Hogan's Alley

Sunday, February 11, 2007

American Idol - Predicting the Winners

This year I have watched all the audition episodes, painful as that was. The pain is generated by having to sit by and watch hopelessly deluded people submit themselves to the snickering of the judges. This year they added the additional cruelty of having one of the pair of exit doors locked, so that countless numbers of hopefuls, trying to escape the room, would bang into the locked door and have to be told by the gleeful judges, "Other door." If the one door had to be locked for some arcane security reason, I emphasize the use of the word "if", then simply posting a handwritten sign on the operative door saying simply, "Exit" would have solved the problem. Clearly they wanted this final embarrassment available as a last blow to the dignity of these people. Cruelty is the only rationale for such a choice.

The reason that I sat through this pageant of misery is that in prior years my occasional viewing managed to spot the 30 second audition of some of the truly talented people, specifically Kelly Clarkson in the first year and Katherine McPhee last year. In those years when I came upon a voice in the auditions that moved me, that person became my immediate pick for season. The show proved much more enjoyable if I had a rooting stake in the proceedings from the start.

So, this year I have decided to commit my choices in writing before the "Hollywood" portion of the season begins.

First, my listing to the standouts, by the city in which their audition occured:

In Minneapolis there was Sarah Kreuger.
In Memphis, Melinda Doolittle and the improbably named, Sundance Head.
In New York there was Jenry Bejarano, Jory Steinberg and Porcelana Petrino.
In Birmingham, Jamie Lynn Ward.
In LA, Branson Rogers.
In San Antonio, Bailey Brown.

In the final audition show they displayed some of the best and worst that hadn't been shown in prior shows. Among those, Paul Kim and Ebony Jointer stood out.

Among the eleven that stood out to me, seven are female. Among the three that I think will/should win it all, all are female. My heterosexuality is showing.

First, there was Sarah Kreuger, a young dark haired woman with great control over her voice. What may skunk her chances is that she is the same type (pretty, white, female,dark hair) as last year's Katherine McPhee.

Then, in the very next show, there was Melinda Doolittle. She is a professional background singer whose voice, and mastery of her instrument, gave me goose bumps. Against her prevailing at the end is a painful shyness. Her career has been in avoiding the spotlight. If she can overcome this part of her personality, as advised by the judges, she will prevail. If not, she may be forced to leave way too early.

In the last show, three young roller skating carhops came to the audition together. One, a tall, willowy, beautiful teenager with an absolutely great voice appeared. Her name is Ebony Jointer. Remember that name. She will be a star, regardless of how she fares on Idol.

So, my emotional pick as the best of the lot is Melinda Doolittle. Her fate will depend entirely on whether she is able to project her voice and personality into her performances. Ebony Jointer would be my choice if I were a betting man. The men of America will fall in love with her. If she doesn't display some quirk of personality the makes the other half of the audience hate her, she will be the odds on favorite. Sarah Kreuger will probably be an also ran, unless her performing skill are far superior to the others.

Please be kind in future when you link to this post to mock me mercilessly for missing the boat entirely. If, on the other hand, I have hit it on the head, I will be available next season to advise bettors, for a reasonable fee.