Tuesday, May 22, 2012

American Idol Season 11 • Final 2

Tonight is the night thousands were hoping would be part of their lives, and not just sitting in the audience smiling and applauding while Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez steal the focus, and sing to be named the next American Idol. But it is not to be, and the audience will listen intently before they decide who will take the crown. Will Phillip be another in a line of WGWG, i.e. White Guys With Guitars, who will charm the voters? Or will Jessica steal the hearts of the viewers, the little girl with the big voice? Only time and Crusty will be able to give us the answer. For tonight is about them both, taking the stage and looking to be the last one standing, ready to go into the studio and see if they can be the next Kelly Clarkson, the next Carrie Underwood, the next Scotty McCreery, the next winner to make a Platinum selling album. Who is your American Idol?

American Idol Season 11 Top 2

The show opens with the finalists talking about their hopes and fears. Soon, Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler and Randy Jackson are introduced, followed by Crusty. He welcomes the more than 7,000 fans who came to see the finals in the Nokia Theater. Phillip and Jessica will sing a song of their own, Producer Simon Fuller's choice, and the song that would be their winning single. Phillip won the coin toss, and opted to go second, so Jessica leads the show with the Producer's choice, Whitney Houston's "I Have Nothing."

I thought the song choice was somewhat predictable, but it is better than some prior picks by the Producers. She does a lovely job with the song, making some subtle changes to the song, but the song is so identified with Houston, it is had to stray too far. I say that was a solid to good performance. After a commercial break, we hear Phillip is going to sing the Ben E. King classic, "Stand By Me."

This is another lackluster song choice, and Phillip delivers exactly what we thought he would do, bastardizing the melody, putting it through the processor. I love they are now calling him a singer/songwriter, as if he is performing original material on the show. For me, his vocals lack depth and expression, and when the song loses melody and depth, there is little remaining. In between rounds, Crusty goes to the judges to gossip, and Jennifer spends an extraordinary amount of time saying nothing. Randy gives the first round to Jessica. After another commercial, Jennifer finally had a chance to digest it all, and agrees with Randy. Steven remains quiet. They bring out Jason DeRulo to debut his new song for Coke, "Undefeated."

His lost the bedazzled neck brace, and is quite athletic in his dancing. On the next break, there is a commercial featuring the song, and it is already starting to annoy. Back on the show, Jessica brings out a favorite of her prior performances, choosing to sing "The Prayer."

I think she is wise to avoid singing yet another Whitney song, and changing it up. She does a lovely job with it, for it is a lovely song, well-performed. Another commercial passes, and it is time for Phillip. He reprises "Moving Out (Anthony's Song)," in much the same style as before.

I wasn't a fan the first time, not really liking it better the second time through. I hear anger, and not much else. Well, other than the spam-like melody of the song. Crusty goes to Steven first, who thinks Jessica took the second round, while Randy calls it a draw. Jennifer glances at the script, and announces that Phillip won the second round for her, making it dead even. She felt we'd heard Jessica sing that before, while that was "authentic Phillip." Uhm, Jennifer, we'd heard that performance before too. In fact, a couple of weeks after "The Prayer." If you're gonna say things, try adding a dash of logic, okay? After a break, Jessica sings "Change Nothing," which would be her release should she win. As ballads goes, the song is somewhat generic. The judges complain about the song, saying it is all wrong, lacking the R&B feel. Uhm, how much of a pick did she have? Jennifer goes on and on about it, and I can't help by roll my eyes. It is time for Phillip to sing, and he performs the song "Home." It is a quiet, sweet acoustic track, until the drum corps some out. And some rather unfortunate vocal embellishments. Truly reminds me of Coldplay. Once done, the judges leap to their feet, calling it moving and genius. Jennifer loves it, like no other artists she can think of, yet both Randy and Steven make ample comparisons to Mumford & sons, and Paul Simon. After giving them a chance to say nice things to one another, Crusty introduces reigning champion Scotty McCreery, who delivers a live version of this single, "Please Remember Me."

Crusty bids you all goodnight, and reminds all to vote for their favorites. Will it be Jessica, or will Phillip take the title back to Georgia? Tune in tomorrow night at 8PM on your local Fox station for the two-hour results show, which will be chock-full of stars, and about 12 minutes of results...

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