Well, thanks for getting the ball rolling! I liked the whole Top 24, though of course I miss some more than others.
Despite explicit reminders that AI is supposed to be a singing competition pure and simple, I guess it's human nature to be looking at more than that. (I totally expected Sabrina Sloan to be a finalist, and yet, unfortunately, America seemed to think that neither she nor Sundance had the right "look.") So, at this point, my favorites are Sanjaya, Haley and Chris Richardson, for the very reason that (to my eyes, obviously) they do have the "whole package" of voice, looks, personality and style. I think there have been others, too—but they've already been voted off.
(I considered Stephanie to be in this category.)
Isn't it awful that any of the contestants should be targeted for negative remarks concerning their appearance? I've come across some really awful comments. And, of course, Sanjaya is the weakest voice in the competition, but why does it push so many people's buttons that he's a pretty face with a pretty voice? There are people who find that appealing, and I'm one of them. It just seems that the people denying that he has any talent at all
are usually camouflaging some obvious racism plus discomfort over their perceptions of his sexuality. He's 17, after all, and there's no reason for anyone to go there.
Wasn't "The Diana Ross Songbook" a horror for all concerned? Didn't Phil do a great job this week with "Every Breath You Take"? And was it a mistake for Chris Sligh to say "my bad" about his own performance, in terms of the consequences to him? Most contestants keep their heads up and affirm their belief that they did well after accepting what the judges say gracefully, and I think Chris's candor in assessing himself cost him votes. And the melody of that song is so
syncopated that a case could have been made that what Randy and Paula said didn't ring true.
What about Simon Cowell and other similarly situated music industry titans seeming to wear their musical illiteracy as a badge of honor? (I'm thinking of the Sixty Minutes
interview.) Why would people—even (especially?) self-styled music experts—act defiantly unapologetic that they can't read music? Why not learn? I'd wager it's a heck of a lot easier than learning a foreign language, and people do that all the time.
My projected winner: Jordin Sparks or Blake Lewis. Of those I see as realistic contenders, I'd love to see Melinda or Lakisha win.