Idol recap: And then there was one.

I have been in solitary confinement all evening in order to remain spoiler-free. Let's get on with the show!!!

"Runaway Baby"
The opening number was cute, but... hands up if you would have rather seen this as reprise solo performance by Joshua. Wow, I really didn't miss some of these contestants. Also, some people can pull off the head-to-toe white outfit better than others.

"Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" & "Bad Moon Rising"
I think- although it was enjoyable- that getting the chance to sing these CCR classics with John Fogerty was more fun for Phillip than for anyone else. And that's totally fair.

"Take Me to the Pilot"
Now I know why they just showed us the trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. Holy extensions, Batman! Is that really Fantasia? She is unrecognizable. Like utterly, completely, unrecognizable. AND WHO LET HER OUT IN THAT OUTFIT? She's like Catwoman gone horribly, horribly wrong. Was that awkward? Or was it just me? I feel like that was awkward. And dang it, I was so distracted by Fantasia this whole time I completely missed Joshua.

I have no words.

Chaka Khan medley
Love the ladies in their sparkly dresses for this Chaka Khan medley. Just once I'd like to find an occasion where it'd be appropriate to wear one of these sparkly dresses.

"I Will Always Love You"
...and explain to me again why Jessica didn't sing this yesterday?!

"Turn on the Radio" 
Skylar!!! Rock it gurrrrl! Did she just upstage Reba? I think she might have!

Neil Diamond medley
It turns out the only boys I missed were Colton and Joshua.

Ace & Diana
Well, well, well, what do we have here- it appears to be our first ever finale wedding proposal! Cute? Uncomfortable? Desperate for attention? Cute? I can't decide. And for some reason- although I liked both Diana and Ace on their respective seasons- they kind of creep me out together? This does appear to be a genuine moment for both of them though. I think I've decided it was kind of weird but mostly sweet. (Anybody plan on watching Taylor Hicks on The Choice? HAHAHA I can't get that out with a straight face).

"Never Walk Alone"
Finally, though, we have our first female non-contestant on the stage not required to wear an unflattering outfit. How gorgeous is Jordin Sparks these days? If it were up to me though, I would have liked to see Holli singing with someone like Kristin Chenoweth or Carrie Underwood.

Bee Gees medley
Did they throw this together in an hour before the show? Sure sounded like it. Other than Joshua, who was sheer perfection as usual, of course.

"And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going"
That. Just. Happened. And even with the freaky faces.... GOOSIES!!! But OMG part of me was scared to death that Jennifer Holliday was about to drop her jaw and swallow Jessica whole.

"Up Where We Belong"
First of all- Steven Tyler has still got it. And did you notice I didn't have anything to say about Rihanna or J-Lo? But this was a sweet little song by our two finalists.


And the winner is....

Phillip Phillips. What a nice moment. "Home" really is a great song and I look forward to hearing it on the radio. NOW GET YOUR KIDNEYS FIXED.


Didn't this season just start? How are we already at the finale? Can Jessica WOW us and become the first female champ since Jordin Sparks? What the heck is J-Lo wearing? Who else wishes that Skylar and/or Joshua were in this show instead of Jessica? Do we really need to watch tonight to know that Phillip (and his bum kidneys) will ultimately win, as we suspected all along?

OK, I'll knock it off. I do love these clips of Jessica and Phillip back from where it all began. GOOSIES!


I was barely mentally prepared by the time Jessica had already finished belting out "I Have Nothing"- I was tempted to rewind, but... I get the drift. She's a powerhouse vocalist, I think. Phillip's "Stand By Me" was pleasant, but neither singer really gave a standout performance in the first round.

Round One Winner: Draw.

Jason Derulo? I'm going to take this opportunity to fix myself a nice cup of cocoa. Did you guys know my cats like to eat marshmallows? Watching them anxiously waiting for me to drop one on the floor is more captivating than this performance.

Real Round One Winner: Larry, who beat Lucy to the marshmallow I just dropped.


