Who do you think will win?

Music Experts Dissect The ‘American Idol’ Final Four
USA TODAY’s Bill Keveney gathered a panel of music-celeb judges to clue us in.
Q: Why should viewers vote for you to be American Idol?
Clay Aiken: “You can’t campaign. You just hope. I really hope that people vote for me because they like what I do, because they feel what I sing is quality and is something that moves them.”
Joshua Gracin: “I can honestly say I’m the only one that’s been myself on stage and off stage. I don’t play no acts. I don’t smile for the camera on cue. That’s why some people think, ‘Oh, he looks like something’s wrong with him.’ It’s not that. If I’m happy, you’ll know I’m happy.”
Kimberley Locke:”I want people to vote for me on talent and talent alone. Unfortunately, I don’t think that happens every week. But the only thing I ask is that people vote on my performance.”
Ruben Studdard: “I don’t really know what to say. I think I’ve proven I’m consistent every week. I’m just chillin’. I have so much fun on stage. I just get out there and do my thing every week.”
Pat Boone, former pop idol who has his own record label, Gold Label:
On Clay Aiken: “I like his quality of sincerity. He never seems like he’s trying to impress you. He has the perfect voice, perfect pitch. He was like a tenor Tom Jones, at least on Build Me Up Buttercup. There’s a confident little smile.” Should win: “Clay has shown he is more versatile.”
On Joshua Gracin: “On Then You Can Tell Me Goodbye, he had great pitch. I thought he did a great job. I really think he needs to go right into country. Josh has the best chance at a major career. I not only love him as a country artist, but as a Marine, there’s a particular connection (with the country audience).”
On Kimberley Locke: “I felt I Heard It Through the Grapevine was uncomfortable for her. She should try to sing songs with which she’s comfortable. She has her own natural soul. Where the Boys Are is a hard song to sing, but she sang it beautifully.”
On Ruben Studdard: “Last (week), Ruben was incredible. …On Ain’t Too Proud to Beg, he was mellow and confident and supremely talented. There’s a sound in his voice that I think he could sing the phone book and it would stir emotion.”
Terry Ellis of En Vogue, who contributes to the album Church: Songs of Soul & Inspiration, out June 3:
On Clay Aiken:”His vocals are absolutely incredible. He has such a powerful, classic sound. I could see him as a 2003 soulful Barry Manilow. He takes criticism extremely well, because he has completely evolved into an overall entertainer.”
On Joshua Gracin:”What I like about Josh is his masculinity. He’s got that heart, as if he’s performing in the movie Top Gun. He’s got this down-homeness that I really love. He’s got a good stage presence, except he seemed a little nervous. I would say to him, just be confident in your talent. It doesn’t matter what other people are thinking.”
On Kimberley Locke: “I loved Kimberley’s second song, Where the Boys Are. There was a sweetness and sincerity and a sense of nostalgia. On I Heard It Through the Grapevine, she sounded great, but like she was holding back a little bit. It would be nice if she gave you a little more. Her voice is sultry, solid and powerful.”
On Ruben Studdard: “He sings with so much heart and so much passion. He has this natural sincerity about him. On the ballad he sang, Ruben gave it a more 2003 pace. He had that whole Luther vibe about it, sincere, sultry and smoky.”
Doug Robb, lead vocalist for rock band Hoobastank, aiming for a September release on its second album:
On Clay Aiken: “The guy looks like he should be a rock singer, but he sounds like he should be on Broadway. He has a great voice. When I say he seems like he’s more suited for Broadway, that’s not an insult at all. It’s about it being theatrical. He’s got a good look that the pop culture could embrace.”
On Joshua Gracin: “I’m not really feeling his (performances). He has a kind of country feel. If they’re trying to make pop stars out of these people, he doesn’t encompass the whole package of what people would buy into. He’s got a better chance if he doesn’t win this contest to go pursue the country side. He obviously enjoys that more.”
On Kimberley Locke: “She has a pretty genuine feel to her. Her charisma is real, not put on just for the show. I think people can relate to her just being normal. She’s got a really smooth, great voice and she knows how to use it well.”
On Ruben Studdard: “He’s a good singer. There’s something about him that is pretty real. I get the feeling he genuinely likes to sing and is doing this for the right reasons. I don’t know if I get that same vibe from everybody else.”
Vitamin C, pop singer whose new single, Last Night, is due soon:
On Clay Aiken: “I am so impressed by his growth (as a singer). He’s gotten rid of the cheesy elements. He blew me away with Solitaire. He’s a really good performer. He seems like an old-time teen idol. He seems comfortable moving around the stage. He doesn’t lose concentration and he shares his enjoyment with others.”
On Joshua Gracin: “He has a spectacular-sounding voice. But I don’t think Josh has found his whole persona as a performer. He will have a long recording career. I thought it was interesting, what he did with Bad Blood. Kind of cool. It was slightly outside the norm, opting into the country flavor.”
On Kimberley Locke: “I thought she was spectacular on Where the Boys Are. I thought she was OK on Grapevine, but I just didn’t buy the song. Kimberley is really pleasant to listen to. She has great range. She can go from soft to loud and do it with great feeling. She seems at home with herself.”
On Ruben Studdard: “He’s got a great voice. A lot of these singers are better than the average top 10 artist. But the tough thing about being a pop idol is that it doesn’t have (as) much to do with the singing. It’s the whole package.”
Weird Al Yankovic, whose new CD, Poodle Hat, will be available May 20:
On Clay Aiken: In appearance, “it looks like he went from a huge dork to a not-quite-so-huge dork. I should know from experience. He’s a talented singer, with enthusiasm and stage presence. That was a bravura performance on Solitaire. I thought Neil Sedaka was going to propose to him at one point. Clay seems like a young Barry Manilow with Ryan Seacrest hair.”
On Joshua Gracin: “He’s got a very pleasant country voice. In Bad Blood, he seemed rattled. He might have forgotten a couple of words. He’s still a very talented singer. He doesn’t seem as confident. I certainly wouldn’t want to be the one who votes Josh out. He looked like the guy who beats you up in gym class.”
On Kimberley Locke: “I thought she was wonderful. She’s my second favorite, next to Ruben. She even made Where the Boys Are sound soulful. I can’t offer any criticism. She was ear-delicious, as Neil Sedaka said.”
On Ruben Studdard: “He’s a cross between Luther Vandross and Teddy Ruxpin. I like the way he gives props to his homies in 205. He’s happy to be on stage. Makes it look effortless. Maybe he could have a salad once in a while.”
Ken Barnes, USA TODAY music editor:
On Clay Aiken: “He’s a smooth and powerful vocalist, but he painfully overenunciates every syllable and, as Simon Cowell says, is better suited for Broadway. Puppy-dog appeal could swing the popular vote, though.”
On Joshua Gracin: “He’s a smooth and powerful vocalist, but he painfully overenunciates every syllable and, as Simon Cowell says, is better suited for Broadway. Puppy-dog appeal could swing the popular vote, though.”
On Kimberley Locke: “A solid singer, but non-musical factors (specifically her lack of teen-idol appeal) will probably hurt her.”
On Ruben Studdard: “Ruben has the most natural singing ability, despite his lackluster uptempo performances.”