"The last few weeks, I always thought I was going to be the one going home," Matt Giraud told Rolling Stone when he stopped by the office yesterday (read the rest of his interview here!). It's definitely been tough to read who was going to get the boot each week this season, but based on reader comments on our American Idol stories — like last night's Rock Week report — Adam Lambert has emerged as the clear favorite. With a strong final four — perhaps the strongest in the show's eight-season history — we asked finalists Giraud, Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds to break down the competition. Nobody wanted to name a clear winner (they do have to bunk on the same tour bus this summer, after all), but they did have some insight into Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta:
(Follow all the Idol action in photos in American Idol 2009: Season Eight, From the Top Eight to the End of the Line.)
Lil Rounds: "Allison, alleycat — that's my girl! I think Allison is just, "Oh, my God." When you listen to her voice, she's not 16. When she gets done opening her mouth, she's like a 40-year-old woman that smokes 10 packs of cigarettes."
Anoop Desai: "There's a running joke throughout, because she'd have to go to school [while we were rehearsing], and we were like, 'Why do you have to go to school? You're 32!' And then it just progressed from there: 'Allison's 59. You didn't know that?' But that voice..."
Lil Rounds: "Like the judges said, when you hear her, you know that's Allison. Her character, her personality, all of that, to me, fits being an American Idol. She'll never forget who she is or change who she is, she's never going to compromise it. She's going to make sure she stays true to herself. The girl is bad!"
Matt Giraud: "Allison, such a seasoned voice. She blows us all away."
Anoop Desai: "Gokey deserves to win primarily because he was my roommate, so I feel like I imparted a lot onto him. The guy has an amazing voice — he, uh, gargled nails as a child, that's something nobody knows. But [seriously], he brings himself to everything that he sings. Everything he sings he feels comfortable in. He's a thinker. He has a great heart and an even better voice."
Matt Giraud: "Danny's a great friend of mine, and the boy can blow. He's got a lot of soul. People call him Taylor Hicks 2.0 sometimes, and he calls himself that as a joke, but he's not. He's got a great heart."
Matt Giraud: "Kris I think has grown the most out of anyone in the Top 10. He used to be the boy next door singing songs in the corner, now he's up there, he's a true gentleman, he's got a bigger personality, he's wonderfully talented."
Anoop Desai: "Adam can sing higher than..."
Lil Rounds: "Adam Lamborghini. I call him that because he's like my fast-paced runner. He goes to these notes, and me and Anoop are like, 'Who does that?!' C'mon. He's sick."
Anoop Desai: "He has tremendous stage presence and knows how to work the crowd. He's a sweet person."
Lil Rounds: "He's a really sweet guy. He was my talking buddy. When I was having a problem, or even if it came down to song choice, I'd say, 'Adam, we need to talk.' And he'd say, 'Come on, diva.' It just works out."
Matt Giraud: "Adam is one of the greatest performers I think they've seen. He knows how to work that camera, he's a great singer, he loves music — he's really passionate about music."