And then there were four

Of the five contestants left Skylar is the one who least needed to win, so losing her now isn’t as big a bummer for her as it will be for her fans. I’d be surprised if Jimmy doesn’t already have a contract made it up for her, a contract that he’s been carrying around for several weeks. Expect an announcement by the finale, and expect at least a gold album from her by early next year.

I fully expect her to be as big a star as Kelly Pickler has been, though in a slightly different style. Miranda Lambert is about the biggest thing going in Nashville. Skylar is a Miranda clone with a bigger voice and a more energetic stage presence. I won’t hurt her that she looks like Reba McIntyre, either. Miranda’s hook is her songwriting and her in your face attitude. Skylar isn’t likely to be as good a writer (who is?), but she has other talents and assets going for her. She isn’t ready right this second, but by the time she does the Idol tour and gets some intense one on one with a serious vocal coach she will be. I am already looking forward to her album, and her eventual appearance on Idol next season as a guest. She is going to be a monster performer by then. She’s pretty dammed good now.

Power Rankings:

4: Hollie- Given that this was her record fifth week in the bottom two (the old record was three), she had a terrific week. She seems like a really nice kid, and of the bunch she’s the one who is always being called “my bestie” (Skylar), “my best friend” (Joshua), and generally the most well liked. She is this year’s “miss congeniality”, and she has one hell of a voice. Idol has had weaker final four members.

3: Joshua– That the kid can sing as well as anyone ever on the show is hard to argue with. That America is as in love with him as the judges are isn’t. His status with the internet gadflies isn’t nearly as strong as it seems to be with the show.

2: Phil– If you only have the show itself to judge how Phil is perceived, you won’t understand why I don’t have him at the top. Honestly, if not for his overprotected status on the show I would rank him third.

He was roasted over the coals last night on the Idol fansites. EW and Slezak both used variations of “the emperor has no clothes” in their recaps, which made me wonder if they had gotten a hold of my recaps since I’ve been using that since early in the season. Dozens of fans roasted him for his singing, his personality; and they took everything they used to call “cute” and “charming” and “artistry” and threw it back in his face. They turned on him like rabid dogs.

I didn’t agree with the hatred; it was over the top. It was as unfair as the unreasonable worship was when they all talked about what an arrrrrrrtist he was. I don’t dislike Phil, not at all. I don’t have a problem with anyone who likes Phil, and I wouldn’t have a problem with him winning Idol.

My problem (how do you solve a problem like Phil-Phil?) isn’t with the results. It’s with the process. Idol’s judges, when they refuse to tell the truth about Phil, are lying to us. They know they are lying to us. They don’t care, because they don’t have enough respect for us to even worry that we will notice that they are lying to us. He is wearing clothes. He is wearing clothes. He is wearing clothes. They figure if they say it enough we’ll just believe it.

It’s not Phil’s fault, he’s just doing his thing. He can still win if he is good next week. I think, for the first time all season, he has to actually be good to keep his place as the frontrunner.

1: Jessica– I said, back when the semifinalists were announced, that Jessica would be loved early, liked in the middle, questioned late, then she would have to produce a moment to get into the finale. She is right on track, but she needs that one more moment to lock it down.

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