While not a terribly exciting song choice, Jessica really nailed it on "The Prayer." She again showed beautiful control and restraint, and hit those high notes perfectly. I'm guessing the "potential first single" is a ballad as per usual though, so I really wish Jessica had gone with something more upbeat to start off the show. Phillip seemed to give "Moving Out" everything he physically could (which probably isn't a whole lot, with the whole needing emergency surgery, like, yesterday thing). And there's that blonde saxophonist again! I wonder if Phillip has negotiated to have her included in his prize package if he wins this thing?

Round Two: Slight edge to Phillip based on the "excitement" factor.


What? Don't they want Jessica to win? This song, aside from possibly being the worst AI finale song ever (more on that in a second), sits in a horrible place in her voice and did her zero favors. I hope, for Jessica's sake, this song quickly disappears much like that Kara DioGuardi song for Kris Allen and Adam Lambert (I just figured out that this song, quite ironically, is called "Change Nothing"), which is the other contender for the title of Worst AI Finale Song Ever. I would have changed everything. And Phillip just sealed the deal. That song- "Home"- was perfect for him.

Round Three: Absolutely Phillip.


Wow. This one-hour finale just flew on by, didn't it? I am still so puzzled at the song choices for Jessica these last two shows. Is there any chance she manages to pull off the ultimate upset and win tomorrow? Maybe, since she managed to knock off Joshua last week. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

Tomorrow's AI finale: A few thoughts

A few thoughts going into tomorrow's final performance show:
  • Let's all remind ourselves that American Idol is on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I finally got used to it being on Wednesday/Thursday and now they do this to me. What if I had made other plans, Uncle Nigel? Don't laugh.
  • I am shocked that Jessica made it into the finale over Joshua. Shocked. But, good for her. It's not that she doesn't deserve it. She better bring it.
  • Remember last year's BIG SCARE that Lauren Alaina might be too sick to perform in the finale? I guffawed then and I guffawed now. Not to make light of illness, but c'mon. That was clearly exaggerated to add some drama. If they had some medical authority on hand then to discuss her health issues, what are they going to do for Phillip Phillips? Have an ambulance parked on stage? Seriously though, I am concerned this time after news broke that his kidneys are so bad he actually needs emergency surgery. Hopefully he's making a safe decision by continuing on with the show.
  • The emptiness of American Idol being over will be quickly filled by Thursday's season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance. Who else is excited???
  • THE SING-OFF WAS CANCELLED? NOOOOOO!!! (This is me being seriously upset).
Anna lamented to me the other night how much more exciting a Joshua/Skylar finale would have been, and I have to agree. But regardless, I anxiously await tomorrow night's show and leave you with this:

Idol recap: Down to 3

Tonight, instead of a clean, organized recap, I am opting to go with stream-of-consciousness writing. You've been warned. So we start with this: I am drooling over J-Lo's pink blazer. I want it. I don't think I'd wear it with matching pink pants personally, but I seriously love it.

Oh- the show is on Tuesday/Wednesday next week? Good to know.

Round 1, Judges' Choice.

Randy picked Etta James' "I'd Rather Go Blind" for Joshua. And Joshua kicks off the show with a standing ovation. Maybe not his best performance, and I question the necessity of a standing ovation (especially leading off the night) but we're off to a rather enjoyable start.

Oh look! A glimpse of the Top 12. As good as they were, I'm surprised at how many of them I already kind of forgot. Looking at you, Jeremy, EVP, DeAndre, and Shannon. I really had to think long and hard about Shannon's name. In fact, I'm still not 100% confident that was her name but I'm going with it.

Jessica Sanchez with J-Lo's choice, Mariah Carey's "My All." She is showing some beautiful restraint and tenderness, but the lower notes aren't exactly perfect. I think this was another song a little too mature for the 16-year-old. J-Lo might have appreciated her for not doing The Big Part of the song but I found myself waiting for it and missing it when it never came.

