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American Idol Season 17 Finale Preview: Who Will Win? And Who Should Win?

American Idol Finale

Alejandro Aranda, Laine Hardy and Madison VanDenburg will take the American Idol stage one last time on Sunday (ABC, 8/7c) to sing for your votes — but until those lights are dimmed, it’s still anyone’s game. All three finalists have proven themselves to be fan favorites this season, effortlessly sailing through week after week, but you can only rest on your yannis for so long.

Were it up me, I’d hand the victory to Aranda, who I believe has the most potential as an artist to put out interesting music. Between his studio-ready originals and reinterpretations of classic jams, he’s almost single-handedly responsible for keeping this season exciting, especially in the past few weeks. My second-place pick would be VanDenburg, irrefutably the most talented vocalist of the trio. Though I initially scoffed at the judges’ insistence on comparing her to Kelly Clarkson, I get it — she’s a vocal powerhouse, especially for someone so young. And then there’s Hardy, who’s a perfectly nice young man, yet has inexplicably remained in this competition despite showing neither growth nor any proof that he’s taking the judges’ (admittedly weak) criticism to heart. In my world, he can sit pretty in third place.

That said, I know this isn’t my world. This is the world in which the judges “surprised” us by bringing Hardy back to the competition in the first place. This is the world where viewers (and voters) have eaten up every mediocre meal he’s served us like it was a Thanksgiving feast. So much to my dismay, I think it’s probably safe to hand the victory to Hardy. I’ve seen too many Idol finales to delude myself into thinking that the best all-around artist will win.

But enough from me. Which of American Idol’s final three do you expect to win it all? And which singer deserves to win, regardless of how America decides to vote? Weigh in via our polls below, then drop a comment with more of your thoughts.