Latoya/etc. People in the end are likely voting for the STYLE of music they like. If they want Dean Martin/Sinatra, they are a die-hard Stevens fan. If they want some divas, they are Fantasia/Latoya fan. If they want the next Otis Redding (like I do), they are a George fan.

    Pretty simple if you ask me.

  • JS#1

    “but when he realizes that no one really wants to listen to his boring voice (when no one buys his CD)”

    Hey WhiteDiva:

    I happen to think Fantasia has a boring voice, and so do many people. She’s a Macy Gray clone.

    Just because you can’t appreciate that old school sound of John Stevens doesn’t mean he has a boring voice that no one wants to listen to. Why don’t you just go back to listening to your Britney Spears records?

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Which is what I said — I hope they are voting because of the music, not because of the melanin.

    “Racism aside, you have to keep in mind that soul/R&B/Hip hop music is identified with black people.”

    No, I don’t. I find such “identification” bogus to the core, and disgusting too, so I will not give it credence. People in the past have gone along with the mind control and manipulations of pirmentationist forces, causing such “identification” (and no doubt there are present-day folks who continue that unholy tradition), but that doesn’t make it valid. In my opinion, it isn’t valid in the slightest. Music has no color, whatever the muddled masses say.

  • WhiteDiva

    Hey JS#1:

    What’s wrong? Did I hit a nerve?

    Suck it up, cause your boy JS is boring and he CANNOT SING!!!!

    Sinatra, I can listen to. John Stevens, I can’t because he CANNOT SING!!!!

    AS for your Britney Spears comment, not my type of music. But I will pick Britney and Sinatra before I listen to a John Stevens CD.

    John Stevens, not boring, gimme a break!

  • Neil

    “”Racism aside, you have to keep in mind that soul/R&B/Hip hop music is identified with black people.”

    No, I don’t. I find such “identification” bogus to the core, and disgusting too, so I will not give it credence. People in the past have gone along with the mind control and manipulations of pirmentationist forces, causing such “identification” (and no doubt there are present-day folks who continue that unholy tradition), but that doesn’t make it valid. In my opinion, it isn’t valid in the slightest. Music has no color, whatever the muddled masses say.”

    Natalie…come on now, the posts here are interesting and could be far fetched, but are you kidding me?

    Tell me why everyone in MTV’s Making the Band II is black? Making the Band II is creating the next hip hop star, and you don’t see many asian/white people on it.

    If your ideas were true, then anyone could have invented rap music. Anyone could have invented swing. Anyone could have invented heavy metal. Wrong wrong wrong.

    Hip hop is primarily black, and you have to accept it. Sure there is Eminem and Bubba Sparxx, but hip hop is a kind of music invented by black people. It’s for the masses, but I don’t know any black people OF THIS GENERATION who only listen to Metallica and Sevendust (whose lead singer is black by the way). I don’t know of any black people who listen to that kind of music at all.

    Sure white people like Fantasia and Latoya, but I don’t know any black people who like John Stevens.

    If it is racist for someone not to like Fantasia and Latoya simply because they are black, isn’t is racist for people not to like John Stevens simply because he is white? Exactly.

    You must be really ignorant if you think race doesn’t mean squat today. Show me a black guy who likes Metallica/Korn/Linkin Park/or even simply the “Hard Rock” radio station in your market and I’ll show you either
    1.) Someone who is white-washed (perhaps adopted by white parents in a very white state); or
    2.) A figment of your naive imaginiation.

    Perhaps you live in a large city, or perhaps you live in a small podunk town and haven’t seen the world. Either way:
    Open your eyes! Race (and racism) affects everyone.

    And oh yeah, the world isn’t simply black and white. It’s asian, hispanic, etc, etc.

  • JS#1

    Whitediva: It’s funny how you to have always say John is boring. Must be to hide the fact that the whole country thinks Fantasia is boring, not to mention ugly too.

    The reality is that Fantasia was VERY close to being off this last week, while John’s never been that close. That’s what scares you. Hahahahahahaha

    Long live John Stevens, even if it is just to pi$$ you off!

  • sheri

    OMFriggin’ here we go again.

