I think it's unfortunate that people have already decided once and for all for whom they will vote. I guess I'm as guilty as the next... I adore Ruben and Clay and Josh and Kim L. (since last week). I vote for Clay and Josh. My sister votes for Clay and Rickey (she feels he is in the most risk and she really likes him) right now. I'm sure as the show moves further she will put in her Ruben votes because she is jonesing for him.
I got more of a sense last season that people voted based on performance merit... not cultish fan-following. I hope the Clay back-lash isn't too bad because he really is a stunning performer... If he's smart, and he appears to be, he will not jeopardize his popularity by another starry, soulful ballad... at least not right away, and at least not without more gusto and vocal dynamo.