Tuesday, May 22, 2012
AI Season 11- Top 2 Performance- 05-22-12
Well folks, this is about it- just tonight and tomorrow left, and then we can put this season to bed. Finally.
We open with blank pages in a book, ink, pen, beginnings, fears, drive, nerves, dream, Idol!
Randy is in a sherbet orange jacket with white piping on the collar and pocket. He has a red flower, and blue shirt with an orange and green plaid collar and front band. Steven is in a lacy purple suit over a purple silk shirt. JLo is dressed like a circus aerial act in black leggings, and a one-shouldered black leotard fashioned from spangly black feathers arranged on a sheer foundation. Her hair is slicked up in a tight bun. Ryan is in a black suit with a black tie, and a red polka dot pocket square. His pompadour is front and center.
Phil helps Jessica enter down the stairs. Ryan interviews them- Jessica is excited, Phil is incoherent. They're going to sing three songs apiece, all in a one hour show, so Ryan is going to have to keep things moving smartly tonight,. That's why they pay him the big bucks.
Phil won the coin toss, and he elects to go last.
# Round 1. Simon Fuller chose Whitney Houston's I Who Have Nothing for Jessica's first song. Jessica is dressed in a saloon girl's undershift. Well, Fuller chose a song perfectly suited to Jessica's strengths- it's a big song that builds up into a Huge Song. There are soft parts and glory notes, and Jessica is technically flawless. She even seems to have the vibrato under control tonight.
Simon Fuller chose Ben E. King's Stand By Me for Phil, and once again, he chose perfectly. Phil is in a clean, unironed chambray shirt, and he's playing his guitar, with a bongo backup. Oh my, this is wonderful. Wow! I'm not the only one who thinks so- I can actually hear the audience singing along.
Ryan rattles off the multiple voting phone numbers in some sort of weird accent, and then asks the Judges what they thought of Round 1. JLo says that it's the battle of the opposites (and she's absolutely correct). Randy gives Round 1 to Jessica. Steven is not asked for his opinion.
I think that each song was just right for the singer. Jessica was technically perfect, but for what it's worth, I'll be buying Phil's song tomorrow.
Jason Derulo's collaboration with the internet is up next. He's sitting down on a folding chair, and he isn't wearing his neck brace as he sings Undefeated. He does get up and dance a bit, though he does it pretty carefully. He's wearing tan cargo pants and a black and red jacket. Someone must have sprinkled itching powder in his jockeys because the poor young man keeps picking at his nether regions. I'm embarrassed for him, doing that on national TV, when everyone is watching. How will he ever live it down? Oh, the song? It's not terrible, but it's nothing that I'll need to hear again. I won't be rushing to download one of the 10,000 free copies.
For Round #2 Jessica chose her favorite performance of the season, which evidently is The Prayer. She's wearing a champagne pink, floaty chiffon toga with a pink sparkly belt. The song is all glory notes and wind machine. Again, it's technically perfect, but this song leaves me cold. I have no connection to it at all.
I have a whole list of songs that I'd like to hear Phil sing again, so I squint in confusion when I hear that he's chosen to re-perform Billy Joel's Movin' Out. If I had remembered that he performed it, it still would not have been in my Top 5 Phil Song List. That said, Phil (in a black long sleeved tee) is doing just fine with it. It's PP from beginning to end. and the Sax Lady is playing a soprano tonight.
Steven says that Jessica won Round 2. Randy says it's a dead heat. JLo gives the round to Phil.
From me, Jessica gets the nod for technical perfection, Phil gets the nod for performance, and neither one gets anything for song choice.
Round #3 consists of their possible Winner's Single, though let's not kid ourselves- both of these songs will be released. Probably sooner rather than later.
Jessica is sitting on a piano. She's wearing black leggings, a chartreuse tunic top, a white jacket, and black boots. The song is called Change Nothing, and it's totally Disney. Miley Cyrus could release this tomorrow. It's probably a good choice, given the demographics involved, but the song itself is kind of shrieky, and we're not hearing the vocal depth that brought Jessica to this point in the competition. From the look on her face, I think she knows it too.
Randy loves Jessica but did not love the song. JLo wanted more from her than a pop ballad. Steven echoes the other two. It feels wrong to ding Jessica for the song when she didn't choose it. Then she says something to Ryan that makes me think that maybe she did select this song after all. Hmmmm.
Phil, in a gray jacket over a gray tee, is singing a song called Home. He's playing his guitar (some pretty complex strumming), and this song is folky with a side order of Paul Simon. It's much better suited to Phil's voice and style than Jessica's was for her. Oh, there's a Drum Corps marching around, and even more amazing than a Drum Corps, is that the DC feels integral to the song, and not like a gimmick.
The judges give Phil a Standing O. In the audience, Jimmy Iovine gives Phil a Standing O. The audience goes wild.
Randy says: Brilliant, Genius, Perfect! JLo giddily giggles that it was Phil Phil all the way. Steven is on the same wavelength that The Hub and I are, and says that he heard a bit of Paul Simon in there.
Since Ryan did not ask the judges who won the evening, he has a couple of minutes to kill, during which he forces Jessica and Phil to gush about each other. Neither one is particularly comfortable doing this, but they sound sincere in liking and respecting each other.
Scotty McCreery, wearing a white shirt and a brown vest, sings Please Remember Me, and plays us out over clips from the season.
Ryan may not have asked the Judges who won the night, but for me, the best songs were Jessica #1, and Phil #1 and #3. The worst was Jessica #3. Given the Idol voting record, I think Phil is going to take the title, but I will not be in the least surprised at either outcome.
We'll see soon enough.