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'American Idol' recap: Jena Irene will probably win

"American Idol" season 13's final 2: Caleb Johnson

"American Idol" season 13's final 2: Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene on Thursday, May 15, 2014. (Credit: Fox / Michael Becker)

The race for the next “American Idol” is going to be a tight one.

It’s not like either Jena Irene or Caleb Johnson dominated the final performance night. And since there isn’t really a demographic difference that gives one of them an edge, it really is up for grabs.

Jena Irene took two of the three rounds, though not by big margins. And sales would suggest that she is ahead since her “victory” single “We Are One” is the only one that charted on iTunes -- at a lowly No. 77, currently. (Compare that to “The Voice,” which occupied half of the iTunes Top 10 Tuesday after its final performance show.) However, history favors “Idol” contestants from the South -- 8 of the 12 previous winners have come from the South, including two from North Carolina, where Caleb hails from.

PHOTOS: Finals Semifinals | Auditions | 'Idol' judges past and present | Winners and finalists | Where are they now?

Voting continues until 1 p.m.


ROUND 1: SIMON FULLER PICK The creator of “American Idol” chooses what the finalists sing.

Jena Irene, “Dog Days Are Over”: Jena tries to give herself a catch phrase in the middle of the Florence and The Machine hit, an ill-advised “LET’S GO AMERICA!” delivered in an odd scream voice. She does OK, but nerves get the best of her. “There were a few issues with breath control,” Keith Urban said. However, Jennifer Lopez said, “It was a really good start.”

Caleb Johnson, “Dream On”: This is a perfect fit for Caleb, allowing him to show off his power, nailing the high notes at the top of the Aerosmith song and getting Lopez and Urban to their feet. “That’s what you gotta do,” Lopez said. “This is the finale. This is it . . . You gotta carpe diem.”



ROUND TWO: Contestants pick

Jena Irene, “Can’t Help Falling in Love”: She did a lovely job of reworking the Elvis Presley classic, keeping the arrangement simple and letting her powerful voice sound pretty and vulnerable. Urban refers to Christina Grimmie’s version of the song on “The Voice,” though not by name, calling Jena a leader. “It’s overwhelming when you do that song,” Lopez said. “It makes me feel things. It makes me do things I’ve never done before.”

Caleb Johnson, “Maybe I’m Amazed”: His take on the Paul McCartney classic wasn’t quite as emotional as the first time he did it. It was good, but not great, which the judges picked up on immediately. “Your power is so undeniable,” Lopez said. “When that soul comes through, that’s the thing that gives the goosies.” Harry Connick Jr. and Lopez gave the first round to Caleb and the second to Jena, while Urban said Caleb won Round One and they tied in Round Two.



ROUND THREE: Victory single

Jena Irene, “We Are One”: Her song choice was good, reminiscent of Of Monsters and Men, sounding both poppy and slightly alternative. She did a good job with it and that may be enough. “It suited you,” Lopez said. “I think it was a nice finish to the show.”

Caleb Johnson, “As Long As You Love Me”: This song is a mess and Caleb may have lost by choosing it. He sounded good in parts, but as a whole the melody just didn’t fit together. “It’s insane, I am dying to see what happen tomorrow,” Urban said. “Good luck, America,” Lopez said.






Tags: american idol , jena irene , caleb johnson , american idol winner , american idol season 13


Who do you think will win 'American Idol'?

Jena Irene Caleb Johnson

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