Tonight’s pre-credits sequence is about the final two. It’s all diary-themed because this is their “story,” and the onscreen text reminds us that their auditions were on opposite coasts. I think that’s possibly the least significant way in which Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez are opposites.
After the titles, the judges come out, followed by Ryan with an unusually frozen smile. Tonight’s taping is in the Nokia Theater, he informs us, which looks rather larger than the dinky little auditorium they’re usually in. Ryan polls the audience by applause to find out whether Jessica or Phillip has more fans, and it sounds like a dead heat, possibly thanks to some excellent on-the-fly sound mixing. Ryan calls them out onstage, and in honor of the occasion, Jessica’s wearing another prom gown while Phil has troubled himself to put on black pants under his t-shirt and open button-down. Fancy.
Ryan dismisses them for now and tells us about the three rounds tonight. First will be Simon Fuller’s choice of songs for them, then each of the contestant’s favorite songs and then each of their “potential winning songs,” whatever that means. Also, each finalist has four phone numbers, which won’t be confusing for anyone at all, in the four-hour voting window after the show.