Wednesday, May 23, 2012

American Idol 11: The Finale

All I can say right now is
Phillip Phillips

Recap to come tomorrow.

All righty. I needed a little family time last night for a pre-graduation cap and gown photo shoot for our son, (hubby is a photographer) and a little sleep, but now I'm ready for a recap of the fun, and pain, and merriment of last nights American Idol Season 11 Finale. It had a few big moments, but overall it was a little more laid back than some of the finales have been. 

Since this night was a celebration of the accomplishments of this years crop of contestants, it was kind of weird not seeing Phillip more during the two hours. I'm sure he had to take it easy not just during the show, but also during the times leading up to this show, when the others were all out there rehearsing.

Now here is my recap of the night with my opinions on the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all.

The introduction video showing clips of the Top 2 performance night was fittingly set to Phillip's "Home."

The Top 3 through 12 all took to the stage dress in various versions of white with silver to perform Bruno Mars' "Runaway Baby." We also get professional dancers, probably from Nigel's dance show, to do some impressive dance moves while the kids sing.  Oops, Joshua tried a dance move and failed. Stick to the singing there Josh. leave the dance moves to the pros.

Judges and Ryan are introduced finally.  Ryan tells us that there were a World Record number of 132 Million votes for the finale. Then he introduces Jessica and Phillip.  They are dressed in all white also. (Phillip actually looks good in all white. Maybe he should branch out on the clothing colors.) Ryan asks if they were able to sleep last night. Jessica says a little but Phillip says he got 9 1/2 or 10 hours sleep. (That must be some good pain meds.)

First "solo" performance is Phillip singing with the front man from Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty.  Phillip is now dressed in real "comfy" clothes. He is beaming as he gets to sing with one of his heroes.  They sing two songs: "Have You Ever Seen The Rain" and "Bad Moon Rising." Awesome. (And on a personal note, these are the only two CCR tracks I have on my iPhone. Funny coincidence.)

Next we must suffer through a video montage of judges with crazy auditions and stuff.

Next up, Joshua performing Elton John's "Take Me To The Pilot." (Glad Ryan told me this is Elton because I didn't have a clue.)  Joshua introduces his Idol and inspiration, Fantasia. (She is clad in a hideous bedazzled body suit that ... well, let's just leave it at that.) I don't know what this song sounded like when Elton sang it, but it is gospelized now. And they both screech their way through the poor song. (I am happy to report that my "mute button" on my TV is working just fine.)  Elton might be calling his reps to have Idol banned from using his music ever again after this thing. On a positive note, Joshua looks sharp in his silver lame jacket.

Who knew that Jimmy is a really funny guy?  Well we all do now that Idol put together a video of all of the outtakes from Jimmy's commentaries about the performances. He seemed to have a problem remembering Jennifer's name, repeatedly calling her Jessica. He explains that his daughter is Jessica and with a contestant named Jessica also, he just couldn't get the names straight. 

We have a performance by the Top 12 girls with guest performer, Chaka Khan. The girls sing "Ain't Nobody" and "Through the Fire" before Jessica  and Chaka Khan join the join them for "I'm Every Woman." The girls are all wearing various sequined dresses. Ms Khan is wearing a bedazzled brown body suit. (She actually looks better in this than Fantasia looked in her black one. Of course, my dog would have looked better in that than Fantasia did.)

This week's Ford video is a compilation of clips of each contestant in the top 10. Nice way not to single out Phillip for being absent from many of these videos.

Ford also gave two tickets to the show to the person who had the greatest mentoring impact on both Phillip and Jessica. Phillip named his Brother in Law, Ben Neil and Jessica named her long time family friend, Robert Talon. Each of these men also received a Ford Escape for their thanks. They were both honestly surprised by this announcement.

And following Idol tradition, Both Jessica and Phillip were presented with keys to their own Fords. They get to chose what they want.

Then we have Rihanna performing "Where Have You Been." She arrives in a big cube. The theme of the production is tribal.

Skylar Laine performs "Turn on the Radio" with Reba McEntire.  They sound great together. Skylar is rocking it with her Idol and you can tell she is thrilled.

Our next fun video clip is honoring Steven Tyler. We are told this is from his dressing room, but is it? I'm not sure. Steven has playboy bunnies lined up in the doorway as greeters, carries around an actual live sloth for part of the tour, wants to sell perfume from a live skunk that is available, is totally hilarious for the whole thing , and ends with a live monkey sitting on his shoulder. (This is one of the best parts of the whole show.)

Just so we don't forget why this show is happening in the first place, Jessica comes out to give us a reprise of "I Will Always Love You" and is still putting in too much vibrato for my taste. But she looks beautiful in this more age-appropriate blue gown.

