Wednesday, May 23, 2012

American Idol 2012 Top 2 Performance Night Review (Finale)

And it all boils down to this... Jessica Sanchez vs. Phillip Phillips, girl vs. boy, West coast vs. East coast, Filipino-Mexican-American vs. White Guy With Guitar (WGWG), powerhouse voice vs. creative artist...

How will their story end? Who will be the next American Idol? It's all up to you... (Yehey! People from around the world can now vote online and join the Americans in voting ;)

The Nokia theater was jam-packed as 7,000 AI fans gathered to witness the biggest event of this season, American Idol's 11th season finale. The finalists are to perform thrice, wherein Jessica came first (since she lost the coin toss).

For the first round, creator of American Idol, Simon Fuller, gets to choose the songs for them. For Jessica, he picked "I Have Nothing" by Whitney Houston. Randy and JLo loved it and agreed that the first round went to Jessica.

However, I wasn't wowed by it. I even liked Phillip's "Stand By Me" performance better...

For the 2nd round, Jessica and Phillip can render again whatever song they have already performed on that AI stage. I was hoping Jessica would sing my fave from her "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" and Phillip would sing "Volcano." However, they had other ideas. Jessica, instead, sang "The Prayer" that got her into Top 24. Amazing how she sang that big, long note...

Honestly, I liked her performance that landed her on Top 24 better, it was more heartfelt, it gave be goosebumps...

As for Phillip, he sang "Movin' Out," which he performed on Billy Joel week, which I do not like at all. Hello? Jessica is far better. Funny that Jlo liked Phillip on this round, Steven rooting for Jessica, same as me, while Randy thought they were both even...

And now for the last round, their potential carrier single when they win AI... Jessica was given the song "Change Nothing" and the judges lambasted and berated her on this one. Duh? Who gave that song for her to sing anyways? As if she had a choice! I smell sabotage... And Jessica still so gracious and sweet, thanking the judges and accepting humbly the unfair comments hurled at her.

Phillip was given "Home," a very appropriate song for him plus the support of a marching band onstage. Indeed, SABOTAGE!!! They want another WGWG (White Guy With Guitar) to win again this season. Don't we have enough?... David Cook, Lee DeWyze, Kris Allen, Scotty McCreery... Sheesh! And the judges? They even gave Phillip a standing ovation! Ugh...

But wait, here's another theory... maybe, just maybe, the people behind AI want Jessica to win. Remember, how in the past season finales, whoever the judges support, that person ends up the runner-up? The judges also used their one and only save on Jessica. If not for that, she won't be in this finale anyway. Amazing how Jessica reached this far considering that she almost got booted out during the Top 7 results night.

As for which theory is the truth, well, we will find out in a few hours, won't we? I will also determine in a few moments if Filipino texting and online abilities are indeed truly powerful ;)

Thursday, May 17, 2012

American Idol 2012 Top 3 Performance Night Review

Such a challenge for the top 3 this week since they have to master and perform 3 songs. In the first round, the judges get to pick a song for them, second round is the contestant's choice and for the third round, their mentor, Jimmy Iovine chooses for them.

The judges chose "I'd Rather Be Blind" by Etta James for Joshua Ledet. For me, it was a noisy, "too much screaming" performance. Though the judges loved it by giving him the nth standing ovation. I dunno, I felt he didn't deserve that standing O.

For Jessica Sanchez, the judges picked "My All" by Mariah Carey. Wow! It was such a challenging song to sing and yet the 16-year-old slayed it! Like Steven Tyler, I was hanging to her every note =)

Phillip Phillips came next and the judges chose "Beggin'" by Madcon. As usual, Phillip made the song into his own and had a good time on stage. However, I felt it wasn't at par with the performances of Joshua and Jessica in the first round.

For the next round, the contestants get to choose the song...

Joshua picked "Imagine" and to me it was a lazy, laid back rendition. Jessica did Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing," wherein Steven Tyler was the lone judge who gave her a standing O. This is the first time I ever saw only one judge giving a standing ovation. Hmmm, seems like Jessica is trying to get Steven's approval and Aerosmith fans' votes as well. Phillip sang "Disease" by Matchbox 20. I didn't like any performance on this round, thus no video post.

For the final round, wherein their mentor, Jimmy Iovine gets to choose what song to sing, Josh did a superb job in Mary J. Blige's "No More Drama"... though there was a lot of drama in his performance... removing his jacket for one ;)

Jimmy wanted Jessica to sing a popular song right for her age so thus chose "I'll Be There" by the Jackson 5. Though Randy didn't like it, I liked it. Indeed, Jessica has a voice of an angel.

