'Idol's Girls Aren't Good, But Here's Why Your Favorite Male Contestant Will Get Eliminated Early
Season 13 of American Idol has experienced many changes. Not only does the season boast a new executive producer in Sweden's Per Blankens — an addition, so far, as delicious as an IKEA meatball — but we've also seen the show's first openly gay contestant, new voting rules, and a new judge that is a tighter fit for the show than one of Simon Cowell's black t-shirts. But, unlike recent years, when season frontrunners ran all the way to the Top 3 without so much a sweat, Season 13's Top 13 are as unsafe as ever before. Partly because, for one, Idol's new executive producer has ensured that each backstory for the Top 13 has gotten equal time, refusing to give any singer a Danny Gokey-esque leg up on the competition. But mostly because half of the Top 13 appeal to the exact same market. And, clearly, based on those America sent through thus far, Idol's viewing audience is craving a good ol' boy who knows his way around a guitar. Which means we can fully expect one of those good ol' boys to go home sooner than expected.
Just look at the offering on the men's side of the Top 13. We have:
- Ben Briley, a down-home gentleman from the South who accompanies his country tunes with his guitar
- Dexter Roberts, a down-home gentleman from the South who accompanies his country tunes with his guitar
- CJ Harris, a down-home gentleman from the South who accompanies his country tunes with his guitar
- Alex Preston, a musical prodigy from the North who accompanies his soft-rock tunes with his guitar
- Sam Woolf, a musical prodigy from the South (Florida, does it count? Let's say so) who accompanies his soft-rock tunes with his guitar
- Caleb Johnson, a down-home gentleman from the South who accompanies his rock-and-roll tunes with a microphone stand
Looking at the line-up, there is not one outlier amongst the boys. Most come from the South, a region that has produced every American Idol winner but one. (Season 9's Illinois-raised Lee DeWyze.) Most favor country, a genre that has been lucrative for Idol alums who both won the show (ex. Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery) and those who haven't (ex. Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington). Most are approachable gentlemen, a personality type that has served previous winners well (ex. Kris Allen and David Cook). And all but one, Caleb Johnson, play the guitar, an instrument that has allowed Cook, Allen, DeWyze, McCreery, and Phillip Phillips snag the Idol victory. So, what does this all mean? That one of your favorite male contestants in the Top 13 will be shockingly eliminated before the Top 10.
At least, that's what the patterns suggest. Often, in previous Idol seasons, vote-splitting for those in certain genres end up hurting contestants that have the talent to go far. With Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, and Tamyra Gray all rocking R&B tunes in Season 1, fans of the genre split their votes, allowing rocker Nikki McKibbin to go through while Gray suffered a shocking Top 4 elimination. And same goes with Season 4, which saw Jennifer Hudson splitting votes with the likes of eventual winner Fantasia Barrino and LaToya London, allowing the likes of John Stevens (I just groaned too) to go through while Hudson was dealt the axe. And though Cook & Co.'s talent — and appeal with young female audiences — no doubt helped them win the competition, the fact that they, as sensitive guitar-playing dudes, were the minority in each of their seasons allowed them to surge ahead of big belters all vying for fans of the same genre.
But what about Season 13's women, you inevitably ask? With a crop as weak as Season 13's ladies — only Majesty Rose or Jena Irene seem primed for a Top 5 finish — surely they will go home before the guys? With the exception of Kristen O'Connor — who will likely get the boot quickly, since she received little to no screen time, and is as forgettable as that semi-trendy $12.99 shirt you bought at H&M but is still sitting in your closet — they all should have an active audience dialing their numbers. Malaya Watson is an R&B belter, Jena Irene is a powerful retro singer, Jessica Meuse is the resident rocker, Emily Piriz is the marketable pop artist, Rose is the soulful artist, and Nobilette is the subtle soft-rocker. There's very little similarity between the ladies.
So, then, considering O'Connor is the likeliest to go home after Top 13 night, who will be No. 2 to go home? Though it's easy to hope that Piriz or Meuse would get the boot (after all, Vanessa Olivarez, Amy Adams, Lacey Brown, and anyone who isn't McKibbin would tell you pink hair never fares well on Idol), I'd put my money on the aforementioned shocking male exit. Most likely, CJ Harris, one of three down-home gentleman who play country tunes on their guitar.
The chances of Idol Season 13 crowning a down-home gentleman who plays the guitar? Very good. But the chances of that exact same contestant getting kicked out early? Very good. So, start your sobbing now.