To be perfectly frank, my projection from at least the 12, if not earlier, was a Blake-Melinda final. Jordin came on strong the last few weeks (wow, she’s only 17 doesn’t count in pop music), but if anything the final is okay.

The two most salable singers in the contest are Jordin and Blake. They’re in the finals. That makes sense. As I told a Help Web publisher tonight, everyone watches the show, but it’s the under 35 crowd who votes. Sure, some may have thought Melinda was safe, but ultimately today’s audiences want Beyonce, not Tina Turner, much less a goody-goody Tina.

Jordin’s biggest disadvantage is the same thing. When asked about jamming with Sir Mix-A-Lot, Blake casually shrugged off the show saying they had played together before. Blake, like everyone else in the group every year, is not an amateur. He’s a local artist who does okay. Jordin is as close to amateur status as anyone.

But even were Jordin to win American Idol, her competition would no longer be Melinda Dolittle or Haley Scarnato but Beyonce, Shakira and Mary J. Blige. Bo Bice never learned that lesson. Neither did Chris Daughtry, even if last year’s results were just horribly jumbled up. Carrie Underwood could go pro while Bo Bice could play in a bar band. Taylor Hicks may join him for vocals one night. Both are entertaining — neither is a star.

Blake Lewis can be a star of the Kelly Clarkson / Carrie Underwood variety — someone who comes out of the chute and sells millions of CDs. He should be the next Idol. What do you think? Leave a comment and let us know!

Spinning In The CD Tonight:

Elliott Yamin’s album is back on after watching the now-shaggy haired singer command a stage. Last year’s most salable artist finished third. Pity that.