Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene
American Idol just hosted its final showdown of the season.
On Tuesday night, the Fox reality show held its final performance episode of the season, and judges Keith Urban, Harry Connick Jr. and Jennifer Lopez dressed up for the occasion. Well, Keith at least put on a blazer over his traditional t-shirt. (Check out his recent Tonight Show appearance here.)
Fall TV day-by-day schedule
Will "sleeper" Jena or rock 'n' roll Viking Caleb take home the Season 13 crown? According to a TVGuide.com poll, fans are pretty evenly split between the two strong performers. For their last bid for superstardom, the competitors performed three songs, which fall into the following categories: a song chosen by Idol creator Simon Fuller, contestant's choice and the single they'll release if they win.
Check out our take on their final performances below:
ROUND 1: Simon Fuller's choice
Jena's song: "Dog Days Are Over" by Florence + the Machine
The performance: Jena's voice is a good choice to achieve the strength and vocal acrobatics the song requires. She's high energy -- almost too high energy at moments when she can't quite keep up with the singing. Get some cardio, girl! But she works the stage like a pro and makes it enjoyable.
The judges say: Keith compares her to a Kentucky Derby jockey and says that she had a few breath issues because of the adrenaline. Jen says Jena had a "good start." Harry calls it "fantastic," points out she has great internal tempo and hopes she puts this cover on her future record.
Caleb's song: "Dream On" by Aerosmith
The performance: It's a smart choice because Caleb seems to excel at bringing out his more unique aspects when it comes to songs that have ballad elements. He holds back from the over-the-top moments and actually emotes. He gives us everything we want with that one falsetto portion. He kills it.
The judges say: J.Lo says "that's what you got to do" and says that the song choice may have given him the win. Harry cautions Caleb to infuse his crazy power vocals into the lower and intense portions of the song. Keith thinks that Caleb did a good, dynamic arc.
Fall TV Preview: Get the scoop on all the new fall shows
ROUND 2: Contestant's favorite song of the season
Jena's song: "I Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley
The performance: This is a smart choice by Jena, who gets to show her versatility to show her softer side as she plays piano. It's mature and arresting all at once. We bet Jennifer got goosies.
The judges say: Harry says he can clearly hear the influence of other artists in this rendition, but that Jena still did a unique and beautiful take on it. Keith says that she's a leader, trailblazer and pioneer, which is the mark of a true artist. Jen indeed admits to getting the goosies from this performance. She calls it overwhelming.
Caleb's song: "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney
The performance: Well, well, well. Caleb has entered the fray with his own long song, but he keeps it upbeat and stays on his feet. It's a good but not amazing performance.
The judges say: Keith says that Caleb got a bit caught up in vocal acrobatics. Jen says that he sounded amazing, but lacked a little heart. Harry pulls out several boxing analogies, but in the end says he thinks Round 2 went to Jena.
ROUND 3: Winner's single
Jena's song: "We Are One"
The performance: It's always a difficult thing to perform an unknown song, and sometimes it doesn't feel fair if one person gets the better song. Jena does as well as she can by working the crowd and dancing as she sings, but the melody doesn't seem to do anything to capitalize on her unique vocal abilities or energy. She brings it home at the end to add a few of the flourishes she's known for. Overall good, but not the song we'd like from her.
The judges say: Jen says the song suited her, and Keith and Harry agree, calling it "perfect" for her. Maybe they heard a different song than we did?
Caleb's song: "As Long As You Love Me"
The performance: This song feels much more like a Caleb song (throwback rock song) than the last one did for Jena. It definitely has more of an arc, but we're kind of disappointed in the finish. No crazy big note?
The judges say: Harry again brings out the boxing analogies (Caleb is Joe Frazier, Jena is Muhammad Ali). Keith says they both did great. Jen says he just made it a tough night for everybody.
We think Caleb took home Round 1, but Jena balanced the scales with her Round 2 ballad. Round 3 is up in the air as far as we're concerned.
Who do you think performed the best? Who should win?
American Idol airs Wednesday at 8/7c on Fox to announce its Season 13 winner.