Top 5 Guys
I'm going to go ahead and pick Casey as at least a top 3 finalist. At this stage of the competition, he is just far and away ahead of everyone else in terms of both musical talent and performance ability. He's got a great, soulfull, throwback kind of voice, like Bob Seger. Plus, he plays a ton of different instruments, and plays them well. This dude is the real deal. He's my favorite to win it all at this point, but I'm hoping he doesn't suffer the same fate as Crystal Bowersox did last season, where you're such a strong performer from the get-go that you end up losing in the end because the judges and voters love contestants who "grow" and become idols, and when they're already where they want to be and just sort of stay there the whole season, they inevitably lose to a strong second performer who shows marked improvement each week. It happened to Bowersox with Lee Dewyze, it happened to Adam Lambert with Kris Allen, and it could happen to Casey if he doesn't give the judges something to pat themselves on the back about. He's still my top pick of the season so far, though.
Paul is my second pick out of the guys. He's got a great, unique and recordable voice and he did an excellent job with his cover of "Maggie May."
James is my number 3 pick. I'm not the biggest fan of his singing style, and I think it will end up getting old with the audience, in the same way Siobhan Magnus's screaming did last season, so if he uses his high scream range as too much of a crutch, I think it will bite him in the ass. However, he's got a good story, having Aspbergers and Tourette's and fighting through it to be a performer at this level, so I'm predicting his screaming gimmick and sympathy votes will keep him in the competition for at least a little while longer.
Jacob is my number 4 pick. Like James, I'm not a fan of Jacob's singing style either, but he does have a good voice and he picks songs that he can really go all over the place on and do the kind of stuff vocally that the judges go crazy for, and he's got a mild-mannered personality - not unlike Big Mike from last season - so I think that will endear him to the audience and keep him in the top 10.
Scotty is my number 5 pick. He's got a great "old country" voice, like Randy Travis, and his tone is really solid. He hits the notes so well that he sounds like he's lipsyncing. I would have put him up higher, but I don't know how popular his roots country singing style is going to be when the contestant pool starts getting thinned out in the coming weeks. Dude definitely has a future as a country star though.
Stefano is my wild card pick. He surprised me with his excellent rendition of Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are." Depending on how the audience liked the song picks of the other guys and the "cute factor" among the other guys vs. Stefano, I think he has a chance of making the top 10 tonight, but at this point I think the other 5 guys I picked are stronger overall, but Stefano sang great last night and gets my wild card pick.
Top 5 Girls
Pia is my favorite out of the girls. Her peformance of "Stand By You" was amazing, and she's beautiful on top of that, so she's a total package at this point. She definitely has a more solid and well-defined voice and style than any of the other girls in the competition right now. I expect her to be one of the last girls voted off the show, and she could easily be the darkhorse to Casey that I was talking about before.
Thia is my number 2 pick. There are two girls in my top 5 who are only 15, but their voices are so mature and powerful already that they're definitely deserving of their place in the competiton. The best of the 15 years olds, in my opinion, is Thia Megia. Her performance last night was great, starting off acapella and ending with a strong, emotional finish. She just needs to get a little more comfortable in her skin and fill the stage with her performances and she'll make it a couple more weeks at least.
Lauren is my number 3 pick. The other 15 year old phenom of this season. She's got a great, powerful, rocker chick kinda voice so she not only doesn't look 15, she doesn't sound it either. Her enemy right now is consistency. She needs to get more solid in her delivery and hitting the notes and make smart song choices, and she'll be around for a while. She's got the raw talent to be really great though, and that's why I picked her as high as I did.
Rachel is my number 4 pick. I know that there were at least a couple girls that didn't make my top 5 who sang better than Rachel did last night, but she's got a style and personality that I think makes her a stronger overall performer. Like Lauren, Rachel needs to work on consistency and smart song selection, or else she won't last much longer, but I think her personal style and attitude is going to win her enough fans to keep her in the top 10. Really though, with as strong as Pia and Thia are, and the deep talent from the guys, it's going to be hard for any of the other girls to make a serious challenge for the top 3 after they merge the guys and girls together.
Haley is my number 5 pick. The judges weren't impressed with her version of Alicia Keys' "Fallin", but I think she sounded better than they did. Plus, it's a popular song that is well-liked, which I think helps. The biggest thing Haley has going for her is that she's got a real sexy vibe when she performs and she uses it to her advantage. With the girls, style, looks and attitude go a long way, and Haley is strong in those areas. She will definitely have to step up her singing game to last in the competition, but I think she can make the top 10 with what she's got so far.
Naima is my wild card pick. She honestly sang better than Haley or Rachel, but I'm not sure how well her style and personality are going to go over with the audience. She hasn't really made a name for herself the way Rachel and Haley have, which is why I picked them over her. People like to vote for contestants that they feel a connection to, that have sort of been developed as personalities on the show, and Naima has gotten the short end of the stick in that department so far. That's also the reason why Ta-Tynisa Wilson didn't even make my top 5, in spite of doing a great job with her song last night. They just haven't had the camera time, and thus the chance to endear themselves to the audience, and that always hurts when it comes to the voting. It's how I can tell who the producers want to see go on vs. who they're ready to have sent home. However, Naima does have a look that could either help her or hurt her, either she'll come across as exotic and sexy or freaky and weird, and it's that uncertainty that has her on the wild card for me rather than being ahead of Haley or Rachel.
So, there it is, my elaborate, drawn-out prediction for tonight's results show. We'll find out tomorrow how accurate my picks are. Yes, I am gay for AI, but I do it with style, bitches!