Archive for May, 2012

American Idol Finale Recap – Fantasia Returns + Jennifer Freaking Holiday

The show opens with the #’s 13, 11-3 singing Bruno Mars’ Runaway Baby. Makes me long for the Just Joshua version.

Next up, Phillip Phillips & John Fogerty singing “Have You Ever Seen The Rain,” followed by “Bad Moon Rising”. Here’s hoping Phillip writes as good songs as he has had the honor to perform on Idol.

My man JOSHUA is up next with “Take Me To the Pilot” joined by FANTASIA!!! We have our Mantasia-Fantasia duet!!!! And she looks GOOOOOOOOOOD. Way to rock the long hair, ‘Tasia. And way to show ’em Joshua that you should have been the winner tonight.

The Ladies of the top 12 take on a Chaka Khan medley, starting with Ain’t Nobody, Through the Fire, and I’m Every Woman. I love Erika with the blonde hair again and really regret that she didn’t make it further. And just two words out of Skylar’s mouth make me feel exactly the same way about her. Even Shannon Magrane redeemed herself. And out comes miss Chaka herself looking great. So happy to see her on this stage. Makes me remember the official Grammy after-party some years back when she was the entertainment and no one was listening. ‘Twas an indignity.

Jessica & Phillip present their brothers with a new Ford car?!?!? Followed by Ryan presenting Jessica & Phillip with their own cars.

Rihanna performs her new single, “Where Have You Been”. I do like me some Rhianna.

Skylar performs next with Reba McIntyre. What a great pairing. Skylar gets to perform with her idol. She can’t be disappointed at all. I’m sure a huge recording contract is forthcoming if it hasn’t been awarded already.

Jessica reprises her version of Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”, showing without a doubt that she has earned the crown. Were she only not pitted against The Inevitable.

Oh boy. Here come the boys with a Neil Diamond medley. Makes me realize that Colton did not leave too early, that Heejun lasted way too long, and that we never need see Jeremy Rosado again. I love that they made Colton introduce the ol’ cheezeball, Neil Diamond. He is clearly horrified underneath the perma-smile.

JLo performs. She is pre-recorded and auto-tuned. Come on, JLo. Aren’t you even moderately embarrassed?

Ryan invites couple Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo on stage! They have moved in together and now have the same hair. WHAT?!?!?!? He proposes to her and she accepts! When did they start dating? When did this show become The Bachelor? And when did Diana develop a southern accent? Totally bizarre.

Hollie sings “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and is joined by Jordin Sparks, who looks GOOD. Boy, this is really old home night on Idol. Boy, that song is terrible.

Idol honors Robin Gibb with a medley from the boys. Jeremy – stop fouling up the harmonies!

HOLY SHIZZZ. Jennifer HOLIDAY joins Jessica to perform “And I Am Telling You”. Jennifer Holiday is crazy good and just crazy as always, and Jessica proves without even the littlest shadow of a doubt that she deserves to win this thing. I mean she MORE than held her own with Jennifer Freakin Holiday.

Aerosmith performs and Steven Tyler proves why he is the most relevant of the Idol judges. He actually sings!

Jessica and Phillip finally duet – on “Love Lift Us Up Where We Belong”. Perfect song choice for them. And by the way they fake-embraced, it is crystal clear that these two have no love lost between them.

And in the least suspenseful and most unfair moment of the season, The Inevitable – Phillip Phillips – is crowned the 11th winner of American Idol. He looks about as excited as he has every week – wait – FINALLY. He breaks down and just loses it in the middle of singing surely the biggest Idol coronation song since “A Moment Like This”. It is most definitely the best coronation song ever. And he rushes into the arms of his family.

Thank you, Phillip, for redeeming yourself and the season with that display of emotion. The inevitability would have been much more tolerable had I been able to believe that PhilPhil cared at all. Now that I know he does, I feel better about his having robbed us of a Jessica-Joshua finale. I will allow my initial excitement about PhilPhil to return. No question he has a magical quality about him.

