The battle for the title of American Idol all comes down to the acoustic rocker vs. the glam rocker, the guy next door vs. the guyliner, Kris Allen vs. Adam Lambert.
It was such a special occasion that Simon even dressed up, leaving his peck-hugging T-shirt at home and opting for a button down and blazer.
The final two contestants sang three songs last night: their favorite from the season, one chosen by creator of Idol, Simon Fuller, and a song written by Kara DioGuardi.
Adam chose “Mad World” as his favorite, which was without a doubt his most touching performance from the competition. Maybe it was the long black trench coat or eerie fog and lighting, but the second time around lacked the same magic. Paula called it “haunting,” but Simon had a more accurate description – an over-theatrical performance of Phantom of the Opera.
Kris picked “Ain’t No Sunshine.” A good choice, but “Heartless” or “She Works Hard for the Money” may have been a bit more memorable.
The winner of Round One: Kris
Simon Fuller chose “Change is Gonna Come” for Adam, who looked much better playing a crooner in a steel grey suit then as an ax murderer. Adam’s parents revealed in a video clip that as a child he would scream for hours. This isn’t shocking, as once again he bellowed his way through the song, adding dramatic facial contortions for affect.
Kris Allen sang Fuller’s choice, “What’s Going on,” and the judges added “socially conscious” to his growing list of pleasantries. While the song was well delivered, it wasn’t a wowing finale performance.
Simon called the winner of Round Two: Adam
With the last round up for grabs, it was left to Kara’s song “No Boundaries” to pull one of the contestants into winning territory. She failed miserably.
If it’s anyone who should go home tonight it’s Kara. Aside from the overly cheesy lyrics, the song was out of range for both of the guys and amounted to the worst performance either Adam or Kris has had during the course of the competition.
In a shocking effort not to be rude to Kara, Simon didn’t criticize Adam and Kris’ performance of the song and left round three hanging.
Who will it be? Ultimately the core difference between the two contestants comes down to their answers to Ryan’s question “Do you think you have done enough to win?”
Adam answered with an emphatic yes, while Kris gave a wry smile and said he came out to put on a good show, but who knows what the audience will decide.
So who is it, America? The confident, put-on-a-show character or humble, All-American boy?
Be sure to set your DVR a little over tonight, Ryan warned, as the show is expected to run longer that the two hours allotted.