American Idol Finale – 5/23/12: A Winner Is Crowned

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The moment we’ve been waiting all season for has arrived!

The crowning of the new American Idol would take place at the end of what promised to be an entertaining show finale.

The top twelve, minus Phillip and Jessica, energetically sang “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars.  Joshua’s small slip in his split was quickly forgotten as professional dancers hit the floor in the middle of the song.

Ryan Seacrest announced that a record setting 132 million votes were cast for the final two!

Phillip played and dueted with classic rocker John Fogerty, frontman of Credence Clearwater Revival.  “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” sounded great with the two of them and the audience was treated to a bonus song, “Bad Moon Rising”.

Seacrest threw to a clip of the rehearsal days, containing the good, the bad, and the oh so ugly!  He also informed the crowd that new auditions for the next American Idol would begin as early as June 7th.  Check AmericanIdol.com for details.

“Take Me To the Pilot” was heard through the pipes of the one and only Joshua Ledet, and his inspiration, former Idol winner, Fantasia!  (Why no Elton John?!)  The two unique voices sounded strong and vibrant and were cut off at the end, for lousy commercials.

A hysterical clip of Jimmy Iovine continually miscalling Jennifer Lopez as Jessica was shown.  The ladies of the top twelve, Hollie Cavanagh, Skylar Laine, Shannon Magrane, Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, followed later by Jessica Sanchez, hit the stage to sing a medley of “Ain’t Nobody”, “Through the Fire” and “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan.  They were soon joined by the lady herself, fierce diva Chaka Khan!

Phillip’s musical mentor, Ben Neil, and Jessica’s mentor, Robert Talon, were then presented with their own Ford Escapes, courtesy of Ford and American Idol.  The final two were given Ford Fusions.

“Where Have You Been” by mega-star Rihanna heated the arena.

Country came through with Skylar Laine singing “Turn On the Radio” with look alike legend Reba McEntyre!  Both excellent!

A funny video of Steven Tyler was played.  Only this rocker would have a live sloth, a real monkey, a fake zebra, beautiful playmates, and autographed photos of music legends in his dressing room.  It was a treat to see the actual piano he wrote his masterpiece on, “Dream On”.

Jessica revisited what many considered to be the best of her performances, “I Will Always Love You” by Whitney Houston.  There’s a reason this girl is in the final running.

It was the men’s turn, as Deandre Brackensick, Colton Dixon, HeeJun Han, Joshua Ledet, Jeremy Rosado, and curiously no Phillip Phillips, sang “America”, “Cracklin’ Rosie” and “I’m A Believer” by American treasure, Neil Diamond.  (“I’m A Believer” was written by Neil Diamond and famously recorded by the Monkees.)  When “Sweet Caroline” began, Mr. Diamond came out to show them how it’s done!

An hour had passed and Ryan teased the winner would be revealed next, but anyone who’s ever watched an American Idol finale before knew we had another hour to go.

It was Randi Jackson’s time to be embarrassed by his repetitive critiques, specifically ‘you can sing the phone book’, followed by the eliminated contestants choir singing a parody song with a phone book.  Scotty McCreery presented him with a gift wrapped Yellow Pages.

Jennifer Lopez promoted her upcoming tour by performing two hot dance tracks with reggae ton duo, Wisin and Yandel.  Her songs were “Going In” and new single “Follow the Leader”.

Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo, former contestants and now a couple, returned, saying the Idol stage is like home.  Ryan then handed the mic to Ace and he went on bended knee!  The proposal was a bit shaky in his speech, but I imagine they both were a bit shaky in nerves.  Nonetheless, it worked; they became engaged on American Idol!

“You’ll Never Walk Alone” was sung by Hollie Cavanagh.  Jordin Sparks joined her for an inspired sing along.

Robin Gibb was honored by the guys, again minus Phillip, in a medley that included “How Deep Is Your Love”, “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” and “To Love Somebody”.

Jessica performed with THE Dream Girl herself, Jennifer Holliday.  “And I Am Telling You” Jennifer gave goosebumps!  One hopes Jessica understands what a true honor it was to sing with her.

