American Idol 2012 – Final Performance Episode Review: She and Him

Phillip and Jessica – who will it be?

Well y’all, this is it. It’s either Phillip or Jessica. I either quit American Idol forever* or I have a renewed faith in the show.

*I reserve the right to go back on this statement.

If Phillip Phillips wins, he’ll be a near identical winner to the last several White Guys With Guitars. If Jessica wins, it will be recognition that she’s one of the best vocalists the show has ever seen. Let’s see what happens.

Round One – Simon Fuller’s Choice

Jessica Sanchez – “I Have Nothing”: This was a pretty safe choice, but a good one. I’m pretty sure Jessica can kill it on absolutely any Whitney track, and this was one that definitely suited her voice. However, choosing this song for Jessica meant she couldn’t really choose her previous Whitney song for her next performance, and she was better on “I Will Always Love You”. There still isn’t as much passion in Jessica’s performance as one might hope, but Jessica has some of the best raw talent we’ve ever seen on this show.

Phillip Phillips – “Stand By Me”: Ugh. OK, fine. This was a great song choice. Good job, Simon Freakin’ Fuller. Thanks a lot for helping Phillip Squared achieve his inevitable win. Phillip growled out this song like he really meant it and without having to exhibit a lot of range, so it was very much his jam.

Round One goes to…Phillip? Jessica? Obviously I want to choose Jessica, because I think she’s inherently better. So you know what? I’m going with Jessica. Sue me.

Round Two – Contestant’s Favorite Song of the Season

Jessica Sanchez – “The Prayer”: I was glad Jessica chose this song for a couple reasons. First of all, it’s beautiful. Second of all, I didn’t watch the early rounds of the show so this was an entirely new performance to me. Recently on The Voice, Christina Aguilera sang this with her contestant Chris Mann, a trained opera singer. They were amazing, and Jessica Sanchez was every bit as breathtaking. She’s such a tiny human, her body actually vibrates when she hits the big notes. And those soft, high notes? Fantastic. A truly memorable, amazing, AMAZING performance.

Phillip Phillips – “I’m Movin’ Out: This is what I said about Phillip the first time he sang this song:

“Are we all in love with Phillip Phillips yet? I am. He really is the new David Cook, isn’t he? I loved his take on this song. I’m worried that this schtick might get old within a couple more weeks, but for now I’m still a fan.”

Yeah, the schtick got old. The second time around, I wasn’t as into this performance. It was just OK, and honestly it felt like something I could see in one of Halifax’s better bars.

Round Two goes to…Jessica, hands down. “The Prayer” was one of her best performances to date.

Round Three – The Terribly Unfortunate Singles

Jessica Sanchez – “Change Nothing”: I never care much for these Idol singles, and Jessica’s was pretty run of the mill. There was enough opportunity for her to show off her vocals and the song wasn’t too infuriating. So, for one of these singlers, it was pretty good. It was too bad that the judges focused so much on how the pop ballad wasn’t right for her, because I doubt Jessica had much of a say in the song choice.

Phillip Phillips – “Home”: This is really unfair. This was a WAY better song than what Jessica got. This sounded like something Mumford & Sons would do. Not fair, not fair at all. This song suited Phillip’s voice and his sound and his vibe perfectly. This could be a hit. And it has nothing to do with talent, it’s just the material that’s been handed to the finalists.

Round Three goesto…Phillip, only because the song is fantastic and it was his best performance of the season. But “true artist performance”, Randy? Really? HE DIDN’T WRITE THE SONG, GODDAMMIT! Geez. Don’t throw a parade in his honor.

It kind of felt like the producers want Phillip to win, didn’t it? He got a better single. He got a better first song choice, one that wasn’t by an artist he’d already covered a couple of times on the show. He got ample praise from the judges, while they focused far too much on Jessica’s crappy single that isn’t representative of the album she deserves to make.

Look, yes. Phillip’s last performance was great. But Jessica deserves this! She is a much better singer! Phillip has a vocal range of twelve notes! And he’s exactly like every winner we’ve seen in the past several seasons. I really, really, really hope America pulls through for me (because yes, this is all about me) and crowns Jessica the next American Idol winner.

But they won’t, will they?