After nearly 40 episodes and hundreds of songs, American Idol season 13 has reached the end. Jena Irene and Caleb Johnson sang head-to-head Tuesday night, and now one of them will join the ranks of Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Phillip Phillips and more.
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It’s a battle between the first female Wild Card to reach the finale and the loud rocker. Only one can win, but before the confetti drops, we’ll get two hours of performances from the Top 13 and a host of stars, including John Legend, Kiss, Jason Mraz, Paramore, the Idol judges and more.
For the finale, Jeff Dodge and I are split. He thinks it will be Caleb, I think it’ll be Jena. I’m mostly going off momentum as I’ve had a very good week in reality TV. My favorites like Dave and Connor on The Amazing Race, Meryl Davis and Maksim Chmerkovskiy on Dancing with the Stars and Team Usher’s Josh Kaufman on The Voice have all won, defeating the people I was actively rooting against (Brenchel, Amy Purdy and Derek Hough and Team Blake’s Jake Worthington). Since I personally want Jena to win and don’t want Caleb to win, I’m optimistic that my wishes are all coming true this week.
THIS…is American Idol!
The show opens with flashbacks to Jena and Caleb’s original auditions, then they return to The Chamber in the present day, talk a bit, and walk out live onto the big stage to perform “We Will Rock You” and “I’m Just a Girl” before dueting on “It’s Only Love.” It’s instantly apparent that both of these finalists know how to rock a show and entertain an audience. They really are the two best performers of the season.
Ryan Seacrest and Harry Connick, Jr. are tux buddies while Keith Urban suited up and Jennifer Lopez is sparkling and fabulous as always.
Sam Woolf and Phillip Phillips
Sam kicks it off with “Home” and sounds good, then P2 joins him for “Raging Fire.” P2 has really good songs, and I wish nothing but the best for Sam. I really enjoy the tone of his voice.
Jessica Meuse and Jennifer Nettles
The Sugarland lead singer starts with “That Girl” and then Jessica joins her to cover Miley Cyrus‘ “Wrecking Ball.” That’s an odd choice. They sound fantastic, but I’m getting a real The L Word kind of vibe from their duet when they sing to each other.
Then Randy Jackson and his pink jacket show up to act like he’s had anything to do with the growth of these two finalists.
J. Lo sings her new single, “First Love,” in an outfit so revealing even DWTS pro Karina Smirnoff would object. She ends with a big dance number. You go, J. Lo. Jenny from the Block is turning 45 in two months and can still out-sexy Miley any day of the week.
Caleb Johnson and Kiss
Isn’t being in your 60s too old to still being putting on the make-up and playing dress-up? Even more embarrassing, Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons sound terrible. This doesn’t rock, it just makes me sad. At least Caleb’s brother Houston, in full Kiss make-up, gets to come out and meet his favorite band.
Aloe Blacc and the American Idol Guys
After a Bad Lip Reading video that’s supposed to be “funny,” Aloe performs “The Man” with the six male Idol finalists. I totally forgot that Ben Briley ever existed. We’re not even halfway through the finale and I’m already trying to see if I can somehow fast-forward live TV.
That’s followed by a Ford commercial where Sam Woolf and Majesty Rose serve as Jena and Caleb’s assistants and then the Final 2 get new cars. And Jena and Caleb both pick their mentors (a music teacher and Caleb’s guitarist) who get tickets to the finale and the mentors get new cars too. It’s like freaking Oprah up in here.
Demi Lovato and the American Idol Girls
Two women whose names I vaguely recall being Emily Piriz and Kristen O’Connor show up, but no M.K. Nobilette. That’s disappointing (according to her Twitter account, she’s absent due to illness but is still going to be on the tour). It’s yet another random filler performance that’s not all that great or interesting.
Jena Irene and Paramore
Jena reprises her amazing performance of “Decode” from earlier this season before joining the song’s original artist, Paramore, on “Ain’t It Fun.” It’s cool to see Jena sing with her favorite band, especially because this is definitely the kind of music she’ll be making soon enough. At the end, hundreds of giant yellow balloons fall from the sky into the audience. I imagine Jena’s concerts will be very entertaining, especially if you’re on Ecstasy.
Malaya Watson and John Legend
John sings “You and I” and then he’s joined by Malaya for “All of Me.” Malaya ditched the braces and glasses, so now she’s Rachel Leigh Cook in the second half of She’s All That. They sound pretty good together. It’s followed by a completely pointless two-minute recap of the season.
Alex Preston and Jason Mraz
These two new BFFs perform “Love Someone.” If you need Ecstasy to truly enjoy Jena’s wild performance, than the drug of choice for these dudes is marijuana. It’s very laid-back and chill.
Ryan Seacrest and Richard Marx
Ryan’s family introduces the host who is actually going to sing a song from his first concert, Richard Marx’s “Right Here Waiting for You.” And then Ryan actually sings! And he’s terrible. So, so terrible. The actual Richard Marx joins him for a painful yet hilarious duet. I 100 percent approve of this as entertaining filler. It’s followed by another bit of fun, a montage of the judges, complete with Harry’s professorial definition of the pentatonic scale.
Dexter Roberts, C.J. Harris and Darius Rucker
It’s country time. Which means bathroom break time for me. The only way to make this enjoyable is to dust off the Hootie and the Blowfish catalog. Tiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiime, why you punish me? I think it’s been long enough that Hootie’s music could be cool again.
This band performs their new single, “Bartender,” after getting an a cappella intro from Caleb and Jena. There’s no Idol connection or duet with them, so it’s automatically the most pointless filler of the night. At least every other performance, bad and ridiculous as they may be, have some sort of connection to American Idol.
The Judges and Randy Jackson
That’s right, it’s an all-Idol super band with Randy on bass, Keith on guitar, Harry playing the piano and J. Lo as the lead singer (and tambourine player) on Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors,” and Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way.” It’s kind of cool, or at least it would be if it wasn’t a total rip-off of The Voice, which opens every season with the four coaches combining forces.
At 9:58pm, it’s finally time to get to the results. After all that filler, I actually kind of forgot there was even a competition going on. The judges have no idea who it will be, but the two finalists both think each other is “da bomb.”
Dim the lights and here we go!
THE WINNER OF AMERICAN IDOL SEASON 13 IS…CALEB JOHNSON!
Oh well. I certainly blame Jena for being dumb enough to choose to go first last night. Caleb was never in the bottom and he’s tried to get on the show for several years, so hard work paid off.
They play his winner’s song as confetti falls, and he sings a bit, but mostly its hugs and celebration.
Still, I think he’s heading straight to Taylor “Soul Patrol” Hicks territory. Which is good news for Jena, because that makes her Katharine McPhee.
That does it for American Idol season 13. See you again next year for a new, slimmed down version of the show. Or, if you really enjoy reading my recaps, join me for a summer filled with voyeurism on Big Brother 16 starting next month.
(Image courtesy of FOX)