Steven Tyler picked a song with a melody for Phillip which is apparently called "Beggin'" by Madcon. Do you think they have the girls in the front row rehearse clapping their hands above their heads in unison before the show? It looks so unnatural. As I've said before- or at least I think I have- it's probably best for American Idol if Phillip Phillip doesn't win. However, it sure looks like he's going to anyway.

ROUND 1 WINNER: Phillip Phillips.

Round 2, Contestant's Choice.

How I love the hometown visits. They overwhelm and amaze me. But Josh doesn't seem fazed one bit! As a rule of thumb, I prepare to cringe whenever anyone who isn't John Lennon takes on "Imagine" but that probably shouldn't apply when someone like Joshua Ledet is singing. Hey, they are both JLs! I'm surprised Anna didn't point that out to me. You could say Josh took "Imagine" to church, which seems a little ironic. I liked it, though.

Oh dear. For how mature she seems when she sings, it is painfully clear that Jessica is still only 16 years old when she speaks. WOW look at how many people showed up for her!!! Cute moment with her brothers. And I can't get over how young her dad must be. "I Don't Want To Miss A Thing" was not my favorite Jessica performance- glory note aside (which was a little flat?), she steered clear of any big moments again. She better have an amazing third song. I do get a kick out of how much Steven Tyler likes Jessica- and in a totally non-creepy, supportive kind of way.

That kid with the "you still owe me $10" sign for Phillip is awesome. And how adorable is his dad? I bet he made Anna cry. Speaking of which- the other two just soaked up the attention, but this is a very emotional Phillip we're witnessing here. I'm loving his take on this Matchbox 20 song, however it was a bit of a safe choice. With three songs tonight, I don't blame him one bit. OMG RANDY SHUT UP!!! HOW ANNOYING WAS THAT JUST NOW?!?!

ROUND 2 WINNER: Joshua Ledet.

Round 3, Jimmy's Choice.

Jimmy picks "No More Drama" for Joshua- ugh. I see we're going to get some Mantasia here tonight. Not a huge fan of Mantasia. My favorite moment of this performance was the shot of Hollie, Shannon and Elise totally geeking out about Josh. I can't love this because I hate the song, but I do love Joshua.

Why hasn't anybody told Steven Tyler yet that he isn't exactly using the term "over the top" accurately?

Jessica is sounding absolutely perfect on "I'll Be There." Very pretty. In fact, she sang three very pretty songs, but there was no growling, no attacking. There were no huge moments for Jessica tonight. I'm really not sure she did enough to get into next week's finale, unfortunately. The show needs her there, but I just don't think she got people to pick up the phone for her. And I REALLY HATE to agree with Randy Jackson here but he's completely right that she should have borrowed from Mariah Carey's version and added a few little fancy things here and there. That could have given her a moment. But, alas. No moment.

Bob Seger? This seems promising. <Silence. I am captivated!> Phillip came through. What a smart choice by Jimmy- it let us focus on Phillip's voice, which is actually lovely. It's clear he doesn't love playing the part of The Heartthrob (which makes him even more endearing, no?) but he should thank Jimmy one day for forcing him into it here.

ROUND 3 WINNER: I wouldn't blame those of you who say Joshua here, but my pick is Phillip.

So I guess what I'm saying is... I'm left feeling completely perplexed about Jessica's song choices. How did Uncle Nigel let this happen when he so badly needs her to win? The finale is definitely going to be a boy's show.

Idol recap: FINAL FOUR!

What's left to say at this point? It's a fantastic Top 4, I get a kick out of the fact that they all truly seem to get along so well... but I do miss Skylar.

Oh, and two things for Adam Shankman: 1) Yes, I will go see your movie, and 2) I can't wait for So You Think You Can Dance!!! (Do we know if he going to be back on this season? I hope so.)

Phillip Phillips
He seemed like a different guy up there- maybe he finally realized how good of a chance he has at taking home the trophy and decided to take things up another level. "Have You Ever Seen the Rain?" was nice, but "Volcano" was really nice.

