‘American Idol’ Top 12 power rankings: Grace Kinstler and Willie Spence are early front-runners for Season 19

The Top 12 contestants for Season 19 of “American Idol” were revealed on Monday’s episode, following America’s vote and two saves from judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan. They will perform again on Sunday, April 18 before three more are eliminated heading into the Top 10. That final slot will be filled by a comeback artist from Season 18, hoping to earn a second shot at the title after Covid-19 upended their chances to perform on the main stage of the ABC reality TV show last year.

Just Sam was crowned the Season 18 champ after the pandemic forced the contestants to perform from home each week. Due to her winning, she was not eligible to return for another shot on the main stage. Thankfully, there was time to plan and put proper safeguards in place before Season 19 started so things look a bit more normal this year. So who has the best shot at winning over America and becoming the next “American Idol”? Take a look at hour Season 19 Top 12 power rankings below.

1. Grace Kinstler
(Top 16 performance: “Elastic Heart”; Top 12 performance: “Dangerous Woman”)

Grace is still riding high from her blind audition of “Natural Woman” that has nearly 4 million views on YouTube. The vocal powerhouse has been compared to Season 1 champ Kelly Clarkson and her momentum has yet to fade. She has remained consistent throughout the audition process and live performances, never seeming vulnerable to elimination. We expect her to easily crack the Top 10, but she should remain focused. It’s not easy to hold the number one position all season and other singers are starting to emerge as potential threats.

2. Willie Spence
(Top 16 performance: “Set Fire to the Rain”; Top 12 performance: “Diamonds”)

This soul singer from Georgia has a big heart and an even bigger voice. His gospel-infused performances have been spine-tingling and earning rave reviews from the judges all season. He is a bit reserved and needs to allow his personality to shine, but if he believes in himself the sky is the limit. There’s no way America will let a voice like Willie’s go home this early.

3. Chayce Beckham
( Top 16 performance: “Waiting in Vain”; Top 12 performance: “What Brings Life Also Kills”)

Chayce nailed his first two performances for America’s vote and created a viable path to victory. It’s no secret that America loves a man with a guitar and Chayce is a rugged, blue-collared singer that could put a stronghold on rock and country fans alike. There’s not a chance he will be eliminated this week or anytime soon.

4. Ava August
(Top 16 performance: “2002”; Top 12 performance: “Love of My Life”)

At 15 years old, Ava is the youngest singer in this competition and has become a bit of a revelation. She wasn’t always considered a front-runner, but as each week passes Ava looks more and more like a potential winner. Her ethereal presence and ability to convey emotion continues to capture the attention of the judges and fans at home.

5. Casey Bishop
(Top 16 performance: “Black Hole Sun”; Top 12 performance: “The House of the Rising Sun”)

This 16-year old has carved out her own niche as the resident rocker this season, belting out classics each week to the delight classic rock fans. The fact that she’s created her own lane in this competition is a huge benefit and there is a groundswell of support from fans cheering her on as she grows as an entertainer.

6. Caleb Kennedy
(Top 16 performance: “Midnight Train to Memphis”; Top 12 performance: “Nowhere”)

There is an undeniable likability factor with Caleb that will propel this country singer deep into the competition. At just 16 years old, Caleb has already performed an original song and shown America he’s the real deal. His Southern charm and retro mullet add a surprising layer of personality to the teenager, who is naturally shy and humble.

SEE exclusive predictions: Who will win ‘American Idol’?

7. Deshawn Goncalves
(Top 16 performance: “Feeling Good”; Top 12 performance: “Higher Ground”)

Deshawn is one of the most talented singers this season and is a classically trained musician. He’s shown his talents on piano and his vocals remain some of the best in the competition. His only downfall is how timid he is on stage. If he can come out of his shell, he could be a real threat in this competition. But if he continues to fly under the radar, America will eventually forget to vote for him.

8. Alyssa Wray
(Top 16 performance: “Killing Me Softly With His Song”; Top 12 performance: “The Greatest Love of All”)

This Kentucky native had one of the most memorable auditions of the season and she’s been riding that wave ever since. She’s an absolute powerhouse, but Alyssa doesn’t always show control over her instrument. She usually wows viewers with her big voice, but she was very inconsistent during her Top 12 performance, which may not have had the impact on viewers she hoped.

9. Hunter Metts
(Top 16 performance: “Skinny Love”; Top 12 performance: “I Can’t Make You Love Me”)

Hunter is this season’s heartthrob and he’s just about milked that for all it’s worth. His performances have been shaky, although I have to admit his Top 12 performance was a vast improvement from the week prior. There is a magical tone in Hunter and he’s instantly identifiable, which Lionel touts as his greatest gift. But if he doesn’t shake the nerves, he could be sent packing.

10. Cassandra Coleman
(Top 16 performance: “Wicked Game”; Top 12 performance: “Light On”)

Cassandra is a gentle soul and has a retro vibe that’s often compared to Florence Welch. She clearly strikes a cord with viewers since she was voted into the Top 12, but her performances have been all over the place. She admits to having extreme anxiety on stage, which could explain her tendency to fall flat when she reaches for high notes. She’s had America’s support so far, but she’s on thin ice.

11. Beane
(Top 16 performance: “Searching For a Feeling”; Top 12 performance: “Grow as We Go”)

Beane has proven to be in a weak position after failing to win over America following his Top 16 performance. The judges see potential in Beane and saved him, giving him another shot in the Top 12. I don’t see Beane as a threat to win, but I’m actually a little surprised he had such a poor showing. He’s shown a lot of personality throughout the season and has solid vocals. There is a good chance he could make a comeback and upstage someone currently ranked above him.

12. Madison Watkins
(Top 16 performance: “Gravity”; Top 12 performance: “Hotline Bling”)

Madison is the other judges’ save, but unlike Beane, I don’t think she has any shot at advancing. Her Top 16 performance was the best we’ve ever seen her and she still couldn’t capture America’s heart. If that didn’t do it, her rendition of “Hotline Bling” certainly isn’t going to. Madison is almost sure to be the next contestant sent home.

Be sure to make your predictions to influence our reality TV racetrack odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before the next results episode airs on ABC. For each live episode, you’ll compete to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a spot on our Season 19 leaderboard. See our contest rules and sound off with other fans in our reality TV forum. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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