updated 05/23/2007 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 05/18/2007 AT 6:20 PM ET
And then there were two. The American Idol season six finale week kicks off Tuesday at 8PM EST live on Fox, when über-teen Jordin Sparks of Glendale, Arizona and slick-tongued beat-boxer Blake Lewis of Bothell, Washington face off. Who will voters crown the next American Idol?
On Tuesday’s telecast each contestant will sing three songs: one picked from the American Idol song-writing contest; one new song of their choice; and one they’ve previously performed. Then on Wednesday the top twelve season six Idols will reunite for the live two-hour results show (9 PM EST) and rehearsals are already underway.
But Sparks, 17, and Lewis, 25, took time out of their hectic schedule before the big Kodak Theater extravaganzas to talk about their Idol experience, winning the competition and what their futures hold.
How have you changed since being on American Idol?
I feel like this whole experience has made me stronger and a better person. I can handle so much more than I thought I could.
Why should you win?
I’m not really sure! I came into this competition and I do want to win but at the same time it’s not going to be the end of the world. I would be happy if I won and I would be happy if Blake won. I’m happy I got to be a part of it and that I made it this far.
You’re making some money now. What can’t you wait to splurge on?
I think I might save it and I might put it towards a really nice [sound] system in the car I drive. And I’ll give my brother [P.J.] a couple bucks and let him buy some shoes.
How do you do to deal with stress?
When I get stressed I love to read. Reading is one of my favorite things. I love pickles! That’s my comfort food. I could eat a whole jar.
Did growing up with a famous father help you deal with your own burgeoning fame?
We took pictures a lot; my dad did interviews all the time. I was constantly watching him and he actually told me the other day when he would sign autographs I would just be watching so intently and he said it was really weird because he was watching me do it the other day and how it’s all turned around. I think it has helped me, so thanks, Dad!
What’s your advice to aspiring singers out there?
Don’t give up. I didn’t think that I would make it at all. Trying out? You’ll never know if you don’t try. Now I’m here and I can’t believe it. I was too scared [during auditions]. If you want something, just work hard at it. It’s been amazing to take my own advice.
What’s your strategy going into the finale?
Blake and I are two totally different singers. He’s an amazing performer and he’s so entertaining. I feel really honored to be in the finale with him. I don’t have any strategy. I know it sounds so cliché, but give all that I can give. I’m going to try and do my best and hopefully people like the songs that I pick and whatever happens on Wednesday happens. I’m just going to give it my all and leave it all out there.
Now that you’ve been on American Idol you’re no longer Shorty from Bothell.
I will forever be Shorty from Bothell! I’m now Blake Lewis to the world, but I’m still Shorty from Bothell.
You have been arguably the most fashion conscious male contestant ever on the show. How do you describe your style?
I am really into bright colors mixed with chic stuff. My old roommate was a stylist. I guess people think I have some style because I don’t wear jeans. I like to wear the grandpa slacks with cool patterns.
Why should you win American Idol?
I’ve never looked at it as a competition. I’ve tried to represent myself, be true to myself the whole time. The support on the show and the fans have seen that. I’ve never looked at it as a competition so I think I’ve won regardless. I won when I got into the top ten. Win or lose I think I’m a winner on this show already.
Win or lose, it sounds like we’ve only just begun with Blake Lewis. What kind of album do you want to put out?
It would definitely have more of a dance vibe to it. I love electronic music. It’s going to have a dance flair and then I have a softer, jazzy side. I have been writing music for the past seven years so it will have kind of a pop-electro feel to it.
What do you think of Jordin?
Jordin and Gina were my picks in the beginning to win this whole thing. She’s 17 and she’s already a woman. She performs, she’s good looking, she’s got a fantastic personality. It reads really well on camera. Regardless of the finale she’s already won it in my mind.
So what’s your strategy for the finale?
I never thought I’d be on the show in the first place. For the finale I don’t know about an edge. I’m going to stay true to myself.