American Idol 2012 – Final

So, who wins? The White Guy With The Guitar, or the dull-but-proficient pageantbot who had to be saved from elimination at top seven by the judges? Regular viewers of this show, or indeed any show, ever, will not need to think too hard about that one…

Jessica Sanchez: I think we can safely call the demise of Jessica Sanchez on this show (the for-real demise, not the rehearsal dinner) “drowning by ballad”. Oh sure, when they placed the first one on her shoulders (WHITNEY! SERIOUSLY! AGAIN!) she just about managed to get her head above water, and she managed to kick up away from the bottom a little with that version of The Prayer, but by the time that godawful Winners Dirge came along she was swimming with the fishes. Seriously, these people knew that Jessica Sanchez was losing, and they set out to make sure nobody really felt bad about it by making her as pageanty as possible on her way out. DAMN YOU SIMON FULLER! Still, once she was safely out the way, they let her have free reign over the Results Show, randomly getting to sing “I Will Always Love You” on her own…just cause? But of the course the biggest highlight of Jessica’s finale run, if not her entire stay on the show, was that UTTERLY BATSHIT version of “And I Am Telling You…” with Jennifer Holliday. That whole festival of face-pulling, note-hurling and weave-wafting came so close to being the DEFINITIVE American Idol performance of that song that my only regret is that Tamyra Grey, Lakisha and Boomie herself didn’t get to join in. (Not you Ashton. Or you Gentles). If you’re going to lose in the finale, better this than…whatever Lauren did, I don’t even remember. In many ways I think this year’s Final Two was the show’s ultimate rejection of The Old Idol (as represented by Jessica) in favour of the New Idol (as represented by a guitar with some white guy or other behind it). I have nothing against either Jessica or Phillip, but I can only hope this final decision paves the way forward for a new Third Era of American Idol featuring…well I don’t know. Rappers? Actually…scratch that. MORE TINY BOOMY EHTNIC GIRLS FOREVER! (SCORES : I Have Nothing 4/10, The Prayer 8/10, Change Nothing 2/10, And I Am Telling You : 10/10)

(And I Am Telling You That Was The Televisual Highlight Of 2012. SCORES: I Have Nothing 5/10, The Prayer 7/10, Change Nothing 4/10, And I Am Telling You 110/10)

Phillip Phillips: The biggest foregone conclusion since the ratings of The Voice went down as soon as the spinny chairs stopped playing any sort of featured role in the proceedings, Phillip becomes the fifth WGWG to win American Idol (sixth if you count Taylor Hicks, but back then it stood for White Guy With Greyhair). And I can’t particularly begrudge him it – he seems like an agreeable bloke with a solid idea of what he wants to do, and by the time the final rolled around it became increasingly clear that Jessica looked too lost and scared on a big stage like that, but I just wish it felt a bit more like he’d earned it. I’m really struggling to think of a breakout moment from FlupFlups’s time on the show, that performance that just made everyone go “yep, this guy’s a winner” – and considering the show tried to convince us that it was when he did ‘We’ve Got Tonight’ last week, I suspect I’m not the only one. Then again, considering the person who gave the most assured and memorable performance of the entire season only made it to sixth place and nearly set a new record for most bottom two appearances, perhaps standout performances aren’t necessary any more. Maybe consistency – even if it’s slightly stodgy consistency – is what matters. Anyway, despite turning up for the final with his usual can-barely-be-bothered demeanour, he actually came across as the more assured, comfortable performer of the two, and while his performances of ‘Stand By Me’ and ‘Moving Out’ weren’t a revelation by any stretch of the imagination, they were pleasant, dreamlike, and actually not awful to listen to. Then he got – shock horror! – a halfway decent winners’ single in ‘Home’, complete with marching band, and the deal was sealed. It didn’t matter that he didn’t seem to get anywhere near as much screentime in the big finale as Jessica – or indeed Colton – did, his victory was assured. And all without ever having to do a Ford commercial, apparently. Phillip Phillips beat the system, folks! Now, for season 12, I think they should cast an entire Top 20 of unthreateningly-handsome white guys with guitars, and either declare it a 20-way tie, or just sit back as it devolves into some kind of brilliantly monochromatic battle royale. I’d watch. SCORES: Stand By Me 7/10, Moving Out 8/10, Home 8/10

(Surely the performance that justified him winning was the Winner Single? I am really depressed that such a good little song is being constantly compared to BUMFORD & SONS though, especially as it leant more heavily on M.Ward. Oh and Stand By Me was AWFUL, wash yo ears out, son  SCORES : Stand By Me 3/10, Moving Out : 6/10, Home : 9/10)


13 thoughts on “American Idol 2012 – Final

    1. monkseal Post author

      They got to sing three songs a-piece on the Performance Show. It’s just that Jessica’s duet on the Results Show was…too transformatory to ignore, scores wise (YOOTOOB IT!). (Phillip did one with some guy from CCR. No1 curr). Jessica got another solo on the Results Show for…reasons that were never explained, but Phillip got to do his winners song again when he won, so it balanced out in the end.

