Part one of the American Idol Season 11 finale has come. While not the most thrilling showdown we have ever seen, Jessica Sanchez and Phil Phillips made their final pleas for votes to be this year’s American Idol with three numbers. Based on this week alone, Phil Phillips may have swayed Jessica Sanchez fans to throw him a few votes. He was fantastic! But what makes this finale so worth anticipating is knowing that whoever wins, both of these two are worthy of the win and either finalist would be a very satisfying win. So while the performances of the finale so far have not been wildly impressive, these two stand outs earned their spots in the final two and tonight’s conclusion to the finale is going to be one for the books! Really, when was the last time you found yourself rooting for both finalists?
16 year old California girl, Jessica Sanchez chose to give us an encore of “The Prayer” by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocell and Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing.” Ballads. Yawn. Sanchez delivered fabulous performances but ballads all night? Pia Toscano anyone? Really. That was disappointing. I do not want to hear one ballad from anyone tonight. It’s the finale, liven it up.
The single Sanchez will release when she wins the competition, “Change Nothing” was also quite a dud. The song was sweet but for a first single, really boring and not the best showcase of all that she has to offer and wants to offer. None of the judges particularly loved the song as a first single either so this news was troubling. But as we have seen time and time again (let’s forget that one time that she was in eliminated before the judges saved her), her fans are dedicated so this one so-so number out of three may not fault her in the results. Both Sanchez and Phillips nailed two out of three performances. Where Sanchez failed to excite debuting her soon to be first single, Phillips shined with his after taking on Billy Joel again.
21 year old Georgia native, Phil Phillips could sing Billy Joel all day and be a winner in my book. He is fantastic. We only got to hear him sing “Movin’ Out” again but of the surprises for tonight, a duet with Joel would be grand. Phillips did not bring the sparks when he performed “Stand By Me” but he had the audience and home viewers grooving to his final number. Phillips closed the show with the single that he released in the alternate universe where he won the show. I love Phillips, but isn’t it safe to say that Sanchez is going to win this? Phillips’s song embodied everything that we love about him and his musical style perfectly as opposed to Sanchez’s sleeper. What a perfect introduction to the world he is making with this song. Idol is known for giving not so great first singles to their finalists, so someone had to get the short end of the stick. But will that really be what sets Sanchez apart from the win?
Over the season, Phillips has had more misses than hits whereas Sanchez seemed to knock it out of the park almost every single time. But we know what we are going to get with Phillips and his debut album and we only have an idea of what we’re going to hear with Sanchez. This is a really tough position the voters have put themselves in because these two are completely different sounds but two talents worth the win. Whatever happens, we’ll be hearing an album from both of them soon anyway. If Sanchez does win, over time, she may be put in the ranks of Hudson and Underwood. If Phillips wins, the same may happen but Phillips will have the Idol title and it would be a major victory for his genre being showcased on this show. Look how far this sound has come. What a proud moment!
Also performing last night was Jason Derulo with “Undefeated” and Idol Season 11 winner, Scotty McCreery who closed out the show performing along to a montage looking back on the season. These performances were lackluster and unnecessary. Stay tuned tonight for the real goods! Jessica Sanchez with Jennifer Holliday among them!
Watch the Season Finale of American Idol Season Finale Tonight at 8/7c on Fox.
*Photo Credit: Michael Becker / FOX