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American-idol

American Idol Six Contestants: The Favorites So Far

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After the first week of American Idol auditions, no way it's too early to rank the favorites. We thank Entertainment Weekly for the list below and would love to hear your take on the hopefuls so far ...

Sarah Krueger

1) Sarah Krueger (pictured)
She's beautiful, she's unassuming, and she gave a tremendous rendition of ''Somewhere Over the Rainbow.'' Only concern: Did her song choice (and delivery) make her look like a copycat of season 5 runner-up Katharine McPhee?

2) Sanjaya Malakar
Younger half of a potent brother-sister combo tackled Stevie Wonder - and unlike so many Idol wannabes, didn't sacrifice melody for charisma. Give the kid a buzz cut, combine with his megawatt smile, and you've got a contender.

3) Rudy Cardenas
Watching Paula Abdul drool (and Ryan Seacrest go in for a half-hug) over the 28-year-old Venezuelan-born hunk was high comedy, but the guy's mighty fine rendition of Journey's ''Open Arms'' proves his American Idol aspirations are no laughing matter.

4) Shyamali Malakar
Granted, her jazzy take on ''Summertime'' wasn't at Fantasia levels, but at least she did it her way. Not only that, Sanjaya's sister is sassy without being mouthy, and her success would leave Simon Cowell regretting that ''nothing unique'' critique.

5) Matt Sato
This 16-year-old's tearful phone call to mom was the emotional highlight of Idol's first week, but if we're being honest, his compelling backstory upstaged a good, but somewhat oversung, rendition of ''California Dreamin'.''

6) Blake Lewis
Human beatbox with insanely spiky hair scored a ticket to Hollywood - bringing his dad to tears - with a crazy-skillful rendition of Seal's ''Crazy,'' but Simon had a point that the guy may not be quite as good as he thinks he is.

7) Denise Jackson
Her ''And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going'' had power but lacked subtlety - much like her hooched-out red minidress and black crocheted sweater. One also has to wonder, was that ''crack baby'' revelation too much too soon?

8. Jordin Sparks
Clearly has The Voice, but not sure this 16-year-old daughter of an NFL star has the emotional depth to go with it. Seriously, choosing a Celine Dion power ballad as audition material? Yikes. Could be this year's answer to Lisa Tucker.

9) Michelle Steingas
Musically, it's hard to fault this 19-year-old's charming take on Deana Carter's ''If This Is Love,'' but riddle us this: If you had to pick her out of a lineup right now, could you do it?

10) Jarrod Fowler
Charming Navy officer already triumphed in the USS Reagan's internal Idol challenge, but his rendition of ''Bless the Broken Road'' drew the dreaded cry of ''pitchiness'' from guest judge Jewel - and justifiably so.

11) Thomas Daniels
Chihuahua-carrying vocalist delivered a soulful, straightforward take on Amos Lee's ''Arms of a Woman,'' but teenage drunk-driving mug shot is already circulating the Internet.

12) Anna Kearns
The likable diva's eye-popping 6-foot-4 frame and flawless sense of rhythm could make her a future favorite with the drag-queen set, but her ''R-e-s-p-e-c-t'' was only ''d-e-c-e-n-t.''

13) Perla Meneses
Not even the judges enjoyed her wobbly take on ''Call Me,'' but a last-minute Shakira imitation, complete with come-hither jiggle, stamped a ticket to Hollywood. We'll be shocked if her ''hips'' carry her to the top 24.

14) Rachel Jenkins
Simon noted the sweet Army reservist's ''His Eye Is on the Sparrow'' started well, then ''fell apart'' - and he was putting it nicely. Which leaves us wondering: Why exactly is she going to Hollywood?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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