I'm with KK. I hate this season of Idol. It was all I could do to turn it on tonight to see the final three perform. I should have seen it coming way back when I really didn't LOVE any of these contestants in the top 13 (and now I can barely remember most of them) but I tried to get into it with Erika, Elise, Skylar and Hollie. I must be honest, I thought tonight's show would be tantamount to descending into the 9th Circle of Hell (or at least a Sesame Street Live performance). Not quite as bad as I feared, but tedious nevertheless.
As far as tonight is concerned, Elise should be singing *Whole Lotta Love* because that is all it was about. These judges have coddled, praised, and pushed these three contestants down our throats so much this season that for them to actually judge their performances would have been a miracle. At this point, as far as the judges are concerned, these contestants are *too big to fail* and they double down on the judge's voter stimulus package.
The judges evidently chose the songs for the contestants jointly with perhaps one of them having more say so than the others for the three contestants. They couldn't have designed who chooses for whom more perfectly. Randy gets the black guy, Jennifer gets the girl and Steven gets the (so-called) original genius Phillips. The contestants choose a song and then Jimmy chooses one for them. Ok, now we know the playing field.
The Joshua Story:
A preachers son from Westlake, Louisiana, Joshua returns home with a police escort . It looks like his community really loves him, he has a darling niece Chloe, the highschool he attended was thrilled to see him as well as the church congregation. And, he packs the stadium which is great for his concert. So, we like Joshua (even if he does mention Obama) and it appears he is a well-loved person by family and friends and his community. Yay for him...seriously.
His first song, introduced by Randy, is Etta James' I'd Rather Go Blind because Randy wants Joshua's R&B chops to shine. I'm thinking Randy didn't do Joshua any favors with the voting audience because unless you are really an R&B fan or an Etta James fan you probably have never heard this song before (its not like he picked At Last). Joshua starts out rather restrained for him and then ends it on the moon. Standing O from the judges.
Joshua chooses Imagine for his second song. Now this song for Idol viewers, has nothing to do with John Lennon. This song is all about David Archuletta who sang it at least twice during his season and probably still sings it every time he gets 2 or 3 people gathered together which as far as I can tell is about the number of people he gets to sing to these days. I liked Joshua's version better but it still had way too much melisma to it and of course, he left out the controversial line about imagining there is no religion because that would be blasphemy given his beliefs. The fact that that line was probably the most important line to John Lennon is immaterial...it is not an anti-war song anymore...its a sappy *we are the world song* designed to make voters weep and pick up the phone. The judges were surprised, Randy makes Joshua explain why he chose it (and Joshua probably lies about his reason...duh..Randy...its to get votes dawg!). The judges praised it but it didn't get a standing O so now the audience is wondering if Joshua is slipping.
Jimmy chooses Mary J. Blige's No More Drama and Joshua gives it his all. For the first time in many years I watched the Grammy's this year and for the first time actually liked Mary J. Blige. Joshua does fine but I'm not sure I get the jumping up and down part and the feet stomping part. The judges love it and praise his performance skills to the skies (and of the three left, he is the only one who actually moves around the stage so I guess that praise is somewhat merited) and Joshua's fate is up to the voters.
The Jessica/Bibi Story.
Jessica takes a helicopter from LA to San Diego for her big homecoming. She tells us before the video runs that she was home schooled and doesn't have that many friends because she is a sort of a nerd. How about its because you are sort of a bitch whose stage parents don't let you have a life and that you don't give a hoot about friends because its all about you? She points out the stadium *where it all began* and sits in the seat she supposedly occupied during the cattle call portion of the competition. IF she sat in that stadium it was with a big star on her ticket because there is no way she was not planted in the competition. There is a parade (where boys supposedly ran after her car) along with an event with the mayor and some decent looking crowds. If she gave a concert we don't see it. We do see her singing acapella to a boat load of sailors who were ordered to attend, may or may not have ever heard of her, and were probably so glad of a break in their routine, they would have cheered for a barking dog. Maybe she had a concert or maybe not. If she did, I suspect the crowd paled in comparison to Phillips and Joshua's crowd or they would have shown it to us...but who knows. (I suppose I could research this if I cared to but I do not).
