There is no doubt that as the Top 7 becomes the Top 6, the competition is heating up and the predictions are becoming far more difficult. As shown in previous seasons, the closer we get to the finals, the audience is more likely to vote based on quality of performance over other factors such as overall popularity. Therefore, we really expected this group of young contestants to shine as they took on songs of their choice from “This Decade.” In general, they did well, but there were very few performances that really stood out from the rest, making this the most difficult and precarious round of predictions just yet.
However, with overnight data in hand, the results of the ZabaSearch Prediction Engine are in and we’ve calculated the latest round of ZScores for the Top 7. Remember, ZScores provide a relative ranking of each contestant’s probability of staying in the competition for the current week. The contestants with the lowest ZScores are in the most danger of going home next.
For the first time ever, Skylar Laine opened the show with a commendable performance of the obscure Kellie Pickler song, Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You. Randy tells Skylar, “This is what you love, this is what you should do…that was crazy hot and crazy good.” Meanwhile, Steven is not afraid of letting us know that he’s a fan of the ladies in the competition. A new Stevenism was born, ” The crows may crow but the hens deliver the goods.” If you haven’t been a Skylar fan so far, her performance of this song had to have moved you on the scale at least a bit. It makes us wonder if we would have liked her even more had she chosen a song we actually knew.
Our call: DANGER/WILDCARD ZabaScore: 8.8
Next up is fan favorite Colton Dixon with the Skylar Grey version of Love the Way You Lie. At first mention of the song, we found ourselves with the “goosies” because, as Colton said himself, “This song has the potential to be a game changer for me.” So, while we prepared ourselves for an epic performance, what we got was fair performance that left us feeling just a little bit empty and wanting a little bit more. Could he have shattered our world with this song? Yes. Did he? No. For us, it was just ok. However, Colton’s established fan base will serve him well in the next few weeks. We believe he will be safe for a while yet, that is, until he’s not.
Our call: SAFE ZabaScore 9.2
Far from Stuttering, Jessica Sanchez delivers this song by Jasmine Sullivan and it becomes clear that Jessica has the judges conditioned. Just three songs into the evening, Jessica becomes known as the “fish slayer” as Randy says, “To me now, you slayed the biggest fish of the night.” No surprises here. This girl can sing. At least they held off on the standing O.
Our call: SAFE ZabaScore 14.3
Next up is Joshua Ledet, who has been enjoying a string of killer performances — this week is no exception. In fact, this week, Joshua earned this week’s only standing O from the judges. However, we still believe that Joshua’s look and style is a throwback to decades past, and he doesn’t prove us wrong with this performance. He delivers an amazing performance of Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars, one of the only “This Decade” songs that sounds like it belongs in “that decade”. Josh, you’ve got the chops man, but you were just born way too late to make it to the end of this season.
Our call: SAFE ZabaScore 9.5
Following her Idol BFF Joshua up on stage, Hollie Cavanagh chooses Perfect by Pink. It’s as if we can see into the future, because as soon as we learn of her song choice for the week, the headlines flash before our eyes, “Hollie Cavanagh is less than perfect.” Guess what. First words out of the judges’ mouths came from Jennifer, “You look beautiful tonight, Hollie.” Kiss. Of. Death. Google “Hollie Cavanagh American Idol” and see what you get.
Our call: DANGER ZabaScore 2.6
Another long-time crowd pleaser, Phillip Phillips hits the stage next, singing some song we don’t remember because it sounded just like the last song he sang and the one before that and the one before that. So, after looking it up on somebody else’s blog, we realize that he just sang Maroon 5′s Give a Little More, and the judges agree. He should’ve given a little more if he wants to stay in this race. Jennifer tells him, “For me, it was just a little underwhelming of the Phillip Phillips that I love.” Randy adds, “I don’t know if it was that kind of a wow moment,” and we agree. It wasn’t a bad performance, but it wasn’t a good performance either. All of a sudden Phillip Phillips is starting to bore us and likely everybody else out there as well, which we believe places him in the danger zone for this week.
Our call: DANGER ZabaScore: 6.3
However, the evening ends on a high note with Elise Testone’s performance of You and I by Lady Gaga. At first blush, you wouldn’t think that Elise Testone and anything Lady Gaga would pair well together, but this combination was like bacon on a maple donut — simply meant to be. Try it and you’ll like it. In recent weeks, Elise has been at the top of her game, giving us some truly kickass performances. Last night was no exception. “America, Elise is back!” exclaims Randy. But is quality of performance enough to take her to the end? We think not. Particularly as the eldest member of this group of contestants, Elise does not have the broad fan support that many of the others do, and because of this, we think that despite having talent, she may end up in the bottom three once again.
Our call: DANGER/WILDCARD ZabaScore 8.6
The Bottom Three
Elise Testone (close call with Skylar Laine)
The Wild Card
Who’s Going Home