Two hours from now, we’ll have a new American Idol, but first, we have a whole lot of show to get through. Let’s do this!
We open on the Top 12 (except for Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips) all dressed in white and silver, with a group performance of “Runaway Baby” by Bruno Mars, and oh yeah, there’s Jeremy Rosado. Oh, and Shannon Magrane! There’s a cool interlude with some breakdancing and swing dancing, and lots of pyrotechnics at the end. That was a pretty fun way to start the show, actually. We’re off to a promising start!
So far in the audience we’ve spotted Scotty McCreery, Lisa Rinna, Harry Hamlin, and Mary Murphy, by the way. We’ll keep you posted on additional celebrity sightings, don’t worry.
132 million votes were cast last night, a new record. Wow. That’s a lot of votes, y’all!
Phillip and Jessica are both dressed in white and silver like their fellow Idols — Jessica’s in a gorgeous little dress, while Phillip looks like he’s in his pajamas, but they both look good, so we won’t complain... even if Phillip could’ve maybe dressed for the occasion, considering Ryan Seacrest’s in a tuxedo. But whatever! Phillip Phillips, man.
After the break, Phillip’s singing with Creedence Cleawater Revival’s John Fogerty. Awesome! Fogerty’s a legend. Phillip gets more applause, of course, because this is American Idol. It’s not a remotely flashy performance, just the two of them with guitars mostly, but it’s enjoyable in that laid-back Phillip kind of way, and he’s obviously thrilled to be sharing the stage with Fogerty. They perform two songs together, and y’all will be happy to know that in the audience, Carrie Underwood is having a good time.
After the break, apparently Ace Young (who REALLY needs a haircut, wow) and Diana DeGarmo are dating? Oh, and he’s proposing? What? Okay, that was sweet, if entirely unexpected and a little confusing. Where’s Phillip? He’s been gone for an hour.
Hollie Cavanagh is singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” with... Jordin Sparks! Aw, that’s nice. They sound lovely together, and they both look stunning.
After another commercial, we get a Robin Gibb tribute from the Top 12 Guys. Nothing for Donna Summer, though. Boo!
After a “funny” montage of the judges being ridiculous, it’s time for another Idol-with-their-idol performance, so we get Joshua Ledet performing “Take Me To The Pilot” with... Fantasia! Duh. Fantasia and Mantasia, together at last! Fantasia’s in a super-shiny, super tight catsuit, and she manages to make our boy Joshua seem very sedate. It’s pretty bonkers. We love it.
Another “funny” montage, this one of Jimmy Iovine repeating referring to Jennifer Lopez as Jessica, because that’s his daughter’s name and apparently Jimmy is easily confused. Jennifer pretends to find it hilarious, but we’re pretty sure she hates him. Just saying.
The girls of the Top 12 are here, all in heavily-sequined or otherwise sparkle-fied dresses. Elise Testone and Erika Van Pelt share the lead on “Ain’t Nobody” and it’s awesome. Some of the other girls sing “Through the Fire” and it’s somewhat less awesome. Hollie Cavanagh kicks off “I’m Every Woman,” and soon Chaka Khan comes out to join them, dressed in a very tight, very shiny catsuit. Apparently that’s the dress code for tonight’s guest performers. What percent of the Idol audience do you think has any idea who Chaka Khan is, by the way? More or less than knew who John Fogerty was? Most importantly, Jane Lynch is rocking out and singing along in the audience. Adorable!
Ford product placement segment! Jessica and Phillip introduce their musical mentors, both of whom will be getting a Ford Focus. Yay! Jessica and Phillip will each be getting their choice of Ford cars! Double yay! And what do the viewers at home get?!
We get Rihanna! Okay, it’s not a car, but we’ll take it. Nobody sent Rihanna the sparkly catsuit memo, so she’s wearing a vaguely tribal black ensemble, and the whole stage setup is like The Matrix plus Cirque du Soleil. The laser show makes us dizzy, but whatever, we LOVE it. Princess RiRi can do no wrong, let’s be real.
Jessica Sanchez’s Idol-with-their-idol performance is with Jennifer Holliday. This is too fabulous to really recap properly — Jennifer manages to both show how much more of an adult she is than Jessica, while at the same time making Jessica rise up to be even better than she usually is. It’s, as Steven would say, completely over-the-top.
Aerosmith! Hell yeah! Steven Tyler is such a rockstar. They perform two songs, just like Jennifer did. Apparently if you’re an Idol judge (or Coldplay, we guess), you get to perform two songs.
Oh good, Jessica and Phillip are going to awkwardly sing a duet! Remember when Phillip put his arm around Joshua’s shoulders at the end of their duet and Joshua panicked and jumped away? That was the best. This isn’t as entertaining, but Jessica’s wearing what’s probably the prettiest of tonight’s series of beautiful dresses, and Phillip actually has on a fancy jacket for the first time on the show (and possibly in his life, who knows?).
Skylar Laine is, of course, performing with Reba McEntire. They actually look and sound terrific together, and Reba’s influence on Skylar is definitely apparent. This is by far the most natural-seeming Idol-with-their-idol performance so far tonight.
Next is a “Funny” pre-taped segment about Steven Tyler’s dressing room. He carries a sloth around and his sister’s in there making out with her husband or boyfriend or some random guy. Okayyyyyy!
Jessica sings “I Will Always Love You” for no particular reason, except that it’s a “Favorite Moment” of the season. It’s just as lovely as it was the first time she did it.
Before the results are announced, Ryan gives Phillip and Jessica a chance to speak. Phillip thanks everyone, including the crew of Idol and all the fans, and Jessica echoes him.
And this is it...
The moment of truth...
Your American Idol Season 11 is...
Phillip Phillips! WE CALLED IT! Wooo! Jessica seems genuinely happy for him, and Heejun Han runs over to hug him and kiss him on the forehead. Aww. Remember their bromance? Cute cute cute. Phillip gets a trophy from Scotty McCreery and a chance to reprise “Home,” but he’s too emotional to sing anything past the first verse. It’s sweet and a little surprising — Phillip’s generally been so laid-back about the competition. He keeps playing guitar for a while, and then just gives it up entirely and heads down into the crowd to hug his parents. Awwwww.
We’ve been calling Phillip as the winner since the beginning, so the results come as no shock to us, but what do you think? Is this what you expected? Did America get it right? Will a girl ever win Idol again? Let us know in the comments!
Next is a Neil Diamond medley from the guys, which means Neil is totally going to join them. YAY! (That is a totally unironic “yay,” for the record.) The guys sing “America” with lots of red, white, and blue lighting, some of “Cracklin’ Rosie,” a hilariously choreographed take on “I’m a Believer,” and then... Neil Diamond appears to sing “Sweet Caroline” because sometimes American Idol is just the greatest. Jane Lynch is happy, too.
Okay, in an actually funny segment, the Top 12 are all in choir robes and singing the phone book in a send-up of one of Randy’s favorite phrases. The Idols are all hamming it up — it’s pretty darn cute.
Our very own Jennifer Lopez is performing two songs tonight. Jennifer’s never been a particularly impressive singer, but she sure puts on a show. The dancing is fantastic and the staging is impressive. She has sequined sweatpants, which is weird, but even Jennifer Lopez isn’t perfect, apparently.