And that wraps the best season of American Idol in years, if not ever. Thank you for joining me on The Inevitable’s march toward the crown. See you in ’13.

Wertheim out.


American Idol Recap – Top 2 Performances: In Bed With The Nissanoffs

This week’s blog comes to you from the household of Lisa, Benjamin, Chloe, Jonas, and Rena Nissanoff.  We’re all on their bed watching together and they are my guest bloggers this evening.  We rarely agree on anything, so buckle up…

Chloe says that Jennifer Lopez is a really bad judge.  I agree.  Chloe also thinks Phillip and Jessica look like they are in love.  Chloe also thinks Phillip is going to win.  She’s the smart cookie in the family.

Round 1 – Simon Fuller’s Choices

Jessica – “I Have Nothing” – Whitney Houston
Lisa doesn’t like it from the announcement of the song.  Benjamin is falling asleep.  I think it’s great.  They think it’s torture, I think it’s great, but I agree with them that it isn’t showing anything new.

Phillip – “Stand By Me” – Benny King
We all agree that it’s not a great song choice.  I can’t say I like it very much at all.  But he looks great.  And he’s going to win.

Randy thinks round 1 went to Jessica, as do I.  The Nissanoffs think neither won round one.

Jason Derulo performs his new song “Undefeated”.  Um…shouldn’t this be on the results show?  What’s up with all the random people on stage?

Round Two: Their Favorite Performances

Jessica – “The Prayer” – Celine Dion
Wow.  Amazing.  Not surprisingly, the Nissanoffs think it was boring and elevator music.

Phillip – “Movin’ Out” – Billy Joel
Chloe thinks it’s just ok.  I have to agree.  The first time I found it to be transformational.  This time it was just solid.

Steven says that Jessica to the round again.  Randy thinks it was a tie.  Jennifer surprisingly thinks Phillip won the round.  I think Jessica was the clear winner.

Round Three: Original Songs For Idol

Jessica – “Change Nothing”
Freakishly talented.  Song was not terrible.  Once again though, the judges spend their time critiquing the song as if it were Jessica’s fault.

Phillip – ‘Home”
Beyond unfair.  They write this guy a much better song than they wrote for Jessica.  He barely sang at all during that song, but it was a great song.  Chloe thinks it is beyond amazing.  The judges give him as standing-o.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances

  1. Jessica – “The Prayer”
  2. Jessica – “I Have Nothing”
  3. Phillip – “Movin’ Out”
  4. Phillip – “Home”
  5. Phillip – “Stand by Me”
  6. Jessica – “Change Nothing”

So Jessica killed it vocally, but Phillip will win.  No surprises.

Wertheim and Nissanoffs out.

American Idol Recap – Top 3 Results

The show opens with the top three singing the Beatles’ “Got To Get You Into My Life.”  Jessica has a lightness and an energy she did not display once last night.  Despite my prognostications, odds have Jessica staying tonight and Joshua being ejected.  Seeing Jessica back to form makes that seem not so far-fetched.

Joshua is up first…
Jimmy thinks Joshua had a good night last night, but that the judges were too easy on “I’d Rather Go Blind.”  Jimmy agreed with me that Imagine wasn’t all that.  Jimmy thinks he gave Joshua a song with “No More Drama” that didn’t have enough melody.  Methinks Jimmy is preparing us for a Joshua ejection tonight.

Lisa Marie Presley performs.  She follows Jessica’s lead of being stapled to her spot on the stage for the entire song.  She also sings a song that spans perhaps five notes.

Jimmy agreed with me that “My All” just wasn’t the moment Jessica needed.  He didn’t think the second was it either.  Jimmy says he chose “I’ll Be There” because there are times that Jessica’s voice reminds him of Michael Jackson.  Jimmy thinks Jessica has enough talent to sing on the Grammy’s, but doesn’t know if she did enough to earn a spot in the finale.

