Capping off 9 weeks of intense competition between a bevy of hard-bitten amateur terrorists, it all comes down to this: Will Aafia Siddiqui, the ‘woman with a thousand faces', keep wowing judges with her fashion-forward disguises and multiple passports, or will 26-year-old American-born heart-throb Adam Yahiye Gadahn walk away with the teen vote and the title to boot?
Critics and fans agree that Gadahn delivered a stand-out performance last week. His interpretive dance piece, which combined evening prayers with a good old-fashioned gun-cleaning, had the mostly teenage audience out of their seats and swaying in the aisles.
"Adam came on super strong, and the judges had an easy time picking him for tonight's finale." says host John Walsh. "Tonight is going to be much tougher to call. They are both so talented."
Though Gadahn is No. 1 with the ‘Britney' crowd, Aafia is not without her own band of loyal followers.
"I can really relate to Aafia," says Natalie Selmar, a 29-year-old office manager from Van Nuys. "When she did that pregnant-lady-with-a-bomb act two weeks ago, I felt like she could have been talking about my life. It was so poignant. I hope she wins. She deserves it."
No matter who wins, both finalists have promised to stay best friends forever. "People say we are mortal enemies, but it couldn't be farther from the truth," purrs Aafia. "We will stand up for one another always, because we are united in this jihad forever."
For his part, the laid back Gadahn just smiles his agreement. "Yeah. Right," he says.