American Idol Season 11 Finale Recap: And the Winner Is... [Updated]

If the Phillip Phillips-vs.-Jessica Sanchez showdown of American Idol‘s eleventh season was an apples-vs-oranges kind of affair, then tonight’s season finale — featuring the inarguably terrific Top 13 12* — was a weird and occasionally wonderful smorgasbord. (*Uncle Nigel: “Jermaine Jones was just a figment of your imagination!”)

We had Season 3 champ Fantasia Barrino in a Crystal Gayle wig and, um, unfortunate spangled catsuit with side-leg cutouts (!) grabbing Joshua Ledet and turning the Nokia into a beautiful, howling messerie. We had John Fogerty, Reba McEntire, and Jordin Sparks dueting with Season 11 standouts Phillip Phillips, Skylar Laine, and Hollie Cavanagh. (More on those performances — including letter grades — a little later in this recap.)

PHOTOS | American Idol: The 21 Best Performances of Season 11!

Marriage was “spontaneously” proposed (said spontaneity almost certainly practiced and perfected in the office of Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo’s publicists). The phone book was sung. (Randy Jackson: “Literally!”) Too many medleys robbed us of individual moments for Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Colton Dixon, and Skylar (who should’ve gotten two numbers, no?). And Rihanna and J.Lo showed us exactly why it’s Idol alumni — and not many of today’s “regular” chart-toppers/floor-writhers — who are the go-to candidates when it’s time to belt the National Anthem at the start of most televised sporting events.

PHOTOS | American Idol: 25 Best Performances of All Time

And then Jennifer Holliday and Jessica Sanchez tore the face off of music as we know it, flipped it, revesed it, performed an exorcism on it, and made it whole again. Or something insane like that. Mama Holliday scared the tarnation out of me, and I loved it.

I could’ve/should’ve blacked out when the performance was finished, but there was still the matter of crowing the American Idol season 11 champ.

RELATED | American Idol Top 2 Performance Night Recap: Home Is Where the Artistry Is

Dim the lights, Kieran! Your new American Idol is…Phillip Phillips! Congrats, sir, and be thankful you got the first decent coronation single in Idol history. There really are no boundaries anymore. Maybe not even at alternative/rock radio? (I know, I know, but I’m an optimist at heart.)

But before we start mullipng P2’s future, let’s review the night’s disparate and many performances:

The Top 12 (minus the Top 2), “Runaway Baby” I can’t lie and say I didn’t like this better when Joshua covered it by his lonesome a few weeks back. (Proof that one voice can be more powerful than 10.) That said, who knew Skylar was so adept at group choreography? And who’d have guessed Mr. Ledet would get his SYTYCD on and wind up falling on his butt? (E for effort, though!) Grade: B-

Phillip Phillips & John Fogerty, “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” I couldn’t not love how genuinely excited Phillip looked sharing the mic with the CCR frontman for this performance, but why cover something P2 already sang just a few weeks ago? It’s not like Uncle Nigel couldn’t shake out the couches in J.Lo’s dressing room and clear a half-dozen new ditties for the finale, right? That feeling of déjá vu, combined with just a slight lag in energy, left me spending too much time focusing on what was around Fogerty’s neck (a black rubber bandana, maybe?) and not enough on the music. Grade: B

Phillip Phillips & John Fogerty, “Bad Moon Rising” Aha, now that was more like it. This swampy stomper fit Phillip’s vibe like a teaspoon fits a jar of peanut butter during midnight snacking hour. And the Phillips-Fogerty chemistry definitely benefitted from having a warmup number, too. I just wish the dudes had made it a trip (that’s a typo for “trio,” but “trip” works fine, too) by waving up Carrie Underwood, who jammed out and sang along from her seat in the audience. Grade: A-

Random observation: Of course Randy yells awful stuff like “Put him in the dumpster!” when he sees a wee thing like Ryan Seacrest get hoisted in the air by a mob of dudes.

Joshua Ledet and Fantasia Barrino, “Take Me to the Pilot” A hot, honeyed catastrophe of straining sequins, frantic camera work (Idol Director: “They’ve gone and left the stage!”) and ridiculous holleration? Or two of the best Idol contestants of all time breaking free from musical convention and letting the Holy Spirit take over? My sane half says the former, but the part of me that lost my damn mind hollering and clapping says the latter, obviously! (Also: Is this song set on an airplane?) Grade: D+/A+

Random observation: My take-home message from that whole “Jimmy Iovine repeatedly referring to J.Lo as ‘Jessica’ during his results-show critique tapings”? Dude’s observations are as carefully groomed and managed as Ryan Seacrest’s eyebrows.

