“American Idol” Loser Memorial: The Saddest Elimination Yet

No use burying the lead: American Idol booted nobody yesterday because Those Darn Judges used their save on Jessica Sanchez, last night’s lowest vote-getter. Sad, right? I wept. You’ll remember that Jessica clocked in at #1 on my rankings this week. Which means she was great. Or at least better than Periwinkle Princess Hollie Cavanagh, the obvious choice for elimination this week, or even Phillip and Elise, who turned in weak-ass performances. So what went wrong? Why did Jessica score lower than the lowlifes? I assume it’s the ghost of last year’s shocking oustee Pia Toscano rearing her ballad-loving head. I also assume it’s a natural occurrence given that we haven’t had a surprising elimination yet. It was bound to happen like this one week, right?

Well, since we have no losers to mourn this week, we’re presented us with a fun opportunity: Let’s rank the remaining seven contenders regardless of worthiness or talent and simply figure out who’s most likely to take home the season 11 crown. You game? Here are the definitive rankings of the final 7 dawgs.

7. Elise Testone: She may have delivered the knockout performance of the season with “Whole Lotta Love,” but Elise has no shot of winning this competition. (Do I sound like Jimmy Iovine’s pipsqueak gay nephew yet?) Her style is too jazzy, subtle, and adult for the American Idol voter klatch. If you thought Crystal Bowersox was an unlikely candidate for a Top 2 finisher, picture that same rasp paired with shyness and dubious wardrobe choices. Yeah. Too gnarly for the kids.

6. Hollie Cavanagh: Though Hollie is the most criticized of the remaining performers, she’s never a shoo-in for Bottom 3. Even when she performs poorly (as she did this week), her fans rally and vault her back into the game. She, too, has no shot of winning the show, but she’s got that helpless, victimized coo that phone-dialing teens just love! 

5. Joshua Ledet: Altogether, Joshua’s tallied up three wonderful performances, including a rollicking rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish,” a sweaty revision of “When a Man Loves A Woman,” and Wednesday night’s convulsively fun “Runaway Baby.” But dancehall fillers rarely rile Idol voters, and Joshua’s ballads tend to rank among his more unmemorable selections. Ramp up the melodrama, kid!

4. Skylar Laine: The plucky backwoodswoman whose song choices bore the hell out of me has one major weapon on her side: believability. She’s sincere, straightforward, and pitch-perfect onstage. She’s doggedly attached to country music. She’s twangy. She’s good. She’s fine. She’s sure to be the least entertaining competitor once a couple more weaklings fall out of the game. 

3. Jessica Sanchez: The judges’ save usually results in a 4- or 5-week buffer for the beleaguered contestant. Accordingly, Jessica should feel better damn safe for the next couple weeks. The fickle voter is rooting for her now. She lost once, sang for her life (barely), and now she’s a renewed force. I don’t think she can topple our leading studs, but I like to imagine that one ferocious dance ballad could launch her back into contention. Dear God, let it be Jody Watley’s “Looking for a New Love.”

2. Colton Dixon: He’s a piano-loving, fake-emoting singer who’s always in control of his audience — even his Twitter followers, which number around 160,000. There’s no denying his teenybopper appeal, and I hope he heeds the wisdom of Kris Allen, who reinvented every song arrangement by the end of his Idol run and soon nabbed victory. Time to be unforgettable, Colton.

1. Phillip Phillips: He’s got a sidemouth snarl, a sexy croon, and brilliant sapphire eyes. That’s what American Idol is all about. It’s on the mission statement. With the most Twitter followers in the group (180,000), he’s got the clearest path to victory. Hopefully he’ll ride it with the same sardonic flair that’s marked his run on Idol.

Now, if we were ranking based on who I want to win, the rundown would be different. From worst to first, I’d go with Skylar, Hollie, Joshua, Colton, Phillip, Jessica, Elise. Skylar’s country adherence is too pandering for me, and Elise’s latter-day Joni bluesiness is almost too sophisticated to be believed. If she wins, I’ll throw us all a pizza party. With a pizza made from diamonds.

Do your rankings differ from mine? Slam/slay me below.