Abraham Hicks or their speaker said in one talk she likes to walk around her garden and tell the various plants "You are my favorite." A professor here at Emperor's - Dr Joseph Yang once said to another student and I "you are my favorites." I like to tell Hiro and Sensei they are my favorites, it is just an awesome phrase that generates enormous well being in all parties and the ripple effect is wonderful. When having to choose a supervisor in clinic I thought back to that comment from Dr Yang and really felt warmed by it. We were taught in childhood not to have favorites, because it means discrimination, unkindness but I have never found it that way - everyone and all things can be our favorites. Having a favorite does not exclude others it includes them by warming the heart. When I hear someone else say something else is their favorite I feel benevolent toward that thing or person too.
If there is any chance someone or thing will feel left out then extend the sensation to include others. I go around thinking you are my favorite this and you are my favorite that - it is such a fun thing to think. It opens the heart chakra and warms the channels, tonifies the qi and nourishes blood like sunshine. Being in the moment is the key to inclusion and with enough practice anyone can understand that this never excludes others. Our attention can only hold one thing at a time however swiftly so we move from favorite to favorite without diminishing the feeling or authenticity. It's a lot of fun to do.
If you want to get technical this is a Brahma Vihara Practice, metta karuna mudita upekha - loving kindness, compassion, joy with others, and equanimity are the measureless spaces, the brahma viharas that we explore in the jhannas. The benevolence of the saying connects to mudita, the joy with others and in combination with momentary mindfulness it sets us free from comparing and contrasting rather than locking us up in them.
The semantics problem is not a problem if you embrace it. Here the word favorite implies contrast on a mundane level but is all embracing on a spiritual level. That's my opinion today anyway.