Chaka Khan and the Ladies of the Top 12, “Ain’t Nobody”/”Through the Fire”/”I’m Every Woman” I’m not 100 percent sure the music of Chaka Khan brought out the best in any of the Season 11 chicas — though Elise sounded surprisingly solid growling it up on that disco nugget “Ain’t Nobody.” It’s also a shame that Chaka didn’t take notes from John Fogerty/Jennifer Holliday/Reba McEntire about how to engage with the Idols — namely, don’t treat them like underpaid backup singers. They’re the ones pulling in 20 million viewers, after all. Then again, maybe Chaka couldn’t see over her breasts? File under: #PantsuitFail Grade: C

Rihanna, “Where Have You Been” She hasn’t been going to her vocal lessons, that’s one place she hasn’t been. This was all writhing bodies and Egyptian-themed set pieces and pre-recorded vocals, signifying that there’s something really wrong with how we’re choosing our hitmakers nowadays. Grade: D

Skylar Laine & Reba McEntire, “Turn on the Radio” The camera work and sound mix on this performance malfunctioned harder than Fantasia’s stylist. But dangit all, Skylar and Reba’s pumped-up pipes and effervescent stage presence turned it into one of the night’s most enjoyable moments. It’s amazing that a teenager who just finished fifth on a televised singing competition can hold her own — without the slightest bit of awkwardness or trepidation — opposite one of the true legends of country music. Prediction: In five years’ time, Skylar will have sold more records than anyone from Season 11. (Which is not a knock on any of the contestants of Season 11. Skylar’s just gonna sell a lot of records.) Grade: A-

Random observation: Tell me I’m not the only one who half-gagged at that “two become one” image of Steven Tyler embracing a live sloth.

Jessica Sanchez, “I Will Always Love You” Nigel Lythgoe, seriously, clear more songs for these kids! Jessica sounded as powerful and potent as ever on this encore presentation of her Top 13 Week number, but right down to her blue ballgown, all the details were exactly the same. I mean, why buy the Idol Season Finale when you can get the milk for free on YouTube, if that makes any sense? Grade: B+

Neil Diamond and the Top 12 guys (minus Phillip), “America”/”Cracklin Rosie”/”I’m a Believer” True confession: I don’t care for medleys in general. And I especially didn’t care for this medley in particular. Which is not to say that everything in life needs to play to the 18-34 demographic — otherwise you might as well take me out to the field with a fresh-baked Cinnabon and a blunt object — but everybody involved seemed like they would’ve been more excited to get their hands caught in the door of Jessica’s new Ford whateverthatcarwas. Grade: C

Idol Top 10 (minus the Top 2), “Sing the Phone Book,” A brutal skewering of Randy Jackson’s turgid critiques is always appreciated. But the closing bit of this number — with Joshua getting carried away in a fit of Gospel showboating, and his fellow Idols giving him the exhausted side eye — was a hilarious bit of self-deprecating humor from Season 11’s third-place finisher. Grade: A-

J.Lo and Some People Who Flew in On Pogo Sticks of the Future, “A ‘song’ from a new Step Up movie not starring Channing Tatum and his meaty brand of hotness”/”And also another ‘song'” Ooh, her lipsynch game is as tight as…actually, her pants were shockingly baggy this time around, no? Grade: Girl, don’t you make enough money from Idol and movies and all your product endorsements that you can stop pretending to be a singer now? (J.Lo: “Enough. A 2002 thriller starring yours truly and that dude from The Killing. Get it on Blu-Ray today on for $14.99.”)


Hollie Cavanagh and Jordin Sparks, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” Perhaps not the most inventive, unexpected performance in Idol finale history, but sometimes isn’t it enough to have two lovely ladies belting a ballad with charm and style to spare? Why yes, sometimes it is! Grade: B+

Top 12 guys (minus Phillip), Bee Gees medley Yikes. Nobody told me When Harmonies Attack was returning to the Fox lineup. (That said, Joshua’s “To Love Somebody” kinda rescued the medley, even if it was yet another retread from earlier in the season.) Grade: C

Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holliday, “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” Holy face-pulling, Batman! La Holliday’s expressions ping-ponged from rage to elation to suspicion to defiance and all the way to “SAAAANG HEFFFUH!” — and I could not get enough. If Steven Tyler needs someone to help him understand the meaning of “over the top,” the search is finished. I loved how the original Broadway Dreamgirl shook and cajoled Jessica using only her eyes and her powerhouse vocal, somehow managing to get the Season 11 finalist to dig even deeper into her reserves of soulful growl, and counter with what’s likely the performance of her young lifetime. Jessica may not have won the title of American Idol, but as far as I’m concerned this duet was the telecast’s biggest prize, one of the all-time great moments this show has ever given us. The end. Grade: A++

Jessica & Phillip, “Love Lifts Us Up Where We Belong” A sweet little interlude to take us past 10:00 pm, and thereby cut into Idoloonies’ Revenge time (over on ABC). No, I’m not sure why Jessica wore violet curtains, or why Phillip couldn’t be bothered to wear a dress shirt underneath his tux, but I’ve seen a lot worse outfits on the Idol stage and in my own closet, so lemme just shut my pie hole. Grade: A-

Phillip, “Home” Whether or not you voted for the 21-year-old pawn-shop worker, it was hard not to get a little choked up watching him try (then fail) to get through his lilting coronation single. Because regardless of race, gender, or musical style, at the end of the Idol season, these three things must remain: Hugs, confetti, and tears. But the greatest of these is tears. So thank you, Phillip Phillips for doing your championly duty, and best of luck on the charts! Grade: A

And with that, I thank all of you for joining me for another “Idol journey.” But remember: It’s not over yet! I’ll have an interview with executive producer Nigel Lythgoe posting here at TVLine on Thursday, Idology interviews with the Top 5 contestants running over the next couple weeks, and plenty of galleries and post-season goodies comin’ ‘atcha, too.

