Sorry I missed you for all things top three on Idol. Learning of Donna Summer’s death last Thursday sent me off path. She is one of my all-time favorite female voices and part of my top five, long time artist faves (the others are Michael Jackson, Prince, Tina Turner, and Bonnie Raitt). Having her gone at the far too early age of 63 is a huge loss. While deemed the Disco Queen, she didn’t receive the due she deserved as being a technically stunning singer and master of her craft. Her voice graced Broadway and multiple stages around the world. And you know I squeed when she served as a mentor on Idol.
In terms of the Idol top three, I was floored by Jimmy Iovine’s failed choices for all the contestants as well as the judge’s selection that pushed Joshua to sing into the full-out stratosphere of too much. As I tweeted:
Watching a contestant being doomed aggravates me on Idol. It is one thing if a contestant is steering their own boat towards the big drop of Niagara Falls. Quite another if the production team does it. The choices made for Joshua lit the fire of anyone who hates when he puts a “Mantasia” spin on things. The choices also didn’t help Jessica, who was forced into a too old for her Mariah number where she got to warble about missing someone’s body next to hers and then a Jackson 5 ditty.
Let’s see if the producers did any better for the top two.
Jessica Sanchez: “I Have Nothing” (Simon Fuller’s Song Choice)
Stop with the Whitney Houston songs already! Nothing from “The Bodyguard” is age appropriate for Jessica. All season, Jimmy has both ranted and apologized for slogging her with clothing and songs that are too old, yet here we are again.
From the clips of Jessica heard during the Hollywood round, I thought she was one to keep an eye on. A hidden gem and vocal powerhouse. Remember when she sang “Love You I Do” and waltzed into the Top 13? It was fantastic. She then sang “I Will Always Love You” for the Top 13 round and, while it was beautiful, we’d just lost Whitney and heard Jennifer Hudson’s flawless rendition at the Grammy’s. It felt too soon and I started to wonder. Plus, she tossed in a smile while delivering the song when there is nothing to smile about in those lyrics.
Now I know. Jessica is the queen of imitation. She is a fabulous technician in that she can sound like so many people, but that just shows she isn’t her own artist yet. Unless she’s doing an album of covers, she’s going to have to get some emotional life beneath any new material she sings.
Phillip Phillips: “Stand By Me” (Simon Fuller’s Song Choice)
I’m not sure what Phillip thought he was doing with this song. He has a way of violating melodies that throws me off. I get and like being creative. What he does sounds a bit wandering at times. This is also a song that I’ve started to dread hearing.
The good thing about Phillip is that I never have to fear hearing a Whitney song come out. Bad thing is his voice is obviously limited in range and technique compared to Jessica and dare I say the majority of other contestants from the Top 13. There are also other past Idol “guys with guitars” that are better singers and performers—Kris Allen for example. And tons better in the music business now. I don’t see myself buying his album.
Round one is a draw.
Jessica Sanchez: “The Prayer” (Artist’s Encore Song Choice)
Jessica sang this first during Vegas week. Here she says true to the melody and feel of the song while delivering a restrained performance. No denying her beautiful voice and the ability to control it (huge needed skill with diva singers). With some more time for growth and performance development, she might be a force in the industry.
Phillip Phillips: “Movin’ Out” (Artist’s Encore Song Choice)
Originally performed during Billy Joel week, this version sounds about the same. He gives it some spunk. He plays the guitar. He is playing to his fan base.
Round two goes to Jessica.
Jessica Sanchez: “Change Nothing” (Idol Single Song Choice)
Here is an example of a contestant being saddled with schlock and I wonder if it is purposeful to steer people to vote for the producers’ all season favorite Phillip. Isn’t the potential winner song supposed to be a highlight and crowning moment? This song does nothing for Jessica. It is almost as bad as the years where they made the final two sing the same song and you could hear it was written with the other in mind. And did you hear the lyrics? As people head to vote, Jessica’s last song lands like a dud.
Phillip Phillips: “Home” (Idol Single Song Choice)
Well look who was given the best choice from the goodie basket. It is all-season producer favorite Phillip. His song fits his style, fits his voice, and sounds like something he’d be right in place having on the radio. They even pulled out a marching band to back him. I think I see a bedazzled crown lowering from the ceiling.