  1. Ferny

    After watching every episode this season, I unfortunately fell asleep half way through the finale so I’m quite annoyed, however what I did see was pretty damn good tbf.
    I just saw the Jennifer Halliday & Jessica duet on YouTube (thanks for pointing it out on Twitter!) and it was more amazing than you even described it as. The faces, dear God the faces. No denying that Jessica that a) Jennifer Halliday is insane and b) Jessica can seriously sing. Her winning song was just plain awful though.

    I love how the judges (and everyone else) knew Philip was going to win, and they had to desperately try and pin some kind of ‘moment’ on him last minute to justify a win a bit more. I like him well enough but I still think he has done the exact same performance over 20 times this series.

    It was a good series though, thanks for the recaps!

    1. monkseal Post author

      Jimmy said in some interview that Phillip is the first real singer-songwriter they’ve ever had which is such horse-shit you have to admire it as a statement for the chutzpah if nothing else.

  2. kassieq

    For once I am grateful for the old daily flail as they posted the results which meant I didn’t have to watch – did try briefly but JLo was doing something weird in baggy pants. I am a bit bored of reality talent? shows and can’t seem to summon up any enthusiasm. I rely on you monkseal to keep me up to speed, I will now youtube Jessica’s duet on your recommendation.

  3. kassieq

    That was some duet, pity Jessica wasn’t that relaxed through the whole series. Had a quick look at the Rihanna performance, most interesting were the comments about the illuminati that accompanied the video, I’m not sure but are the illuminati the same as David Icke’s lizards, I get my conspiracy theories all mixed up, must be an age thing. Don’t get the praise for Philip Phillips, just seems like a run of the mill bar singer with any old band to me.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Someone said that American Idol is now basically an American Bar Singer aggregator. Sounds fair enough to me.

  4. Carl

    The first 3-4 years of Idol, the WGWG was almost invisible. The first may have been Bo Bice, who had a huge following online (I seem to remember a lot of talk at TWOP about “exploding cooters”) and probably set the trend. I felt like the show was so concerned about moving away from the diva/R&B genre and began distinctly marginalizing that genre (especially the women). I see this as what goes around comes around, as they’ve been stuck with the same winner almost every season since (and they had to work so hard to get Jordin Sparks – the last who wasn’t in that mould – the win). I used to love and hate Idol and get so invested, but after the season of David Cook, it never really felt the same to me. David and everyone else, except maybe also-rans like Kristy Lee Cook or Syesha, had this dispirited and miserable air like their families were being held hostage backstage. Everyone seemed to give the same performance every week – the only ones I remember from the dirge were awkward hilariousness like David Archuletta singing that “boo” song. The show was trying so hard to let viewers know how serious they were and how they weren’t just that silly old talent show that they drained the show of a lot of fun.

    Anyway, I think the winners tend to reflect that now. I haven’t seen a lot of Philip but what I do see he seems to be in intense pain at all times. At least he has a medical reason, so that’s a step forward…

  5. Ferny

    I have now watched that Jessica/Jennifer duet several times and it’s just the best performance I’ve seen on AI I think. The faces – especially at the beginning when it looks like Jennifer is trying to sing whilst dislodging some food from her back teeth. Amazing.

    I’ve heard J-Lo is leaving? I hope not, I really like this panel. I only started watching because of the judges – I couldn’t stand the panel before.

    Fantastic finale all in all.

    1. monkseal Post author

      J-Lo is constantly teasing leaving. I think she’s waiting for the point where the show has made her relevant enough again to get along without it. Hint Jennifer : that will be never.

  6. Carl

    I watched the duet clip and it was like Jessica had to wait very carefully for Jennifer to have her moment, otherwise Jennifer would chomp her head. Jennifer’s still in phenomenal voice but that was such showboating. Still, she let Jessica have some chances, and seemed to inspire her; it’s the best of these duets I can remember.

    1. monkseal Post author

      Based on her twitter feed she’s practically stalking the girl. It’s kind of odd, because Jessica is as hard to read as ever during that performance. It’s hard to tell if she’s overawed or utterly unimpressed.


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