Murtz On The Scene: American Idol Season Finale Live Review

LOS ANGELES – In the end, the right singer won and on a show that is in desperate need of a makeover, Thursday’s crowning of Candice Glover as the newest American Idol over Kree Harrison is a positive that Nigel Lythgoe and the rest of the Idol producers can build upon.

When the 2013 American Idol Top 10 finalists were determined and introduced on stage for the first time, I was convinced that Candice Glover was the best singer in the competition. As is usually the case with Idol, however, I knew that this probably meant that she wouldn’t win. On a show that seemed destined to only crown Caucasian male singers with guitars, on any other season Candice might have been McCreery’d or DeWyze’d. As a result, it almost seemed ike all the times Candice tried out and didn’t make it was meant to be as this was certainly the best year for her to finally make it as a finalist. Just imagine if last season’s Jessica Sanchez had been amongst this year’s crop of top-notch divas. Hmm.

The truth is that the writing for this finale was already on the wall. The best thing that could have happened to Candice was America eliminating both Amber Holcomb and Angie Miller in the weeks leading up to the finale. Candice’s best shot was against Kree and Wednesday’s performance show was complete and total domination as the soul singer bested the country crooner on both the winning single and the encore song.

Candice winning felt like the worst-kept secret in the world. During a satellite group performance with the Idol girls, Aretha Franklin unintentionally referred to Glover as the winner and despite it being a mistake, it only vocalized what everyone in the audience was already feeling. In fact, Kree herself almost seemed resigned to being the runner-up as she didn’t seem to even bat an eye when host Ryan Seacrest announced the winner.

As for the finale itself, we are long removed from the days of Lady Gaga, U2, and Beyonce performing on the show, but I actually don’t think that this is a bad thing. The one area where Idol has dominated is in producing actual music and recording stars. The fact that Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood can sell millions of albums or that Jennifer Hudson can win an Oscar and none have the stigma of simply being products from a reality show speaks volumes about the credibility of American Idol, and this is certainly a claim that no other show can make.

Speaking of Jennifer Hudson, her duet with Candice Glover on Thursday’s finale was a genius decision as it offered even a first-time Idol viewer an immediate glimpse into the type of artist Candice can become. The fact that she could keep with Hudson, really legitimized her genuine ability.

In that vein, the reason that I enjoyed this year’s finale so much is that Idol seemed to celebrate the stars that it has produced instead of using itself as a platform for already-established stars to further promote their wares.

– Angie Miller was initially joined by Adam Lambert and then by Jessie J in what was easily the best surprise of the evening (although I would have loved to have heard Angie sing her original single from the show).

– The Band Perry joined by Janelle Arthur for a headbanging version of “Done”

– Amber Holcomb was joined by Emeli Sande

– Frankie Valli joined the male finalists

– Keith Urban performed “Little Bit Of Everything” and also joined Kree Harrison (and Randy Jackson) for her version of “Where The Blacktop Ends”

The show’s biggest headliner was Jennifer Lopez (featuring Pitbull) and she was an Idol judge just last year.

The focus was clearly on the Idol component with the feeling being that they were being joined by special guests and I thought this was a great move by producers.

The show itself was a rousing success. While group performances are mandatory on an Idol finale, they were kept to a minimum. The episode also flowed seamlessly and despite it lasting 120 minutes when only one was needed to either announce the name of Candice or Kree you didn’t mind watching the rest because it was all entertaining instead of just filler.

Particular highlights included a great parody video of the girls sabotaging the guys under the direction of the last female Idol winner Jordin Sparks and a tribute to Randy Jackson who finally leaves the show after this season.

I believe that Candice will be one of the most successful Idol winners ever and deservedly so as she bested one of the best groups of contestants in the show’s history.

Immediately after the results, I talked to both Candice and Kree to get their immediate thoughts on what happened.

Prior to the finale, I caught up with former Idol Haley Reinhart, as well as Paul Jolley, Aubrey Cleland and my favorite Angie Miller from this season to discuss their thoughts on who should win.

I’d like to thank the FOX and BWR-LA team for a wonderful job this year. Jill sets the standard for which I hold everyone else by and is the best that I have ever worked with. I’d also like to thank Jenn, Alex, Stefani, Hayley, Nicole, Meghan, and Molly for all of their efforts this year and sifting through my murtzillions of emails.

How long before The X Factor starts?

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