Glambert performs, finally embracing his gayness.  His stereotypical gayness, that is.

Jimmy says that Phillip’s sound is becoming more and more original, and that the performance was “no harm, no foul.”  Jimmy thinks “Disease” was a total snoozefest.  Jimmy says Phillip won the night with “We’ve Got Tonight.”  And Jimmy is pumping him up finally.

JESSICA SANCHEZ is the first finalist!  Which means…
PHILLIP PHILLIPS is your second finalist.

And the lucky contestant not to be saddled with the Idol crown is JOSHUA LEDET.  Joshua – you deserved to make it to the finale, my man.  You delivered over and over and over and over again.  You put the “man” in the ‘tasia”.  And you have zero to fret about, because you will have a recording contract by the end of the evening and whether or not you win Idol will not make a lick of difference for your career.  My hat is off to you.

Jessica – congratulations on being the first Asian-American to crack the top two.  I feared you would merely tie Jasmine Trias (what a ridiculous comparison) and end up only in the top three, but I now plan to trust whatever the online betting sites are saying and should have predicted your triumph this week with more certainty.  Despite having had a really blah night last night and some ups and downs over the season, you are freakishly talented and absolutely deserve your slot in the finale.  Your version of “And I Am Telling You” was sublime.  You will be America’s first Asian-American pop sensation.  Congratulations.  Well-deserved.

And finally, to my man PhilPhil.  Your casual disinterest and your inevitability did sour me on you in recent weeks, but I cannot deny that I was most definitely one of the zillions who were mesmerized by you for weeks and that you have a magnetism as a performer that is incredibly rare.  I hope you really do bring it next week and earn the crown that will no doubt be placed on your head next Thursday night.  You will confirm the theory that now only white men can wear the Idol crown, but you will outsell David Cook, Kris Allen, Taylor Hicks, Lee De-WHO? (ok, anyone who can carry a tune would outsell those last two), and you will very likely topple Idol’s new shining star, Scotty McCreery on the charts.  You will do the Idol machine proud and show that even if you have the most amazing voice the Idol machine has ever discovered, you can’t win the crown anymore if you have ovaries.

I will start praying every evening for the next week that we are treated to a Mantasia-Fantasia duet at the finale.

I am heading to the West Coast tomorrow morning and will be recapping PST next week.  Sorry about the delay.  Please try not to text or email me about the results before I have watched the show!

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 3 Performances

My new DVR didn’t record American Idol tonight, so I’m watching the videos online and just recapping the performances.  Here we go…

Judges’ Choice songs are up first.

Joshua – “I’d Rather Go Blind” by Etta James – Randy’s Pick
I just love how Joshua has become more and more confident from week to week.  I was worried that he was going to go the way of Jacob Lusk from last season.  But Joshua has grown every week, and the fact that he didn’t come out of the gate with ridiculous confidence in the way Jessica did has given him an arc that I think plays well with America.  This performance was a tour de force.  Mad talent on Mantasia.

Jessica – “My All” by Mariah Carey – Jennifer’s Pick
Thank goodness Jessica is dressed classy once more.  I have to say, Jennifer was cruel to give her this song.  Jessica can generally sing anything, but hearing her sing this one made me realize that this may actually be one of Mariah’s most difficult songs to sing.  And let us not forget, every Mariah song is difficult to sing.  Unfortunately, Jessica chose to do a note-for-note rendition of the song and I think she paled in comparison.  Randy pretended this wasn’t so.  JLo said she did it in her own way (um…no).  Steven said something or other.  Not the greatest, but then again, a fairly impossible song to sing and she did it well.

Phillip – “Beggin” by Madcon – Steven’s Pick
Well first of all, PhilPhil actually looked healthy this week, which is a huge improvement over most of the season.  That + great song choice (which I actually did not know) made for a stellar performance.  Thank you PhilPhil for proving you deserve to be at the end of this competition.  And boy, you are good looking.

