If you blinked, you might have missed the final performances of the 12th season of “American Idol.” If you actually watched, you may have been lulled into a deep sleep by the show’s palpable lack of excitement. Either way, it’s all over but the nailbiting results show Wednesday night.
The final showdown was billed as the battle of opposites: He’s a “21-year-old pawn shop worker and she’s a 16-year-old powerhouse.” Huh? Who writes this drivel?
After the judges made their grand entrance, the contestants began a grueling (for the audience) three round sing-off with little commentary from the panel (which was really a nice change).
In round one, they sang something chosen by the show’s executive producer Simon Fuller. He must stand in line at the bank all day depositing his money. How else would you come up with Whitney Houston’s 1993 single “I Have Nothing” for Jessica Sanchez? And why would you put her in a dress that she was so afraid to trip over she clutched it like a life rope tossed to a drowning man? Foreshadowing? Stay tuned.
Fuller chose the 1961 Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me” for Phillip Phillips. Must be another one of the muzak rotations in the bank. It’s a 50 year-old song that’s been sung by everyone from John Lennon to Jimi Hendrix. He did a fine job, but it was hard not to wonder who would pay money to hear him sing this. Everyone who’s ever strummed a guitar already has their own rendition.
Judges agreed round one went to Celine (er, Jessica) Sanchez. The rest of us were too busy yawning to care.
But before we go on, it’s time for Jason Derulo’s triumphant return with his new song “Undefeated.” The guy broke his neck rehearsing for a world tour. First night back he’s covered in fog, standing on a folding chair and doing all sorts of things to prove he’s in tip-top shape. The song, “Undefeated,” is dreadful, but Coca-Cola is offering 10,000 free downloads. Based on this performance, it might hit 10,001 if girlfriend and “Idol” winner Jordin Sparks supports his work.
On to round two where the young pop-star wannabe chooses her favorite number from the season, “The Prayer.” Again with the middle-aged woman music and the long dress. If she keeps this up, she’ll be doing senior cruises before she finishes high school. Yes, she does have a great voice, but it takes more than that to make it. Ask Melinda Doolittle, if you can find her.
Of course, Phil Phil’s choice for round two is the performance anyone of a certain age thinks he should be arrested for. You don’t mess with Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out.” And if you must, it’s “heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack-ack. You ought to know by now.” Judge Tyler mumbled “hatch or go bad.” Nobody really knows what he was talking about. Round two was a split decision.
Following an ad for some new show called “The Choice,” a hybrid of everything that’s great about “The Dating Game” and “The Voice,” it was time for the dueling duo to perform the song that will be their first single.
Typically, this has always been a horrific song that you’d have to be paid a million dollars to sing. Jessica’s nightmare is called “Change Nothing.” J. Lo called it a pop-ballad. Her eardrums must’ve popped. It actually sounds like dinner music on a cruise ship. Maybe Jessica should hang on to it after all.
Phil Phil fared much better with a song called “Home.” It has a bit of a Simon & Garfunkel feel to it and we all know how contemporary that is. They pulled out all the stops for this one, however. Half way through the song 12 drummers drumming walked on stage in marching band formation and provided enough rhythm to wake the sleeping viewers just in time to vote.
Last year’s winner, (see if you can name him), closed the show with a video montage. When it was all over, this viewer’s phone was in the other room. Wasn’t worth getting up just to vote. Looks easier to call than Reagan vs. Mondale. Game, set, match pawn shop boy. He’s cute and he’s got a guitar.
When it’s all said and done, if the best thing you can say is that Seacrest is getting good at this job, perhaps it’s time for “American Idol” to say farewell.