American Idol: Why Jordin Sparks will win
It would be cynical to say that the performance episodes of American Idol don't matter at this point.  They do matter, just less than we'd like to believe.  The vast majority of American Idol voters have already made up their minds on who they will vote for next Tuesday evening.  What this means is simple: the winner of American Idol has, probably, already been decided.  We sure don't know who that winner is going to be, but there are some informed predictions that can be made.  Here is one:

Jordin Sparks will be your next American Idol.

How does that sound to everyone out there?  Jordin has been viewed as a serious contender since about mid season, when she began to show massive improvements from week to week.  Her voice is undeniably huge and has stunning maturity for a teenager. But, loyal Idol viewer, you do not need to be told about Jordin's attributes.  You've seen her perform every week.  Why, then, is she going to win?

Blake Lewis, despite making it to the final two, is a niche singer.  Not everyone likes  what he is doing up there, with the beat-boxing and unique arrangements.  Blake, in fact, completely puts off a subset of the population.  Viewers actively dislike him.  Jordin, on the other hand, is a safe pick.  She is perky, youthful, likable, inoffensive, etc.  She is difficult to hate.

Although we'd all like to think otherwise, gender does play a part in the American Idol voting.  In a sense, the singers have to battle it out with members of their own genre (which is also the reason Melinda Doolittle was eliminated).  Jordin had to take out Lakisha Jones and Melinda.  As much as you might like Chris Richardson and Phil Stacey, they're nothing compared to those two ladies.

Jordin, on top of all this, is simply a better singer.  And that has to count for something.

(This is all besides the fact that Blake probably doesn't even want to win American Idol...but that's a whole different column.)

For the other side of the debate, read:  Blake Lewis Will Win American Idol

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer