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.
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.
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.
AMERICAN IDOL 2012 WINNER: PHILLIP PHILLIPS!!
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!