So with that, I turn things over to you: What did you think of the final two hours of Season 11? What were your favorite performances? What do you think of Phillip’s win? And was the J.Holl duet a good enough consolation prize for Jessica? Sound off below, and for all my Idol news, interviews, and recaps — including those extended video Q&As with the Idol Top 5 — follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Jane says:

    I wish Jessica would have won if only to break the stupid curse. She’s very talented and I think the A.I. machine is better suited for her style of music. I think P2 is talented too, but it seems to me that he doesn’t want to go on Good Morning America, yuck it up with Jay Leno, be a teeny bop hearthob and make crappy pop albums. Most of the season he had a attitude like he was above all the idol crap. Good lord, he had an emotional breakdown and couldn’t sing more than half of his final song. How on earth is he going to get through weeks of non-stop publicity tours? I just think an independent label would have been better for him and his style of music. I’m a fan of the alt country/ jam band music scene which I think P2 is as well, and if anything, we like our music to be authentic sounding. I can’t see A.I. releasing, let alone promoting, an album like that. Maybe I’m wrong. I also think that the demo (young teen girls) that votes for WGWG’s don’t particularly like that kind of music either. I go to Jack Johnson/ Dave Mathews concerts and mostly it’s drunk frat guys and families with kids ( me being in the latter group). I like Lady Gaga and Beyonce’ too, and Jessica fits right in with them, and it would have been a huge boost to idol’s credibility to produce another pop phenom like Kelly Clarkson. I’m torn because both were talented and I like their music individually, but it really was an apple vs oranges finale. It isn’t really fair to say Jessica was a better singer therefore she deserved to win.

  2. IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

    I don’t believe this. Why is everyone making such a big deal about race and sex? Phillip Phillips won because he has a distinct sound with mass appeal, plays an instrument that he taught himself, and happens to be humble and charming yet determined, not because he is a white man from the South. And on that subject, why did so many cry foul when there weren’t any black women in the Top 24? Don’t we trust that the judges picked the best, or that they’re saving more talented people for next season, so they would stand a chance?
    It’s disgusting that people would try to turn a reality singing show into a race war. To be honest, I think American Idols, by nature, are colorblind. Not that they can’t see spectrum colors (some of them have great fashion sense), but they don’t recognize the differences between them, no matter how drastic these differences may be. Otherwise we’d here about a lot more backstage drama between them. Some of them may even be gender blind.
    Do you think the finalists care about how many white, black, brown, yellow or red people are in the competition? Do you honestly believe they care about how many men are among them vs. how many women? I doubt it.
    Some of them came from well-to-do lives, some came from troubled places, and everyone was family. Nobody among the Idols rejected Mandisa or Danny Gokey or Colton Dixon for their faith. Nobody thought Elliot Yamin or Crystal Bowersox was worth less because of their diabetes, or Casey Abrams because of his ulcers. Nobody cared that Scott MacIntyre was blind or Clay Aiken and Adam Lambert were gay or James Durbin had Tourette’s and Asperger’s. So why should we blow these trivial things out of proportion?
    Instead, let’s take a cue from Skylar Laine, and let us all sing “I’m beautiful in my way, ’cause God makes no mistakes, I’m on the right track, baby, I was born this way!”

    • Idol watcher says:

      The problem is not the idol producers being biased, it’s the idol voters. I guarantee you that if they made the voting system 1 vote per person, the results would not be the same due to all the teenage girls power voting for the cute guy. It’s not racist, it’s just a trend that DOES and WILL exist with this voting system, and people are just pointing that out.

      I personally am guilty of only voting for one person ever in the history of this show (Haley Reinhart) and even then I felt like it was pointless because I don’t stay up for 2 hours straight with my phone on redial and texting in like crazy. However, unlike some of the crazed fan girls who forget about their winner shortly after, I actually bought my favorite’s album (that came out nearly a year later) and think it’s phenomenal. That’s why idol winners often don’t end up successful unless they get radio play like Scotty.

      • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

        That’s not the point. It’s not the producer or voter bias that bothers me. It’s the people on these blogs who keep crying racism/sexism when everyone is in fact playing by the rules. So another white male who plays guitar wins. Why is that a problem? It’s not the producers and voters who are racist/sexist; it’s the ones who keep complaining about the way each season plays out. Like I said, the finalists themselves don’t make a big deal of that, so why should we?

      • Ansa says:

        I agree… It’s not to say that WGWG are not talented or do not deserve to win. But they do have the advantage of getting the power voter, obsessive voting demographics. I do think everyone of them are talented (not sure about Lee) but they do get an added boost that has nothing to do with vocal talent or musical style. Although I find a lot of criticisms of Jessica online have racist overtones I do not think any of the other female top 12 had a chance over P2.

        • Eric says:

          Agree completely, they need to change the voting system if a girl is ever going to have a chance of winning.

      • Eric says:

        I have to agree with you and thank for making a well informed arguement.

        I have to agree that its not fair to criticize Phillip.

