By and large, I would say that a general rule of American Idol is that the eventual winner comes out early with a very good performance. By “a very good performance”, I would qualify that as something that scores 85 or better on the approval ratings. Only one winner ever, Taylor Hicks, has managed to win the title without a score of 85 or better in the first few weeks. Kelly Clarkson had one in the second week of the finals, as did Ruben Studdard, Carrie Underwood, and Jordin Sparks. Fantasia didn’t have one until week 5. David Cook and Lee DeWyze had theirs in the 3rd week, and Kris Allen in the 4th.
We are now past week 4, and we have three performances over this threshold:
|Pia Toscano||I’ll Stand By You||91|
|Jacob Lusk||A House Is Not A Home||88|
|Casey Abrams||I Put A Spell On You||85|
In fact, the people who got scores over 85 in the finals reads like a who’s-who of Idol finalists. Of those 40 contestants, only 6, George Huff, Trenyce, Siobahn Magnus, Amy Adams, Mandisa, and Constantine Maroulis, failed to make the Top 4. Huff missed by only one, Magnus and Maroulis by two, each in a huge upset.
If one of the other contestants wants to make a showing, the time to do so is rapidly passing. Lauren Alaina, for instance, generally scores well. But without a huge memorable performance to insulate her, one false step could send her packing.