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Phillips, Sanchez face off on 'Idol' finale

Phillip Phillips

Phillip Phillips

Reader poll

Who will win "American Idol"?

  • Jessica Sanchez 61%
  • Phillip Phillips 35%
  • I don't watch and don't care 5%

191 total votes.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jessica Sanchez wishes she could've changed one thing about the "American Idol" finale: her final song.

The judges completely dismissed "Change Nothing," the lukewarm potential future single that failed to fully showcase the 16-year-old singer's vocal prowess during the Fox talent competition's final performance round Tuesday.

"Idol" judge Randy Jackson told the high school student from Chula Vista, Calif., that it "lacked pop flavor," while Steven Tyler declared that it wasn't "the proper song for you." Sanchez agreed, informing the panel that she wanted something more "urban."

"Definitely, when I make my record, if I ever do, it's going to be a lot more me," she said.

Phillip Phillips, her bluesy 21-year-old fellow finalist, had better luck with his potential future single selection, a slow tempo acoustic ditty titled "Home," which the judges said recalled artists like Fleet Foxes, Paul Simon and Mumford and Sons. At one point during Phillips' final performance, the guitar-playing pawn shop worker from Leesburg, Ga., was accompanied by a marching band.

It was a hit with the panel. Jackson beamed, "I love the song. I love you. I love the production. I love the marching band. Everything about that was perfect."

Sanchez fared better in the earlier rounds Tuesday evening. The panel declared that she won the first matchup featuring song selections by "Idol" overlord Simon Fuller, soaring with Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing," while Phillips delivered a consistent rendition of Ben E. King's "Stand by Me."

"It's like a battle of the opposites," said Jennifer Lopez. "How do you compare?"

The second round recalled the finalists' favorite previous "Idol" performances. Sanchez reprised "The Prayer" by Andrea Boccelli and Celine Dion from the Las Vegas solo round, and Phillips crooned "Movin' Out" from Billy Joel week. Lopez gave the bout to Phillip; Tyler said Sanchez took it; and Jackson declared it a "dead heat."

The winner with the most viewer votes will be crowned Wednesday.

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