Wednesday, May 23, 2012

American Idol: Season 11 Top 2 Perform

David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze, Scotty McCreery.  Those are the last 4 winners folks.  And to this day, I didn't realize that the Idol fandom had developed an acronym for what wins American Idol these days.  What the tweenage fandom and their massive text voting earns.  WGWG.   That's the acronym.  Any clues what it stands for?  (White Guy With Guitar)  There's no truer way to say it.  Here's the thing.  David Cook DEFINITELY deserved to win in his season.  And out of the awful season that was season 10, even Scotty was an acceptable winner.  (Though, did anyone think last night as he was performing how truly awful season 10's talent was after seeing this season?)  

Fast forward to the season 11 finale.  We are about to crown another winner.  And there is another WGWG in contention.  I have forseen this moment all season as I'm sure most of you have too.  I have fought against it tooth and nail trying to be optimistic of another outcome.  But then, the unthinkable happened.  The damn kid won me over.  It probably has to do with the narrowed down pool of contestants.  The elimination of some very talented competition and having to deal with what's left.  But, as I've mentioned before.  I have never had a personal problem with Phillip Phillips.  He is a very talented guy and even Stevie Nicks gave some pretty awesome praise to him.  He seems like a nice guy too.   There were a couple weeks where I really let him have it.  But he seemed like a guy that didn't want to win and he was mailing in performances.  There has been this whole undercurrent that he's been sick.  The Mrs. brings up that we've never seen the Jovial kid that showed up to that audition and performed.  So maybe the illness was part of it.  (Don't think I'll ever forget that his audition was illegal!  He was promoting his WGWG status before he was even allowed to play with a guitar!)

Anyway, here we are.  Time to recap this last crop of performances.  Both Jessica and Phillip did pretty well at what they sought out to do.  But there can only be one winner.  Who will it be?  Keep reading.  I may finally get it right again after 3 straight misses.

The Recap
Jessica Sanchez
1.) Simon Fuller's choice - "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston
2.) Contestant's favorite performance - "The Prayer" by various artists
3.) Potential Single - "Change Nothing"

Jessica did the best thing she could possibly do with tonight's peformances.  She showed off that amazing voice of hers.  There is no doubt that at 16, she has a ridiculously awesome voice.  She was able to handle the Whitney Houston classic and hit a very difficult song note for note.  All of those high notes that most people even on this show would just fake, she hit them dead on.  Very impressive.  Of course, it was impressive Karaoke too.  The performance was note for note, arrangement for arrangement, Whitney's song and she nailed it with authority.  I think it works because the song is so difficult.  But still, she loses points for creativity.

The Prayer was outstanding too.  It definitely works better as a duet, but it still showed off her voice.  And it reminded me of how much better she was on it than Christina Aguilera herself who performed it with her final contestant on The Voice. 

"Change Nothing"?  I actually thought it was a decent song in comparison to the usual crap we're forced to listen to on Idol.  I actually like these past couple of years where the contestant can pick their single instead of being handed some inspirational mush.  The worst culprit being whatever song Kris Allen was handed from Kara DioGuardi.  The most comical being when Bo Bice had to sing ultimately Carrie's winning song "Inside Your Heaven".  But when Bo sang it, it took on a whole different "inappropriate" meaning.    The judges didn't think Jessica picked the best song and were trying to advice her to be strong when she's making her first album to not give in to producers who want to make her too pop.   It really wasn't awful.  But it wasn't great either.  The choruses sounded good. But her low register during the verses and in general needs some serious work. 

Bottom line?  Jessica Sanchez did a great job.  Her voice alone makes her worthy of winning this season.  Just look at Scotty McCreery's performance last night and tell me she isn't better.  Below the bottom line?  She already has been eliminated.  It would be weird for her to win on a technicality.  But I guess it would prove that the Judge's Save is important.

Phillip Phillips
1.) Simon Fuller's Choice - "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King
2.) Contestant's favorite performance - "Movin' Out" by Billy Joel
3.) Potential Single - "Home"

Phillip just seemed to hit all the right notes with his songs this week.  "Stand By Me" he changed up a bit and did his typical Phillip Phillipsing to it.  It seemed like he was trying to infuse the emotion he put into "We've Got Tonight" last week to create another moment.  The problem?  He didn't have crazy sax lady out there to help him.  He did have crazy lead guitar guy making faces as he noodled those strings.  I couldn't help but laugh during the whole performance.

I wasn't sure what song he was going to select, but I had totally forgotten about his performance from Billy Joel weel.  Obviously, being a huge Billy fan and a huge fan of Phillip's version of "Movin Out" Phillip totally won be over with this selection.  I loved hearing his encore performance of it.  Very very good.  And of course, Crazy Sax lady returned!!

