Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Jordin Beats the Plaid Pants Off Blake With Ballad

It took a Chihuahua to topple "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul, who broke her nose over the weekend when she fell while trying to avoid stepping on her dog. But it was this year’s treacly coronation song that tripped up Idol finalist Blake Lewis just as badly.

Lewis and Jordin Sparks, the show's two remaining contestants, were at the top of their game for most of the evening on part one of show's season finale. Lewis won the coin toss to decide who would sing first, but in a moment of gallantry, offered Sparks the opportunity to choose the slot she preferred, and she quickly opted to go last.

Judge Simon Cowell declared the first round Lewis' after he reprised Bon Jovi's "You Give Love a Bad Name" with his trademark beat-boxing, while Sparks sang Christina Aguilera's "Fighter." For round two, Lewis performed Maroon 5's "She Will Be Loved," and Sparks encored Martina McBride's "A Broken Wing."

But it was the final song that moved Sparks to the forefront and, more than likely, the Idol title. The two were each required to sing "This Is My Now," the winner of the American Idol Songwriter contest penned by Scott Krippayne and Jeff Peabody. The entry was a perfect fit for Sparks, who excels at ballads. Lewis, who has won acclaim as an entertainer rather than a great vocalist, suffered by comparison. The judges went easy on Lewis, but heaped unanimous and hearty praise on Sparks for the performance.

Also last night, Daughtry, the band headed by last season’s fourth-place finisher, Chris Daughtry, sang "Home," which has been featured this season during eliminated contestants' "journey video."

The winner of this year's competition will be announced on Wednesday's show, when three former champions -- Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Hicks -– are scheduled to perform.

More in the morning ...

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