The top 14 contestants for Season 17 of “American Idol” have been revealed and now the power has shifted from judges Luke Bryan, Katy Perry and Lionel Richie to the viewers at home. Gold Derby is kicking off our weekly power rankings to show which artist is on top and who is in danger of heading home during their quest for 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 14 power rankings.
1. Alejandro Aranda
(Top 40: “Yellow”; Top 20 Solo: “I Fall Apart”; Top 20 Duet: “There Will Be a Light” with Ben Harper)
There’s no question that Alejandro has been the most buzzed about contestant of the season and for good reason. The pop-rock singer shocked the judges with his first audition and has continued to deliver pitch-perfect performances along with jaw-dropping guitar skills ever since. At one point Luke even said that he was not worthy to critique someone of Alejandro’s skill level. At this stage it would be unimaginable to think Alejandro will go home any time soon and he’s currently the biggest threat to win.
2. Laine Hardy
(Top 40: “Come Together”; Top 20 Solo: “Bring It On Home”; Top 20 Duet: “The Weight” with Elle King)
Laine is the “comeback kid” of Season 17 and he has shown tremendous growth in his stage presence and confidence since last year. This country boy has given himself a Rock & Roll makeover and his new style combined with those raspy vocals will have fans voting in droves.
3. Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon
(Top 40: “Landslide”; Top 20 Solo: “(To) Make You Feel My Love”; Top 20 Duet: “Time After Time” with Cynthia Erivo)
Jeremiah has had one of the most emotional journeys this season, revealing his religious parents have not supported him since he came out as a gay man. His tearjerker of a story along with his unmatched ability to nail a power ballad is what lands Jeremiah near the top this week.
4. Laci Kaye Booth
(Top 40: “Georgia on My Mind”; Top 20 Solo: “I Want You to Want Me”; Top 20 Duet: “Mercy” with Brett Young)
Laci managed to float under the radar through the early weeks, but her unique tone and consistent performances have quickly made her one to watch out for. Following her Top 20 performance, Katy even stated that Laci may be her favorite contestant this season.
5. Madison VanDenburg
(Top 40: “Who’s Lovin’ You”; Top 20 Solo: “Domino”; Top 20 Duet: “We Belong” with Pat Benatar)
Madison is a throwback to the type of winner we would have seen in the early years of “American Idol.” She’s even been compared to the original, Kelly Clarkson, on numerous occasions. If this teenage powerhouse can harness her stage presence and learn to command an audience, she could come out on top.
6. Wade Cota
(Top 40: “Work Song”; Top 20 Solo: “All I Want”; Top 20 Duet: “Broken” with Lovely The Band)
Wade is another artist who has been very upfront about his life struggles and has tugged on the heartstrings of viewers at home. The husky-voiced rocker has shown incredible growth throughout the season and as his confidence continues to build, his chances at taking a victory lap do so as well.
7. Dimitrius Graham
(Top 40: “Latch”; Top 20 Solo: “Hello”; Top 20 Duet: “Love Someone” with Lukas Graham)
Dimitrius wasn’t so flashy throughout the first weeks of the competition, but his duet of “Love Someone” with Lukas Graham wowed audiences and was Katy’s favorite duet of the season. This is the perfect time for Dimitrius to be peaking and he seems to have momentum on his side.
8. Walker Burroughs
(Top 40: “Youngblood”; Top 20 Solo: “How Deep is Your Love?”; Top 20 Duet: “Have It All” with Jason Mraz)
Walker is a singer-songwriter that has potential to fly up our ranks in the coming weeks. He has all the makings of a teen heartthrob and viewers seem to love his nerdy, fun sense of humor. At this point we’d say he’s in the middle of the pack, but watch out for him to make a serious move.
9. Ashley Hess
(Top 40: “Feel a Way”; Top 20 Solo: “Dreaming With a Broken Heart”; Top 20 Duet: “I’m Yours” with Jason Mraz)
Ashley has the ability to give a heart-wrenching performance at the piano, but has clearly struggled when she has to step away from that comfort zone. If she can’t harness the confidence and stage presence to come out of her shell, she may struggle moving forward.
10. Riley Thompson
(Top 40: “Mama’s Broken Heart”; Top 20 Solo: “Jolene”; Top 20 Duet: “Like I Loved You” with Brett Young)
Riley is the youngest singer in the competition and hasn’t vocally impressed the judges as much as others. Her unseasoned approach may take time to resonate with viewers, but there is a strong legion of country fans who may keep her around.
11. Evelyn Cormier
Top 40: “No Roots”; Top 20 Solo: “Leaving on a Jet Plane”; Top 20 Duet: “Wicked Games” with Chris Isaak)
Evelyn has not been featured as much as the others in the Top 14 and that could hurt her in the first vote. Viewers need time to get to know her, so if she wants to stick around she needs to really hit her next performance out of the park.
12. Alyssa Raghu
Top 40: “Dear Future Husband”; Top 20 Solo: “Ain’t It Fun”; Top 20 Duet: “Issues” with Julia Michaels)
Alyssa is another “comeback kid” that was eliminated last year, but unlike Laine, she hasn’t launched herself back into front-runner status. She tends to overthink on stage and hasn’t done anything to stand out vocally. For that reason, she could be in danger of going home.
Top 40: “Play That Funky Music”; Top 20 Solo: “Figures”; Top 20 Duet: “I Need Your Love” with Shaggy)
If Riley is considered unseasoned, many may say Uche’ is a bit over-seasoned. The funk singer is unquestionably the most bold performer and has an unorthodox style that some may love and some may hate. If you’re trying to win over as many votes as possible, being divisive is not a winning strategy.
14. Eddie Island
(Top 40: “Don’t You Worry Child”; Top 20 Solo: “Ho Hey”; Top 20 Duet: “7 Years” with Lukas Graham)
Following Eddie’s induction into the Top 14, there was a social media backlash calling for him to be replaced with eliminated singer Ryan Hammond. Clearly Eddie has an uphill battle ahead of him and the singer-songwriter is facing off against Alejandro, Laine, Wade and Walker who could all be seen as artists in the same lane. For these reasons, we predict Eddie will be on the first flight home.