        The producers have to address the voting issue. These so called “WGWG” ‘s are not the problem. The problem is the ability to vote unlimited which kinda makes the voting useless as we don’t test the size of the fan base but rather who is capable of power texting which unfortunately includes teenagers, and tweens, as well as middle-aged women b/c they have the time to vote constantly

        • Marsaili says:

          Middle aged women have the time to vote constantly? That’s a dumb-ass remark if I ever heard one. Listen here, sonny, I’m a mom of 6, I run a small farm, I cook and bake and garden and sew—when I FINALLY get a chance throughout the day to comment on here, it’s usually very late at night or in 5-10 minute spurts throughout the day. I’ve never voted more than 20 times—and it’s always online. Most middle-aged women I know are either busy moms or singles who live a fairly busy life–so no, middle-aged women do not have time to sit and vote constantly. Wow, the things people say in here just get more insipid as the days grow long.

    • smidnite says:

      Actually, a lot of people DID. There was some controversy when Mandisa made a comment that was construes as homophobic.

      As for me; I just couldn’t stand either Yamin or Abrams.

      • IdolFlash-7-9-35 says:

        I understand that many viewers rejected these people for the reasons I stated. What I meant is, their competitors treated them as equals and family. Part of the audience hated certain finalists for those things, but the contestants never hated each other for them.

  3. Brenda Russell says:

    I think that Scotty had the most success recently because country music sells and is one of the largest selling genres of music. I think Phillip is talented- Lee DeWyze is talented as is Crystal Bowersox- I think their style of music isn’t as popular as country or pop right now. I’m a little worried for Phillip as they were both dropped by their labels as was David Cook just recently. And If Kris Allen doesn’t sell well- he may be next. I wish people on here would be more positive and stop bashing contestants whose syle and singing they didn’t like. I like a wide variety of genres and have my favorites as well but the nation votes and that’s the way it is. So if who you like doesn’t win- what can you do? Either stop watching or stop complainng- Phillip Phillips is Season 11’s American Idol and Jessica Sanchez is the runner-up. I wish them both much success but lots of talented singers/artists don’t always sell well. That doesn’t mean they failed. Idol most likely helped them in their careers in some way. I also wish people would lay off Lee DeWyze-he is just as good if not a betterr singer than Phillip and has benn treated poorly by RCA and has stated that he did not get to release the singles he would have liked to. He’s a really nice guy and never bashes anyone. And no he wasn’t asked to perform last year and was asked to present Scottie the trophy with 2 minutes before the winner was announced. Give the man credit fotr having enough of a backbone to exercise his right to say No to Nigel. He also wished both Jessica and Phillip best of luck tonight and that he enjoyed botgh of theie rperfromances this season. Saw him in concert- a very humble and classy guy.

    • G-Mom says:

      It’s nice seeing a rational, not unkind post! I don’t think Kris was treated well by his record company. They hardly promoted him at all. Same thing for Lee. They just give them the award and quit! I hope they do a better job for Phillip. I think Kris will do fine, He’s not the flashy kind of guy like Adam, but there is room for both styles. Besides, like Phillip, Kris has a great voice and is a singer/songwriter/musician. He has a great, new CD out, too.

      • Jo says:

        I was disappointed with Kris’s publicity, too. I bought his album and there were some great potential singles, but the record company released the “B side” type singles. I never understood that. I was reading an article about Kris, though, one day and he has a publishing contract with one of the big record companies and said he’d make more money on the publishing deal and writing songs for other artists, something he’s done, than singing his own songs.

    • sam says:

      I love Lee Dewyze and I too wish they would lay off — he is one of my favorite american idols to ever win and I hate that he somehow is being grouped with the awful taylor hicks. Lee should have released his version of a beautiful day, which never saw the light of day.

      • Idol watcher says:

        I liked Lee but Crystal should have won. She sang circles around him finale night. Plus, of all the over produced idol albums, Lee’s was among the worst. I like the guy and think he has potential, but his album was absolute crap. I think Scotty’s was as well and I don’t think he wrote a single tune on his album and it shows. But country sells pretty easily so yeah.. Just my 2 cents.

        • Margeaux says:

          There was no way a tattooed, unwed mother with bad teeth would carry the southern voting block. And she was a yankee.

  4. lovesickheroine says:

    I’m proud of Phillips and Jessica! Jessica isn’t a loser because TOMMY MOTTOLA is already working on her first album so watch out world and Jessica will conquer all the radio waves any time soon

    • Suggestor says:

      I don’t think Tommy Mottola is the right choice for Jessica either. He will steer her into the balladeer, exactly one of the frustrations Mariah had when she separated and jumped his label. She needs a current producer who understands the music today and what it can be tomorrow. Jessica can be a part of that. Producers such as Dr. Luke, Toby Gad, and K-Gee, who are Jessie J’s producers. Akon and Will i am are also closer to the pulse than Mottola.

      • ivy says:

        the songs chosen by tommy mottola made mariah carey.

        • Marsaili says:

          Yeah and he almost destroyed Mariah Carey, too—she had a complete mental breakdown, poor thing. He’ll destroy Jessica, too—if he’s not watched like a hawk.

  5. J. May says:

    Holy Gawd!!! That duet with Jennifer and Jessica was SICKUHNING!!

  6. Mary says:

    I feel like the music died. I always looked at AI as a show that produces winners with a voice, no auto tune like the sh.t on the radio today. Here we have a winner that sings four notes and sounds good with backup singers but not so hot on his own. Good luck singing
    The Na at an event. Jessica was not my favorite, but dam that girl can sing. I honestly believe his winning will hurt the franchise. Carrie didn’t even looked that thrill when his name was announced. I hope everyone who voted a million times buys quite a few albums.

