Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'American Idol 11' - Phillip and Jessica face off for the title

Tonight, Phillip Phillips, aka PP, and Jessica Sanchez face off to determine who will be the next American Idol. Cue dramatic music and cheering crowds. The Top 2 will sing three songs each - one they've sung before, another chosen by Simon Fuller, and (drum roll please) their very own individual original tune (aka the Idol Coronation song). Can you stand it?

I picked PP to win the whole shebang back at the Top 13, so natch, I'll be rooting for him. He would, of course, become the fifth white guy with guitar (WGWG) to win 'Idol' since David Cook inaugurated this run back in 'Idol 7.' But Jessica certainly has a shot seeing that she's the darling of the Philippines, and has an entire country voting for her. On the other hand, poor PP has wicked bad kidney stones and needs emergency surgery immediately. He's literally risking his life for the chance to win this thing. So who's more deserving? I'll let you decide!

Here we go!

Here we go! Cold opening showing PP and Jessica on their way to their initial auditions. And, of course, we watch them as they get their golden tickets. PP told the camera he was going to be the next American Idol. Could be.

Voiceover Man intros the judges. Tonight, J’Lo is dressed in skin-tight black pants and a sparkly black top. Randy is in pastel. Ryan enters via a shortened version of the Adam Lambert Memorial staircase. We’re live at the Nokia Theatre and 7,000 fans are in the house. Ryan asks the PP fans to holler out. Then he does the same for the Jessica fans. Sounds about even. Out come Jessica and PP. PP is dressed in a wrinkled blue shirt and white tee shirt. Jessica looks pretty in a black and gray gown. Ryan says he told them to take it all in. Jessica says it’s insane and crazy. PP babbles something nonsensical.

PP won the coin toss, so Jessica goes first.

Round One - Simon Fuller’s choice

Jessica Sanchez - “I Have Nothing”

Good choice for Jessica. She’s using her Jennifer Hudson voice. We’ve heard her do this many times over the season. Her vocals are controlled and she stays right on the notes. She really owns the song. I’ve never heard anyone sing it better... besides the late, great Whitney, of course. Nice job.

We’ll hear from the judges at the end of Round One. Ryan lets us know we have four hours to vote tonight. And we go to break. Dare I dream this show is only one hour? I check my cable guide and yes... just an hour. Saints be praised!

Phillip Phillips - “Stand By Me”

PP is sitting on a stool, guitar in hand. He’s using his Dave Matthews voice. There’s a smile in his voice, if that makes any sense. As usual he contorts the melody (and his face) and the overall effect is a bit harsh. Not sure this actually works. He seems satisfied, however. 

Ryan reads PP’s phone numbers and then PP departs the stage.

Ryan asks the judges how they thought they did. J’Lo says it’s tough because it’s a battle of the opposites. She praises Jessica’s voice and calls PP a modern day crooner. “At the end of the day, America has a tough job... who’s making you feel like picking up the phone and voting.” Randy gives Round 1 to Jessica, as do I.  Coming up, the world premiere of Jason Derulo’s Coca-Cola ‘Idol’ single.

Back from the break. J’Lo also feels Jessica won Round One. Jason D. will sing “Undefeated.” He starts out sitting down. He is no longer wearing his sparkly neck brace. He plays with a chair and stands on it. His girlfriend Jordin Sparks is singing along with him. Dancers appear, and whirl and twirl around him. Not a lot of imagination in the lyrics. He gets lifted up on the same device they used to “raise Joshua up.” Thrilling.

During the break, we are forced to listen to “Undefeated” again in a Coke commercial.

Round Two - Contestants’ Fave

Jessica - “The Prayer”

I think she should have gone with “And I Am Telling You...” This song isn’t “big” enough and is not as effective with one singer. She’s scratchy on the glory note too. She seems a bit tentative and there are some slightly off notes. She really needed a moment here and I don’t think she delivered. It was nice, and on any other week, would have been just fine, but this is the finale.

Phillip - “Movin’ Out”

PP’s wearing a black shirt and jeans. Good choice. A bit more energy and a neat arrangement. PP is a lot more comfortable on this one too. It’s classic PP all the way and I’d call cacophonous! Yay PP! You did it that time.

Evil Jimmy is clapping and smiling. He knows PP just owned that one! Long after he stops singing, the crowd is still cheering. PP leaves the stage.  Ryan asks Steven what he thinks. He says “You don’t always have to be a good egg, hatch or go bad.” He gives the round to Jessica. Randy thinks this round was a dead heat. J’Lo goes with PP. She says this was “authentic Phillip.”

I give Round Two to PP.

Round Three - ‘Idol’ Coronation Song

I am breathless with anticipation. 

Jessica - “Change Nothing”

Lots of strings and schmaltz. Jessica starts out sitting on the piano, which is white this week. The song is too low for her! It’s a love song about not fitting together or something. No rainbows? No unicorns? Oh man, she goes totally off on the bridge. She’s shouting off-key. Jessica, you just lost it. The song is crap, devoid of soul. I think she knows she blew it too. Terrible.

Jessica faces the judges. Randy says he did not love the song, but that she made something more out of it. “I thought the song was just okay.” J’Lo says she thought Jessica sang the song well, but it was a pop ballad and missed the soul in it. “When you go to make your record, you have to be able to say to someone, this is not me... or change songs... everything has to be you.” Steven says he knows how good she can sing and doesn’t feel it was the proper song for her to sing.

Wow... Jessica says she agrees with the judges and wanted to do something urban, but chose something else? You blew it girl. Sunk by the crappy coronation song.

Phillip - “Home”

PP is wearing a jacket. Song is just right. Neat arrangement - almost bluegrass. PP is wailing on the guitar and singing the melody.  A marching band passes by! I laugh out loud. PP is almost celebratory. It’s awesome! Poignant, emotional, and right on the freakin’ money.

The judges stand. Randy is yowling. PP, you just won ‘American Idol.’

Randy says he loved the song, PP, the production, the marching band. “Your best performance of the night... reminds me of Mumford and Sons... genious.” J’Lo says it was so different and she couldn’t think of anyone else. “It was just Phillip.”  Steven says he heard a little Paul Simon and other ungodlike creatures. “You are the man.”

“The rest is in the universe,” Ryan tells us.

Round Three to Phillip. Game over. PP will be 'American Idol's' WGWG5.

Jessica says PP is an amazing artist. PP says Jessica’s an amazing person and is one of the best singers he’s ever heard. They hug.  “Tomorrow night, one of their lives will change forever.”

Scotty McCreery (WGWG4) sings us out with “Please Remember Me,” and we look back over the season. And it's a wrap.

1 comment:

  1. Jessica you are no Marcelino{Pinoy Got Talent winner who sings both M&F parts of duets}! You should have taken the cue when Jimmy admited his mistake of having you sing "I'll be there". "Am I Telling You" would have been a better choice. Or maybe Thia's version of "I Am Changing" would better showcase you voacals and style.