Jennifer chooses a Mariah Carey song for Jessica and spends about 5 minutes explaining that she wants us to see Jessica's *tender* side. Good luck with that. This girl has a hide like a rhinocerous and two emotions: a) I'm the biggest star; and b) I'm pissed you don't recognize that I am the biggest star. Jennifer doesn't tell us the name of the song but if you are a Mariah fan you probably know it. I am not. It is a hard song to sing and Jessica runs out of breath several times but doesn't butcher it irredeemably so she gets lots of praise and even a kudo to Randy for showing that *breathless* quality that Mariah has. Well, I'm not a Mariah fan but I don't think her *breathless* quality comes from running out of breath. Randy reminds us how close he is to Mariah. Next he will be claiming to be the father of her twins. Shut up Randy.
Jessica, like Joshua, chooses a song designed not only to get her votes but also to suck up to Steven. She sings *I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing* robotically but with enough glory notes to make people think she is something special. The judges love it and I'm thinking Whaa? This was karaoke...and I bet 100,000 drunk college kids have sung it almost as well in bars throughout the country over the past 13 years. She brings nothing new to this song at all.
Jimmy Iovine, who is still laboring under the delusion that Jessica is a 16 year old girl (and not an automaton channeling the voice and mannerisms of every popular woman singer since Whitney) chooses the Jackson 5's *I'll Be There* because it is the first age appropriate song Jessica has sung all season. Big fail. She just mimics Michael Jackson to start, shifts to a lower register which sounds like she chose it because she cannot hit the high notes (I guess that is the Jermaine part that Jennifer referred to) and then goes high again and I think loses the pitch at least once...even on the ending glory note. Again, (with credit to Dorothy Parker) her emotions run the gamut from A to B. Randy says something sane for a change by calling it just ok. Steven and Jennifer are too heavily invested here and won't admit Jessica gave a mediocre, karoake, lounge singer performance.
The Phillips Story
Phillips goes home to small town Georgia and everyone is happy to see him but the video seems odd. He arrives after dark but doesn't see his mom and dad until the next day? He has a huge concert, lots of fans, lots of love, and has his mom and dad in the parade with him (did Jessica let anyone ride in the parade with her?). His concert looks packed to the rafters too so good for him. (As much as I'm critical of his talent, I think the kid is a decent young man). I like the stuffed turkey in the pawn shop.
Steven announces the judges choice for Phillips is *Beggin* and that they chose it so that Phillips would sing a melody. (Evidently, they have just noticed over the past 2 weeks that Phillips cannot carry a tune). I am not familiar with this song but it doesn't matter because it sounds like every other song Phillips has sung for the past 15 weeks so...no surprise when he gets high praise for it even if he did not sing the melody.
Phillips chooses *Disease* as his second song and I am giddy at just the announcement of the song title. What irony! I do not know this one either but again it doesn't matter because he sounds like he always does. At least with this song, the pained expression on his face somewhat matches the song's lyrics. The judges are dismayed that he doesn't do something more dramatic (I guess they thought he would transform into Andrea Bocelli at this point?) and throw him toward the bus but not quite under it.
Jimmy comes to the rescue for Phillip and chooses Bob Seger's *We've Got Tonight*. I knew I loved Jimmy for a reason. He chooses a song which I don't recall ever being performed on Idol before (correct me if I'm wrong) and it is one of my all time classic bring back memories of my wild and unfettered youth favorites. I'm thinking *hmmm maybe this will make me see the Phillips love*. Well, sort of. Phillips does a soft, subdued version, attempts to stay on key, and for once doesn't look like he's passing a kidney stone while he sings it. But he sings it like he expects the girl to stay and is just giving her a line like *you are so special*. Bob Seger sang it like he would be lucky if the girl stayed and really needed to persuade her stay. Its all in the chorus. Go listen to the original...Phillips could have cut loose on this one and still kept it tender but he did a wussified version. For once, when he should have sounded pained, he did not. Weird.
And then, in a statement which pretty much sums up this WTF season of Idol, Steven tells Phillips *it doesn't matter if you hit the notes as long as you have passion*. I'm sure Elise and Holly were about ready to throttle him.
So...tomorrow I will learn if Bibi has conned America all the way to the finals. I agree with Big J's prediction that she will release an album of covers, it will not sell all that well, and she will sink into oblivion until mama puts her on yet another reality show or gets her adopted into the Kardashian family who will provide her with boob and butt enhancments and a professional athelete or rap star to date.
According to Dial Idol (which has been flakey this year), Phillips is a shoe-in and it will be close between Jessica and Joshua.