  7. Donna says:

    I’ve never before seen an idol stop performing and walk of stage. No matter how emotional you get. You continue on for your fans and to do your job. Cute, not. Besides not liking his musical style, his demenour bothers me. It’s like a don’t care attitude that is not professional and is immature. He can stand a lot more growth he did’t get called out for it much during the show, why?

    • Brigette says:

      Are you serious? I didn’t want Phil to win and I’m not a very emotional person by nature, and that moment was so human and real, I was completely destroyed. I loved it.

    • sam says:

      Huh, i never understood how they can expect you to sing if you lost or if you won, give the guy a break, he just won american idol!

      • WishesRandyCouldn'tSpeak says:

        So did the past 10 winners, even Kelly who was the very first winner, imagine how huge it was back then – held her own and sang the rest of it. Scotty last year cried and din’t sing a lot of it, but he still at least tried to sing it the best he could.

        Not trashing Phil lol Im just saying I wish he coulda tried to sing it…but oh well haha

        • Templar says:

          Considering that Phil has endured pain throughout the competition, is it any wonder that he went all eggshells when he finally broke through to the light at the end of the tunnel, and it was worth all he’d put himself through?

          • Eric says:

            We’ve had contestants who had illness issues. Casey had ulcers; that’s just as painful as kidney stones. It’s really not an excuse anymore

    • hooiskellie says:

      As one of his fans, I actually appreciated that he cared enough to be overcome with emotion. He just won American Idol for goodness sake. He sang some of the song, and he tried to compose himself and continue, but he just wasn’t able to do it. If nothing else, he disproved your theory of a “don’t care attitude.”

  8. dilia says:

    Am i the only one who wouldve scrapped jlo and the annoying stevens trailer segments for a colton/elise piano duet? just me? thought so

    • noa says:

      NOT JUST YOU. so you don’t respect them enough to give them an individual moment? at least give them the Michael Johns Carly Smithson treatment…

    • Jeanrie says:


      • Lea H. says:

        Ditto this!! This years finale was dismall compared to last years! Did we really need to see Steven’s dressing room or that really awkward proposal? What a waste of airtime! And I agree with Melinda, I love Joshua and I love Fantasia, just not together! Reba and Skylar killed it and I am not a country fan, at all! Agree with Michael, too many medleys. Why didn’t Elise or Colton get a duet? Oh yeah, that’s right, the proposal- we couldn’t miss that. And, no offense to John Fogerty, because I love CCR, but they couldn’t find someone more current to perform with Phillip? Or someone like, maybe JHud, to perform with Jessica! It seemed like this years finale was lacking serious star power.

        • Bobbi says:

          After hearing Heejun sing, I wish Jeremy Rosado had gone farther. He added to some of those songs.

          • darcy the slutty twin says:

            I happen to love Heejun and his voice. He can serenade me all day wearing nothing but boxers while feeding me grapes as I lay in my divan wearing a sleeveless summer dress over fitted mom jeans.

    • MA says:

      Not just you! My friend and I spent the night saying, “We could’ve had Elise sing instead of this…and this…AND THIS.”

    • Meghan says:

      That would have been amazing!!!

  9. JASon says:

    And Slezak once called Iggy Pop a lunatic? That crazy woman singing with Joshua once won American Idol? Unbelievably awful!!! Was hilarious that they didn’t stop singing in time for the commercial.

    • J. May says:

      Your bus is waiting.

      • JASon says:

        What does that mean? I know it’s supposed to be funny but maybe I’m too stupid to get the joke!!

        • J. May says:

          Sorry that I was too obtuse (it was from Groundhog Day). What I meant to say was that you are the crazy one, ’cause that duet with Josh and ‘tasia was flat out insanely good.

          • JASon says:

            Josh was good but that other one frightened me!!! I hope I don’t have nightmares tonight. I never seen her sing exceopt for a couple awful songs about collared greens or something

          • Robin says:

            Call me crazy then too. Really like Joshua but Fantasia-NO!

          • deedee says:

            J.May, as a true Josh fanatic, I can’t agree. There were moments of real screaming — like horror movie girl-about-to-be-sawed-in-half screaming. It was way too manic and uncontrolled. I blame Fantasia, of course, because she whipped herself into a frenzy, and Josh got swept up in it. He started off great (because he can’t help but be great :) ), and then she started gettin’ crazy, and then it all went to hell in a hot air balloon. Would have been much better if they just dialed it back to a tamer ‘people-evacuating-a-burning-building’ level of chaos.

  10. A says:

    The people who vote 10,000 times will not be buying 10,000 records, so its stupid to expect the “winner” to do well when such a small amount of people are actually getting them voted through.

    • Brigette says:

      *sigh* so true. I wanted Jessica to win, but I actually DO think P2 will do well if Interscope let’s him do his thing. They signed Haley & her CD is pretty good, so there’s hope for Phil, but I still think he’d be better w/ an independent label. Maybe winning was not best for him…time will tell!

