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AMERICAN IDOL Preview: IDOL Needs a Mount Rushmore Champion

Related: American Idol, Caleb Johnson, Jena Irene
AMERICAN IDOL Preview: IDOL Needs a Mount Rushmore Champion

Tonight American Idol airs the competition half of its Season XIII Finale at 8pm on FOX. Old-school rocker Caleb Johnson squares off against the dynamic 17-year-old, Jena Irene. As those of you whom have been following my recaps all season know, this is the duo whom I have long believed deserved the season's final two spots. While last week my allegiance to Caleb wavered, with his horrific vocally "damaged" performance coming on the heels of his offensive post show rant, he still has had a far more consistent and professional season than Alex has, so it is ultimately right that he is here alongside Jena, destined to be the Bo Bice to her Carrie Underwood.

No matter what happens in tonight's performances, Jena not only deserves to be crowned this season's champ, but IDOL needs her to be crowned this season's champ. It is no secret that the once indomitable singing competition has taken an unceremonious dive in the ratings in recent years. While the show's total numbers are respectable in this proliferated entertainment environment, if the show is ever to reclaim even a piece to its previous status as a cultural touchstone, it needs to again produce a star that reminds America of the show's power.

While I believe Alex Preston, who was eliminated in third place last week, will have a solid music career, he is not the type of entertainer that inspires legions of screaming fans. Likewise, Caleb doesn't fit the traditional superstar mold. Though he told Harry Connick Jr. last week that his album will be comprised of original rock tunes, Caleb seems to be stuck in a previous decade. His performances, his wardrobe, his hair all seem to be holding on to the era where classic rock was king. While IDOL has produced a number of rock stars throughout the years (Chris Daughtry and Adam Lambert in particular), they all have had a much more modern sensibility to them. As evidence, on Wednesday night's results show, while Alex will be playing with Jason Mraz and Jena with Paramore, Caleb will be singing with "the hottest band in the land" KISS.

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