Let's face it: "American Idol" is broken. Season 12, which ends with a two-part finale starting Wednesday night, was often painful to watch, and ratings fell more than 20 percent from last season, which already had ratings issues. Randy Jackson, the only original judge remaining, announced last week that he will leave, and rumors abound that all the other judges and some other execs will get the heave-ho.
The bigger surprise? All this season 12 dysfunction actually yielded two very strong finalists in Candice Glover and Kree Harrison. And, for the first time in years, it might actually be a tight race.
Here's how they stack up:
St. Helena Island, S.C.
Glover has a strong, expressive voice and an impressive range that allows her to smoothly incorporate jazzy runs without losing her R&B footing.
Sometimes, the runs get away from her, especially when she's not sure of the material. Also, is "Idol" nation really going to wildly vote for a jazz-leaning R&B singer?
"Lovesong" during "Songs I Wish I Wrote Week." Her jazzy interpretation of The Cure classic ended with a stunning, controlled run.
FOR A VICTORY
She needs huge moments like last week's "Somewhere" on every song.
ODDS OF WINNING
HOMETOWN Woodville, Texas
PROS Harrison pairs her powerful country voice with a laid-back, authentic style that's easy to like and will be popular whether she wins or not.
CONS In recent weeks, she looked like she was running out of steam.
BIG MOMENT "Stronger" from Top 20 Week. When she knocked Faith Hill's anthem out of the park, she set herself up as the front-runner.
FAVORITE SINGER Patsy Cline
FOR A VICTORY She has to focus and look like she wants to win.
ODDS OF WINNING Even
WHEN | WHERE
8 Wednesday night and Thursday night, Fox/5
Weak season ends with strong finalists.