Round three goes to Phillip for the win. Oh heavens. Am I really saying that? You know I have not been his fan all season. I thought his first audition was interesting, but wasn’t sure I liked him. He’s been the same to me each week since then and I threw many door prizes his way. Yet there is a much more likable quality about him and what he sang was believable—unlike Jessica hitting diva tunes more suitable for someone twice her age. Also, we can’t count out the teen girl voting bloc. Phillip’s smile corners that market.
Ramblings from the Finale Show
- I’m starting out standing by my prediction after the performances that Phillip will win.
- Watching all the finalists back together is a clear example of why the early ones went out when they did, even little DeAndre who has so much talent, but still no clue what to do with it. Deer in headlights.
- What no Whitney hologram to bring out for Jessica’s performance of “I Will Always Love You”? She sounds a little worn out compared to her first time singing this on the show.
- Can someone do an intervention on Fantasia? Her outfit and performance (rather screams) are so, so, so wrong on multiple levels. Seeing Fantasia renders me speechless. I actually clasp my hand over my mouth and just stare. Not many things can do that. And troubling for Joshua to say she is his biggest inspiration. I shudder. What happened to her tailored singing, style, and restraint from Season 3?
- Chaka Khan looks great and saved what is a hot mess of the girls all not blending on “I’m Every Woman.” She wins the battle of the bodysuits.
- Rihanna performs. Not that inspired by what she did.
- Meh too on John Fogerty, Reba McIntire and Neil Diamond. Neil’s piece with the guys is a hot mess—their fault, not his.
- Singing the phone book is fantastic. Best bit ever on the show. And Joshua going off at the end has me crying. Yep, he does get lost and take songs to church every time.
- Stop letting J-Lo perform. I’ve begged the producers to end the madness. Let’s end her reign as judge so we can avoid any more of these moments.
- Proposing on Idol – Not so sure this is the best idea. I figure what is going to happen as soon as Ryan calls Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo up on stage. It is still sweet…well until Ace puts in a plug for his jeweler. He wins me back with the wobble in his voice as he holds back tears. Ahh.
- Always great to see Jordin Sparks. I’m glad she’s getting some more press and exposure. She has a beautiful voice.
- The top 5 guys Bee Gees tribute to honor Robin Gibb hurts me until Joshua brings it home with “To Love Somebody.” Sing, Joshua!
- Jennifer Holliday killed “And I Am Telling You.” Killed it dead. Like, no one else should ever come on Idol again attempting it again. If the judges hear someone start in on the first line, they should say, “hold up, nope, that number was killed and buried on our stage back in 2012.” Seriously. You can’t go anywhere near it after seeing what Jennifer does on the stage. Her facial contortions may not be pretty, but she sings the song with the ease of being the pro who originated it back in 1981.
Jessica even stops at one point and just lets her have the floor. Don’t bother trying to out sing one of the queens of the divas because she will slay you every time. If hearing Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of the song from the “Dreamgirls” movie soundtrack moves you to tears, listening to the original sing it with the gut choke of emotion and depth that she brings will cause you to stare in awe, then sit on the floor and just bawl. It is that deep, that personal, like we are right there with her feeling the pain of being the one left behind.
- Aerosmith. Great to see them rock anytime.
- Hey, what happened to the rumored Donna Summer tribute? They did one for Robin Gibb, but nothing for Donna. Buggers.
- Way long show. Anyone recording it will be mad if they didn’t catch the winner being named at 10:01.
- Phillip winning – Not surprised at all and actually rooted for him over Jessica because at least he knows who he is as a performer and seems humble and likeable. Jessica felt like a fake vocal piece once we got into the finals. During my top four recap I said, “If the finale does end up as Jessica versus Phillip, may the one who performs in the most authentic way win.” He did.
Your thoughts on the finale show? Were you Team Jessica or Team Phillip? What do you think the show should do with the judges?
- Battle of the The Idol Catsuits.
- What is my favorite thing to do after an Idol season ends? Head right into the world of “So You Think You Can Dance.” Last night’s season premiere didn’t disappoint as we were introduced an “exorcist style” dance routine and even a baby ballerina.
- If you are hankering for more singing, you can venture to check out new reality show, “Duets.” I recorded the first episode, but haven’t watched it yet. Let me know what you think if you have.