'American Idol' Season 11 finale live-blog: The music and the mayhem
Who do you think is going to win it all? According to our poll, Jessica Sanchez is going to win, 54% to 46% over Phillip Phillips, but we aren't so sure. Phillip certainly capped off the night with a better winner's single.
Check back here at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT to follow along with our "Idol" finale live-blog. Should be a party. All times Eastern.
8:00: Here are we are, with the obligatory recap of what just happened 24 hours ago, in case you're somehow just tuning in. Did you hear? Nigel tweeted there was a world record-setting 132 million votes cast last night. Who thinks they should limit the number of times you can vote, like "DWTS" does? We kind of do.
8:02: The opening number is "Runaway" and all the Top 13 are in white - it's like "Idol" heaven, y'all. It's nice the outfits are coordinated to who has them on, like Skylar is country and Elise is hippie and Colton is hipster. Nice touch.
8:03: Ooh, Joshua tries the half-splits move and doesn't quiiiiiite get back up. Whoopsie.
8:05: It's good to see Erika is back to blonde. The short cut is cute on her, but the black version was way too Kris Jenner and made Erika look super old.
8:11: Phillip Phillips gets to perform with John Fogarty, which is awesome. My husband introduced me to the saying that CCR are the hillbilly Beatles, which always makes me giggle (he says this as a proud southern Missourian).
8:13: It's hurting my ears that Fogarty is doing "I wanna know-ow-ow" and Phillip is doing his "I wanna knoooow." Does that convey properly in text, what I'm talking about? I wish they were doing the same thing.
8:15: "Bad Moon Rising" is a fun one, this sounds much better than "Have You Ever Seen the Rain." Hey, Carrie Underwood and Mike Fisher! And Fish from "Ally McBeal"!
8:17: A montage of the bad auditions, like we need to see those again. And the judges being crazypants. The Seacrest stuff was hilarious - golf cart, giant Samoan who doesn't know who he is, woman punching him. Heh. That stuff should make the audition shows.
8:20: Joshua is singing "Take Me to the Pilot" and appears to be sans famous person - is Elton John going to come out, because that would be amazing. But I don't think he'd come on this show....
8:21: Nope, it's Fantasia. Perfect. I don't think this should have been put so close to the top of the show, everyone's ears will be bleeding by the time its over.
8:23: And predictably, it turns into a giant shriek-fest. Ughhhh. Thank you for cutting to commercial, booth.
8:28: Nice to see Jimmy Iovine got dressed up for the occasion. He just came from the bus stop. He also apparently has Alzheimer's, as he keeps referring to J.Lo as "Jessica."
8:31: Now we've got the female finalists singing a Chaka Khan medley, which are some big songs to saddle these ladies with, but good for Shannon Magrane for really making the most of her solos.
8:33: And now Chaka is there in person, in a ... wow, a catsuit and the girls all up there and ready to go. We guess for a 59-year-old - you go, girl. Rock those spanx.
8:35: The big scream-y ending sounds like someone is literally murdering Chaka on stage. If I couldn't see her prancing around, I would be worried someone was stabbing her to death. But hey, Jane Lynch is having a good time.
8:39: Who thinks "The Choice" looks fun in a total trainwreck way? I can't believe they got even semi-famous guys to agree to go on dates with whatever famewhores would sign on for that show.
8:41: Phillip and Jessica get to give their music mentors tickets to the finale and then a car, which is awesome. Jessica's family friend totally goes crazy, he seems very sweet. And then Phil and Jess get their own cars.
8:42: Rihanna is there with lots of smoke and lights and a Queen of the Damned outfit - I wish I could fast-forward. Ima go make a snack.
8:52: Skylar is singing "Turn on the Radio" with twang turned up to 11. But Reba is there! Oh, that's fun. I'll confess for a deep-seated love of Reba. She was my first concert, y'all. I was like 6 and I was obsessed with her song "Little Rock."
8:54: A "peek inside" Steven Tyler's secret world, a.k.a. his dressing room. Oh, god. Everybody's shots up-to-date?
8:57: Jessica is singing "I Will Always Love You" again and seriously, chills from the opening note. We did a poll after the Billboard Music Awards and Jessica won as best Idol to have covered this song. Nobody is quite Whitney, but she's the closest.
9:00: The male finalists are singing a Neil Diamond medley, so chances are good ol' Neil's in the house. I hope he looks better then Chaka.
9:02: You know what's great about these crazypants finales? Millions of tweens are being introduced to artists like Neil Diamond and Chaka Khan. Pay attention, kiddos - it was rather embarrassing that hardly any of the finalists knew who Billy Joel was.
9:03: "I'm a Believer"? Did Neil Diamond cover this? He must have, 'cause that's a Monkees song. Look 'em up, kids. They were some of the Biebers of their time. ETA: Turns out Neil Diamond wrote "I'm a Believer" - thanks, Alert Commenters.
9:04: I can't decide which is worse - Chaka's screaming like she's being stabbed, or Neil sing-talking the song. I hate when older singers do that. I get that your pipes are not what they once were, but the sing-talking is annoying. I'm looking at you, Tony Bennett.
9:06: I just got a better look at what Fantasia had on during that performance. Holy sausage casing, y'all. And what is with the split up the side? No. Just no.
9:11: OK, so I thought this sing-the-phone-book thing was going to be dumb, but it actually kind of made me giggle, listening to the Idols sing phone numbers and then the random stuff - "That's one spicy bratwurst!" Heh.
9:13: J.Lo is performing again. Sigh. At least she's not dressed like she's headed to Jazzercise like last time. I still am just never that excited about J.Lo dance songs, but gotta give her some credit - she's dancing her booty off up there, so good for her.
9:24: Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo are there, they are living together now - and Ace PROPOSES! Oh my god! I actually kind of love this, you guys.
9:26: Hollie's solo is "You Never Walk Alone," which is a good one for her, plus Jordin Sparks is there to sing with her, so that's fun. Hollie's past "Idol" winner >>>>> Joshua's past "Idol" winner.
9:35: Time for a Bee Gees medley. Hope your falsettos are warmed up, boys .Oooof, somebody doesn't know his harmony line. Yikes. This is seriously not good.
9:38: A performance of "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" from Jessica and HOLY CRAP Jennifer Holliday. I thought they'd trot out J-Hud, but this is awesome. Hey, Jennifer's still got it. This is spectacular.
9:46: Now Aerosmith gets a chance to perform - we bet Randy is just fuming and wondering what Journey is up to for next year. Heh.
9:48: Um, is it just me or is this rather awful? This song is unintelligible and seems to have no melody line. Do the classics! Nobody cares about this!
9:50: Finally, some "Walk This Way." Too bad Run DMC isn't there too. But it's better than that crapfest that we just listened to.
9:56: Um, isn't it results time? What is happening? However, Phillip and Jessica are actually better on "Up Where We Belong" than I thought they would be.
10:00: OK, here we go. Dim the lights. Last minute - I'm calling Phillip as winner.
10:02: The winner is - Phillip Phillips. No big shock there. Jessica is quick to give him a big hug, so good for her. Thanks for hanging with me tonight, "Idol" fans! Our winners' post is over here.