I am remaining cautiously optimistic but so far I am not overwhelmed by anyone and find myself in the easy-to-bail-on-the-show position of not really rooting for anyone that hard. If I had to pick my favorites so far, I'd say Chris Sligh and Blake Lewis on the men's side and Gina Glocksen and Jordin Sparks on the women's side. I know Lakisha and Melinda were both outstanding in the auditions and in week 1, but as talented as they are I don't know how versatile they are and I feel like I've seen it before. That being said, both have great personal stories and "likability" which should carry them far.
I watched all of the audition rounds and have to say I am surprised that a few people didn't make it to the top 24, including Jory Steinberg and the guy Tommy who was the last cut against Sundance. I also feel like there is always going to be the problem of the finalists who did not get enough air time during the audition rounds and Hollwood round. Some of the Top 24, like A.J., Rudy, Nicole Tranquilo and Amy Krebs just kind of appeared out of nowhere - and it's not surprising that three of them were cut in week one.
For me, the highlight of the season so far was the men's group performance that included Blake's beat boxing - that was outstanding.
I am looking forward to seeing the top 20 for a second time and also seeing if any of the men step up and make a statement, because right now the men's field is wide open. On the women's side, I would say that Lakisha, Melinda, Stephanie, Jordin, and Gina look good for the top 6 women with maybe Sabrina and Haley fighting for the last spot. I know it's early - just first impressions.