What could possibly follow the power vocals of J. Holliday?  AEROSMITH!  New song, “Legendary Child” has the old sound Aerosmith fans will love.  It was fantastic to know that despite judging a family competition show, Steven Tyler hasn’t forgotten how to be the true iconic rocker he is.  They followed up with “Walk This Way”.

Jessica and Phillip sang as a duet the Joe Cocker’s tune, “Up Where Belong”.

Hope the DVRs were set for a few minutes after ten, because the show ran late!

But it was finally time for the results.

Who would be the winner?

Phillip Phillips?

Jessica Sanchez?

Final thanks to the band, the crew, the fans, and time to dim the lights…

The Season 11 American Idol Winner is…

PHILLIP PHILLIPS!!!

Awarded the American Idol Trophy, and strapped with his guitar, he was left alone on the stage to perform his new single, “Home”.  Overcome with emotion, the winner, Phillip Phillips, was showered with confetti, joined by the marching band, and played out the rest of the song, until he removed the instrument and went off stage to his awaiting proud family.

Best wishes for a long and successful career!  Congratulations to both finalists, and to all who made season 11 as entertaining as it was!  Until next time…

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American Idol Recap 5/16/12

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And then there were three…Joshua, Jessica and Phillip.  Tonight’s important American Idol consisted of three rounds.  In the first round, the contestants would sing songs picked by the judges.  Second round would be the idol hopefuls’ choice.  The third and final round would be a tune chosen by Jimmy Iovine.

Joshua was given Etta James’ “I’d Rather Go Blind”.  Perfect choice for him, and he did it with a throwback vibe.  He received a standing ovation.  The judges comments included Jennifer’s “another amazing performance”, and Steven’s strong words of “out of 70,000, one is the American Idol, and you sang like that one tonight”.

Jessica took on the incomparable Mariah Carey and her beautiful song, “My All”.  The judges chose it for its’ tenderness and that’s what they got.  Her words of judgement were Randi’s “excellent”, J.Lo’s “hard song” and Tyler declaring she’d be “the last one standing”.  Her voice wasn’t great on the very low notes, but she did well.

Phillip performed “Beggin'” by Madcon.  The trio said it was “great”, he was definitely “in the zone”, and Tyler made a drastic note, saying he could be “the new age Springsteen”.  Phillip Phillips?  The Boss?  Come on!

Contestants’ choice was up next, after a special clip of each of their return home.

Joshua picked “Imagine” by John Lennon.  Some songs shouldn’t be touched, but of course, he did well.  He took it to church, people.  “Preaching while singing”, there was a sense he was pulling back a bit on vocals which worked well to spread the message of the song.

Jessica had guts to sing “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith, in front of their frontman, Steven Tyler.  He was clearly pleased with her rendition, giving her a standing ovation.  The big note at song’s end was wonderful.

Phillip did not fair as well.  He chose Matchbox Twenty’s “Disease” and sang it slightly off the melody, as he sometimes does.  The judges were not a fan, saying it was safe and he needed a better performance than that at this stage of the game.

Now down to the last round to make it into the finals.  Advisor Jimmy Iovine gave each finalist his choice.

Mary J. Blige’s classic, “No More Drama”, was perfectly matched to Joshua.  Her free spirit when singing it transcended to Joshua and church was back in session.  His ad libs at the end was good, and he seemed truly exhausted by the last note.  This guy left it all on the line with fabulous results.  The judges loved it, praising him as a natural performer.

To showcase the youth of Jessica, “I’ll Be There” by the Jackson 5 was hers.  She did a lovely vocal on the song, but like Randi, I, too, was waiting for the big moment that never came.  It was all pretty even toned.  Was it enough for votes?

Phillip returned to close out the show with Bob Seger’s heart wrenching “We Got Tonight”.  Subdued, straight vocals without guitar, sticking to the melody, staring at the camera and singing words of longing…he succeeded in achieving his moment, and all three judges gave him a deserved standing ovation.

It is clear fans of Phillip were present in the audience, as every one of his sets concluded with girlish screams of delight.  No doubt his youthful teen fan club will help sway votes, too.  Will it be enough to push Phillip to the end?  And if Phillip’s in, who’s out?  Joshua?  Or Jessica?  Tune in to tomorrow night’s show, as the final two are revealed!