Hundreds of performances later, it has all come down to this. Season 11 of American Idol will crown a winner tonight, after two hours of complete, star-studded nonsense. It is so evident to me that Phillip Phillips will win, that I have decided to view the entire finale episode as a party for him. Nigel Lythgoe’s desperate bid to keep Phillip Phillips happy. See this? It’s all for you, Phillip!

Phillip had the far superior Winner’s Song, and therefor a better lasting impression on the voters. As though people didn’t know who they were going to vote for before they watched the final performance episode! But maybe it swayed some people to vote who might not have voted for anyone otherwise. I know I certainly fell under the spell! So now we sit back and relax as our fallen heroes perform for us one last time this season, then see if Jessica Sanchez can maintain composure.

I have one question before we let ‘er rip, though: will Lee DeWyze be stewing angrily in the audience tonight?

A group number right away! This show is already delivering. We see all the eliminated contestants dressed in white performing “Runaway Baby” as though they were sent to American Idol purgatory after their elimination. This is a special kind of hell’s waiting room, where your clothes turn white after you leave a competition and you have to listen to only Bruno Mars.

After the first of many commercial breaks, Phillip Phillips performs “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” poorly with the lead singer of CCR. His voice just doesn’t go that high, it’s not his fault. As this weren’t enough, Phillip introduces a second song, “Bad Moon Rising.” We’re just going to keep pushing this boy to his limit, humiliating him next to John Fogerty. He sounds better on the second song. It’s OK, Phillip, you don’t have to pretend to care anymore. Not that you ever did!

PhillipandCCR.jpgThen, we are forced to remember terrible and embarrassing Idol audition moments. That was SO long ago!

It was not so long ago that Joshua Ledet was eliminated. But now he’s back, in a sparkly suit jacket, singing Elton John’s fun “Take Me to the Pilot.” He took it to church, but not before he brought out Fantasia Barrino in some weird kind of Spider-Man 3 bodysuit and a mile-long weave. They both jumped and screamed, and I was very concerned for the structural integrity of that bodysuit. Fantasia and Joshua seemed done, but the song kept going, so they kept screaming into their microphones until the producers had to cut to a commercial break. It was glorious.

Mantasia.jpgBecause the show is OVER 2 hours long, we have a segment entirely dedicated to how Old Man Jimmy Iovine could not remember Jennifer Lopez’s name. He kept calling her Jessica. He did it so many times, and I love Jimmy so much, that I ended up laughing out loud. It was a wacky little thing.

And now, The Ladies of the Top 12, wearing sparkly Real Housewives dresses singing a Chaka Khan medley! How is it that Jessica Sanchez just popped into the medley so late? Did she think she was exempt? Chaka Khan showed up, but just barely (and I do mean BARE-ly! Look at our second bodysuit of the night!). I love Chaka Khan, but she seems maybe drunk. EIther way, she’s phoning it in. LOVE you, Chaka!

ChakaKHAN.jpgFor the final Ford Music Video, they found a way to work around Phillip. They simply showed all of the least flattering shots of each of the Top 12 from previous FMVs! And Ford has an un-ceremonious gift for the Top 2’s mentors: gifts to the American Idol finale! They got to see Chaka Khan live! And another surprise for the mentors (Phillip’s brother-in-law and some other guy whose position I didn’t catch): keys to their new Ford Escapes! Oh, and Phillip and Jessica, you get cars too! EVERYONE gets a Ford Escape! Except, Jennifer Lopez, she gets a Fiat.

Rihanna performs next, without any members of the Top 12. She is a solo act, and won’t be brought down by the likes of, say, Shannon Magrane. She came in her own Space Triangle just for the event. Will someone please just tell me whether or not this performance was inspired by Battlefield: Earth?

RihannaBattlefield.jpgSkylar Laine is back to sing “Turn on the Radio” and if she’s singing with Reba I will sh*t a brick (in a good way). SHE IS!! I’m freaking out. I am dead. Skylar totally kept up, too. She’s got a career ahead of her, and I would love it all the more if that career were playing Reba’s country-singing daughter in a new sitcom.

Nothing can follow that, so we might as well see this jokey video clip about Steven Tyler’s dressing room. Hahaha, the sloth!! They have the same hair. Also, the sloth looks like he is in ecstasy (or on it). 

Stevensloth1.jpgStevensloth2.jpgI need a commercial break to collect myself! But no, Jessica Sanchez is singing “I Will Always Love You.” Ahhh, it’s just as good as I remember it! You go, girl.

No break for us. We power on through to this performance from the Top 12 Guys (minus Jermaine and Phillip) singing a medley. Neil Diamond is always good for an appearance. He probably paid Nigel Lythgoe $25 to appear on the finale. Aww, that’s mean to Neil Diamond. Why would I say that? One thing is clear in this medley: Heejun Han does NOT CARE.

