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'American Idol': The new frontrunner?

Jordinsparks_1Too early to say if the zeitgeist has truly turned  or if this is just a momentary flutter in the cosmic alignment but I have been feeling some distant but significant tremors in across the "Idol" firmament. In conversations over the past week (and these are the days when I become resentful of any conversation that is not about "Idol"), discussions with people who work on the show, fans, friends and the folks in the audience in the Idoldome, it has become very clear that a Sparks-nami is building.  And people are talking her up not just for what I would've pegged her for - the Vonzell Solomon or Elliot Yamin #3 slot reserved  the most agreeable singer who somehow lacks the gravitas to make it to the finals. 

No, murmurs are circulating that young Jordin could in fact not just go to the finals, but actually win the "Idol" crown.

As I say, its far far too early to know where this talk will take us.  But a few things are certain:

- The early talk of a LaKisha/Melinda race are out the window.  LaKisha is widely seen in the pundit community as having failed to emotionally connect with the audience and her star, despite sparkling performances, fades by the day.

- Jordin has had two amazing weeks - in Tony Bennett week she shined on hostile Olde Time-y territory.

- The pundit community is beginning to murmur that Melinda's style may not be contemporary enough to ultimately take her all the way; that perhaps SHE is this year's Vonzell Solomon.

- The next two weeks (JLo/Latin and Country) put Melinda on much less familiar ground and might allow Jordin to shine...And Bon Jovi week looms ahead.

- The children, perhaps Idol's most important electorate - love Jordin.  If Blake goes, the youth vote could swing entirely to Jordin.

- Jordin is now a strong second at every online betting site that I can find.

On the negative, against a Jordin win:

- Melinda is clearly a singing savant, as good perhaps as anyone who has ever been on the show.

- In the crowds (and on DialIdol) Melinda remains the clear favorite by a mile.

- Melinda has a great story - shy little back up singer coming to the foreground.  And a personality that sells it.

These are difficult days to be an "Idol" pundit - particularly one who has batted 1/4 in his elimination pool so far this season.  The one thing we know for sure is momentous events the likes of which none of us can even dream still lie ahead in this competition.  And how these still raw youths respond will test all.  Can any of us even imagine how "Idol" Gives Back will affect the battle?

Tomorrow, before the show, I chat with Gina Glocksen.  If anyone has any questions for her  e-mail them on in or leave them as comments here.

(Photo courtesy Fox)

 
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