Sanjaya! Oh, sorry. As for Blake, who? I have only two words: Taylor Hicks, the Brian Dunkleman of winners, who is valet-parking somewhere in West Hollywood. Face it: Men have fared poorly in the AI cosmos, the biggest success to date being cultural oddity Clay Aiken - if he didn't exist, Martin Short would have created him - and even Clay came in second. Blake is just a full-figured Clay. Jor-Din has the big voice, the huge smile, the potential for one-name Fantasia status. She has acting and modeling possibilities, while offering the appeal of being the youngest winner and only progeny of a former NFL cornerback.
Karen Heller, columnist
Blakerati are readying their nimble fingers to win it for their Puget Sound boy, the only Idol contestant with a speck of originality, though he has not lately shown enough of his earlier Hard Day's Night off-kilter vibe. Will have to return to his catchy "You Give Luh-luh-luh-love . . . a Bad Name" - oh, wait, that's my cell phone - form to hold off the towering Jordin Sparks.
Amy S. Rosenberg, staff writer
In the battle between the beat-box and the chatterbox. I'm nearly neutral. I've been astonished at how often the judges have called Blake "fresh" or "a rebel." He sounds to me like a stale version of the Fat Boys. Jordin has real talent, but she still hasn't put together a lights-out performance on the Idol stage. And that's a concern. Judging by the online buzz, I'm going with Blake, but as my colleagues are fond of reminding me, I haven't been right yet. So take it with a grain of salt.
David Hiltbrand, TV editor
That ingratiating lightweight, Blake Lewis, will win because he's a slick, inoffensive song-and-dance man, and because as a mildly talented beat-boxing white guy who lightly spices his pop/R&B interpretations with the slightest dash of hip-hop flava, he has the broadest appeal.
Dan DeLuca, music critic
Blake dresses like a geek and makes the same noises I made as a toddler, pulling my little wooden choo-choo train around the rec room. The judges go ga-ga over his "freshness," and I just scratch my head. So he should win easily.
Jonathan Storm, TV critic
I don't really care as long as Ryan Seacrest gets kicked off. But if I have to pick, I'll say Blake wins. I could say it's because he'll get the 7-year-old-girl and 70-year-old-grandma vote (the show's core audiences), but that's pseudo-analysis. It's really just a hunch.
Peter Mucha, philly.com