Next we have the Top 12 guys singing "America," "Cracklin' Rosie," and "I'm A Believer" before Colton introduces the legendary Neil Diamond. Neil and the guys sing "Sweet Caroline." This performance is awesome even if Neil isn't quite as powerful as he use to be. (Personal note here: I had flashbacks to season 7 during this whole performance. Neil Diamond was a mentor that season. David Archuleta sang "America" and "Sweet Caroline" as his performances that week and "Cracklin' Rosie" was featured in the group song.)

The absolute best video of the night was the one honoring Randy as a judge and his silly comment about singing the phone book when a contestant is versatile and can sing many styles. We have the Top 3 thru 12 literally singing  the phone book. They and Michael Orland on keyboard are all wearing choir robes and holding phonebooks out as though they are hymnals singing about really random stuff in the phone book, like tummy tucks. Joshua is featured as the over the top gospel singer. You can tell they really had fun making this video.  After the video, Scotty McCreery presents Randy with his own Yellow Pages Phone Book.

Next, we have a couple of songs from Jennifer Lopez: "Goin' In" featuring girl dancers and "Follow The Leader" performed with rappers/ hip-hop artists Wishin and Yandel. Oh, and there are a bunch of guys dancing and running all over the stage. (Playing follow the leader, I guess.)

Ryan tells us there are (supposedly) a lot of Idol alums in the audience. We are shown Lauren Alaina and Taylor Hicks (He is really there a lot. He needs a life.) and then Ryan introduces Ace Young (season 5 finalist) and Diana DeGarmo ( season 3 runner-up). Ryan invites them into the stage, and Diana is totally clueless what is about to take place. Ace proposes to her in front of Ryan, and all of the world. it was so sweet and he was shaking as he tried to put the ring on her finger. And she said yes. 

While everyone tries to pull themselves back together from this lovefest moment, Hollie takes the stage to sing "You"ll Never Walk Alone" and is joined by Jordin Sparks. I wish I could imitate the totally cute Tex/Brit accent Hollie had when she said "Sparks." It was almost as "awww" worthy as the proposal just a few minutes before. These two beautiful young women did a wonderful job of this very big and powerful song. Kudos to the brain who put these two together with this song.

Idol is mourning the loss of a friend of their show, Robin Gibb of the BeeGees and so a tribute is in order. The Top 12 guys are called on for this number. I just wish they had left out the backup singers and let the guys just sing it themselves. I heard notes clashing in there. We hear parts of "Words," "How Deep is Your Love," "To Love Somebody."

Next, we are told is a duet from Jessica and Grammy winner, Jennifer Holiday. They are performing "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going."  At least Ms Holiday knows what the appropriate dress is for someone her age. No body suit this time. I have to make a confession: I have never heard Ms Holiday sing this song. I'm not sure I have ever heard her sing any song for that matter, and I am not a fan of this kind of singing. I'm not even sure this was singing. I thought the two of them were going to rip each other's heads off. The faces this woman was making while singing would scare many people to death. I had a difficult time watching this. I muted the TV through part of it too. (Sorry if I offended anyone with this comment. Just keeping it real, for Randy.)

And speaking of scary faces and screaming ... Aerosmith takes to the stage for a couple of songs: "Legendary Child," a new song and "Walk This Way," a oldie but a goodie. (Steven could have worn Fantasia's body suit, if he wanted too.)

And for our last performance of the night (sort of) we have Jessica and Phillip with a subdued and lovely performance of the Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes classic, "Up Where We Belong." 

So, it all culminated in a few moments on stage, Phillip and Jessica, side by side, and the presentation of the official envelope to Ryan by the British guy from the company in charge of tabulating all of the votes. After a world record 132,000,000 (Yes, that's million) votes cast, the winner of Season 11 of American Idol  is  ..................................................... Phillip Phillips. 

Scotty McCreery hands Phillip his trophy. Phillip is in shock. A guy runs out on stage and sticks a mic stand in front of a confused Phillip and Ryan takes back the trophy and hands Phillip his guitar. The music starts for Phillip to sing "Home" and Phillip really doesn't know what is happening. Phillip starts to sing, then starts to cry, watches the immense amount of confetti fall on everyone and the marching band drum across the stage and then looses it the rest of the way. He takes off the guitar, hands it to Joshua and heads to the audience and his parents' arms.

And there we have it readers. The final installment of Season 11 of American Idol is history.  It has been different to say the least.  I am going to miss this silly show.

Now, I'll have to go back to real life and the two-year absence of the real reason I started this blog. Hurry back David. Life is a less "sunny" when you're away.

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