And then there was the single.  I don't remember ever hearing a single that made me want to actually purchase the single and think it could be a bona fide hit.  Enter Phillip Phillips and his selection of "Home".  WOW.  What a performance!  My immediate thought was that it sounded very Mumford and Sons.  And I love that sound that Mumford and Sons has brought back to the music world.  Randy caught it too.  And J-Lo just kept saying over and over again how there is nothing else in music right now that sounds like what he just did.  Um, RANDY JUST TOLD YOU J-LO!!!  She kept forcing me to yell at the TV, MUMFORD AND SONS!!!    Anyway...I didn't even care that he used that style.  You know what I was happy about?  He finally didn't sound like Dave Matthews!!!   This dude is crafty.  He annoys everyone all season with his DMB impressions and then right at the end, he totally changes it up.  Clever!  Okay, just kidding, I'm sure that wasn't part of his strategy.  But the song was really good, his choice of arrangement was awesome, the marching band drumline was random but pretty awesome too!  (Take that James Durbin)  Phillip Phillips, you have done the impossible. You made an inevitable victory feel earned in the end.

Okay, I know by now I'm the only one keeping track of what picks I've gotten right and wrong since season 1.  But here's a quick rundown.

Season 1 - My pick and winner Kelly Clarkson
Season 2 - My pick Clay Aiken, winner Ruben Studdard
Season 3 - My pick and winner Craptasia (Fantasia) Barrino
Season 4 - My pick and winner Carrie Underwood
Season 5 - My pick and winner Taylor Hicks
Season 6 - My pick and winner Jordin Sparks
Season 7 - My pick and winner David Cook
Season 8 - My pick Adam Lambert, winner Kris Allen
Season 9 - My pick Crystal Bowersox, winner Lee DeWyze
Season 10 - My pick Lauren Alaina, winner Scotty McCreery

Record 6-4.  You see where I have faulted, right?  At some point, I started protesting the WGWG manifesto that has taken over the show's voting system.  Last year I knew Scotty was going to win, but I couldn't help feeling that Lauren had earned the victory in the end.  She grew into a better singer than she was.  Scotty stayed the same all season with his microphone flute poses and all.   I still am befuddled on Lee DeWyze other than the WGWG thing.   And Adam, I hated Adam Lambert (still do).  So, I was happy about Kris winning.  But there was no doubt Adam was the better singer of the 2. 

That brings us to today.  Do I cave and finally go with the WGWG?  Or do I go with the best singer of the bunch?   Based on my recap, I don't think there's any surprise on who I'm picking.


From the day he stepped onto that audition stage, his future as victor was cemented.  I fought it, but in the end he earned it.  There's always next year to prevent the WGWG dominance.  I don't know if I'll be able to stomach yet another season of it, but I say that every year.  I do think the voting system should be changed to a more fair and balanced vote.  My thoughts are that we shouldn't care how many million votes they get a week.   They should limit voters to one vote per channel.  Be allowed to text one vote, call in one vote, and vote once online.  Or something to that effect.  Let's see how much that would change who won in the end.  Maybe it wouldn't change anything, but it might be worth giving a try.

Aside from the voting system, does anyone else think we need to have a tournament of winners after the 12th season?  We could jump right to a Top 12 and do it in the summer with Kelly, Ruben, Fantasia, Carrie, Taylor, Jordin, David, Kris, Lee, Scotty, and the other 2 winners.  Sure, it would just be another reason to crown Kelly or Carrie in the end but I think it would be pretty darn awesome.  Even Dancing with the Stars is doing an All-Star Dance-Off in the fall.  Just a thought.

Anyway, that's all I have for season 11 folks.  Obviously, I'll probably comment on tonight's finale in the comments below so come back to discuss if you like!  As always, we'll see if I have it in me to recap the season 12 performances when the time comes.  I think I'm definitely bailing on season 2 of X-Factor.  Not even the trainwreck of Britney Spears being a judge could get me to do another weekly recap!   So, with that said, I hope you've enjoyed my ramblings all season and maybe I'll see you next year!


Leslie said...

Phillip has impressed me a lot more the last couple of weeks. Like you said, maybe it was because he wasn’t feeling well for the last few weeks, but he hasn’t seemed like he cared as much as some of the others. But, with the home town visit last week, and after last night, I think he really does care. No question that he’s talented, even though not the best technical singer in the bunch, but there are a lot of great singer/songwriter/performers where singing is not their strongest asset.

I really enjoyed his last song and think he made a great pick on that one. And, I’m also a Billy Joel fan, and while I definitely prefer the original, his performance was upbeat and fun, and he looked like he was enjoying himself. I also noticed when he was standing next to Ryan at the end, he was really looking over the audience slowly from one side to the other like he was really taking in the moment. Another interesting thing is that I heard a snippet of Phillip’s “Movin’ Out” performance on the radio this morning, and it sounded WAY better than from the TV.

No, I haven’t mentioned Jessica and don’t have any more to say about her than I have already. Phillip should be the winner tonight!

Mike V. said...

No question Leslie. I think Phillip has had this thing in the bag for a long time, which of course, I've said my piece on every week too. lol It will be very surprising if Jessica is the winner. I won't be upset about it but it would be surprising.