Contestants’ choices:

Joshua – “Imagine” by John Lennon
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.  Is it acceptable for me to say that I liked David Archuletta’s version better?

Jessica – “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith
Ballsy.  First Mariah, then Steven Tyler!  Another classy outfit.  And another pale imitation of the original.  What’s up with you this week, Jessica?  You are better than this.  Truly.

PhilPhil – “Disease” by Matchbox 20
Thank you PhilPhil for winning me over again.  I had sadly abandoned you in anger about your inevitability and your having not shined in weeks and weeks and weeks.  But tonight you are engrossing and sexy and a star once again.  The judges weren’t bowled over.  Doesn’t matter.  America is.  But they were right.  It’s something he could do in his sleep.

Jimmy’s choices:

Joshua – “No More Drama” by MARY J BLIGE!!!
YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!  Thank you Jimmy for choosing not only an amazing song, but also a song that shows America what Joshua can do with a contemporary song.  Hollie and Shannon Magrane were going nuts in the audience.  I loveses you, Mantasia.

Jessica – “I’ll Be There” by The Jackson Five
Nice to see Jessica move around again.  The last 5 or 6 performances, she had been stapled to the ground.  Even nicer to see her shine again – in my opinion, for the first time tonight.  Showed us once again how strong her vocals are.

PhilPhil – “We’ve Got Tonight” by Bob Seger
Someone needs to teach Phillip not to wince when he sings high notes.  It took me a long time to learn too, PhilPhil.  I’m sure you can do it in time.  Kind of beautiful in places.  I’m not sure I would agree with Randy that it was his best performance ever, but I enjoyed it.  Lots of shots of the rest of the top 13/12 in the audience during this performance.  Erika has thankfully returned to her bleach-blonde look, and Elise unfortunately continues to bring the stank-face.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances:

  1. Joshua – “I’d Rather Go Blind”
  2. Joshua – “No More Drama”
  3. PhilPhil – “Beggin”
  4. Jessica – “I’ll Be There”
  5. PhilPhil – “We’ve Got Tonight”
  6. PhilPhil – “Disease”
  7. Jessica – “My All”
  8. Jessica – “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”
  9. Joshua – “Imagine”

Who Will Be Joining Phillip Phillips in the Finale?

I have to put my money on Joshua.  I think he clearly won the night, and I believe that America is behind him.  If we’re just going on voice, Joshua should be joined by Jessica.  But PhilPhil’s inevitability aside, Jessica had possibly her most milquetoast evenings of the competition.  She had so many moments during the season and she had three chances tonight.  Couldn’t she have used one of them with something comparable to last week’s “And I Am Telling You”?  As far as I’m concerned, she didn’t earn her way through to the finale.

Truth is, all three of these folks deserve to be where they are and would be deserving finalists.  And I wouldn’t be completely shocked if it didn’t end up being Joshua-Phillip in the end.  But I am fairly confident that this is what it will come down to.  And when I think about what result tomorrow might make me feel like someone was robbed of a shot at the final, I can only imagine that being a case where Joshua does not advance.  I’m going to vote for the first time this season, and all of my votes tonight are going to Mantasia.

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 4 Results Show

Let’s just dive right in.

Results up first…PhilPhil
Jimmy has only praise to levy on PhilPhil for last night’s performances, which means that Jimmy has also been told that PhilPhil’s inevitability cannot be reckoned with, since Jimmy would previously have been the first person to say that PhilPhil’s first song sounded like it was being sung by Kermit the Frog.  And…we’ll have to wait.

Hollie is called up next.
Jimmy thinks she was a disaster in the second song.  Which must mean she’s leaving tonight.

David Cook performs.  Love David Cook.  But I was bored.

Joshua is called up.
Jimmy thinks “You Raise Me Up” let him down, but he agreed with me that Joshua’s second song was pure magic.