Phillip ended the show with "We've Got Tonight" by Bob Seger and for me this was his best performance among all his three songs of the night... I'm sure a lot of girls are wishing and hoping and praying Phillip is singing this song to them. Bravo Jimmy for choosing this song and for further paving the road for Phillip to the finals.

In my opinion, if this was a real singing contest, I think it should be a Joshua Ledet and Jessica Sanchez finale. However, AI is a popularity contest and Phillip Phillips has the vote of majority of the girls. Since that's the case, I would like a Phillip and Jessica final. If Jessica makes it, this would be the highest spot any Fil-American has ever reached. Jasmine Trias holds the record so far by making it to Top 3 during Season 3. Keeping my fingers crossed... go Jessica!

I enjoyed watching the videos when the contestants made their homecoming visits. Phillip's dad was happy to see his son pursuing his dream and doing something with passion and integrity. It was touching that Chula Vista mayor, Cheryl Cox, even declared May 12 as "Jessica Sanchez" day. Wow! What support! Funny that Joshua even commented that he noticed that people in Louisiana were acting as if he was Barrack Obama =)

What I like best about this episode is seeing whites supporting colored people like black singer Joshua and brown-skinned Jessica. Shows like American Idol help diminish prejudice in America and unite the world through music =)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

American Idol 2012 Top 4 Performance Night Review

The contestants get to sing two songs, the theme for the first round is California Dreamin' (songs about California or from artists who hail from there). For round two, they can choose a personal fave or song they wish they wrote.

Phillip Phillips started the night with "Have You Ever Seen the Rain." It was a pathetic opening! Judge Steven Tyler agrees with me by commenting... "you are the living proof that the road to success is always under construction." Indeed, it's a "subtle yet brutal" comment from "pareng Steven," dear Grace Caras ;)

Hollie Cavanagh came next with a beautiful and heartfelt rendition of "Faithfully" by Journey. She has improved so much from the tearful girl in Texas auditioning last season 10. Way to go girl! Bravo!

Joshua Ledet performed Josh Groban's "You Raise Me Up." Funny, he was even raised up on stage. What I like about Joshua is that he dedicated this song to his dad (who raises him up) and his next song "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" to his mom (for Mother's Day). So sweet! Typical bunso (youngest child =)

Jessica Sanchez did Etta James' "Steal Away." This 16-year-old stole my heart again on this one... just totally awesome!

The first duet of the night came from the boys wherein they sang "This Love" by California homegrown Maroon 5. For me, the girls did a better job than them (though the judges think otherwise). I love their "Eternal Flame" blending and swinging hehe =)

Though the group performance "Waiting for a Girl" ain't that good enough for me to post it here. And now for round two...

Phillip did "Volcano" by Damien Rice and boy he wowed me on this one. I felt here that once Phillip gets on that stage, he tunes out the audience and everything else, the only stuff existing is him and the music. I'm not a Phillip Phillips fan but after this performance, I'm starting to change my mind =)

Hollie performed "I Can't Make You Love Me" and it was just... off. I don't love you on this one, Hollie. It was the wrong song choice since it didn't showcase her powerful voice at all and it totally lacked feeling. Will she be finally booted out this time?

Joshua sang "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" by James Brown. This is the best performance I have seen in American Idol... ever! It's crazy when Joshua holds back, I want more, more, more. Let's go home now, Mr Steven Tyler...

After watching that phenomenal performance of Joshua, I felt this will definitely be a challenge and super pressure for Jessica to outshine or even be at par with him. But the young and talented Filipina-Mexican-American didn't disappoint. Her rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" by Jennifer Holliday was just spectacular. My mom beside me, watching the show, kept on commenting "hindi na siya huminga" (she didn't breathe anymore).

What a big night on American Idol! The last two songs by Jessica and Joshua were totally out of this world. This is what makes American Idol so worthwhile watching. They are my Top 2. Bottom 2: Hollie and Phillip. Hope it will be Hollie going home now, for good.

I want to end this post by a quote from Hollie, "If you have something you really want, you go for it." For her, she realized singing was what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. Whatever the cost, whatever the obstacles, she went for her dream, in spite of it all... and look how far she has reached. How about you? You have something you really, really want? What are you waiting for? Go for it ;)

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