Singer Erika Van Pelt: American Idol 11 (2012) Spoilers and Predictions
American Idol 11 happens to be kicking off today, January 18, 2012. As usual, some sites look to spoil the early audition results, usually with a fair degree of accuracy but some information that turns out to be false. When it comes to Erika Van Pelt, I hope the rumor that she has made the Top 42 is true. If it is, she has one more round to make it the live voting rounds and the Top 24.
Erika is the type of singer that is often underappreciated on Idol. There is really no telling if she will even make it the voting rounds. But if she does, Van Pelt will likely have not been featured prominently and may have a difficult time building a fanbase in that crucial Top 24 round.
I have a bad feeling we may have another Lauren Turner here: a great singer that is only somewhat featured in auditions, making it difficult to get fans. In terms of talent, Erika has some similarities to Season 10's Lauren Turner. She has soul, and she can sing a pretty good ballad. The power and control are definitely there, and she is one of the best singers I have heard so far from the group of contestants on the spoiler list.
The concern with Erika is not talent. Based on what I have seen, I fully expect her to be one of the 12 best singers for Season 11. Although she could be more unique, she has versatility in spades, and the other technical elements are in place. The problem, though, is that Idol is a popularity contest. Will Van Pelt stand out enough to get noticed? Will she be featured in the episode broadcasts? My first hunch is probably not, so there is reason to worry. Hopefully, I am wrong this time.
If Erika does make the voting rounds, she is the type of contestant that should be saved by the judges for wildcard if she fails to make the Top 5 that automatically go to the Top 12 round (assuming the show uses the same format this year as it did last year). But the problem is the judges do not base their wildcards on talent. They just use it as an additional casting and ratings tool. There is no semblance of fairness in the American Idol wildcard round, which is why I no longer trust this format. If you don't get the votes, then you are just going to have to get lucky. And Erika Van Pelt will only make it through as a wildcard if the producers have filled all their spots for race, looks, personality, genres and other factors. Then, she MAY get the nod for actually having talent.
My prediction is Erika Van Pelt will never win American Idol. She will either be cut before the voting rounds or fail to make the Top 5 in the Top 24 voting round. At that point, the judges will ignore her in wildcard selections and focus on other bogus factors. Only this time, I hope I am wrong about all this. Based on what I have seen, Erika Van Pelt should be in the Top 12 if this is a talent contest.