Crystal Bowersox and Andrew Garcia are the early front-runners on this season of "American Idol" according to a new AOL Television poll, which also revealed that, so far, fans are loving new judge Ellen DeGeneres, but still missing their old pal Paula Abdul.
Tuesday night's (February 23) two-hour performance show by the top 12 girls will feature dreadlocked mom Bowersox, 24, while the boys' sing-off on Wednesday will spotlight fellow young parent, 24-year-old Garcia. In the poll, Garcia led all vote-getters with 26.2 percent, barely edging out Bowersox, who was second in the weekend tally at 25.2 percent. The poll ran on the site from February 18-22 and got 57,682 votes.
Another parent, new dad Michael Lynche, came in a solid third at 15.5 percent, but the personal trainer whose wife gave birth while he was toiling in Hollywood Week was also voted the most overhyped contestant, with 36.8 percent. He was followed in that category by Bowersox (12.3 percent), Haeley Vaughn (26.4 percent), Didi Benami (9.7 percent), Tyler Grady (7.6 percent) and Garcia (7.2 percent).
Others making the early-favorite list include pinup cowboy Casey James (15 percent), Katie Stevens (12.5 percent) and Lilly Scott (5.6 percent).
Clearly the more intense focus on contestants' compelling backstories has resonated with fans, who overwhelmingly (78.3 percent) said the show's mini biographies give singers an unfair advantage in voting.
But some of those with tearjerking stories didn't make it past Hollywood. Poll respondents ranked the contestants they thought should have made the top 24, putting three-time washout Angela Martin at the top (44 percent), followed by teary crooner Thaddeus Johnson (21.7 percent), Shelby Dressel (15.1 percent), Tori Kelly (8.7 percent) and Jermaine Purifoy (5.7 percent).
Ashley Rodriguez was voted this season's most likely dark horse at 28.5 percent, followed by quirky Siobhan Magnus (21 percent), last-minute finalist Tim Urban (20.1 percent), Lacey Brown (15.8 percent) and John Park (14.5 percent).
And while 58.6 percent said that so far they love DeGeneres, 46.3 percent said they miss former judge Paula Abdul "a ton" and that the show is not the same without her. The bad news for Paula? Almost as many (41.3 percent) said they don't miss her at all, and 12.4 percent said they never noticed she left.
Who's your season nine favorite so far? Do you agree with this poll's results? Talk about it in the comments below!
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