American Idol's farewell season will finally get to the meat this week... the voting rounds. After weeks of Hollywood performances and judge's picks, the top 14 will finally get to be put to the real test (after a little more help from the judges).
From the unique song stylings of Jenn Blosil and Dalton Rapattoni to the smooth R&B of Avalon Young and La'Porsha Renae to the acoustic rock of Mackenzie Bourg and Lee Jean, it's hard to measure up these Idol contestants against each other because this field is diverse. But, soon America will have to pick a favorite and vote, and heading into the live rounds, we need to look at who deserves to be the bookend to this series and who needs to get off the stage.
Leading up to tonight's episode and America's vote, we're revisiting the top 14 and ranking their likelihood to win this show and create memorable moments and performances. Who, when it comes down to it, should be the favorite to win? Let's take a look...
14. Manny Torres: Despite being a preacher's son and a worship leader, there's something just a little bit swarmy about the way in which Manny Torres carries himself, which can be a turn-off for viewers. While his vocals lend toward something soulful, his choice of pop-rock songs (Maroon 5, Coldplay) are a total mismatch that makes for a very muddled package.
13. Lee Jean: Quick! Has Lee Jean performed anything but an Ed Sheeran song in a solo round thus far on Idol? The answer is NO! Though there are the makings of an interesting artist somewhere in Lee, his main tone so far is just youth; at 16 years old, his voice just isn't fully developed yet and he sounds like a child. His baby tone mixed with his total lack of flexibility make him one of the least interesting people to watch.
12. Tristan McIntosh: Tristan McIntosh had one of the most hyped auditions of the season. After blowing the judges away with "Why Baby Why," her military mom came home to help support her Idol journey. Unfortunately, it's been all downhill for Tristan since then. She seems to be leaning in a country direction (with covers of Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill and Kellie Pickler under her belt), but the genre feels forced. Mix that with a voice that is less impressive than the other women in this girl-heavy field, and Tristan gets lost in the mix.
11. Thomas Stringfellow: The way that Thomas Stringfellow squeaks at the end of every single phrase is jump-inducing and frankly a horrible habit that it's shocking the judges haven't pointed out. While Thomas is a cute young boy (and those tend to do well on Idol), he's not the only one this season. And his schtick will get tiring really quickly. Plus, once you pay attention to his odd pronunciations, you won't be able to get past it, like a bad laugh track.
10. Gianna Isabella: Like Lee Jean, the main tone in Gianna's voice is youth. With her pop star pedigree (her mother is Brenda K Starr), Gianna has a lot of potential in this industry but she's just not 100 percent of the way there yet, and that may be because of experience. Her performance of "I Put a Spell on You" in the top 24 showed a lot of range but she lacked soul, and you need to really go there to grip viewers and fans on Idol.
09. Sonika Vaid: Sonika Vaid has one of the most purely beautiful voices on this season of Idol, a mix of Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift (both of whom she's covered) that is incredibly pretty to listen to. Sonika's main issue, unfortunately, is her comfort level on stage and ability to connect emotionally to a song. She has yet to separate herself from the fact that she's on TV and just naturally give in to the music, and that could do her in.
08. Jenn Blosil: Oh, Jenn Blosil, you quirky and beautiful starfish. Never change. Jenn has the most unique tone on this season of Idol and she makes over every single song she does to be distinctively her own. While she's an engaging person and performer, she may be too niche to make it incredibly far in this competition and she lacks a big powerhouse ability to project that may also do her harm.
07. Trent Harmon: Maybe it's just his face and the way he manipulates it as he sings or the way he worked the stage during his solo group round performance (remember when he had mono?!), but there's something inherently very cheesy about Trent Harmon. Though he's clearly a favorite of the judges, he has yet to do anything that is remarkably interesting to make him stand out. Though a slow grow can work on Idol (see: season 14 winner Nick Fradiani), Trent feels overall forgettable.
06. Mackenzie Bourg: Connecting emotionally to a song seems to be a problem with a lot of singers in this year's Idol competition, but Mackenzie Bourg always manages to capture the meaning of a song in his performances. Compared to similar acoustic pop-rockers on this show (Lee Jean, Trent Harmon), he's a more engaging performer. Mackenzie can occupy the "cute boy with a large fanbase" spot easily on Idol, thanks to his previous appearance on The Voice, he already has a sizable following.
05. Olivia Rox: Olivia Rox is one of many teenagers on this season of The Voice, but she is the one with the most fully developed voice of them all. Oliva has been a bit of a slow grower this season; she didn't receive much airtime until late in Hollywood week, but he ease on stage and unique throaty alto tone makes her a standout that can belt with the best of them.
04. Jeneve Rose Mitchell: Jeneve Rose Mitchell always felt like an odd pick for Idol. She grew up without electricity and she just exudes the aura of someone who is out of touch with modern society from her head to her toe. And though her array of giant instruments (an upright bass, a harp or one of the other million things she play) can be distracting, as she displayed with her standout performance of Sarah McLaughlin's "Angel" in the top 24, there is a raw, beautiful voice underneath those bulky cowgirl clothes.
03. Avalon Young: Like Jeneve Rose Mitchell (and LaPorsha Renae), Avalon Young has some major styling issues. She is laidback from head to toe, from her casual yet subtly stunning vocals to her makeup-free face to her shapeless grey sweatshirts. While I'm all about not wearing makeup and keeping that #chill intact, it seems like Avalon's insistence on being a relaxed skater girl has trickled down to her performances. She has one of the strongest voices on the show, but it almost feels like a secret. You have to listen hard to her performances of "Love Yourself" and "Yo (Excuse Me Miss)" to find her gem of a voice, but when you do, it's unforgettable.
02. Dalton Rapattoni: Dalton Rapattoni is a hard one to pin down. He looks like he could be a member of 5 Seconds of Summer, but his song choices range from NSYNC to Grease to "The Phantom of the Opera." Dalton stands out because he always puts his own spin on a song, which is beneficial for making a name for yourself in a competition that is full of cover songs. Not only can Dalton make a familiar song sound new, but he has the most impressive range for a male this season. He'll continue to add fans to his roster, and it'll be an upset if he doesn't move to the finale.
01. La'Porsha Renae: If it weren't for La'Porsha Renae, American Idol's farewell season would be missing a big, soulful singer. So, we have her to thank for some genuine soul in this competition. Her compelling backstory aside (she was living in a homeless shelter with her infant daughter after leaving an abusive relationship before coming to Idol), La'Porsha is a true entertainer with a silky smooth voice. She can take a an overdone classic song like "Proud Mary" and make it feel fresh. La'Porsha already has the endorsement of OG Idol Kelly Clarkson, now it's just time for the rest of America to catch up.