Thursday, May 16, 2013
AI Season 12 Finale
Well here we are. Ryan looks good in his navy tux. Candice and Kree, both in black and white, are facing each other, trying to look stern but mostly they're just giggling at each other. Once again there are 7,000 people in the Nokia theater, all waiting for news that won't be revealed until the last possible second of the show.
We segue immediately into a Top 10 Group Sing. And by *immediately*, I mean that everyone is already on stage and the music has begun even before we get back from the commercial break. All 10 kids are dressed in some version of black and white, and I find that it takes me a beat or two to put a name to most of the guys. They're singing I'm Glad You Came and there are many jumps and lots of fist pumping. The only outfit details I notice are Candice's holey knees and Kree's sweatpants.
Keith is wearing a dark jacket over tonight's tee shirt. Nicki is wearing fur boots, white jeans and a black zipper jacket (possibly suede), and blonde hair. Randy is in a lemon-yellow jacket. Mariah is wearing a black and tan long dress with a honeycomb decoration on the bodice.
In the audience I spot Adam Lambert, TAYLOR HICKS!, Danny Gokey, and I think Bo Bice, looking a little worse for wear.
The Band Perry is onstage, and it appears that they are a trio: two guys (one wearing Keith's black and white tee from last night), and a blonde with her hair up in a French roll. Everyone is dressed in black, as is Janelle, when she joins them a bit into the song. I have not a clue what this song is about but the choreography is aerobic and fierce, with a lot of high kicks and whipping hair.
We're reminded that 5 guys in a row won American Idol. We get a pretty amusing montage of this year's guys floating conspiracy theories as to why they went home all in a row. Curtis Finch says that Kree sabotaged him with a red paisley jacket. Angie encouraged Paul to tell bad jokes. Amber drugged Devin. Janelle wrote the wrong notes on Lazaro's music. Candice stole Burnell's lunch money. The mastermind behind it all is none other than the last female winner, Jordin Sparks, whose explanation was that none of the guys played guitar. It's funny, but also maybe just a tad painful. No one comes up with the real reason that the guys went home early: the show stacked the deck with mediocre guys and very talented girls, and also made certain that none of them played the guitar since America cannot resist voting for guys with guitars.
The guys take the stage for a montage of oldies, fronted by Frankie Valli. They sound great (Devin certainly never sang that well during his run) on Let's Hang On, Walk Like a Man, Who Loves You?, Can't Take My Eyes off of You, and Grease is the Word. Man, Frankie Valli is wee, shorter than all of the guys. I'm still not taking in many of the wardrobe details outside of Devin's teal suit and Lazaro's peacock shirt (and still with the very fitted pants). The whole medley was great fun and the judges rocked out and sang along.
Mariah takes the stage in the mermaidiest mermaid dress that ever mermaided- all white and spangles and feathers, and an inability to manage more than a 6" stride. She's also wearing some major diamonds as she sings a medley of every hit she ever had, with Randy Jackson playing bass behind her. She finishes with her new song, and she still sounds autotuned as she hits notes that only dogs can hear.
Amber, in camo jeans with odd piping, a white and black tank, curly hair and golden heels, sings Next to Me with Emeli Didn'tcatchherlastname. Emeli is dressed like Rizzo in a blue pencil skirt, white blouse, black leather jacket and blonde updo. This song has a lot of woo hoo in it, but nothing else of note.
We get a deeply unnecessary recap of the Ford Fiesta Missions, which were plenty boring the first time around. Candice and Kree visit their mentors (Grandma and guitarist, respectively), and present them with the keys to new Fiestas. Both appear to be surprised and pleased.
Next up, wearing saggy-crotch Beiber Pants, is Psy. Sigh.
Keith is onstage now, singing his new single. I am rather late realizing just how adorable he is. His tee shirt says: What the Fox? Naughty naughty Keith. The song is nice, country with a bluegrass flavor. Well done.
Candice, in a black spangly top and black jacket, begins Inseparable solo. It's wonderful as always. The camera pans to the staircase and Jennifer Hudson emerges. Huh, didn't see that one coming. Wow, these two sound great together (though I admit to liking Candice's voice more). Right here, in my own living room, I set my notebook and pen down, and give them a Standing O.
However, I am a little worried about the timing of this duet- the show has been known to telegraph the winner by showcasing the runner up earlier in the finale. Truly, Kree would be a great winner too, and I know full well that the winners don't always become stars, so I'll try not to fret.
