Thursday, May 24, 2012

Season 11 Finale: The Winner Is Crowned

Welcome back. Well tonight is the night. Before we get too far into the recap I wanted to Thank everyone that has read this blog. I hope you enjoyed it and will come back next year for our next season of I'dol Be The Judge. 

Now getting back to this recap. As a tribute to the season we wanted to include a review of the Top 13, their best performances and what we thought about them at the time. We also have included some awards that we want to give to several contestants or moments along the way. We will also put how we did with our predictions for the season. Below this tribute to the season will be our regular recap for the show.Enjoy this tribute to Season 11 and our final recap of the season:

Awards For The Season:
Best Performance:
I Will Always Love You-Jessica Sanchez
Runner Up: It's A Man's Man's Man's World-Joshua Ledet

Worst Performance:
My Life-Heejun Han

Most Shocking Moment
Jessica Sanchez Elimination at Top 7 Week 

Least Shocking Moment
Jessica Sanchez's Save at Top 7 Week

Most Shocking Elimination
Jessica Sanchez
Runner Up: Colton Dixon

Most Impressive Run
Hollie Cavanagh [Bottom 3 or 2 Five Times(4th Place Finish)]
Runner Up: Elise Testone [Bottom 3 or 2 Six Times(6th Place Finish)]

Contestants Recap:
13th Place
Jeremy Rosado
Best Performance: Gravity [Top 25 Week]
Season Grades: B-

12th Place/Disqualified
Jermaine Jones
Best Performance: Dance With My Father[Top 25 Week]
Season Grades: C+

11th Place
Shannon Magrane
Best Performance: One Sweet Day[Top 11 Week]
Season Grades: D+, B
10th Place
Erika Van Pelt
Best Performance: Edge of Glory [Top 25 Week: Wild Card Sing-off]
Season Grades: B-, B, B

9th Place
Heejun Han
 Best Performance: A Song For You[Top 9 Week]
Season Grades: B-, B-, D+, B

8th Place
DeAndre Brackensick
Best Performance: Master Blaster [Top 13 Week]
Season Grades: B+, C+, C+, B-, B+

7th Place
Colton Dixon
Best Performance: Piano Man[Top 10 Week]
Season Grades: B, B, A-, A-, B, B+, B-

6th Place
Elise Testone
Best Performance: A Whole Lotta Love [Top 9 Week]
Season Grades: B-, B, A-, A, A, B+, B, A-, B+

5th Place
Skylar Laine
Best Performance: Wind Beneath My Wings[Top 8 Week]
Season Grades: B, B, B-, B+, B+, A-, B+, A-, B+, A-, B+

4th Place
Hollie Cavanagh
 Best Performance: River Deep Mountain High[Top 5 Week]
Season Grades: A-, A-, B-, B, B, B, B+, B, A-, A-, B+, C+, C+

3rd Place
Joshua Ledet
Best Performance: It's A Man's Man's Man's World[Top 4 Week]
Season Grades: B+, A, B-, B+, A-, A-, A-, B+, A, A-, A, B+, A, B+, A-, B+

2nd/1st Place
 Phillip Phillips
Best Performance: We Got Tonight [Top 3 Week]
Season Grades: A, B+, B-, B+, B, A-, B, B, B+, B, B-, A-, B+, B, A-, A

2nd/1st Place
Jessica Sanchez
Best Performance: I Will Always Love You[Top 13 Week]
Season Grades: A+, B+, A, A-, B+, A-, B+, B+, A-, B+, A, A-, A, B+, A-, A-

Our Season Predictions:
Bottom 3 Predictions

Going Home Predictions

Tonight's Recap:
Hopefully you enjoyed the review of Season 11. Now onto tonight's show, let's get to it:

Top 12 Perform
They perform Runaway Baby from Bruno Mars. Everyone is there except Jessica, Phillip and obviously the disqualified Jermaine Jones. This song was performed in the season by Joshua Ledet and it was one of my favorites of his because it was so different then his usual shtick. They are all dressed in white and seem to be having fun. Joshua tried to do a split and almost fell and then was shown up by some random dancers. I guess it moved into Nigel Lythgoe's other show "So You Think You Can Dance". They did a good job with it, nice way to start the show.

New World Record
132 Million Votes were cast for Jessica and Phillip last night. That includes phone, text and Internet. Obviously the more ways for people to vote the more votes the show will get. But it's still quite impressive.

