1. It’s exciting.
2. It is a major annual showcase for the music industry. Last year, our own Tony Bennett sang Irving Berlin with contestant Haley Reinhardt. Gladys Knight, Kirk Franklin and a gospel choir teamed with Jacob Lusk. Tom Jones, Lady Gaga, Tim McGraw, Judas Priest and even Jack Black performed numbers with the best of the “Idol” contestants. The eclectic two-hour extravaganza had something for practically everyone. How ever can they top that?
3. Jennifer Lopez told Ellen DeGeneres she’s thinking of leaving the show. Not only might the finale be the last chance to see the fabulous J. Lo in “Idol” action, the occasion also affords viewers the opportunity to ruminate upon who should replace her. (Stevie Nicks’ name is among those being tossed around.)
4. The competition itself. What a wealth of talent – in newly-departed third place finisher Joshua Ledet alone. Will the new “American Idol” be lovely Jessica Sanchez, the 16-year-old Southern California girl with the winning smile, the wondrous voice and the stage presence beyond her years? Or will it be Georgia’s own 21-year-old Phillip Phillips (above), the new TV crush of vast legions of “Idol” voters? His gifts include his musicality, his charm, a style that’s all his own, and the ability to divide the audience, for and against him. Even in my own family, there is a Phillip Phillips schism. While I think he’s cute as can be, my daughter finds him irritating and thinks other contestants were more deserving. Weigh in on the controversy as Phillip and Jessica perform Tuesday night (5/22) for America’s final votes before Wednesday’s (5/23) two-hour finish on Fox.