  11. april-ann says:

    ….”We had Season 3 champ Fantasia Barrino in a Crystal Gayle wig and, um, unfortunate spangled catsuit with side-leg cutouts (!) grabbing Joshua Ledet and turning the Nokia into a beautiful, howling messerie. We had John Fogerty, Reba McEntire.”…. Yuck…..
    “Marriage was “spontaneously” proposed (said spontaneity almost certainly practiced and perfected in the office of Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo’s publicists). The phone book was sung. (Randy Jackson: “Literally!”) Too many medleys robbed us of individual moments for Elise Testone, Erika Van Pelt, Colton Dixon, and Skylar (who should’ve gotten two numbers, no?).”…. More Yuck. Glad I missed it.

  12. Jessica says:

    I’m glad P2 won. He knew what he was doing. Jessica does not. She lost because you need more than a good voice to convey a message in music. Had she waited until 19 years old she would of won. In this case i think the only way America got it wrong was not having Joshua in the finale. Josh got called out for screaming-what Jessica did in that song was horrible and she couldn’t even keep up with older kinda crazy lady. Women auditioning for AI need to stick with what they are comfortable with, avoid ballads, the long note and prom dresses, and actually speak without giggling in the camera with ‘yeah I should of….” . Then they will be taken seriously. Just hoping with Phillip winning this doesn’t stick him in the Lee category. He is much better than Lee.

    • Sandi says:

      I’m not usually dismissive of another person’s opinion but if you think Jessica was screaming and Jennifer Holiday is a “crazy lady” then you literally have no ear for music. At all.

    • WishesRandyCouldn'tSpeak says:

      Unfortunately you’re not a Jessica I can even begin to enjoy.

  13. G-Mom says:

    Hallelujah!!! Phillip won!! I wanted a girl to win this year, but my favorite girl, Hollie, didn’t get that far. I LOVED Hollie’s duet with Jordan Sparks.

    I really thought my ears would actually BLEED during Jennifer Holliday’s and Jessica’s duet!!! That screaming/shouting/howling almost did me in!! WAY over the top! Jennifer HUDSON is the best singer for “And I’m Telling You”!!

  14. Jeanrie says:

    Just watched my dvr’d idol and am hot mess seeing Phillip lose it. So tender! My fave moments were every one that included Joshua, Reba and Skylar, and J. Holliday with Jessica. Honey, Shut Up!!! Jessica’s street cred just went up about one million points

  15. Karen says:

    Ok….all this debate over who should have won…NOT worth it. After this year, I don’t believe that we’ll be hearing much at all from either of them. Elise, maybe, but not Philip and not Jessica.

  16. JASon says:

    Hollie gets hotter and hotter every time I see her!!! She is blossoming before our eyes!!!! They should hire Hollie, Jessica, Joshua, Colton and Skylar to replace all the leaving member of Glee this year!!!

  17. Renda says:

    Anyone else expecting Jessica’s celeb duet to be a Whitney hologram when she started with I will always love you?

  18. Brigette says:

    Last year’s finale was about a million times more entertaining as a whole than this year’s, but the Jessica/Jennifer performance was AMAZING and Joshua/Fantasia come in at a close second. I wish Elise had gotten a duet w/ someone. Casey finished sixth last year and he did! But was that because there was a top 13 instead of 12? Or did they have to cut Elise’s number to make room for that PAINFUL PROPOSAL?!

    • noa says:

      and you know it would have rocked the house if she did! i’m just so mad… couldn’t let her sing with Aerosmith? she always says how she wants to do a duet with Steven. i mean, really- Casey got one and she didn’t?? someone here suggested that she should have done a duet with Colton. that would have been great.

  19. kim says:

    I guess all you haters who said the save and all that was rigged to engineer her win — can relax now!

  20. jake says:

    I really really wanted Jessica Sanchez to win, even access hollywood’s poll had 80 percent that she should win. I love Philip, glad he was in the finale, although I do wish it was colton. Oh well, they both will get record contracts and on to great things! And with this and dancing with the stars over, I get 6 hours of my life back, not to mention voting time, lol! Great season!

  21. sam says:

    They were supposed to do a donna summer tribute, sucks they didn’t get to it.

  22. nattyville says:

    Did you notice how Ryan didn’t ever say that it was a close vote? They love to repeat that over & over whenever it happens… Phillip must’ve won by quite a margin. So happy he won, I am hopeful he will put out an amazing album.

    • sam says:

      so you want to rub it in to us Jessica fans???

    • Cris says:

      Can you please tell me in what finale of the previous 10 seasons did Ryan ever say the results were close? Unless you can show proof, then I have to say you are one BIG LIE.

      • Templar says:

        They said it was very close when Ruben beat Clay.

      • FreeHaley says:

        I thought he did before, but I don’t really recall anything clearly, so I could be wrong. I do know that he did admit that last season’s finale wasn’t even remotely close and that nobody ever was remotely close to Scotty any week too I believe. He did say that Haley and Lauren were realllllllly incredibly close and that Haley only just missed it.

    • J. May says:

      Back in Season 7 Ryan announced that David Cook had won by 10 million votes. That was rather tacky and mean I thought. Glad he hasn’t done that since.

      • Cris says:

        Actually 12 million, and I agree it was mean. I rooted for David Cook then, but I didn’t like David A put down that way. This was the only time we were given an idea of the results. Never done before, and never since.

    • Meghan says:

      Does anyone know what season texting was introduced as a way to vote? For some reason I can’t find anything about this online. I think it was Season 7 but I might be wrong?

