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American Idol: Handicapping the boys

February 20, 2008 | 10:31 am

Daniel

American Idol: 2-19-08

The audition tour, Hollywood week, the Green Mile, all the build up and pre-game hype are over and at last we can get a look at our final 24 contenders.  So step right up and get your tip sheet, handicapping the contenders and the soon to be also-rans of Season Seven.  Please remember, all opinions made based on these first glimpses subject to change, many many times, before we reach the Kodak Theater in May.

CONTESTANT: David Hernandez
THE SHPIEL: Earnest, serious. “I’ve been through a lot.  I was raised by a single mom…Broken family.”
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): 20-something young marrieds; office parkers.
STRENGTHS: Deadly vibrato powers
WEAKNESSES: Earnest to the point of forgettable.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Nick Pedro
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 5
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 3
LIKELY FINISH: 22nd

CONTESTANT: Chikezie
THE SHPIEL: The hardest working Idol contestant, fought his way back after rejection last year.
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): Middle-aged to elderly R and B fans.
STRENGTHS: Likable winning personality.
WEAKNESSES: Showed flash of temper and cockiness after Simon’s pan; uncontemporary style.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Ruben Studdard
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 9
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 6
LIKELY FINISH: 14th

CONTESTANT: David Cook
THE SHPIEL: Alterna-rocker brings mildly ironic twist.
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): 28 – 45 year old white “eclectic music” listeners.
STRENGTHS: Unique persona in the pack; alternative without being scary.
WEAKNESSES: The John Mayer path likely a bit too intense and limiting to go the distance.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Constantin Maroulis
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 5
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 6
LIKELY FINISH: 10th

CONTESTANT: Jason Yeager
THE SHPIEL: “Singing server”,  Clean Cut country boy, good father.
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): Middle-aged conservative parents
STRENGTHS: One of only three Southern guys.
WEAKNESSES: The John Tesh factor
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Jared Cotter
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 4
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 2
LIKELY FINISH: 24th

CONTESTANT: Robbie Carrico
THE SHPIEL: Toured with Britney Spears “and when we got back I wanted to do rock so bad.”
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): Southern rockers.
STRENGTHS: The only male “rocker” of this year’s men.
WEAKNESSES: Might find it hard to step out of the long shadow of Bice; rockers traditionally can go far, but not all the way.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Bo Bice
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 5
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 7
LIKELY FINISH: 6th

CONTESTANT: David Archuleta
THE SHPIEL: The wunderkind; the Chosen One.
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): Every 9 year old girl in America, a million times, plus their grandmothers.
STRENGTHS: Preternatural talents; strong appeal to Idol’s most powerful demographic block.
WEAKNESSES: 17 but seems 12 persona may turn-off everyone outside that block.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Clay Aiken
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 4
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 9
LIKELY FINISH: 2

CONTESTANT: Danny Noriega
THE SHPIEL: “I want to bring swaggering attitude on stage.”
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): Theater geeks; potential vote for the worst candidate.
STRENGTHS: Aggressive attitude guarantees he will be noticed.
WEAKNESSES: Might be more noticed for theatrics than singing.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Sanjaya Malakar
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 9
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 6
LIKELY FINISH: 12th

CONTESTANT: Luke Menard
THE SHPIEL: Dramatically handsome,  carpet cleaning, working class hero
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): Women 23 - 37
STRENGTHS: Orlando Bloom-like looks; hard working family man.
WEAKNESSES: Forgettable performance skills.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Chris Richardson
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 3
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 7
LIKELY FINISH: 20th

CONTESTANT: Colton Berry
THE SHPIEL: Hyperactive, funny face making, boy band candidate.
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): 9 year old girls
STRENGTHS: Youth appeal
WEAKNESSES: Takes a distant backseat to Archuleta competing for the same demo.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Corey Clark
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 9
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 4
LIKELY FINISH: 18th

CONTESTANT: Garrett Haley
THE SHPIEL: “Me and my family were in San Diego on vacation and I was like, mom, I should try out for American Idol.”
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S):  Teenage hippies.  Some teen girl appeal
STRENGTHS: Laid-back elfin charm
WEAKNESSES: Lack of apparent drive makes it very difficult to see how he overcomes the incredible hurdles ahead
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Justin Guarini
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 6
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 6
LIKELY FINISH: 16th

CONTESTANT: Jason Castro
THE SHPIEL: The dreadlocks say all.
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): 13 – 25 year old burners; Texans.
STRENGTHS: Ethereal hippy appeal likely to stand out among the crowd
WEAKNESSES: Hippies are ultimately a niche audience and rarely crossover to general voting population.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Blake Lewis
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 2
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 7
LIKELY FINISH: 8th

CONTESTANT: Michael Johns
THE SHPIEL: Duende from Down Under
CORE VOTING BLOCK(S): Female viewers, all ages.
STRENGTHS: Enormous star power
WEAKNESSES: Frankly grown up and sensual appeal (see Ann Powers’ Idolbanter) may terrify the youth vote.
IDOL PREDECESSOR: Unprecedented
COCKINESS QUOTIENT (1 – 10): 9
STAR POWER(1 – 10): 10
LIKELY FINISH: 3rd

Tomorrow night, we meet the ladies.

- Richard Rushfield

(Photo courtesy Fox)

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