Now that we've seen the Top 24, I think there are some clear contenders here. On the boys side, David Archuleta's performance of "My Mama Told Me" last night was one of those where you just go, "Wow, that's it. That boy is going all the way." He has an amazing voice, with a really distinctive husky soulful quality to it, he's got an on-stage presence and charisma that just holds you rapt. And he's got the musicality that the judges are always looking for, the ability to interpret something and make it your own. Plus it doesn't hurt that he's so cute and sweet, the same kind of innocent vulnerability that won people over to Sanjaya last year, except this boy has the voice to go way beyond Sanjaya. So if I had to make a call now, he would be my prediction for the top. He will, however, get a good run for his money from Michael Johns and Jason Castro. And if he can get his confidence back, David Hernandez is very good too. (I loved his "Love The One You're With" last week.) But we may already know who our top three boys are.
On the girls' side, the "Wow, that's it!" award goes to Carly Smithson, whose awesome performance grabbed my attention even before I discovered that she had been suffering from the bronchitis bug that was hitting several of the Idol contestants. (It's been going around LA in general, and it's nasty, my husband and I have both been suffering.) If she sings like that when she has the flu -- damn, there's no stopping her. However, she has some fierce competition from Ramiele Malubay (the cute little Asian girl with the unexpected powerhouse voice) and Syesha Mercado (this girl has serious pipes). And close on their high heels are Asia'h Epperson (this girl is a natural performer), Alexandrea Lushington, Brooke White, and Kady Malloy (if she can find her own voice). And I liked Alaina Whitaker too. Hmm, the girls got a real competition on.