Phillip & John Fogerty Perform
It's pretty cool that Phillip gets to sing with John Fogerty from Creedance Clearwater Revival. I kinda thought that they would get Dave Matthews to perform with Phillip, but given how similar their voices are no actual side-by-side comparison is really needed.  This was pretty cool. They sing CCR's "Have You Ever Seen The Rain". They then sing "Bad Moon Rising". Their voices blend pretty well together. Good stuff.

Auditions Clip Package
We get to see clips of some of the "craziest" moments from the audition rounds. Some bad contestants, some "unexpected" moments from the judges, some bloopers. It doesn't seem that long ago but it kinda was. Ryan got punched, some guy asked who Ryan was, some guy broke a light, Ryan got stuck in a door. Seeing some of Steven's antics reminds me how much he shines during those rounds and how he goes backwards during the Live rounds.

Joshua Ledet & Fantasia Performs
He is back with this Elton John classic "Take Me To The Pilot". I wonder if this would have been Joshua's choice if he made it to the finale. Joshua gets to sing with one of his favorite Idols, Fantasia Barrino. She looks like a completely different person. Her hair is long, her voice sounds deeper, but she still has her Fantasia bounce. It's cool that he gets to sing with his Idol. Their energy together is just off the hook. Joshua just tears down the house with this performance. It reminds us how much we missed not seeing him in the finale. They go a little long and American Idol has to cut them off, that's how into the performance they were.

Jimmy Iovine's Bloopers
He messes up Jennifer Lopez's name a ton of times. He mixes up Jennifer with Jessica. He claims it was due to his daughter's name being Jessica.

Ladies of The Top 12 & Chaka Khan
Erika Van Pelt has gone back to her blonde roots(no pun intended). It's nice to see Elise but really nice to hear her. Also fun to see Shannon, Skylar and Hollie. They sing a compilation of Chaka Khan's songs, "Ain't Nobody Love Me Better" and "Through The Fire". Jessica then comes on stage and joins the other girls along with Chaka Khan to perform "I'm Every Woman". She looks great. All the ladies look and sound pretty great. At the end of the performance Jennifer Lopez is missing from the judge's table. Hmm.

Ford Music Video
Ford created a tribute to all the members of the Top 12. We learn that both Phillip and Jessica's mentors, Phillip's brother in-law, and a family friend of Jessica got to get tickets to the American Idol finale. They also both get new Ford Escape cars. Then both Jessica and Phillip get the 2013 Ford Fusion. Thus ends the tortuous Ford Music Videos for Season 11.

Rihanna Performs
Singing her new single "Where Have You Been" Rihanna performs along with a pretty extravagant stage. She is wearing a pretty scantily clad dress. Looks good, sounds good and the performance is very cool.

Skylar Laine & Reba McEntire Performs
Skylar returns on stage with Reba McEntire singing "Turn On The Radio". This was a pretty perfect duet. I always loved Skylar's energy and performance skills and tonight was no different. Jennifer Lopez is still M.I.A. Hmm.

The World of Steven Tyler
We get to see Steven Tyler's dressing room.  We see he has strange animals(mainly sloths), he has tons of pictures, we see he has some Playboy bunnies in there, his sister is making out with some dude, we see a piano that Steven supposedly wrote "Dream On" on.Weird, but sorta typical Steven Tyler at this point.

Jessica Performs
It's crazy to think but Jessica first sang "I Will Always Love You" during Top 13 week and now she is performing it again at the finale. That was probably her best performance it's crazy to think that was only the beginning. She sings the song beautifully again, I'm glad that they decided that she should sing it once more. Jessica doesn't get a duet partner, but with this song, and this version, she doesn't need one.

Guys of Top 12 & Neil Diamond
The men of the Top 12 sing a Neil Diamond medley. They begin with "America", and Heejun sounds pretty awful. They then sing "Cracklin Rosie" and Jeremy and DeAndre sound really good on it. They then sing "I'm A Believer". Joshua kills this one. Then Neil Diamond comes on stage and sings his most popular, maybe most famous song "Sweet Caroline. Dude looks pretty good  and his voice is just as good as it has ever been. They haven't done a Neil Diamond week since Season 7 maybe it's time they reinstate one next year. Jennifer Lopez is still missing from the judge's table. What's up?

Homage to Randy Jackson
They show clips of how trite and predictable and repetitive Randy Jackson is with his comments. One of his most famous/repetitive lines is "You're So Good You Can Sing The Phone Book" so they had members of the Top 12 actually sing part of the phone book. I think my favorite part was when DeAndre used his falsetto singing some random phone number. Clever.  They wanted this clip package to be funny and it was but it also was sad for Randy that he says that line a lot. Joshua definitely goes to church with this one, but this time he was supposed to on purpose.

