Will it be the petite singer with a powerful voice or the folksy rocker who is easy on the eyes? Tune in to FOX tonight to find out!
Jennifer Lopez is right. American Idol's final two contenders are like a "battle of the opposites." On one side, you have Jessica Sanchez, the pretty teen pop singer with the big voice and the looks of a star. On the other, you have Phillip Phillips, the sexy, gravelly voiced singer-songwriter who's ready to accept Dave Matthews' folksy-rocker baton. It's no wonder that, during Tuesday night's final showdown to become season 11's Idol, J.Lo muttered, "How do you compare?"
That said, the 7,000-member studio audience seemed primed to coronate Phillips. After each of his first two songs, Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," and Billy Joel's "Movin' Out," the applause was deafening. And after his final song -- an original, rootsy ballad called "Home" that producers wrote specifically for him -- even the judges seemed ready to crown him right then and there.
"I loved the song!" cried a jazzed-up Randy Jackson. "I loved you! I loved the production! I loved the marching band, everything about that was perfect! I loved it!"
When Sanchez belted out beautiful versions of Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing" and Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli's "The Prayer," her impressive control over her magnificent voice was on full display. But when she tackled the song written for her, a generic power ballad called "Change Nothing," the 16-year-old appeared to lose some steam. Jackson's response to her song? "It was just OK."
So there's no doubt that Phillips has the edge in what Ryan Seacrest called "one of the tightest finale races in our history." The fact is, though, viewers are choosing between and apple and an orange here. And is that really fair? Sanchez would eat Phillips' lunch in a contest of raw vocal strength. But sometimes you feel like an orange, and sometimes you'd rather eat an apple.
On the other hand, who are we kidding? Both of these singers will be handed record contracts when the show ends. As everyone knows, you don't have to be an Idol to be an idol. Tune in for the final results show Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.