And then there were two. After Angie Miller’s shocking elimination last week, it all comes down to Kree Harrison and Candice Glover, two of the best singers of season 12. They performed three songs each last night: Simon Fuller’s Choice, Coronation Singles and Favorite Performances.

American Idol Finale Recap: Candice Glover or Kree Harrison? >>>

Once all was said and done, one thing became extremely clear. Well, actually two things. One, this may be one of the closest finales in the history of American Idol. And two, Kree and Candice (who aren’t established artists yet, it needs to be noted) both outperformed the “Call Me Maybe” singer, Carly Rae Jepsen.

But putting that strange performance aside, who will take home the crown? Let’s run through each contestant’s chances of hearing their name be called out tonight:

Kree Harrison

I’ll admit that I wasn’t on the Kreedom train when the competition started. It took me two or three weeks to finally get why everyone loved her. And once I did, I was rooting for her to win. And logically speaking, it’s pretty easy to make the case for her. She’s not only a country singer, but she has that pop/country crossover appeal that can work in her favor in her career. Country music has been represented well on Idol over the years, with two country singers having won (Carrie Underwood and Scotty McCreery), and some of the others have found success, albeit on a smaller scale (Kellie Pickler among them). This genre seems to go over well with viewers. (And it’s no wonder why they hired Keith Urban as a judge.)

We fully know who Kree is as an artist. Even when she’s not performing a country song, we can still hear that country twang come through. There’s no question who she is, and she doesn’t compromise that. If you look at past winners, you can usually tell what kind of music they want to make post-Idol. When a contestant is already defined, viewers a lot of times tend to reward that in the voting. Not that Candice doesn’t know who she is as an artist, but I’ll get to that later.

And just because Candice won the night doesn’t automatically make her the winner, because if we did go by that standard, then Clay Aiken, Crystal Bowersox and Lauren Alaina would have won.

Outside of the music, there’s also the fact that Kree is now the underdog. She was the frontrunner for many weeks, but then she started to falter at around the same time that Angie was gaining momentum. And people love to support underdogs. That status, along with her sob story that her parents died when she was young, could help propel her just enough to win. I think it’s pretty obvious that Kree made it to the finals over Angie because she emotionally talked about those tragedies in her hometown visit video. I don’t remember it being brought up last night, but if voters still have it fresh in their minds, that could be all she needs.

Finally, there’s the Kristy Lee Cook conspiracy theory. I won’t get into it too deeply. (You can read a detailed explanation here — there’s other superstitions you can find there that also favor Kree.) But the basic logic behind this is that every winner since the year Kristy was on has had a part of her name in their names. In the case of Kree: Kr(isty L)ee.

American Idol: FOX on What Went Wrong with Season 12 and “Fresh Twists” for Next Year >>>

Candice Glover

Whereas Kree started out as a frontrunner and faltered halfway through the competition, Candice has maintained strong consistency. I don’t think she’s ever had a bad performance. Or even if she had a weaker one, it probably wasn’t anywhere near the worst of the night. Not only does she maintain that steadiness, but all of a sudden she whips out a killer performance that blows the rest of her competitors out of the running. Whether it’s “Lovesong,” “Straight Up,” “Somewhere” or last night’s reprise of “I (Who Have Nothing),” she continues to impress week after week. That’s got to count for something, right?

While not always an indicator, last night Candice had the pimp spot on the most important night of the competition. Kree won the coin toss, but opted to perform first — really, Kree? Who in their right mind would not want to give themselves a possible advantage? In the past 11 seasons, eight of the winners ended up performing last on the final night. That’s a huge margin. All of the female winners were in that boat, so the case can certainly be made for Candice winning.

Even though Kree is more marketable because of her genre, there’s an interesting opportunity here with Candice. She’s no doubt of the best singers to ever compete on American Idol. I kind of liken her to Jennifer Hudson. And while it seems obvious that music producers are going to steer her in the direction of R&B, the better angle to look at would be Adele. She’s done two Adele songs already, and there’s a part of her that seems really suited to Adele’s musical style. With the right producers and the right songs, she has the potential to do well. And she has a better chance of being able to do that if she wins.

The better singer doesn’t always win. A lot of times, it comes down to who has the stronger fan base or which genre the singer is in or other similar situations. But in this case, shouldn’t the strong performer win? If so, that would be Candice. And it’s not just in the voice. We believe the words she’s singing. There’s depth and emotion and passion in what she delivers on that stage.

Who Will Win Season 12?

I really don’t want to make a prediction. For the first time ever (except maybe Ruben vs. Clay), I have no idea who’s going to win. We knew Kelly Clarkson, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery and Phillip Phillips were all going to win; it was pretty clear-cut in those cases. But with Kree vs. Candice, this really is a strong and exciting match-up because it’s not obvious. There’s suspense in tonight’s results that we haven’t seen in quite a while, which livens up the show after a season full of predictable outcomes.

If I made a prediction subjectively (and based on who who should win), I’ll side with Candice. She deserves it, and proved that after again nailing “I (Who Have Nothing).” But if I go with logic and take the history of this show into account, I have to predict that Kree Harrison will win. Even taking gender out of the equation (since the past several years have seen guys win, which won’t be the case this time), she fits the mold of who usually ends up triumphant.

Winner Prediction: Kree Harrison

I will note that I’m not making this prediction with 100% certainty. I’m not confident in this decision because I could see either one winning. And I’ll be fine with the results, no matter if it’s Kree or Candice, because they’re two of my three favorite singers this year. If Candice’s name is called out, we’ll all be excited. And if it’s Kree, I’m sure a lot of people will be disappointed, but at the same time, it’s an expected outcome and she also deserves it.

Before tonight’s finale, check out the live red carpet pre-show:

Who do you think will win season 12? And is your prediction different than who should win? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jeff Dodge

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jeff Dodge, a graduate of Western Washington University, has been a TV news editor for many years and has had the chance to interview multiple reality show stars, including Randy Jackson, Nick Cannon, Heidi Klum, Mel B and John Cena.