    Drawing, once again, on my own personal life…enter:

    Anton: A 6foot 4inch blacker than black young man with dread locks down his back, who loves to pick up my son, and throw him over his shoulder. He plays an instrument and listens to the music you describe. He hates rap and hip hop.

    Bernie: A lovely young black woman who spent the night at my house quite a few times, who hung out with the freaks, and whose favorite T-shirt depicted Rage Against The Machine.

    True, there are not many , but they exist, even in my corner of the world.

  • http://scottpepper.blogspot.com Scott Pepper

    What I find funny is that you had no problem in the past referring to the “Hawaiian” vote, and how you thought Jasmine and Camille split it up, but when someone like myself suggests that Fantasia/Latoya/Jennifer/George split the black vote, that, among other things, gets no response from you.

    By the Hawaiian vote, I mean that people from Hawaii will vote for her, much in the same way people from Georgia vote for Diana DeGarmo and people from Louisiana vote for George Huff. Jasmine and Camile were the only two spliting a “hometown” vote until Camile got kicked off. (And, yes, I know there were three contestants from California, but they were geographically spread across the state.)

  • http://www.makeyougohmm.com/ TDavid

    I think it’s not wise to wager against any of the remaining contestants getting a record (CD) deal. Never forget the the contestant who didn’t even make the initial cut:

    William Hung.

  • http://fando.blogs.com Natalie Davis

    Meil, sounds to me that you are caught up in mainstream thought and its conventional nonwisdom. Pity. Outside of the social construct to which most of you pledge fealty for some ungodly reason I can not fathom, “race” is a FALLACY.

  • RKBoby

    I tried for house to reach the 1-866 number getting nothing at all, therefore, I was unable to vote this week. I think it is all a bunch of hip and although J. Stevens was finally defeated I feel J. Hudson should never have been sent away. There are others still there that are and could be potentially greater. Diana DeGarno is excelent as is George Huff. Not everyone can sing the songs of others but to cruxify Mandy like J. Stevens was a terrible thing. Thank you!

  • sam adler

    Show is playing out as I expected. LaToya and Fantasia split the black vote, giving Jasmine another week to get abused (deservedly) by the judges, with soulful Fantasia, also deservedly, edging out the talented, but plastic, LaToya, who will undoubtedly have a wonderful career anyway, probably on Broadway.DeGarbo will make it to the final two and then lose, as she should. She’s kind of like a minstrel act, anyway, in my opinion, although I think she will grow into a decent entertainer.

  • http://www.foliage.com/~marks Mark Saleski

    you think it’s got something to do with the black vote?

    i wish we knew what the demographics were of the voters…because it seems to me that maybe both latoya and fantasia are ‘older’…and maybe don’t appeal to the young crowd doing the voting (i’m sorta making a leap here that it’s a much younger crowd voting)

    ah, who knows?!!!

  • Eric Olsen

    Fantasia is only 19, although she seems much older and more worldly than that. Remember that Alicai Keys was only 19 when she recorded her first album.

  • sam adler

    I agree that the voters skew toward younger. that’s why I think they’re more image oriented than into actual vocal talent. Prepubescent voters are going to look for britneys and justins because they are truly their idols. the older voter would look more at vocal ability. (hence the dominance of black artists on the billboard charts). That’s why i think Elton’s wrong to say the voting is racist. American Idol voters are voting more FOR jasmine and diana then AGAINST fantasia or latoya, Its just entertainment. Girls swoon over presley and jagger, even though they’re basically covering r&b stuff that was much better done by chuck berry or little richard. An artist is more than his or her voice, and its disingeous of Simon not to recognize that, because he knows damn well that at the record labels, they look at race, age, weight, etc. of performers, and when push came to shove, they would sign whoever the little boys and girls (who are mostly white) will line up to buy. But Simon, Paula and Randy will never come out and say this because they don’t want to introduce the subject of race into this feel-good show (even though its already there like a 500-pound gorilla). So they say things like “the audience got this one wrong” (paula) and its a “travesty” (randy), when the audience, by definition, CANT get it wrong. They’re picking their idol. Even if it is a golden calf.