American Idol – Finals Night!!! (aka; I’m almost done writing about Idol this year!)

Last night, our two finalists, Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips, competed head to head for the honor of becoming the eleventh American Idol (quick – how many previous Idol winners can you name? I’m guessing not eleven)! And one thing was perfectly clear – it would have been a lot more interesting if Joshua Ledet and Phillip Phillips were competing together. It would have been a showdown between the season’s best performer and the season’s best artist. And it would have been great.

Look, Jessica has an amazing voice and she sang beautifully last night. I will never suggest otherwise. But she is a hollow performer who fakes her way (poorly) through emotional connection. She did an admirable job with Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing”, but that song is built on an emotional foundation that Jessica just doesn’t know what to do with. On “The Prayer”, I think she finds something that resonates with her, and it showed. That was a great moment last night and it’s obvious why she chose that song to reprise.  But then, on her supposed first single, “Change Nothing”, she whiffed. The judges spent what felt like half an hour complaining about the song being wrong for her and basically making a bunch of excuses for her poor performance. Randy claimed she was a soul singer, which I don’t get at all. But my amazing wife nailed it on the head when she pointed out that the difference between Jessica and Phillip is that Phillip will take a song that doesn’t work for him, and make it work for him. Jessica has no idea how to do that.

Phillip is an artist.  He knows how to take a song and make it interesting.  Case in point:  Last night, the Idol producers chose Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me” for Phillip to sing.  This is a song that was a hit 50 years ago.  Five decades later, it remains so completely played out that I almost fell asleep while typing the name of the song.  But rather than simply play it straight, which Jessica would surely have done, Phillip played with the arrangement and melody just slightly enough that he kept the sweetness of the song intact while also making it fresh and making me actually want to listen to “Stand By Me” for the first time since the Stephen King movie.  And he did the same thing with Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out” (which included another appearance from HBSP, who is apparently an exclusive accessory of Phillip’s now).  But if there was still any doubt about who should win this thing, it was all layed to rest when Phillips performed his pre-selected original song, “Home”.  Wow.  Perfect song for this guy.  It was filled with Mumford and Sons, Arcade Fire, and Coldplay vibes that blended together into a delightfully delicious Phillip Phillips feast.  There were no excuses that needed to be made, because this guy doesn’t need or care about excuses.  And the judges rightfully gave him their only standing ovation of the night.  It was that great.

Truthfully, I don’t remember the last time I have been this genuinely excited about an American Idol contestant. I’m not sure I ever have.  Yes, I think Joshua Ledet deserved a shot in the finale because he is a gifted performer who grew immensely during this past season.  But Phillip Phillips is a genuine artist who doesn’t really seem interested in playing a lot of games.  He knows how to make a song work for him and doesn’t seem affected when others don’t get him.  He doesn’t rely on theatrics or drama, he just delivers captivating performances.  And when he stumbles, he just gets up and keeps rollin’.  And I like that.  And I also like that he is mad talented.  He was my number one ranked contestant at the start of the season, and he performed like it in last night’s finale.  I’ve never bought an album from an Idol contestant before, but I just might with Phillip Phillips.

So I guess that’s why I’m concerned.

Idol finals don’t always go the way it seems they should.  After all, it seemed clear to me that Joshua should’ve been in the finals, but I didn’t see him anywhere last night.  It’s also not uncommon for voters to go with the familiar, safe pick.  Jessica is definitely that.  So, while I firmly believe that Phillip deserves to hear his name called tonight, I am prepared to be disappointed.  And if that happens, I may break from tradition and buy Phillip’s first album to show my support for the injustice.  It’s a small thing, but I’m just trying to do my part.

That’s all for now.  The results show begins in a few minutes on the east coast.

Oh, one final thought – the new Jason Derulo song blows.  Just sayin’.

 

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~ by themattmorrisshow on May 23, 2012.

One Response to “American Idol – Finals Night!!! (aka; I’m almost done writing about Idol this year!)”

  1. Whoop whoop!!’
    He won !!!!!
    Have to say the show itself was pretty boring
    For me. Kept fast forwarding threw most of it.
    Phillip is just comfortable in his own skin
    All the way . Not to many people are,
    I think it’s one reason he is such a great artist.

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