I've beaten the drum for Blake Lewis before, but after Tuesday's show, it's hard to imagine anyone but Jordin Sparks walking away with the next "American Idol" crown. Try to remember being 17, if that age is in your rearview mirror. Now try to imagine a talent or skill that you had in which you could go up again adults with more than a decade of experience. Imagine standing toe-to-toe with them, as well as with professionals in that field, week after week with millions watching you, grading your performance, your looks, even your nervousness.
I don't know too many 17-year-olds who could pull that off. Yet even when her fellow teen, Sanjaya Malakar, was making the news for his outlandish hairstyles and the disproportionate amount of attention he received, Jordin just stood back and kept pace with pros like Melinda Doolittle.
Simon Cowell said it repeatedly in the final performance show: Blake, with his beatboxing, his creative takes on songs, and his engaging manner, was the best performer of this "American Idol" season. And although Melinda Doolittle had an awesome voice, Jordin's vocals soared and she also had a personality to match her last name. It's been said over and over that while the show is supposed to be a singing competition, popularity and personality and performance all come into play. Jordin, at her tender age, combines more of those three than any other singer who took the "Idol" stage this year -- and yes, that includes you, Sanjaya.
Should she become the youngest-ever "American Idol" on Wednesday night, it will be truly deserved.