'I'm very nervous but I'm very excited at the same time,' 16-year-old contestant tells MTV News before the season 11 finale.
By Kara Warner, with reporting by Kelly Marino

Jessica Sanchez on the "American Idol" finale red carpet
Photo: Getty Images

It's all come down to this: the finale of the 11th season of "American Idol", with 21-year-old guitar-strumming southern gentleman Phillip Phillips pitted against 16-year-old vocal powerhouse Jessica Sanchez. There are endless sports-related clichés we could use ("the end of the line," "the bottom of the ninth inning," " the home stretch"), but the point is, the end is really near.

When MTV News caught up with Sanchez moments before she headed into the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles for the start of the finale, we only had enough time to ask about how she was feeling at the end of such a whirlwind of a season.

"I'm very nervous but I'm very excited at the same time," Sanchez said, seeming a little breathless. "Like I've told everybody else, I've got this big ball of emotions and it's not going to be over until the night is over ," she admitted. "But I'm really excited for the whole show, it's going to be a great show."

Wednesday's (May 23) finale aimed to be as action-packed as the ten finales before it. We spotted countless "Idol" alumni on the red carpet, including Fantasia Barrino, Stefano Langone, Scott McIntyre, Naima Adedapo and Casey Abrams. All of them seemed to be torn between rooting for underdog Sanchez and frontrunner Phillips.

Although Sanchez has exhibited legitimate talent and pop-star potential over the course of the season, most experts think Phillips has the title in the bag. We'll know for sure soon enough!

Who do you think will be the next American Idol: Phillip Phillips or Jessica Sanchez? Leave your prediction in the comments section below!

Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.

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Posted By sysop to Smells Like News at 5/24/2012 12:43:00 PM

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