Jimmy thinks Jessica did a great job but that impersonating an old Jazz singer wasn’t her best choice.  He thought Jessica murdered her second song and that it was perfect.  I agree.

JLo performs.  And I say performs, because she doesn’t sing.  She lip syncs on the Idol stage.  Who cares?  You watch JLo because she is a great dancer and super hot.

Your final three are:

  • Jessica
  • Joshua
  • Holl…..NAH!  PhilPhil

One of the least suspenseful evenings of Idol this season.  Hats off to you, Hollie.  You overcame a horrible (long) streak in the middle of the season to stage a comeback no one expected.  There has been a barnacle each season of Idol, whether it be Nikki McKibbon, John Stevens, Sanjaya Malakar, Paul McDonald, Kristy Lee Cook, or the entire cast of Season 9.  As the Barnacle of Season 11, Hollie was indisputably the most talented and deserving barnacle ever.  I would say that she should be happy to have made it so far, but unfortunately, she was also the ONLY contestant left who NEEDED to win.  Jessica, Joshua, and PhilPhil have been promised recording contracts repeatedly on screen all season.  Each will be signed within a day of the finale.  I think Hollie is a tough sell.

Next week, we lose one very deserving contestant (Jessica) as we come one week closer to PhilPhil’s coronation.

Wertheim OUT.

American Idol Recap – Top 4 Performances

We’re getting down to the wire.  So sad that Skylar is gone.  Hollie had better bring it tonight.  Tonight’s themes are megabands and songs that personally inspire you.

Phillip – “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
Does anyone else think PhilPhil sounded like Kermit the Frog tonight?  Jennifer didn’t.  Randy thought that after a rough start it was sensational.  I think it matters not what PhilPhil does as he is your American Idol.

Hollie – “Faithfully” – Journey
What a weird song choice.  Such a snoozer the way she sang it.  The judges have obviously been instructed tonight to say only good about the contestants.  Because Randy “who played with Journey” thinks Hollie did them proud.  Come on.   Zzzzzzzzzzz.

Joshua – “You Raise Me Up” – Josh Groban

Jessica – “Steal Away” – Etta James
If Hollie outlasts Jessica, a travesty has been wrought.

Phillip & Joshua – “This Love” – Maroon 5
Why do they keep insisting on putting this odd couple together?  Still, it was way better than Phillip’s individual performance.

Jessica & Hollie – “Eternal Flame” by The Bangles
Um – are they really singing on swings?  I think they are.  Ridiculous.  More ridiculous?  Hollie sounded better on this song than Jessica did on this song.  Best part was when Phillip and Joshua jumped on the swings after the song was over.

All Four – “Waiting For A Girl Like You” – Foreigner
Way less awkward than either duet.  And…maybe Hollie will outlast JChez.

Phillip – “Volcano” – Damien Rice
Thank goodness PhilPhil brought it back.  That was great and makes me feel better again that he is unstoppable.

Hollie – “I Can’t Make You Love Me” – Bonnie Raitt
Really poor song choice and staging.  This is one of the most emotional songs of all time, one of my absolute favorites, and something that Hollie has no business whatsoever choosing.  I actually don’t think it was as bad as the judges said it was, and I think that at least some of the issue came from the overwrought staging with all the strings and candles all over the place.  Why not just Hollie on a stool with a mic?  I think the staging forced it to be more of a production number, and I doubt she was in full control of that choice.  I also thought it was way better than the snoozefest she subjected us to an hour ago.

Joshua – “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World” – James Brown
To paraphrase Simon Cowell’s comments after Fantasia’s final performance in season three: “Mantasia, that was your acceptance speech.”  WOW.  I must turn toward hyperbole here.  That was not only Joshua’s best performance this season, it may have been the best Idol performance of all time.

