*For the tens of you who watched “American Idol” this season, in-house mentor Randy Jackson is weighing in on the final two contestants before America’s choice is revealed tonight.
“It’s a dual to the finish,” he said of power rocker Caleb Johnson and teen Jena Irene, the first female wild-card pick to make it this far. “This is what we love, this is what you hope for all season. You’ve got two great, talented singers slugging it out.”
As for who he thinks will win, Randy said, “I think it’s anyone’s to call. I thought from the beginning of the season that it would come down to these two, and I’m happy that it has. I think these two are the most prepared.”
Each finalist sang three songs during Tuesday’s live finale at the Nokia Theatre: a pick from “Idol” creator Simon Fuller, a contestant’s choice and the original song that would become the champ’s debut single.
Round 1 saw Jena belt “Dog Days Are Over,” impressing Keith Urban. But Caleb had Urban and Jennifer Lopez out of their seats and performing Fuller’s selection of “Dream On.”
In Round 2, Irene chose “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” the Elvis Presley classic that had Lopez teary eyed and rushing the stage several weeks ago. The song again gave her “goosies.” Johnson decided to again sing “Maybe I’m Amazed,” which Harry Connick, Jr. originally called “phenomenal,” but the judges weren’t so amazed this time around, saying it lacked passion.
Irene’s original song for Round 3, “We Are One,” was an up-tempo pop-dance tune that Urban “loved” and said was “perfect” for her, while Connick stated it was “just as strong as when you did it in the studio.”
Johnson’s original single, “As Long as You Love Me,” was a rock song that had Connick comparing the two singers to Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali, saying it was “a puncher vs. a boxer.”
“I’m dying to see what happens tomorrow night,” said Urban, while Lopez concluded, “Good luck, America!”
Below, Randy tells us his favorite final performances:
Below, Randy’s favorites: