Adam Lambert, Kris Allen, Kimberly Caldwell inset
During these final weeks of American Idol, as each sing-off signed off, TVGuide.com has checked in with TV Guide Network hosts/Idol alums Kimberly Caldwell and Justin Guarini to get their particularly qualified takes on who soared, who stumbled, and which judges' review most rang true.
For this final week, Caldwell weighs in on finalists Adam Lambert and Kris Allen and whether this season could turn out to deliver one of the closest votes ever.
TVGuide.com: Kris chose to sing second; what's the strategy there — don't let Adam's "wow" factor linger in the air?
Kimberly Caldwell: I think it was a great strategy because the last person to perform on the show is normally the one that really sticks in your head! Also, if some of the audience was tuning in late then they definitely got to still see Kris.
TVGuide.com: Did either of the guys' own song choices surprise you? Did you predict, perhaps, anything different for either?
Caldwell: I thought they were both brilliant song choices. "Mad World" is the performance of Adam's that everybody is still talking about today, and I think he nailed it. But Kris really showed that he was ready to fight in the first round with "Ain't No Sunshine." He knew had to represent — and he did!
TVGuide.com: Yeah, Kris came out swinging with "Sunshine." Would you give Round 1 of the night to him?
Caldwell: Round 1 goes to Kris!
TVGuide.com: Conversely, would you give Adam the edge for Round 2?
Caldwell: Adam is a true professional and showed that his previous stage experience has really paid off, so yes, I think he took Round 2.
TVGuide.com: On paper, who do you think the song Kara wrote, "No Boundaries," was a better fit for? And Danny Gokey isn't an acceptable answer in this instance!
Caldwell: Adam's range is genius and unbelievable at times, so I think the song suited him better. Kris definitely doesn't have Adam's range, but it doesn't make him any less credible. But I was really hoping that the [final] songs would have been specifically written for each individual artist.
TVGuide.com: All told, did this final sing-off wind up closer than you anticipated?
Caldwell: I think the votes are going to be closer than we all anticipated. Adam has been a front-runner since the beginning of this competition and Kris had been the underdog, but Kris has grown tremendously. They are both superstars at this point.
TVGuide.com: What was your singular fave performance of the night?
Caldwell: Adam's final performances really had a lot of emotion, and he seemed like he was giving it all he had. I know they are both exhausted at this point, and they really stepped up as true artists tonight.
TVGuide.com: The audience for this final performance night was particularly star-studded. Who were you most star-struck to see in the crowd?
Caldwell: I love seeing all my old American Idol friends. It's like a family reunion! Go Ruben!
TVGuide.com: And how nice of Ryan Seacrest to remind us that Wednesday's results show will run long!
Caldwell: Set those TiVos!
TVGuide.com: Before we go, have you heard any rumors about Wednesday night duets or special performances? Anything you can tease?
Caldwell: I heard a rumor that not only are former American Idol finalists performing but possibly Black Eyed Peas, Cyndi Lauper, Queen Latifah ... and even Steve Martin!? We will have to see if the rumors are true! Hope so!
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Tune into TV Guide Network's Idol Tonight: Live at the Finale Wednesday, May 20, at 6 pm/ET, and Idol Tonight: Fantastic Finish on Thursday, May 21, at 8 pm, with co-hosts Kimberly Caldwell and Justin Guarini. Plus get more on your favorite Idols every Friday with American Idol Rewind at 7 pm.