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 Elimination 5/17/12

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“Got to Get You Into My Life” by the Beatles, performed by the monochromatic trio started the show off.  The three displayed their distinctive voices; the diva, the gospel power and the bluesy rock.

Joshua Ledet was called up first for Jimmy’s review.  Iovine felt the judges graded him a little too graciously, and took responsibility for choosing “No More Drama”, a song he felt didn’t have enough melody for Joshua to own.  The ending result was that Iovine absolutely believed that Joshua deserves to be in the final two.

A video package obviously from last week, had the four remaining contestants at the time visit a recording studio with singer/songwriter Ester Dean.  She had them sing the song “We Are” from the summer movie, Ice Age – Continental Drift, out in theaters July 13th.  The movie version has Dean, Jennifer Lopez and Drake on the track.

Lisa Marie Presley’s latest album is entitled “Storm & Grace”, available as of earlier this week.  She visited the Idol stage to sing, “You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet”.  She’s not her father, the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, but she has a smooth vibe to her music that’s definitely worth a listen.

Jessica Sanchez was up for scrutiny next.  Iovine thought her Mariah Carey wasn’t as great as the judges thought and also took the rap for choosing “I’ll Be There”, saying the song was too short and did lack the back and forth between Michael and Jermaine Jackson’s vocals.  He said she deserved to be in the finals and is worthy to sing on the Grammys already.

A few words were said about the unfortunate passing of the Queen of Disco, the talented voice of a generation, Donna Summer.

Adam Lambert returned to promote his latest album, also released earlier this week, “Trespassing”.  He sang “Never Close Our Eyes”.  The tune is an upbeat pop rock song, and not even the best one on the album.  (The title track is hot!)

Phillip Phillips had his moment in the spotlight.  Jimmy thought his sound is more original and less derivative of other artists, and praised him for taking risks, but didn’t think it worked with “Disease”.  Iovine did declare Phillip the winner of the night, calling it the best performance of Wednesday’s show with Bob Seger’s cover.  The emotions came through, the vocals were beautiful and it was the best he’d seen of Phillip all year.

All three were called up front and center.  The judges unnecessarily said how heartbreaking it is to lose anyone at this point.  And then it was time for the reveal.  Two go through.  One goes home.  But first, we went to commercial.

Dim all the lights, sweet darlin’, ’cause tonight it’s all the way…to the final two.  The first contestant in was…

Jessica Sanchez!

Her competitor would be…

Phillip Phillips!!!

Joshua ended his run with the show stopper performance, “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World”.  The very best of luck to Joshua Ledet.  He has a wonderful opportunity for a successful career.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are one week away from crowning a new American Idol!!!