It's Angie's turn now. She's wearing a stupidly complex top- it's black, and it's leather, and it has neck ruffles that run all the way down the front on either side of a panel that exposes her belly over very low-slung black leather pants, and it has a pleated leather peplum, and it seems to tie up in the back like a little girl's summer pinafore. It may be the most inexplicable garment seen onstage this season. She's at the piano (natch) singing Titanium, and she's joined by Adam Lambert. Amber's ability to sing and play and follow the camera at all times is still up and running. The performance improves when she gets up and sings with Adam- these two sound fantastic together.
Adam then stops and introduces Jessie J, who is blonde and bald (yes, both), and who is wearing the second most inexplicable outfit of the season: a green jungle print shorts onesie whose neckline plunges widely all the way to her waist. Jessie J starts out behind the judges, and then prances her way to the stage. Once again, we get a lot of jumping and fierceness. Jessie J announces her UK tour and asks Angie to perform with her. Ryan explains that Angie had planned to sing her own new single tonight, but that was scrapped in favor of the duet with Jessie J. He doesn't explain why the 3rd place finalist got two Star Duets.
The kids talk about the judges: Mariah is classy and a lady and wears tight skirts that inhibit Standing Os, and says daahling a lot. Keith is cool and wears tee shirts and has a readily recognizable listening-face. Randy is loud and has some buzz words, not that I noticed or anything. Nicki cuts no slack, and then the kids do a hilarious bit on her wigs. Nicki appears to be amused.
Kree takes the stage to sing Where the Blacktop Ends with Keith and Randy. In amongst the *yo yo yos* and the *in it to win its* and the *this girl can sings* and the constant name dropping, I tend to forget that Randy is a real musician, with a pretty amazing track record. Kree is having a genuinely good time on stage with them, she's relaxed and happy and showing more personality and joy than we've seen all season. I wonder if she wouldn't be more comfortable fronting for a band than being a solo artist.
Keith, this time wearing a gray jacket over his tee shirt, and Randy, dressed in Grandma's pink floral couch cushions, head back to the judge's table. Ryan cues a lame good-bye montage for departing judge Randy Jackson (though if rumors are to be believed, all four may be on the way out) acted by actual dawgs, with clips of lots of famous Idol Alumni, terrible clothes and hundreds of glasses frames. Randy watches dry-eyed, though Nicki looks a little misty.
Though she's in New York, and being broadcast on the big screen, all five girls now get to sing with Aretha Franklin. I would make fun of Aretha's blue and silver nightgown, but Aretha Franklin can wear any damn thing Aretha Franklin wants, any damn time Aretha Franklin wants to wear it. Since I'm in South Dakota and not in Hollywood or New York, the long-distance group-sing works as well for me as any other performance does on this show. Maybe even better, because, you know: Aretha Franklin. They sing Natural Woman, Never Loved a Man, Respect, and Think, and it's great, though I am distracted by what appear to be golden spangly lion paws appliqued to Amber's shirt right over her boobs.
Aretha gives a little rah-rah speech for Candice, saying that she'll be a winner whether or not she actually wins, which worries me.
Ryan shills for next season's auditions (so, I guess there will be a next season), and they play a quick montage of all the winners, including my beloved Taylor! Ryan also hands Candice and Kree the keys to their new Ford Escapes.
We get a mercifully short Season 12 montage of the good, the bad, and the Kez Ban.
Next up, JLo (who is rumored to be returning, though frankly, I will miss Nicki Minaj... words I never thought I would type). The song seems to consist of phrases from Uplifting Facebook Motivational Memes. The backup singer/dancers are dressed in pastel floaty nighties and white corsets. JLo is in all white, with a leather corset, and a filmy skirt which she ditches. The others ditch their filmy skirts too, and they engage in a lot of pelvic gyration and crotch caressing, and then, inexplicably, squat thrusts with their butts firmly pointed at the audience. If nothing else, JLo worked hard- she finishes panting and glistening.
Okay, it's 8:54, time to get on with it. Kree and Candice are both lovely in black prom dresses. They sing a sweet medley of One Less Bell to Answer and A House is not a Home. They sound good together, but it's obvious that Candice has the better voice. They finish, smiling and happy, and I think, each ready for the other to win, and totally okay with that.
So, it's 9:03 now, and after the national vote, the winner of American Idol Season 12 is:
Kree seems genuinely happy for her, confetti falls, streamers shoot out everywhere, Candice sings her incredibly blah coronation song and cries. Her family is thrilled. The audience is thrilled. The judges are thrilled. Her fellow finalists are thrilled. Ryan is thrilled. Candice is thrilled. And I am thrilled.
So, after 175 pages of hand-written notes, and two nights a week for five months, whether or not Seacrest is, I'm out. I now return you to your regular programming.