It’s here, gang. The “American Idol” finale. Tonight’s songs consist of three rounds: “Idol” creator Simon Fuller’s choice, contestant’s favorite and potential winning single.
1. Jessica Sanchez, “I Have Nothing,” Whitney Houston
This must be why she didn’t do this last week. Jimmy Iovine is lucky his bonehead Jackson 5 pick didn’t get her sent home. Anyway, this is a wonderful choice for her. It’s not quite the “I Will Always Love You” moment, but it’s beautiful. The key change is goosebump-inducing, as is the ending. We really have nothing to criticize.
2. Phillip Phillips, “Stand By Me,” Ben E. King
Phillip has once again chosen to do Ben E. King as imagined by Dave Matthews. Vocally, he sounds nice, but this is a song where we love the original so much that we’re disappointed he didn’t sing it straight. However, Phillip sometimes has a problem staying on pitch and this song is in a good place in his range, because he’s being pretty successful with the melody line. But it’s just a little boring for us. It could’ve been a beautiful, quiet moment if he hadn’t driven it to the middle of the Dave Matthews road.
Round 1? We say Jessica easily won that one. J.Lo calls Phil a “modern-day crooner,” which he is not. Crooner is the wrong word.
3. Jessica Sanchez, “The Prayer,” Celine Dion
Hmm. Obviously, after Fuller picked Whitney for her, she couldn’t pick Whitney again. But we aren’t sure how we feel about this song. It sounds beautiful, but it’s kind of boring. At the bridge, it picks up a little and the big note at the end will get viewers voting for sure. Seriously, she’s a lovely, lovely vocalist, but we aren’t convinced that was the right choice. Though other than “And I’m Telling You I’m not Going,” we aren’t sure what we would’ve picked for her.
4. Phillip Phillips, “Movin’ Out,” Billy Joel
We thought Round 2 was a slam-dunk for Phillip after Jessica’s choice, but … this is NOT the song we would’ve chosen for him. It’s a little too soon to Bob Seger, but we thought his “Volcano” was the way to go for sure. However, this version sounds much closer to the original than the first time he performed it. We’ll have to check the video, but we think he made a smart move by taking the arrangement back to the original more. This still is not much more than you’d see in a bar on a Saturday night, though.
We would give Round 2 to Jessica, honestly. But we bet in the interest of fairness, the judges will give it to Phillip. However, Steven Tyler surprises us by picking Jessica. Huh.
5. Jessica Sanchez, “Change Nothing”
So, we close our eyes and just listen – are we crazy, or is this one of the better victory singles this show has written? It’s a love song instead of a “this-is-my-now-inside-your-heaven” piece of crap. They also really let her show off her vocals while still making it radio-friendly. We had a bad feeling that Phillip’s single would be much more commercial (and it still might be), but at least Jessica didn’t get totally shafted in this department.
Weirdly, the judges don’t love it. We actually disagree with them that a soul/blues song should be her first single – her first single needs to be pretty commercial. Hmmm. Are we insane, commenters? Let us know your thoughts on it.
6. Phillip Phillips, “Home”
Again, we just close our eyes and listen – and we were right, Phillip’s song is much more commercial. It’s a fun little country-ish ditty that lets him play guitar and he actually shows off some vocals too. Very nice. Love it.
Phillip wins Round 3. His single is better and he performed it better. The judges go a little crazypants over him – we aren’t sure it’s as “different” as J.Lo gushes, but it was still very good.
So, who’s going to be the next “American Idol”? Vote now in our poll!