The Season 17 finalists of “American Idol” have been revealed and will sing for America’s vote for the last time on Sunday, May 19. Judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie will be on hand to critique the final performances (and take the stage themselves). In Gold Derby’s final Power Ranking of the season, we break down which artist has the best chance to take home the title. Don’t agree with our assessment? Sound off in the comments and head over to our prediction center to influence our racetrack odds for who will be crowned the Season 17 champ. Below is our Top 3 power rankings.
1. Laine Hardy
(Top 40: “Come Together”; Top 20 Solo: “Bring It On Home”; Top 20 Duet: “The Weight” with Elle King; Top 14: “That’s All Right”; Top 14 Results: “Hurricane”; Top 10: “Oo-De-Lally”; Top 8: “Fat Bottomed Girls,” “Jackson” with Laci Kaye Booth; Top 6: “I Don’t Need No Doctor,” “Johnny B. Goode”; Top 5: “Can’t You See,” “Something About the Way You Look Tonight,” “Hey Jude”)
The southern rocker with a country flare entered the season with the narrative of an “American Idol” and has capitalized on it with each performance. Laine was eliminated in Season 16 before the live performances began and wasn’t even planning to audition for Season 17. When he accompanied a friend to the auditions, the judges begged him to return and after hesitating Laine obliged. With an image makeover that included slicked back hair, a classic rock persona, classy suits on stage and a new set of teeth, Laine became a new man and a more confident performer. His support from both rock and country fans along with his heartthrob status makes Laine difficult to beat.
2. Alejandro Aranda
(Top 40: “Yellow”; Top 20 Solo: “I Fall Apart”; Top 20 Duet: “There Will Be a Light” with Ben Harper; Top 14: “One Dance”; Top 14 Results: “Cholo Love”; Top 10: “Remember Me”; Top 8: “Under Pressure,” “Mrs. Robinson” with Walker Burroughs; Top 6: “White Rabbit,” “Poison”; Top 5: “No Woman No Cry,” “Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word,” “Blesser”)
No “American Idol” contestant has drummed up as much excitement in recent memory as this musical virtuoso from Pomona. Alejandro has mixed things up by playing various instruments and even rocked the house in a DJ booth for one performance. While his vocals have been less than consistent, Alejandro’s originality is top notch. No artist has performed more original songs on “Idol.” After seeming ambivalent for a number of weeks, the soulful singer has turned things up in recent weeks and reinvigorated his fan base. The early front-runner could be on his way to a historic run.
3. Madison VanDenburg
(Top 40: “Who’s Lovin’ You”; Top 20 Solo: “Domino”; Top 20 Duet: “We Belong” with Pat Benatar; Top 14: “Fallin'”; Top 14 Results: “You & I”; Top 10: “How Far I’ll Go”; Top 8: “The Show Must Go On,” “A Million Dreams” with Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon; Top 6: “Piece of My Heart,” “I Surrender”; Top 5: “What About Us,” “Your Song,” “Make You Feel My Love”)
Madison may be a long shot for the title, but don’t count her out of the race just yet. Unquestionably the most dynamic vocalist remaining, Madison is also the last woman standing and could benefit from any split votes between her two competitors. She has also, arguably, shown the most growth throughout the season and with each performance gains confidence. Madison’s narrative is compelling and her performances have all been top notch. If fans are looking for a classic “American Idol,” Madison may just wind up on top!
Be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next episode airs on ABC. You’ll compete to win a spot on our leaderboard and a $100 Amazon gift card. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.