Heejundontcare.jpgAnd another thing: Joshua Ledet is still scream-singing from that last song with Fantasia. No one has the power to resist “Sweet Caroline” though!

I’m glad they had a little clip about Randy always saying the same things, and I really enjoyed the literal singing of the phone book bit, in spite of myself. It even made fun of Joshua taking it to church!

Now Jennifer Lopez gets two song performances as part of her contract. And two outfits made from the same cheap sequin fabric.

Speaking of cheap sequins, Lauren Alaina is in the house! So is Taylor Hicks, and Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo, our American Idol couple! Diana DeGarmo is adorable, and I saw her in “9 to 5” on Broadway and she was amazing. Ace said he thought this would be the right time to ask “a simple question.” Diana looked excited, then skeptical, but this is no Ryan Seacrest fakeout! There was a little product placement in the proposal, but I don’t mind that! I love televised proposals, and I love that they had Kieran dim the lights for it! DIANA DEGARMO AND ACE YOUNG ARE ENGAGED NOW! Did Ace just congratulate himself?

After that, Hollie Cavanagh performs “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with Jordin Sparks. If I had to declare a winner of this duet, I think I’d pick Hollie, though she’s a bit greener.
JordinSparksandHollie.jpgDid you like that, Phillip? Are you enjoying your finale? I hope he’s feeling OK.

In a tribute to Robin Gibb, the Top 12 guys (again, minus Jermaine and Phillip) sing a BeeGees medley. I think this will be best for DeAndre. Against expectation, it’s a relatively good moment for Colton, and everyone else sounds dreadful on it. They sound particularly terrible when they’re all singing together.

Another superstar duet, one that I have dreamed of since the Top 24: Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holliday singing “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.” Why is Jessica always late to the stage? Are long drapey dresses that hard to change in and out of? Oh, and Jennifer Holliday? Girl still got it. Unlike a lot of the other celebrity guests tonight, she is putting in some major effort. I hope Jessica Sanchez knows what an awesome moment this is. She can always look back on the time Jennifer Holliday wiped the floor with her.

JenniferHollidayserving.jpgAt long last, Aerosmith agreed to perform on American Idol. Maybe just to fill the slot that Phillip Phillips couldn’t due to illness. Liv, your old man’s still got it. And Steven wore one of his nicest chiffon robes.

Phillip finally emerged back on stage, wearing a cute cool-guy tux (no tux shirt, just a t-shirt and a vest. Kind of funky, but whatever). And Jessica looks great in burgundy. They sing “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong,” which is actually a perfect duet for them if there ever was one. Phillip is just barely singing, and I hope his kidneys (kidneys? Mysterious illness center) don’t explode when he wins. They just need to turn his microphone up, or down. I don’t know. There’s just a great disparity in vocal range here, but not in heart!

The results are starting now! How exciting! Even though I’ve never been less unsure of who will win, I’m still happy we’ve gotten here. Phillip looks good in a V-neck. Jessica’s hair is majestic. Finalists have never looked better!


The winner of American Idol Season 11 is …

Phillip Phillips!

P2 Sr. hugs his wife, everyone hugs Phillip, led by Heejun. And Scotty McCreery hands Phillip the god-awful meaningless microphone trophy. Phillips sings his song, and seems relatively un-phased. Maybe he’s just in shock …

P2winsitall.jpgHe sings “Home” under a cascade of pyrotechnics. I hope to hear it on the radio, because I like the song. I hope to hear a lot of this season’s contestants on the radio soon. Phillip is overwhelmed, and actually shows some emotion! It’s completely endearing! If you feel nothing you are dead inside. Phillip breaks into tears, takes off his guitar, tries not to swallow the confetti, and goes to hug his family. I can’t help but love it!

Goodbye for now, everyone! I hope you had a good Season 11. I thought it was OK.

(images courtesy of FOX)

Carla Patton

Writer, BuddyTV

Originally from Seattle, Carla recently took a husband and moved to Austin, Texas, where she is finally using her television “problem” to her advantage. It’s sort of like Dexter, but boring and less murdering. Carla’s favorite shows include 30 RockThe Amazing RaceProject RunwayModern Family, anything with murder, and pretty much anything gross and weird (CSIThe BachelorToddlers & Tiaras, etc.). Favorite canceled shows include: Arrested DevelopmentVeronica Mars and Average Joe. In her spare time, Carla leads tours of downtown Austin on a Segway (don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it!), blogs about Netflix Instant, and visits elementary schools telling children they don’t need math to succeed (just kidding, stay in school, kids).