Jennifer Lopez Performs
Well now we know how long it takes for Jennifer Lopez to get ready to perform. She missed at least 7 segments getting ready. Either way, she performs two songs "Going In" and "Follow The Leader". She looks great and her performance is fun and energized. She has a concert with Enrique Iglesias to sell so she made her performance pretty fun.

Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo
They are American Idol's first couple. Diana was runner-up in Season 3, and Ace was on Season 5 and they met a few years later. Ryan asks Diana and Ace to join him up on stage and she looks shocked to be going up there but Ace is on a mission. Ace proposes to Dianna and with the lights dim and the Idol results music turned up Diana accepts. Maybe next season finale we will see the first Idol wedding. Ya never know with this show. Cute.

Hollie & Jordin Sparks Performs
Hollie sings "You'll Never Walk Alone" which is a huge song. This was one of Jordin's biggest moments/performances during her Season 6 American Idol season. It's nice to hear the two of them together, they both have powerhouse voices and they both deliver a powerhouse performance.

Top 12 Guys Perform A Bee Gees Tribute 
Robin Gibb passed away last weekend and Idol decided to do this little tribute for him. The guys sound great. They sing "How Deep Is Your Love", "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart", and "To Love Somebody". Sad to hear of his passing but this was very well done tribute to and for him.

Jessica and Jennifer Holliday Perform
Before Jennifer Hudson won an Oscar for singing "I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" Jennifer Holliday made this song what it was. Seeing the Jessica and Jennifer together was just awesome. They threw it down. They threw it down hard. Jennifer Holliday killed it and Jessica was just as brilliant as well. One of the best finale duets/performances I've ever seen and that's saying something given how long I have watched this show.  The way Jessica and Jennifer finished that song was just unbelievable. Wow. Just Wow!

Aerosmith Performs
It took 2 years but Aerosmith finally performs together on the Idol stage.  They first sing their new single "Legendary Child" and it's just classic/perfect Aerosmith. It's everything you want in an Aerosmith song. Sometimes you take for granted Steven Tyler's talent because he's not the best judge in the world but then he performs and you remember that he is a legend and you almost forgive some of his nonsense throughout the season. They then go on and sing "Walk this Way". When you see Aerosmith you want them to sing this song, it's just one of their best songs ever.

Jessica & Phillip Perform
They both sing "Love Lift Us Up". I remember Bo Bice and Carrie Underwood sang this duet in Season 4 during the finale. There are a million songs out there so it's interesting that they chose to re-do a song. I know it's been 7 years since then but it's just the principle of the thing. They both do sound good together though. Their voices blend quite well.

Final Results

Winner of American Idol Season 11
Phillip Phillips

Final Thoughts

*As I said last night whoever won this season deserved it. This was one of the strongest seasons ever. There were several legitimate contenders. So Congratulations to Phillip Phillips. Jessica Sanchez will also have a big career and deserves so much credit for getting to this point. I look forward to hearing her on the radio.

*It is crazy that this is the 5th season in a row that a white male has won American Idol. I don't know what that means in terms of voting, who's voting, how people vote, how many times they vote, but that's something that will either be figured out next season or just is how it is and we'll have to deal with it. Stay tuned for any changes American Idol does over the next year.

*I think Jennifer & Steven did a much better job in their second season. I still believe they need to be more consistent, more critical, especially in the early parts of the live rounds, but they both did a better job than they did last season. We'll see what happens with Jennifer coming back or not. Randy definitely needs to step his game up. He disappointed me this season with his comments, or lack therof. He's been here for 11 years it's time he figures this stuff out.

*I was very impressed with Ryan Seacrest this season. After watching several other singing competitions Ryan is one of if not the best host for this kind of job. He may be corny or even frustrating at times but he runs a good show, keeps everything pretty smoothly and is a professional. Nice job by him.

*2 last notes. Jessica is the first contestant ever to be "saved" to get to the finale. Phillip is now added to the list of American Idol winners never to have been in the Bottom 3 or 2. Huge testament to both of them.

Well there ya have it. Phillip Phillips is the new American Idol. Congratulations to him again. I hope everyone has enjoyed I'dol Be The Judge this season. We had fun doing it. Please check back in with us from time to time over the Summer and Fall as we prepare for Season 12 of American Idol which will debut in January 2013. Wow. So hopefully see you soon. Below we have posted Phillip Phillip's winning performance and song. Enjoy! So for the last time this season, see ya!

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