La'Porsha Renae looks like one of the favorites to become the final "American Idol" champion. One of the early stars of the show's farewell season, her performance of Rihanna's "Diamonds" as one of the "Idol" top 10 finalists left little doubt of where she stood. Keith Urban, Jennifer Lopez and guest judge Kelly Clarkson all gave her a standing ovation, as did the cheering audience. "It is not my turn to speak, but I don't care," said Clarkson, once the crowd had settled down from an extended ovation that moved Renae to tears. "You're such a talent. You're gonna win."
And she knows all about winning "America Idol" -- she was crowned the champion during the show's first season, 15 years ago. Clarkson's been impressed with Renae from the beginning. After her initial audition episode aired in February, she tweeted: "Okay if @laporsharenae doesn't win Idol there's something seriously wrong w/America! I mean, goodness! I stood up n my house, that's right!"
Jennifer Lopez marveled at the crowd's reaction. "This is out of control. This is crazy." she said.
Critics were equally impressed with her Rihanna cover. Michael Slezak of TVLine said that she performed "like a hawk seeking out its prey in a rugged terrain, La’Porsha’s voice swooped and soared and darted and glided around Rihanna’s simple melody, turning it into something entirely other. "
"Idol" will crown its 15th and final champion April 7, as Billboard notes.