From choosing one winner to the next, the American Idol finale is upon us this week. Competition has been tough in the past five weeks. Hollie Cavanagh managed to beat off Skylar Laine to maintain a place in the top four but lost out at the last hurdle before the top three were sent off to their home towns this week. For a while, Skylar seemed to be doing so strongly in the voting that it looked like she might never leave the competition and conversely Hollie was getting mixed reviews constantly. I think the top three were exactly the right people to have gotten that far and I think at this point it’s almost a shame to lose any one of them. Philip Philips, Jessica Sanchez and Joshua Ledet were all strong contenders for this year’s Idol title.

Having said that though I do have to agree with the voting public in that Joshua Ledet was absolutely the right choice to leave the competition. He has a very powerful, smooth sounding voice that can switch gentle to intense in an instant, but I don’t think the show never really showed us what he might be like as a modern artist. Randy Jackson surmised it last night when he said that Joshua was a ‘classic stylist’. And, in the end, I feel that classic under current in his voice hurt his chances. I do think he has a place in the current market, just like Michael Buble, another classical stylist, also has a place within a contemporary market, but we never got to see that on the show. He was always given very old fashioned songs. Even when he chose for himself, he chose Imagine by John Lennon which is another old fashioned sounding song. Worse still, it was his weakest performance in the entire competition.

So we say goodbye to Joshua Ledet and take one step closer to discovering who is going to win this year’s American Idol. It’s all out war now between the teenager with an angelic voice, Jessica Sanchez, and the rough young adult with the devil’s growl, Philip Philips. The two singers probably couldn’t really be any more distinctive, which will make the finale more interesting. If Joshua had gotten through to the final over Philip Philips, the finale might actually have been a bit of a drag. Joshua and Jessica sing with melody and control, whereas Philip is more like smouldering chainsaw.

American Idol finalist: Jessica Sanchez

16 and already better than 90% of the world.

Going into the finale, there isn’t much that’s been revealed yet. We don’t know the song choices or the winner’s song but we do know that the performance show will air a day earlier in America on Tuesdays and the result show will follow on the Wednesday. They’ve also revealed the themes for the songs next week. One song will be the contestant’s favourite performance, one will be Simon Fuller’s choice and the final song will be the Winner’s single. We also know that Jessica will start the show and Philip will finish, with the two alternating throughout.

Looking at each contestant individually, it’s still quite difficult to pin point what might give that singer the edge. Jessica has consistently had quite a lot of strong songs with big moments that the audience might remember and she was at the forefront of all the fix speculation in week seven. So publicly she’s going to be very well known, even by casual viewers. Moreover her voice is possibly the one that most suited to the current mainstream industry as we’ve seen her sing very poignant, melodious tunes as well as fast-paced,  upbeat songs. She extremely diverse and I’d say that she’d be able to change along with the music industry rather fight against it. The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Jessica Sanchez is that she doesn’t dress or sing appropriately for her age. However, I disagree. I think people are mistaking connect with emotion of the song for indecency and it’s better that she do it on the stage rather than act all sweet and innocent like Miley Cyrus and then people start getting outraged when she starts pole dancing. Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that Jessica Sanchez starts pole dancing on the American Idol finale. I’m simply saying it’s better if that sexual energy comes through the song rather than her acting out when she suddenly comes of age in a couple years. I think her favourite performance will either be Sweet Dreams by Beyonce or Dance with my Father by Luther Vandross.

Philip Philips, on the other hand, hasn’t always displayed his vocal talents to the very best of his abilities. He’ll constantly change the arrangements and the melody of the song to suit his own style which is by no means terrible. He’s bold enough to go out and change another person’s song and he knows enough about the music business to generally know what works and what doesn’t. It can make him seem a bit samey a lot of the time though and some people will get annoyed that he won’t just sing the melody. But his female fan base is massive. And it’s quite likely that he stole quite a few of Colton Dixon’s fan base when he left. Jimmy Iovine was definitely right to want to tap into that and if Philip taps into that smouldering ability to make women fall at his feet again at the finale Jessica will be in trouble. I think fits less easily into the current mainstream music industry as say Jessica does but Philip as an artist will roll with the punches. He’s done it constantly throughout the competition and he’s never let anything faze him. He just comes back and does the exact same thing by messing with the arrangement and the melody. I can imagine even if one of his albums flops, he’ll come right back next year with a number one selling album. He’s just that kind of guy. I am glad that he’s stopped using the guitar quite so much and shown that he doesn’t need it. It’s also worth nothing that he’s never been in the final three in the whole competition. I think for his favourite performance he’ll either choose Time of the Season by The Zombies or U got it Bad by Usher.

American Idol 2012 finalist: Philip Philips

Maybe you can change him, right?

But even given all that it still comes down to three categories: who I think should win, who I want to win and who will probably win. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great track record with this as just last week only one of my final three in Britain’s Got Talent actually made it to the final three. Never the less, I’m going to take a stab a predicting the American Idol results.

Who should win: Jessica Sanchez

Who I want to win: Jessica Sanchez

Who will probably win: Jessica Sanchez

Yeah, that’s right, I’m putting all my stock in Jessica Sanchez. I’m not going to bother putting Philip in a category just so that I can try to claim I thought he should win or that he probably will win. If I’m wrong then I’m wrong. Roll on Wednesday night…


And now for the rebuttal:

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