      • Templar says:

        I’m pretty sure texting was always open, but it was 2008 that started the huge popularity of giving teens their own cell phones. That’s when everything went the handbasket route.

    • gailer says:

      I think he won big because he has 9 hits on iTunes and she has none

  23. Lea H. says:

    I can’t believe all the hate on this site! It’s sad. They’re just kids trying to make their dreams come true by going on a televised singing competition. We should support them and praise them for having the courage to put themselves out there, to go after their dream! Congrats to both, Phillip and Jessica! I hope you have great success in your careers and the rest of the top 12, also! They all seem like really nice kids. To Michael, I don’t know how you read all this negativity every week without it effecting you, but Thank You for your entertaining blogs every week. It was so much fun watching you and Melinda debate each performance show. How great it would be to see you two at the judges table?!! Or if JLo goes, Stevie Nicks who was the best mentor ever, wouldn’t she make a great judge, too!

  24. teatime says:

    Can we all agree we did not need to see yet another JLo performance this season?

  25. Ruby says:

    I’m happy about the result. I ALSO would have been happy if Jessica had won. They both earned it, and they both deserved it. But seeing happy go lucky Phillip moved to tears at the end was worth the whole thing, honestly. I guess he cared more than he was letting on. :)

  26. NedPepper says:

    Sigh…It was worth to it to watch Josh and Fantasia and Holliday and Jessica. But if you still don’t think there’s a WGWG problem, you’re out of your mind. And it has hurt the integrity of this show. Alternative radio will NEVER EVER play him. So where does his Mumford and Sons-esque song Home get play? On top forty radio? You think so? Sigh. P2 fans…his winning was sweet and touching. But I think it’s actually going to be a burden around his neck. For those who like his music, congratulations. I hope you actually support his career. For the rest who voted for other reasons….you’ve ruined this show.

    And one last time: No matter how many times you vote, he will never sleep with you. But don’t worry, you get to pick a new cute, young whit boy with a guitar strapped around his back next January to keep yourself warm at night for a few months. Then you can give him a confetti shower too. See ya next year…maybe….

    • Idol watcher says:

      THIS. My thoughts exactly.
      I hope those who voted support him because, unlike Scotty, he will not get radio play. Good luck to him but I predict a Lee Dwyze-selling album or less.

    • tarc says:

      Mumford and Sons won a boatload of American and UK awards in 2011 and 2012 and sold a lot of albums and got a lot of critical praise. They played the big awards shows. People listen to them – but traditional radio? Most people listen to satellite and internet channels, and they’ll play whatever you indicate you like, genrewise. You might have to upgrade your tech slightly, Ned. The kids don’t consume any media like (most of ) their parents.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Exactly. If you listen to satellite radio you hear all sorts of different artists. That’s where I first heard “Jar of Hearts” (before it was on DWTS) and “So Eden”, which is now getting some commercial play. By the way, the young woman that sings “So Eden” won some other talent competition and reminds me a bit of Hollie. I can definitely envision Hollie singing that type of music.

        • tarc says:

          Cable music, satellite, and internet music sites play nearly everything these days – all on a nice convenient menu. Hopefully, we’ll see Hollie again, too.

  27. Darrin says:

    No mention of the Aerosmith performance at all in the recap? I’m officially unfollowing this site.

  28. Frightasia says:

    Just finished playing back the first half hour. My jaw dropped when I saw Fantasia in that tragic outfit. Then I see Chaka Khan a few minutes later wearing a similar look. Some stylists should be put out to pasture for encouraging these looks. Not flattering at all.
    And the promo for “The Choice” is the best advertisement to read a book. Really, Fox? TV is just getting more and more pathetic.

  29. imho says:

    YAY! Don’t care if another “white guy” won. Don’t care if he, too, plays guitar. P2 makes me smile. He could be any color I would not care! I guess the guitar helps. I love this guy – love his music! So happy! Take me to his concert, pronto! I want 2 hours of that music – it makes me happy!!

    • Robin says:

      He makes me smile too. I feel like his songs selections together on my Ipod are like an album already. I have tickets for the Idol show in Syracuse…OMG I can’t wait! Congrats Phillip!

  30. musicians rock says:

    Hey! I love me some WGWG! And I’m not racist at all! I would take a BGWG any day! In the words of Lenny Kravitz-Let Love Rule!

  31. Katie says:

    I guess I could say that Phillip deserved to win based simply on the fact that he got the most votes, but I’m just so frustrated! Sure, he seems like a nice guy and everything, it’s just that his voice grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I apologize to Phillip’s fans who obviously disagree with me (which is fine, everyone is allowed to have their own opinions), I just needed to work through my frustrations, and sharing my opinion helps a little. Thanks for that. And hey! It’s not like I’ll be forced to his music.

    Here’s to hanging on to the tiniest of hope that maybe, just maybe, America will give us a winner that’s a little less predictable in season 12.

  32. Katie says:

    I guess I could say that Phillip deserved to win based simply on the fact that he got the most votes, but I’m just so frustrated! Sure, he seems like a nice guy and everything, it’s just that his voice grates on my nerves like nails on a chalkboard. I apologize to Phillip’s fans who obviously disagree with me (which is fine, everyone is allowed to have their own opinions), I just needed to work through my frustrations, and sharing my opinion helps a
    little. Thanks for that. And hey! It’s not like I’ll be forced to listen to his music.

