With less than 48 hours until Ryan Seacrest announces who the penultimate winner of American Idol will be, is it obvious who will be competing for the title during Part 1 of the season 14 finale? Clark Beckham has been the frontrunner all season long, but with Nick Fradiani's rise in recent weeks, could he bump Clark out of the running? And is Jax the only one pretty much assured a spot in the Top 2 or will it be an all-boys finale? Let's take a look at the three contestants' chances of sticking around one final time or falling short before the final votes can even be cast.
Jax is my favorite contestant this season. So for me personally, I would obviously love to see her in the Top 2 competing for the title. She's much more interesting than the guys, that's for sure. There's so much I could say about all of them looking back over the season, but let's focus on the performances from the previous week.
Jax came out during Round 1 -- Scott Borchetta's Choice -- and she livened up the place after some bland performances before her. She actually brought some excitement to the stage. Now, while she did great at the start, it wasn't until she came back out for Round 2 -- Hometown Dedications -- that she truly shined. "My Immortal" was the performance of the night (or at least in the top two, depending on your preference). It was beautiful, intimate, captivating, I could go on and on.
If only that had been her final performance of the night. Instead, she finished off her set with "Misery Business" -- the judges didn't like it and I have a feeling viewers/voters didn't really care for it all that much either. Before this, I would say for sure she's making the finals. But that final performance has left things a little up in the air. I just hope voters had "My Immortal" in their minds when voting.
As I've said, Clark has been the frontrunner for weeks now. What's standing in his way of making it into the Top 2 is a singer that goes by the name of Nick Fradiani. Nick is a true underdog story. For his three songs, he started off with a fairly good performance, though his vocals weren't always the best.
But it was his Round 2 performance that really stood out to me. I'm not familiar with "Back Home," but I already love it after hearing his cover -- it was a lot of fun to listen to.
And finally, he closed out the night with "I'll Be." Okay, I'll be honest: while it's a good song, this was one of the most bland, boring and safe choices he could have gone with. His voice was better than the song choice.
Nick did get the pimp spot, and that, combined with his rise in recent weeks, could be enough to lift him into the Top 2.
That leaves us with Clark Beckham. In a way, it's hard to grasp what his chances might be right now. But looking at his set, Scott Borchetta went the safe route in choosing "Beautiful Day" for Clark, and it was nothing special. His second song, "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" was another safe choice (and one that I wish would be retired from all singing competition shows). Having said that, this was much better than what he offered in the first round.
Because of the kind of night Clark was having, he needed his final performance to stand out big time. And he delivered. "Earned It" is an appropriate title because if he's in the Top 2, he will have earned it. That was one of the best performances of the episode.
Clark Beckham: Despite Jax's stumble at the end of the night, I am going to predict that she will be in the Top 2. If that's the case, it's down to Nick and Clark. While each of them has their own musical style, they could end up splitting the votes, resulting in Jax advancing and only one of the guys making it. And I am predicting that the male singer on the losing end of that vote-splitting will be Clark.
I could easily see any one of these three singers going home. But Clark does have some things working against him. One, he hasn't always been on-point lately. At times, he really comes out swinging, like on "Earned It." And then other times, he disappoints and many wonder why he has a chance at winning.
I personally want to see a Clark/Jax finale. And while everything in me is gravitating toward sending Nick home because of that, I am going to move away from that feeling and say it'll be a Nick/Jax finale.
A couple final thoughts about the predictions: I did some research looking back at the performance order of the Top 3 to see if there are any trends in who goes home. Most of the third-place finishers performed first, and most of the eventual winners performed last in this round. Like with season 12, they've changed up the order this season of when everyone performs each time they hit the stage. Just looking at the final round of performances in season 12's Top 3, Angie Miller performed first and was sent home, whereas Candice sang last and won the following week. For the Judges' Choice performances last week, Clark sang first and Nick went last. Could we see a repeat happening, with Clark going home? We shall see.
Finally, if my prediction is wrong and Clark makes it, it's a safe bet that he will end up winning because whenever a contestant from the South or Midwest competes against someone from another part of the country, the former always wins. But Clark has to earn one of those two coveted spots before we can start declaring any victories just yet.
Who do you predict will be in the Top 2? Will Clark's season-long frontrunner status carry him into the finale? Or do you believe Nick has done enough to knock him out of the competition? Will it be an all-male finals or is Jax a sure bet for the Top 2? Share your predictions in the comments section below.
The two-part American Idol season 14 finale airs Tuesday at 9pm and Wednesday at 8pm on FOX.