Michael Slezak
May 18, 2009 AT 07:50 PM EDT

Five months of unhealthy obsession, knuckle-damaging speed-texting, and forays into the disco, movie-soundtrack, and Rat Pack oeuvres has led us to this: This week’s two-night, four-hour-plus American Idol season 8 finale. Word on the street mjsbigblog is that Tuesday, the last two contestants standing will perform three songs apiece: The Idol “victory song” (possibly written by Kara DioGuardi); one track selected by producer Simon Fuller; and one “greatest hit” from earlier in the season (although I’m hoping Kris and Adam go the David Cook route and select a song we haven’t heard ’em do before). Let’s also hope Mr. Fuller doesn’t saddle Kris with an album cut from the Happy Feet soundtrack. After all, a level playing field should make for a totally awesome, wickedly entertaining finale between two very worthy vocalists. So without further ado, the final Power List of 2009:

1. Adam Lambert (Last Week No. 1): A season finale without Adam would have been like a bowl of cereal without the milk: Dry, strange, and hard to swallow. The glam rocker has provided some of season 8’s most scintillating moments — “Mad World,” “Black or White,” “Tracks of My Tears,” and “Slow Ride,” just to name a few — and he’s generated more buzz than any of his competitors. Top 3 week was not his strongest showing to date, however, and he needs to do what he does best for Tuesday’s finale performances: Rock the mic as if the audience had shown up for an Adam Lambert mini-concert, and not a reality TV showdown. Oh, also, it’d help if the sound mix didn’t play up the caterwauling backup singer who almost derailed “Cryin’.” (Just sayin’.) Still, even if Danny’s fanbase might trend toward Kris, the crown is Adam’s to lose, especially since his rabid fans haven’t forgotten the dreaded Bottom Two Incident of Rat Pack Week.

2. Kris Allen (Last Week No. 2): To continue our breakfast analogy (see above), Kris is like the Honey Bunches of Oats of the season 8 finale, bringing a crunchy, sweet, and universally appealing vibe to the proceedings. His Top 3 performance of “Heartless” was downright revelatory, adding to a powerful body of work that includes “She Works Hard for the Money,” “Falling Slowly,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.” That said, with his laid-back acoustic style, Kris doesn’t explode off the TV screen with the gale-force charisma of his outré, explosive competitor, and he’ll no doubt have to battle once again against the best efforts of Simon & Co. to downplay his innovative arrangements and strong, radio-ready voice. Definitely the underdog, but most folks would’ve bet against him getting past Danny Gokey last week, and we all saw how that worked out.


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More on ‘American Idol’:
EW.com’s American Idol HQ
‘American Idol’ recap: It’s Shock-Tale Hour!
‘Idol’ top 3 results: On the scene
‘Idol’: Gay-baiting banter? Again?!
‘American Idol’ recap: It’s Reigning Men!
‘Idol’ Cheat Sheet: The season so far…
‘Idol’: Season 8’s best and worst fashion
‘American Idol’: Season 8’s Greatest Hits!

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