American Idol

American Idol: Ranking the Top 14 on Season 20



American Idol’s Top 14 will become a Top 11 Sunday night when voting goes live for the first time.

And American Idol will offer a second round of performances in a special Monday night show called the Judges Song Contest.

Here’s how that will work: Each coach will suggest one song for each artist to sing. Each contestant will select one of the three songs proposed for them, not knowing which judge made the suggestion.

The judge with the most songs selected wins. No word yet on how many contestants — if any — will be eliminated on Monday.

Meanwhile, here are my rankings for the Top 14, based on where I think they should finish.

Check back Sunday for a live blog with song-by-song grades. I’ll also be grading Monday’s performances sometime after the show.

Song by song grades from the Top 14 reveal show
Song by song grades for the Top 20 show
Song by song grades for the Top 24, Night 1
Song by song grades for the Top 24, Night 2

1. Nicolina Bozzo: Every time she steps on stage, Nicolina delivers powerful, nearly pitch-perfect vocals with tons of emotion. She’s been Idol’s best on Season 20 so far.

2. Leah Marlene: Leah isn’t far behind. And she holds a slight edge over Nicolina when it comes to creativity. After they performed Monday, I was thinking, those two singers would make for a very fitting finale.

3. HunterGirl: The Top 14 is more than a quarter country. No doubt, HunterGirl is the most ready for prime time. But wound you like me to remind you of all the times a guitar-slinging dude has finished higher than a more talented gal on Idol? This would turn into a very long blog if I did.

4. Allegra Miles: If she needed a wild card berth after that brilliant performance of “Free Fallin’,” this ranking is probably wishful thinking. But I love Allegra’s tone and the confidence she’s showing on stage.

5. Tristen Gressett: Vocally, his performance on the Top 20 shows weren’t his best. But I’d still rather watch him perform than any other male on the show.

6. Jay Copeland: Shocked by the fact that Jay needed a wild card spot to make the Top 14? I was a bit. But, truth be told, his performance Monday was the first time in a while he’s pulled it all together on stage.

7. Fritz Hager: He’s at his best delivering angst-filled lyrics with lots of emotions. It’s something he does so well, he might be a Season 20 dark horse.

8. Ava Maybee: Her audition was buried in that post-Oscar midnight special episode. But Ava’s gaining ground fast. Her performances Sunday and Monday were her best yet.

9. Lady K: She has the female R&B lane all to herself after the disappointing elimination of Katyrah Love. But, remember, Lady K performed “Before He Cheats” on Top 24 night, so she’s show versatility too.

10. Noah Thompson: He’s a likeable guy with an earnest delivery that’s sure to strike a chord with fans. The fact that he and Dan Marshall were both voted through shows country singers can count on strong fan support in Season 20.

11. Christian Guardino: Possibly the best male singer left on the show, Christian needs to reduce the vocal frills by about 50 percent so we can better appreciate his passion.

12. Emyrson Flora: Huge kudos to Emyrson for surviving a glut of female singer-songwriter types to be voted into the Top 10. Thank those unique vocals. And she’s Season 20’s youngest contestant.

13. Dan Marshall: He bounced back nicely after surviving a bad bout of nerves during his Top 24 performance. And that deep country voice sounds radio ready even if his stage presence hasn’t caught up yet.

14. Mike Parker: The one wild card pick I disagreed with. The spot should have gone to Katyrah Love or Jacob Moran. The Top 14 did not need a third male country singer, let alone one who has underperformed.

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