Agree with everything you said. That's cool (and interesting) that "Movin' Out" soundsd better on the radio. Phillip has definitely impressed me over the last couple of weeks too. He impressed me in the beginning of the live shows. It was just those middle rounds where, I agree, it seemed like he didn't care. But, they/he obviously made it clear over the past couple of weeks that he does. So, that's cool. I think we will see a lot of record deals being struck with this top 12 though. They were a solid group. (outside of Deandre, Heejun and maybe 1 or 2 others)

Mike V. said...

typo - soundsd = sounded

(as if you couldn't have figured that out! lol)

Mike V. said...

Well this would explain it. Phillip has kidney problems and had sever abdominal pains. He was advised to have surgery, but he deferred it until after the Idol season. yikes.

Leslie said...

Interesting - they said early on that he was taken to the hospital after a show, and I thought they said he HAD surgery, and they even commented on the next performance night how well he was doing under the circumstances. I know you mentioned in another post about the fact that he was missing from the Ford shoots the last few times, so obviously he's been forced to lay low.

Mike V. said...


7-4!! Finally notched another W by submitting to the WGWG manifesto! lol Obviously, the minute we saw this guy on screen we knew he'd be the one to beat even if there were others equally (maybe more) deserving.

But, Phillip sold it in the end and earned it. Poor guy couldn't even finish his song he was so emotional. Of course, he may have just been in pain too. Hopefully, his surgery goes well and he has a nice career ahead of him.

Thoughts on the finale. Eh..good and bad.

The judges bits were funny...especially Jimmy calling Jennifer "Jessica" all of the time. The Phonebook singing was a nice touch. Steve's dressing room was bizarre to say the least!

I thought for sure we'd get to see Heejun's Cowboy buddy one last time but alas, he wasn't there.

The top 12 songs were eh at best. I figured Neil Diamond would be showing up at the end of the Neil medley. Dude is in his 70s and has still got it!

I had heard aerosmith would be there. Crazy how Steven looked like he was back where he belonged when he was put in front of his band. And you just knew they would bust into "Walk This Way" before they left the stage. I think it's in their contrat that they must perform it anywhere they go. lol

The Jessica/Jennifer Holliday duo was pretty nuts. That Jennifer's faces were almost cartoonish. lol But no doubt it was impressive OVERSINGING at its best. lol

Oh my god...and then there was Mantasia and Fantasia....WHAT THE HELL WAS SHE WEARING!?!?!?!? And the hair? When did she grow 10 years worth of hair? I had to avert my eyes but at the same time couldn't look away. My wife kept yelling "make it stop!!" Our baby started crying in his sleep....Fantasia's awful demeanor and distinctly screechy voice made my baby cry in his sleep!!!

There were some other good moments, but mainly it was just fluff until the final 10 minutes. We had enough time to stop watching at 9:07, watch the Modern Family finale without commercials and come back and fast forward before the final announcement. Good stuff!

In the end, the show proved to me that Phillip deserved to win. But, I really hope they can get out of this "Same Type of Winner" funk they're in and soon.

Mike V. said...

OMG and how did i forget bringing up Ace Young proposing to Diana DeGarmo??? How, how awkward that was! And who even knew they were dating? Last time I checked in on Diana she was still 16. lol

I just kept thinking the whole time, "this valuable screen time could have been used to bring Carrie back up on stage to sing a tune." And at one point I thought all of the previous winners were in the house and they were going to come out and sing together. That would have been pretty cool. (they did it once in season 7 i think but Fantasia didn't make it. So it was perfect! lol)

Leslie said...

I’m glad Phillip won! It was really moving how he broke down and couldn’t even finish his song and then went out to a big family hug! I decided after watching him that besides not feeling well, he is really just shy and awkward when it comes to all the banter that goes on, but he’s definitely comfortable with his guitar in hand. It was cool that they were able to give their “mentors” a new car.

LOL on Fantasia! Haven’t you heard of hair extensions? I was saying the same thing as your wife and finally just had to fast forward. It was painful! I agree with Parker! lol

Yes, what WAS that with Ace and Diana??? I was uncomfortable just watching that. And, Ace has been on Broadway?? I knew Diana had, but didn’t know he had. And, what was up with HIS hair??? Not a good look for him. lol

Mike V. said...

Yeah, I'm glad Phillip won too and you could tell he was humbled by the victory which is cool. I'll save my complaints for next year if they don't fix the voting system. lol

Yeah, I figured hair extensions, but her whole look was a hot mess! I just couldn't fast forward it. It was a train wreck that had to be seen against our will! lol

I'm still speechless on the Ace/Diana was so uncomfortable. And yes, Ace's hair is ridiculous. lol I have no idea what Ace has been up to post-idol...maybe he's been on broadway I dunno! lol But proposing on American Idol??? come on guys! Have a little respect for yourselves. lol

Oh right..and I love how he had to give a shout out to the Ring/Diamond company because he probably get a discount (or hell a free ring lol). Way to sell out on national TV while proposing to your girlfriend! Good times.

Mike V. said...


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