It’s been an exciting season of American Idol thus far, with judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan keeping audiences on their toes with their last minute saves. But now it’s time for Season 17 to name a champion, and from the hundred thousands of contestants that auditioned for ABC’s second revival season of Idol, it all comes down to just three finalists: Madison VanDenburg, Laine Hardy, and Alejandro Aranda.
Who’s name will host Ryan Seacrest announce as the new Idol winner on Sunday, May 19? As viewers know, it’s not always the best singer who’s destined to win Idol, but America’s favorite performer that will be crowned champion. After breaking down the voting numbers, and factoring in all the breakout performances we’ve seen from the Top 3 this season, here are the predictions as to whether Madison, Laine, or Alejandro, will be the big winner.
Safest Bet: Laine Hardy
Based on voting numbers alone, the favorite to win Season 17 is Laine Hardy. While the 18-year-old from Louisiana didn’t make it past the Top 50 after auditioning last season, ever since the judges forced him to put down his guitar this season while assisting his friend Ashton Gill’s audition, he’s been an unstoppable force. With his Elvis-like looks and confident on-stage persona, the teen heartthrob has won over America with his soulful country singing style.
If Hardy does win, he will be the third person ever to return to the competition and win after getting rejected in the previous season. While it’s hard to get excited about Hardy winning, it’s also difficult to get really angry abut it. Overall, he’s the safest bet.
Biggest Upset: Madison VanDenburg
Honestly, it’s hard to call it an upset if 17-year-old Madison wins Idol, because she’s easily the best singer of the Top 3. Neither Alejandro or Laine have either the vocal range or breadth of talent that Madison delivers in her performances each and every week.
As the last woman standing in the competition, between the growth in confidence over the past few weeks, and her continuously dynamic vocal skills, Madison would be the quintessential Idol winner ala Kelly Clarkson. During her tenure on the show, she’s performed rock songs like Pat Benatar’s “We Belong” and Janice Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart,” as easily as she belted out ballads like Alicia Keys’ “Fallin” and Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love,” (written by Bob Dylan).
As judge Katy Perry said to Madison last week, “I don’t want you to be second. I want you to win this thing,’ and there’s a solid chance that the millions viewers voting at home feel the exact same way.
Favored Odds : Alejandro Aranda
The 24-year-old from Pomona, California may not have the slicked, tailored style of Laine Hardy, but the singer, who used to go by the stage name Scary Pool Party is beloved for his unique falsetto and musical talent. The unassuming star doesn’t have the loud personality most would expect from an Idol winner, but he’s been paving his own path to success from the moment he first auditioned.
Alejandro has performed more original songs than any other contestant on the show, such as “Blesser” and “Cholo Love,” and the dishwasher from NorCal has forever changed the way viewers listen to Post Malone’s “I Fall Apart” or Drake’s “One Dance.”
It’s hard to believe Alejandro has only been singing and playing music for four years as his soulful vocals and piano playing skills are incredible. While Alejandro claims he’s happy merely performing on street corners after working a shift in fast-food, he’s destined for so much more. Judge Katy Perry called him an “absolute genius” while Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan also sing his high praises. If Alejandro wins Idol, more fans will be happy with the results than upset.