Meet the top seven contestants of Idol 11:
1. Colton Dixon
Colton Dixon, the devout Christian singer with the faux-hawk and smoldering eyes was reportedly warned by producers against seeming too religious. The native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, told The Hollywood Reporter he's so square he doesn't even swear, "It doesn’t necessarily bother me, but I don’t curse at all and I take pride in it. It’s just another way that I can set an example for people.”
What a great role model for tween fans! It's even adorable that Dixon seems romantically entangled with fellow Idol contestant Skylar Laine. With any luck he'll do some tongue exercises, which will help him enunciate his vocals better. Still, even with the occasionally slurred lyric, Dixon is the whole package and likely to make it to the finale.
2. Hollie Cavanagh
Eighteen-year-old Hollie Cavanagh has made it into the top seven. But her '80's night performance failed to impress the judges. Steven Tyler criticized her pitchiness, Jennifer Lopez told her to stop thinking so much while she performs.
Cavanagh tried to explain the problems by saying that she's still learning. Although she is young, she's not the youngest of the season, and--at this point in the competition--if she isn't on top of the necessary skills, maybe her learning curve is simply too steep.
3. Skylar Laine
The other eighteen-year-old female singer, Skylar Laine, has none of Cavanagh's problems. She's already a seasoned professional after touring with productions of Annie and Les Miserables.
On Idol Laine passed on singing Dolly Parton to instead power through Bette Midler's ballad, "Wind Beneath My Wings." That decision paid off for the country singer, who transformed into a versatile singer with strong vocals and the ability to bring heart to any genre. This week Idol 11 became Laine's to win or lose.
Time will tell whether she'll prevail and what, if any, impact her rumored romance with Colton Dixon will have on their standings. His tween girl fans might not appreciate her intimacy with their man, even if the two are just friends.
4. Joshua Ledet
Another front runner on Season 11, nineteen-year-old Joshua Ledet started singing at the age of three. On the show the Louisiana native got a standing ovation from the judges for his 80's night performance of Simply Red's hit "If You Don't Know Me by Now." But not everyone is as won over by his screaming vocals--even mentor Gwen Stefani suggested he tone them down.
5. Phillip Phillips
Despite the elimination of his bro Heejun Han, twenty-one-year-old Phillip Phillips is still in the running to be the next American Idol. But the multi-talented Phillips--who also plays the bass, piano and drums--is a bit of an introvert and doesn't always connect with the audience.
6. Jessica Sanchez
Sixteen-year-old Jessica Sanchez has performed on Showtime At the Apollo and (at 11) became a semifinal on America’s Got Talent. At the time AGT producer and former Idol judge Simon Cowell said, "[Jessica] was one the best I have ever heard."
On Idol she has twice chosen Whitney Huston songs, which any veteran Idol viewer knows is risky. And Sanchez didn't blow anyone away with her latest rendition. And her Eminem/Slim Shady/Marshall Mathers-like alter-ego, Bebe Chez, is another mixed bag. Still, don't count her out.
7. Elise Testone
Last week everyone agreed with judge Randy Jackson that Elise Testone is "very, very talented." But then she had an off night singing 1980s songs and before that she ended up in the bottom three on a performance the judges applauded.
Can the twenty-eight-year-old Testone reach viewers who are young enough to be her children? (Yes I'm talking about those tween girl voters who often determine Idol's outcome.) Keep watching to see.