Thursday, May 17, 2012

'American Idol 11' - Who will join Phillip in the Top 3?

Perhaps you think I'm a bit premature with the title and all, but really, is there any doubt? I'll be shocked if PP doesn't make the finals. The real horse race tonight is who gets the other spot - Jessica or Joshua? I'm going to say Joshua.

This scenario reminds me a lot of Season 5. We had Taylor Hicks, who, once Chris Daughtry was eliminated, was pretty clearly going to the finals. Like Taylor, Phillip has strong support from the key demographics - young girls and middle-aged women. That season, the second spot came down to Katharine McPhee, who like Jessica shone on the big ballads and Elliott Yamin, who brought on the soul just like Joshua.

Remember, the results that week were very close and the producers decided it would be lots of fun to pull out white boards to reveal the percentages and who ultimately got the second spot. It was, of course, Katharine McPhee who faced Taylor for the crown. It was never even close. Ultimately, I believe Phillip will win the whole thing handily, no matter who he faces. But tonight, at least, TPTB will play this for all it's worth!

 Let's see how this all shakes out.

Cold opening with Simon and Garfunkel singing “Homeward Bound.” We watch clips of the Top 3 and their triumphant (or semi-triumphant) returns home. “One goes home tonight!”

Voiceover Man intros the judges who enter through the audience. J’Lo is wearing a big turquoise skirt and raspberry halter top. Ryan gets the audience pumped up about the finale and pimps the tour. He lets us know that Adam Lambert and Lisa Marie Presley are in the house.

The Top 3 perform “Got to Get You Into My Life” complete with full horn section. It’s a jazzy arrangement that suits Joshua and Jessica. PP, not so much! The camera twirls around them. PP seems more hunched over than usual. Stupid song choice.

Now for the Ford video. It’s set like a silent movie. As usual, PP is not participating. He hasn’t been in one for weeks.

Jessica is nervous and excited. PP says it’s a blessing to be there and whoever makes it through deserves it. Joshua is nervous as well, but says he’ll support whoever makes it.

Ryan starts with results. Joshua is first. About his performances, Evil Jimmy says Josh had a good night - not his best. He feels the judges were very generous on the first song. He gave it an eight. On “Imagine,” Jimmy says he believes Joshua is the most exciting showman in the competition. He says Joshua overcompensated with riffs and runs, and it didn’t work. “It was overblown and overemotional... kind of like putting a Ferrari on a racetrack and leaving it in park. As for “No More Drama,” Jimmy thinks he needed a big moment, but there was something missing. He knows it was the song. There wasn’t enough melody. Evil Jimmy feels it was his fault. But he thinks Joshua belongs in the finale 100 percent.

Joshua says he listens to everything Jimmy says. Did Joshua earn a spot in the finale? We’ll find out in just a little bit.

Stupid bit with J’Lo pimping ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift.’ More pimpage with the Top 4 in the recording studio doing some song for the movie.

Lisa Marie Presley performs her new single. She has a very deep voice and sounds like she smokes three packs a day.  Very limited range and she hardly moves at all. I never, ever say this, but seriously, I can sing better than her! I guess this is why I didn’t even know she was recording. You didn’t get Daddy’s vocal skills, that’s for sure. Priscilla is in the audience. She looks embalmed. So much for that.

Ryan tells us auditions for Season 12 start next month.

Jessica is up next. We start with the Mariah song. Evil Jimmy says everyone needs a shock and awe moment. But he doesn’t think this came together enough. As for “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” Jimmy says the judges felt it all came together, but he’s looking for more than that. She’s got it all, but she has to have the most magical moment she’s had so far to win. On “I’ll be There,” Jimmy says he chose the song because her voice reminds him of MJ. What he didn’t think of, was that it’s only two minutes, and forgot the Jermaine part. He thinks she’s worthy of singing on the Grammys.

Carole Bayer Sager and Rita WIlson honor Donna Summer. Donna was Carole's friend. Jimmy says everyone in the dance business today owes something to Donna Summer. I’ll miss her too. Sad to see her gone.

Adam Lambert sings “Never Close Our Eyes.”  Hard to believe it’s been three years since his season. Adam has a new hairdo, a little poufier on the top. He’s a little off-key here and there. There’s his little guitar player. I like the song. And he’s not lip-synching. That’s how it’s done, kiddies! That’s how it’s done.

They’ve cleaned up the stage after Adam and now it’s PP’s turn. First, it’s “Beggin.” Springsteen? Really? Jimmy says PP did a great job. He says’ PP’s sound is becoming more and more original and less derivative. On “Disease” (which I loved), Jimmy says what he likes about PP is he’s willing to risk everything. He agrees with the judges. “It was a total snoozefest... not strong enough for this point in the competition.” Finally, “We’ve Got Tonight,” Jimmy says PP won the night with this one, hands down. He thinks it was the best of the entire season. “He hit notes I didn’t believe he could hit... he was flawless... I was genuinely knocked out.” He says he sound like what he saw in the hometown video. “There was a cry in his voice and a depth that I haven’t seen all year from him.”

“We’re about to do it.” Ryan asks the judges to set up the stakes. Randy wishes them all the best and says they are the best ever. J’Lo says it’s been such a journey and she feels like losing anyone of them tonight is heartbreaking for her and all of us. She says she’s never felt so connected to them. “It’s a big moment for the show to have three such talented contestants.” Steven says he loves them all because they have he courage to have a dream and it’s beautiful.  “Who goes to the finale? Find out live after the break.”

Oh boy, here we go. Ryan has the card. “Dim the lights. Here we go you three. After nearly 90 million votes, the first person to compete in the Season 11 finale is... Jessica Sanchez.” She looks shocked. Her family is shocked. “The person going head to head against Jessica is... Phillip Phillips.” Joshua smiles. "Which means we say goodbye to Joshua." I’m sorry Joshua. We watch his funeral video and see all the standing ovations.

Joshua sings us out with “It’s a Man’s Man’s World.” Skylar and Hollie go berserk. He hugs J’Lo and doesn’t miss a beat. Then he walks to the audience and brings he mother up on stage. J’Lo is waving her hands around. It's a classy singout from a classy guy, who in my opinion, deserved to be in the finals. But it is what it is. Make way for WGWG5. It's gonna happen!

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