Will Jena Or Caleb Win 'American Idol'? Let's Look At the Evidence...
It might just be the tightest race since Season 8's Kris Allen and Adam Lambert faced off for the American Idol's coveted confetti shower. On one side, we have Jena Irene, the young dark horse who impressed viewers more and more as each week went on with her ability to be a current talent, something American Idol — with its Burt Bacharach theme weeks — had lacked in the past. But, on the other hand, we have Caleb Johnson, the throwback rocker with an infectious sense of humor, something that has helped Idol contestants in the past. But, following the first part of Season 13's finale, do we have an answer? Will Jena or Caleb win American Idol?
Of course, the answer to that question isn't always clear after the end of Idol's first half of the finale. Because who will win and who should win are two different questions. Making things even more complicated? The third question: Who do the judges want to win? (Not that they've always been successful — in previous years, the judges' panel tried to sway audiences into voting for the likes of Katharine McPhee, David Archuleta, and Jessica Sanchez. Then again, the judges also successfully backed the likes of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, but who would argue with them there?) And, clearly, Tuesday night's show proved that the decision is still up in the air. So who will brush off confetti come Wednesday night? Let's look at the evidence:
Jena Will Win... Because She's Current
Simon Fuller hands Jena Florence + the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over" while Caleb is saddled with Aerosmith's "Dream On," a song whose greatest Idol association is this. Sure, Caleb helped wipe Danny Gokey from our memory, but could we hear his Aerosmith cover on the radio? No. Could we hear Jena's Florence + the Machine cover on the radio? An enthusiastic yes. Voters have backed Billboard-ready stars like Underwood and Clarkson in the past — it only makes sense they would vote for a contestant they'd more likely listen to today.
Caleb Will Win... Because He's Fun
Though Jena is certainly a star-in-the-making with one of the most identifiable voices in American Idol history, Caleb is a TV personality. Hey, it's precisely what propelled Taylor Hicks to the win. (Not that I would ever compare Caleb's talent with Taylor Hicks, so back off please, moms.)
Jena Will Win... Because She Plays the Crowd
And girl knows how to play the Idol game. She's avoided drama, has given actually interesting stock answers to Ryan Seacrest's stock questions throughout the season, and she knows how to interact with Idol's studio audience. But does that interaction translate off the screen?
Caleb Will Win... Because the Judges Like Him Better
Caleb scored a standing ovation for "Dream On" from Keith and Jennifer, while only Keith stood for Jena's "Can't Help Falling In Love With You." And a total of zero judges stood up for her final performance. Ouch. Plus, Keith dedicated a tweet to only one contestant: Caleb.
Jena Will Win... Because Her Single Is Better
Undeniable. You've already downloaded "We Are One," haven't you? It's definitely a more slam-dunk investment for Idol to make than the somewhat dated "As Long As You Love Me." (Especially considering Caleb had a few rare off-key moments while singing the tune during Tuesday's show.) Then again, I still see lines around the block for Rock of Ages, so maybe I'm underestimating what audiences really want.
Caleb Will Win... Because He Scored The Pimp Spot
Not only from standing ovations and Twitter, but the contestant also had the benefit of going last during part 1 of Idol's finale. And, especially during the Idol finale, that momentum matters. Let's not forget — Caleb's performance strength is his flashiness. Riling up voters minutes before the episode ends? That's a sure-fire way to make viewers forget the competition, no matter how good she is.
Jena Will Win... Because She Has the Contestants' Support
Caleb might have the judges, but Jena has the contestants.
Caleb Will Win... Because He Has the Contestants' Support
Okay, so does Caleb.
Emily Piriz took the words right out of our mouths.
What to do, fellow Idol fans?
Image: Michael Becker/FOX; American Idol/Tumblr (3)