This is Eventual Winner Phillip Phillip’s competition to lose. Can Jessica Sanchez and her alter-ego BB Chez break through the mediocrity that is Phil Phil?
My fingers are crossed that by some miracle, Jessica will be the first female winner since Jordin “This Is My Now” Sparks in 2007. But to be honest, even if Jessica breaks the sound barrier and Phillip gets sent to the hospital mid-show, Phillip will still win.
For the performance finale, Jessica and Phillip will be singing producer Simon Fuller’s choice, reprising their favorite performance of the season, and debuting the dreaded American Idol original coronation song. *Shudder.* Not even my beloved Kris Allen could make his coronation song, “No Boundaries,” work.
Jessica Sanchez – “I Have Nothing” – Whitney Houston
I can’t quite wrap my head around why Simon Fuller would choose this Whitney classic that’s been performed SEVEN times on Idol before. Perhaps this performance was chose to erase all memories of Shannon Magrane’s trainwreck from Top 13 week earlier this season? And haven’t the comparisons between Jessica and the late Whitney Houston been exhausted by now? Although it seems like it’s been all Whitney/J.Hud all season, it’s a formula that works. Jessica sounds as lovely and lilting as expected, and she leaves her BB Chez stamp on the song, weaving in her trademark growl.
Phillip Phillips – “Stand By Me” – Ben E. King
Is this producer song choice even more bland than Jessica’s also-bland producer pick? Yes. Is this performance big enough to fill the Nokia Theatre? No. Does Easy Listening Phillip Phillips bring anything new to the song? No. Do the backup singers look as bored as all heck? Yes.
We’re cutting back the judges’ critiques to make room for Jason Derulo’s “Undefeated” presented by Coca-Cola?! Has Steven Tyler even spoken a word this whole show so far? That’s probably for the best…
Jessica Sanchez – “The Prayer” – Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli
I had pegged Jessica to reprise “I Will Always Love You” or “And I Am Telling You.” But “The Prayer”? What a savvy song choice! We haven’t seen this song performed during the live competition, so there’s an innate freshness to the performance. It’s a captivating mix of delicate tenderness and powerful soaring notes. And that glory note? Oooooweeeee! If only Jessica had performed this a cappella, or at least with less pomp from the orchestra, then this would have certainly gotten Jessica the standing ovation from the judges that she deserved.
Phillip Phillips – “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song)” – Billy Joel
Another savvy song choice. With an opening of just Smooth Grooving Phillip Phillips and his acoustic guitar to emphasize his “artistry and originality and blah blah blah.” And look, it’s sexy sax gal! He’s more at ease than he was in his performance, but honestly, the end lighting was much more impressive than the performance itself.
Jessica Sanchez – “Change Nothing” – dreaded American Idol original song
Of Jessica’s three performances tonight, this song certainly sounds and feels the most contemporary, with touches of the growl here and there. I wish that Jessica had been in full-on fierce mode at some point tonight, but alas, this is just another ballad of sorts. Why are the judges lecturing Jessica on the song that was probably foisted upon her? Why are they critiquing her like she’s already lost? Why this defeatist attitude already from everyone? Why are these conspiracies floating around in my head?
Phillip Phillips – “Home” – dreaded American Idol original song
Folksy Phillip Phillips transforms the typical Idol finale choir into a drumline. While the song fits Phillip well and is certainly more rousing than Jessica’s coronation single, in the closing “whooaaaaas” you can totally tell that the backup singers are singing over him, covering his lack of singing ability. However, this judging hyperbole is ridiculously grating. A standing ovation for this?! NO. NO. NO.
Sigh. With Phillip conquering the battle of the coronation songs, he’s a lock to win. And the confetti shower has already been cued up since his first appearance on the season premiere.
Tonight could have gone either one of two ways: Jessica would have killed the night, thus mobilizing Phillip’s fan base like no other (see: Crystal Bowersox vs. Lee DeWho?), or Jessica would have underwhelmed, ensuring Phillip’s win. We unfortunately got the latter. I just don’t see Jessica’s fanbase outvoting Phillip’s. She has no fighting chance.
So we go into the two-hour finale with an inevitable outcome. After the past two seasons (Lauren Alaina vs. Scotty McCreery, Crystal vs. Zzz) of finale nights with obvious victors, I was hoping for the slightest bit of a suspense this year. Remember the nail-biting finales of David Cook vs. David Archuleta or Kris Allen vs. Adam Lambert?! But alas, it looks like it’ll be another surprise-less WGWG (White Guy With Guitar) victory.
And look, even Jessica Sanchez is smitten by Phillip Phillips! So, there you have it. Not a single teenage girl can escape Eventual Winner Phillip Phillips’ charm, not even BB Chez herself. This is your now, Phil Phil.