Hollie Cavanagh
It was nice that they finally showed what happened to Hollie last year as well as her first audition this season (even if it was only a second, and only of her being welcomed to Hollywood). Personally, I felt that "I Can't Make You Love Me" was a lot better than the judges made it seem, but I wouldn't have minded seeing Hollie back up "Faithfully" with a more uptempo song (like last week's "River Deep Mountain High").

Joshua Ledet
"You Raise Me Up" was only OK, but he more than made up for it with "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" which truly was one of the all-time greatest moments on the Idol stage. We're running out of adjectives to describe how good Joshua is. I also enjoy that smile he gets at the end of his performances, where he knows he just did a really good job and is so happy that everybody else realizes it too.

Jessica Sanchez
She growled her way through "Steal Away" like no one's business (but again, where was Jimmy? Wasn't that another song too "old" for the 16-year-old?), but "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" did everything the judges said Hollie didn't do with "I Can't Make You Love Me."

Duet #1: Phillip & Joshua ("This Love")
They both sounded great on this song individually, but I have to agree that it in a bizarre way, against all odds, this duet worked.

Duet #2: Hollie & Jessica ("Eternal Flame")
The swings were weird. But I love this song and I think I would have really enjoyed hearing one of them sing it as their own. As a duet, it didn't really fly, as much as I really wanted to love it.

I'll keep it simple... Hollie, you had a great run, but I think it's over.

Idol recap: Top 5

I'm writing this recap well after 1AM so forgive me for posting what will most likely be my briefest of recaps. Also, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I loved the Jimmy-and-Stevie show. I'd watch that every week.

Hollie Cavanagh
I loved her showmanship on "River Deep Mountain High." Probably her best performance of the season. I also want her dress. "Bleeding Love" was also very nice- her best all around night for sure. I think she finally gets that it's about more than just singing pretty.

Phillip Phillip
Phillip's version of "The Letter" was one way to get around not being able to perform original songs, I guess, since it sounded nothing like the original. "Time of the Season" on the other hand- yes, he stuck to the melody, and yes, those high notes were not perfect, but I think this is the most he's reached out of his comfort zone. And I liked it.

Skylar Laine
I think Jimmy did a great thing for Skylar by having her perform "Fortunate Son" instead of "Knock on Wood." Skylar is at her best with high-energy songs that she can just wail on... but she also made me believe that "You Don't Have to Say You Love Me" was always a country ballad. And how about that spot-on glory note at the end?

Jessica Sanchez
It kind of cracks me up how Jessica is like a wild animal unleashed on the stage when she performs, then becomes this quiet little lamb the second the music shuts off. She definitely brought the divaliciousness with all that hair-whipping and hip-shaking. "You Are So Beautiful" was another stunning performance, and I think it sounded a lot like what Beyonce would sound like on that song (that's a compliment).

Joshua Ledet
Maybe it's because I'm exhausted or because I was too worried that Joshua's backup singers were on the the verge of a wardrobe malfunction (Steven Tyler just confirmed the latter was probably true), but I don't think I enjoyed "Ain't to Proud to Beg" as much as I should have. He's brilliant. I'm sure I just spaced out for a second. BTW Ryan- that's a daffodil. Not a tulip. I definitely didn't miss his brilliance on "To Love Somebody" however. Freaking incredible. WELL DESERVED STANDING O.

Joshua & Phillip: "You've Lost That Loving Feeling"
What this duet showed me- beyond Joshua's simple awesomeness- was that Phillip is capable of singing more earnestly than he ever has in his solo performances. And be honest: who else found themselves chuckling out loud about Joshua's fear of Phillip?

Jessica, Skylar & Hollie: "Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher"
These three are just adorbs. How does Skylar make her country twang fit in so nicely on songs like this?

I'm going to try this again... nobody?

I'm not ready to make a decision at this time, but put a gun to my head and I'll guess Jessica... with the two boys rounding out the Bottom 3. I think she was too good that she hypnotized voters into not voting for her. But if it's not Jessica, it's Phillip. I think.