We give the odds on who'll win ''American Idol'' -- Entertainment Weekly evaluates which of the finalists will be the favorites, the dark horses, and the ones destined for a karaoke career

By EW Staff
Updated July 19, 2002 at 04:00 AM EDT
Justin Guarini: Joe Viles


If you want to know why Justin Guarini is destined to be the American Idol, just watch what he does to Paula Abdul. When the 23-year-old stunner with the golden curls locked those liquid brown eyes on hers while crooning the Jackson 5’s ”Who’s Lovin’ You,” Ms. Abdul was reduced from sophisticated pop diva to human puddle. Next came that steamy, dreamy rendition of Oleta Adams’ ”Get Here.” As Justin stretched out the title plea into a silky ribbon of falsetto, the audience of female contestants whooped and shrieked and feigned fainting spells. Abdul, however, remained quiet, her eyes welling with tears of ”damn, that boy can SING” rapture. ”I have to compose myself,” she whimpered afterward.

You and me both, sister. Sure, Justin Haters exist; message board meanies sneer at his terminally tousled ‘do (they call him Sideshow Bob), his ”hey, sexy” glances into the camera, and his so-called cockiness (it’s called confidence, mmkay?). But naysay all you like — it won’t change what we Justin Lovers know to be true: He is every boyfriend’s worst nightmare; he could, as ”AI” reject-turned-critic Tamika says, sing the phone book to us and we’d be happy; and on Sept. 4 he will walk away with America’s hearts — and, more important, their votes.

Odds of becoming the American Idol 3-2

–Kristen Baldwin