Jessica – “And I Am Telling You” – Jennifer Holiday
Even before the performance started, I give Jessica HUGE credit for crediting Jennifer Holiday for this song, rather than JHud.  I mean, I LOOOOOVE JHud’s version, but unlike the many recent contestants who have sung this song on Idol, Jessica credited the amazing original.  Jessica came on stage hair up and frizzy and dressed like a teeny-bopper, which I thought was a truly unfortunate styling choice.  But she had me completely enthralled with the most amazing and powerful vocal that I really was just fixated on how amazing she can be.  I mean, it should go without saying that this is the best version of this song I have heard outside of JHol and JHud’s versions.  Pretty darned amazing.  And I think it came at the exact moment that she needed it.

My Ranking of Tonight’s Performances:

  1. Joshua – “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”
  2. Jessica – “And I Am Telling You”
  3. Joshua – “You Raise Me Up”
  4. Phillip – “Volcano”
  5. Jessica – “Steal Away”
  6. Hollie – “I Can’t Make You Love Me”
  7. All – “Waiting For A Girl Like You”
  8. Phillip & Joshua – “This Love”
  9. Phillip – “Have You Ever Seen The Rain”
  10. Hollie – “Faithfully”
  11. Jessica & Hollie – “Eternal Flame”

Who is Going Home:

No question, PhilPhil deserves to go home this week.  It has become painfully obvious how little he wants it and how thin his voice is compared to these other three.  But that ain’t going to happen.  As if it even mattered, PhilPhil’s second performance was solid enough to secure him safety this week.  All you need to do is listen to how the studio audience reacts to him versus anyone else to know what’s going on here.  I have to believe that the pure, unbridled talent that propelled Fantasia through to the finals will propel Mantasia through this week at the very least.  So that leaves us with JChez and Hollie.  I think either could go.  But given that the judges had little nice to say about Hollie’s final performance and that Jessica’s final performance was a slam dunk, I think the jig may finally be up for Hollie.

You think so too?

Wertheim out.

American Idol Recap – Top 5 Results Show

For some reason, my DVR didn’t record the first 15 minutes, so I tuned in tonight while Coldplay was performing.

I also tuned in to the news that Joshua is SAFE.

Hollie and Phillip are up…
Jimmy thought she killed it on River Deep and was neutral on Bleeding love.  Jimmy thinks Phillip should be in the bottom two but that he probably won’t be.

Hollie is in the bottom two.
Phillip is SAFE.

So far, I am correct.  Joshua deserved it, Phillip didn’t, but neither are a surprise.  If Phillip could advance last night, he has no chance of not winning this thing.  Then again, I could see him somehow withdrawing from the competition because he has no desire for the crown.

Idol’s favorite daughter, Carrie Underwood performs her new single.  Is this a crossover album?  Doesn’t sound very country to me.

Skylar and Jessica are up…
Jimmy says Skylar is really bringing it.  But he didn’t like “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”.  Jimmy thought Jessica slayed “You Are So Beautiful” but that “Proud Mary” was a disaster.  Uh oh.  She goin’ home.  Wait…

D’oh.  I’m wrong.

Jessica is SAFE.
Skylar is in the bottom two.

Coldplay performs again.

And for the first time, I am genuinely sad, as Hollie is SAFE and Skylar is going home.  Awww.  She didn’t deserve to go home tonight and she really, truly brought her best every week.  She just became a victim of Hollie’s late surge.  It really was either Phillip or Jessica’s night to go home.  But I don’t think it matters for Ms. Skylar Laine.  If Kellie Pickler got a bona fide Country career from her stint on Idol, there’s no question in my mind that Skylar will as well.

So we’ve got our top four – PhilPhil, Mantasia, JChez, and Hollie.  Never expected Hollie to make it this far, but at least she has earned it the last couple of weeks.  It would really be amazing if she sang her way into the final three, pushing Jessica aside.  I can’t say it’s not possible at this point.  But I’m still putting my money on a PhilPhil-Mantasia finale.

Wertheim out.

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