We’re less than a week away from finding out who our next American Idol winner is. And after last night’s performances from the Top 3, is it a given who will be heading to the finals? Will it be Caleb vs. Jena, Jena vs. Alex or Caleb vs. Alex? All three are really talented, but who has the edge? Let’s break it down and see who did enough to stick around for the final week.

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Caleb Johnson

Caleb’s controversial remarks didn’t hurt him in the voting last week, most likely because only the diehard fans who follow Idol news online know about it. So if that can’t halt his Idol journey, will his health be what brings everything to a halt?

A lot of people online are saying that Caleb should be the one that heads home tonight. Among many diehard fans, it seems like his recent remarks were a turning point and more are now turned off by him than support him. While I do not make excuses whatsoever for what he said, I’m still judging these performances based on talent, and Caleb is one of the most talented singers this season. Almost every week, he’s come out and rocked the entire studio, providing exceptional and entertaining performances.

Looking at last night, though, his vocal issues definitely showed through, most notably on “Demons.” But even if he was 100% healthy, that was still the wrong song for him. “Never Tear Us Apart” had a couple spots that were off, but for the most part he was still great. And then came his reprise of “Dazed and Confused,” where he once again was in full-on rock mode (though, like with his first performance, a couple weak spots showed through).

The finals would certainly be far less entertaining without him, but will his health send him packing? Or will he receive sympathy votes? There probably will be some, but we’re at the stage in the competition now where everybody has their favorites and we’ll vote for them no matter what.

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Alex Preston

The final round where the Top 3 reprised past performances was obviously the strong round of the night since they were bringing back some of their best from the season. (I loved hearing Alex perform “Story of My Life” again.) But if you take that away and just focus on the new covers, Alex Preston was the winner with “Stay.” Who knew Alex could make a Rihanna song work for him? This was one of the standout moments of the night, but is it enough to get him to the finale?

Fortunately, his stronger performances were towards the end of the show, and he left one of the weakest performances out of anybody last night for the first round. “Pompeii” was not that good, to be honest. His voice was already off to begin with, and then once he started on the drums, he went even more downhill.

Alex became my favorite contestant all the way back to some of the early rounds in the season. And then over time, I added more favorites, like Caleb, Jessica and Jena. Because of this, I’d hate to see him go, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if that’s what happens tonight.

A week or so ago (maybe even longer than that), the consensus from a lot of people online was that once Jessica went home at the Top 4, then Alex would follow next, leaving us with a Caleb/Jena finale. There is a part of me that believes that will happen.

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Jena Irene

If anyone guaranteed their place in the finals last night, it was Jena’s reprise of one of the best performances of the season, “Creep.”

But let’s back up a moment: she started off with “Titanium,” which I was really excited about when Randy Jackson said he chose this song. Now, it wasn’t perfect. The beginning of the song is in a lower register, which as we know is her weakness. But once she was able to belt out those big power notes, she was golden.

Then in the middle round, Jena performed “Heart Attack.” And this was just okay. It’s not that she was bad or her voice was off or anything, it’s that the song itself was not her. I’m not sure if it was too pop-y, but it was her most forgettable performance of the night.

And that brings us back to “Creep.” In my notes, I wrote down that her vocals were both beautiful and haunting during this song. Just like the first time, she sounded absolutely amazing.

I’m sure I’ll say this next week if she’s here, but who would have thought Jena Irene would not only be in the Top 3, but also have a strong shot at the Top 2? I certainly didn’t. However, she’s proven herself over during the live shows that she deserved to be voted in by American instead of being relegated to a Wild Card spot during Rush Week. I’m amazed by her growth, from the start all the way to now. And after “Creep,” I would hate to see her head home before the finals.

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Who’s Going Home?

I’ve said before that all three of these finalists are my favorites. And it’s easy to make a case for each one of them to be in the Top 2. So no matter what happens, I’ll be disappointed, in a way.

Having said that, my elimination prediction this week goes to Alex Preston. Heading into this week, the conventional wisdom was that Alex would get cut next. And I’m still sticking by that sentiment. But I do so knowing that this is the toughest week yet in terms of making a prediction.

Now, there are a couple things working against Caleb, though. First — and this is the obvious — he’s got a vocal cord hemorrhage, which affected some of his performances. And the second is performance order. I looked back at the performance order for each season’s Top 3 week. And not counting last season (because the order changed for each round), the person who performed first went home 73% of the time. Those odds are not in Caleb’s favor.

So it looks like Jena’s in the best position to head to the finale. And it’ll either be Caleb or Alex joining her there.

What are your predictions for the Top 2? Will either Alex or Caleb be eliminated? Or will there be a shocker and it’s actually Jena? Take the poll below and let us know your thoughts and predictions in the comments section.

The American Idol Top 3 results show airs tonight at 9pm on FOX, with the two-part finale airing next Tuesday and Wednesday at 8pm.

(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.