American Idol Recap – 5/22/12 – The Final Performance!!!

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They’ve shared a dream, and now they’re sharing a stage one last time for the title of American idol.

Ryan Seacrest called out to the audience for an impromptu poll on who they were voting for. Then the battle began; both young finalists, Phillip 21 years old and Jessica only 16 years old, were less than 24 hours from their fate.

Ding, ding, let the singing begin…

They would each sing three songs. Creator and Producer Simon Fuller’s choice, the contestant’s favorite song of season and the potential winning song.

Phillip won the behind the scenes coin toss and elected to go second.

Jessica Sanchez, looking lovely in a long bronzy gown, took on Simon Fuller’s pick for her, “I Have Nothing” by Whitney Houston. A line or two were a tad rushed towards the end, and the lyrics seemed too mature for an inexperienced teenager. The rest of the vocals were nicely done.

“Stand By Me” by Ben E. King was given to Phillip. A typical mellow performance from this professional looking kid ensued. It was as laid back as his attire; an open denim, button-down shirt, white t-shirt and blackjeans.

At the end of round one, we finally heard from the judges. Jennifer said it was difficult because their voices are two distinct ones; the modern day crooner versus Jessica’s big vocals. Upon Ryan’s pressing on who took the first sing off, Randi declared round one probably went to Jessica; Lopez agreed. I think Phillip had the edge. Though singing off melody, he stayed true to his style, and sang while playing an instrument.

“Undefeated” was written and performed by Jason DeRulo, while his girlfriend, former American Idol winner, Jordin Sparks, sung along in the audience. The uptempo dance song is average at best, but the lyrics are inspirational. (Parts of the chorus reminded me of “Wavin’ Flag” by K’naan.) It was good to see Jason without the neck brace, an accessory he was forced to wear after fracturing his neck during dance rehearsals for his since cancelled tour back in January.

Jessica revisited “The Prayer” by Andrea Bocelli and Celine Dion. It was the song that earned her the top 24 spot. While I thought she dragged a few unnecessary notes, and it works best as the original duet it is, the song is beautiful and she did well with it. She was pretty in a long, pink chiffon dress.

Strong bias here, as Phillip took on his favorite song from Billy Joel week, (not too mention my all-time favorite artist), “Movin’ Out” by Billy Joel. He appeared sleek, in a black long sleeved shirt and he was all business in his singing. He gave the vocal his all, especially at the final lyrics. My winner of round one & two…Phillip. Tyler said Jessica won again, Randi was convinced it was a dead heat tie and Lopez said Phillip took it.

The last round…

“Change Nothing” would be the song Jessica would release if she takes the title. A song of making it through tough times, it was decent, but not even big soaring notes could help this meek potential single. She did well with the tune, sitting on a piano in a white jacket, green top and black leather pants. Randi also didn’t care for the song, but thought she brought it to life. Lopez and Tyler agreed with the poor choice, saying it was too pop for a soulful singer like her. They wisely advised that future albums, whether winner or not, she choose songs that fit her style better. She’d have to stand with her previous two tries on stage to become champion. Was it enough to get the coveted title?

Phillip’s might-be single was “Home”. Lyrics of not being alone, combined with a rolling melody and pretty easy chorus made this song a home-run for Phillip. Simple as his style, dark grey blazer, dark v-neck shirt and black jeans, he stole the show. He got an enthusiastic standing ovation. Randi proclaimed it as similar to Mumford & Sons, brilliant and genius, while Lopez said he sounded so different than anything out there now. Tyler said he compared to Paul Simon and “you are the man.” He played guitar in all songs, making him a true artist. However, were his performances enough to be the last one standing in victory?

Scotty McCreery, last year’s Idol winner, ended the show with the elimination song of the season, “Please Remember Me”.

And now the fate of these two are in America’s hands.

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American Idol Re-Cap

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God help Billy Joel fans around the world, for tonight the American Idol contestants used his songbook for this week’s theme.

DeAndre Brackensack started off the nightmare show with “Only the Good Die Young.”  He did his thing, I suppose.  Jennifer Lopez was right about his laid back approach, though I thought it was very karaoke.

Erika Van Pelt and her new super dark hair cut took on the monster anthem, “New York State of Mind”; she sang it well, but something was off.  I don’t know which was more of a disconnect…the black side cut or her not believable whatsoever rendition of the Empire State’s tune.

Joshua Ledet sang “She’s Got A Way” with a very soulful performance that I actually didn’t hate!  But J.Lo nailed it again by saying he didn’t really connect with the lyrics.  And what’s with Steven Tyler not knowing that song?!  It’s one of the greatest love songs.  Ever.

Another master song, “Shameless”, was presented courtesy of Skylar Laine.  Not a fan of country, did love Garth Brooks’ take on this one.  THUMBS DOWN to Skylar’s nasally version.  Blech!

“Vienna” was sung by Elise Testone.  Not recognizable by many, unless you are true Joel fan.  Unfortunately, “Vienna” is one of my favorites, and hearing Elise screech ‘Vi-anna’ was a real turn off.  A shame, because she has a lovely rugged voice.

Phillip Phillips brought credibility to “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)”.  Love the original.  Quite fond of Phillip’s groove!  And keep the guitar, bro, that’s your style.

Hollie Cavanagh over-sang an over-emotional “Honesty”.   And am I over-imagining things, or does she have a slight accent?

The hysterical HeeJun Han entertained with “My Life”.  The guy’s on borrowed time, but man is he funny!

Jessica Sanchez chose another little known song, “Everybody Has A Dream”.  There’s something about Ms. Sanchez I don’t care for, and I can’t pinpoint what it is.  She over-sang this inspirational ballad, but the judges loved it, so she’ll survive another week.

Hunky-punky Colton Dixon chose the iconic, nobody-should-ever-seriously-cover-this-song-ever, “Piano Man”.  I can barely critique his performance because I was so turned off by his choice.  I can say his piano playing was pretty.

Overall, it wasn’t the complete massacre I feared, but boy, was it close.