This season just sucked. The ones with true star potential went home earlier than they should have: James and Pia.
Haley is just horrible, absolutely unlistenable. Her growling is just not needed in "singing" a song and her performances were reminiscent of a 12-year-old in a talent show at school. She should not have been in the top 24.
Lauren is sweet, cute, and has a really good voice. She just doesn't have the confidence to exude star quality. Watch, when this is over, she'll lose about 30 lbs, get some confidence coaching, convey a sexier image, and soar both in country and pop. But...she'll disappear quickly and a fairly mediocre career after that.
Scotty is a great talent, but his voice limits him. He will be big in country, but only country. He will have almost zero crossover potential, just like George Strait and Alan Jackson. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but that is not American Idol. He'll have the longest-term career.
Regarding James and Pia, if they play their cards right, they could really become two of the most successful Idol contestants ever. James needs to choose the right genre, the right songs, and just continue to be himself. Pia needs to collaborate with the right people in the industry from songwriters, producers, and other artists. The talent and image is there almost like no other prior Idol contestant before so Idol really needs to nurture this to be able to tie-in contestants' successes to the show.
I would also say that Jovani, who was cut early, can help Idol penetrate the Latin market. He has the potential to sing like Marc Antony and Luis Fonsi, and looks better than both. Hopefully, a Latin producer within the Idol network has seen this and will nurture his career, with the tie-in to Idol.
I'm really disappointed in Stefano. After he sang to save himself on the wild card show, I really thought he could take it all the way to the top3. But, he really tried too hard and each performance just seemed to get worse and worse. His niche is gospel/soul R&B, but that is not what is relevant today, especially for his age group. If he plays his cards right and finds an R&B producer who can help him find a place in contemporary hip hop, he might have a chance at a career in the business.