    Here’s to hanging on to the tiniest of hope that maybe, just maybe, America will give us a winner that’s a little less predictable in season 12.

  33. John Hill says:

    Phillip won after the first verse of “Home” last night. Anyone sitting on the fence at that point had a clear winner. And for the folks that are insinuating that Jessica was undermined, she said she picked her winner’s song, so she picked two of three songs last night. It honestly could have gone either way, and they’ll both get recording contracts. I’m looking forward to hearing what they both come up with.

  34. Sonic Wave says:

    I. Hate. Everyone.

  35. hooiskellie says:

    People are going to vote for the person who plays the type of music that they enjoy the most. Jessica has a stellar voice, but for many of us big ballads get boring after a while. I personally love guitars, bluesy rock, and people who are able to make me fall in love with a song all over again by making it new. That’s why Phillip was my favorite from the moment he played Thriller in his audition. As for Jessica and Joshua, don’t worry…they’ll be fine. They’re incredibly talented and have big careers ahead of them and hopefully so do some of the other contestants. There were so many incredible people this year!

    • Ramification says:

      The thing is Jessica did not sing only ballads and she has a lot of blues in her voice. Sadly she got saddled the last 2 weeks with a lot of them (partly her fault sure) that that is the lasting impression we get. Her Etta James covet and her Vegas round performances prove to me that had she had better songs picked for her this impression of her as just a big diva balladeer wouldn’t be there

    • Didi says:

      The people who are voting based on the singing/music are not the ones deciding the winner.

      Phillipp could have sung like Jessica and vice versa, He would still have won.
      Just read through the comments here and you will clearly see that many many people use the terms “he is so cuuuuute§ and “he is the best singer in the world” interchangeably.
      It’s just how it is nowadays.

      • hooiskellie says:

        I don’t see those comments all over the place. I see a lot more stereotyping “WGWG/blame teenage girls” comments from people who automatically tend to discredit and dislike Phillip just because of the way he looks. And that isn’t any better than only liking him for looks. The fact is, he is a talented artist. End of story.

  36. Idol watcher says:

    How anticlimactic. Not surprised in the least. Jessica may be a copycat but Phillip is just so average. Totally a dud WGWG (coming from a white guy, don’t know how I’m racist but have at it).

    Am I the only person that is still POed that Haley didn’t win? If she didn’t win, I don’t know a single girl that could. Yes I shamelessly promote her. X)

    • Davey says:

      Even if she was a copycat in some people’s eyes, she certainly sang well. Phillip was a copycat and didn’t sing well.

  37. Tahoe Mike says:

    Joshua and Fantasia, such holleration! Take Me To The Pilot? She looked like a pilot whale.
    Skylar and Reba rocked. I loved that.
    Loved the “Sing The Phone Book” bit, that was awesome!!
    Jessica and Jennifer Holiday were pretty amazing, though Jennifer Holiday looked like a seriously crazy person.
    I still wish it had been Skylar and Joshua in the final. They are the winners of the season as far as I am concerned.

  38. Ramification says:

    Song choice really killed Jessica.Simon’s pick was just awful for her they should have given her a bluesy / Etta James /Adele mid tempo type number. And also I know she said she had a hand In picking the winners single but we will never know what her other song options were and how much influence the record company and Jimmy had over her on it. The arrangement of the studio recording of it is much more urban / mid tempo but really it was the main reason she lost out to P2. Congrats to him he is way better than most give him credit for but I think him winning is bad for him in terms of future expectations as the winner and the already unfair backlash over the WGWG thing

    • Suggestor says:

      Yes, all the hard work came down to lazy Jimmy Iovine giving Jessica a box of blah and asking her to make gold nuggets out of it. The other options were probably originally written for Jermaine Jackson (remember him in last week’s choice Jimmy?). She picked the one she could do something with, but they did not give her a song she could identify her future with. Thankful she got to sing her duet. It was the best part of the show for me.

  39. ArticulateConceptualizer says:

    Jessica’s duet with Jennifer Holliday is just epic! I could really see this girl singing at the Grammy’s! A DIVA is born tonight! Jessica will go down in history as one of those high ranking divas we so love and praise! More exorcism to come from her!!! Can’t wait to be exorcised again!

  40. ilovefree says:

    If P2 is not CUTE, not many people would notice him.
    This is not about talent anymore.

    • Didi says:

      Yeah, Idol hasn’t been decided based on singing/music in a long time.
      Sometimes we are lucky and the winner is coincidentally also a good singer/performer/musician, but it is definitely not what earns them the confetti shower.

      Philipp has potential, but he needs to drop the DM impersonator routine pronto, Hard to take him seriously as an artist if he contnues to do it.

  41. justafan says:

    so slezak…will we see you write out your check for melinda’s charity on the next idology…perhaps you better double it to $500 since you still thought jessica was going to win even after you scored the performances a tie (what do they have to do with the winner anyway…yeah, that’s right…absolutely nuthin’)

  42. kenshin says:

    congrats Philip! & very proud of Jessica she’s great too! was all good season after all…and now the true competition begins after the show (without those gibberish comenting judges…lols) who will stay & make hit records for years and who will extinct after 1 song!

  43. A says:

    Help! What was the song they played at the very beginning of the show, during the recap?

  44. Carly says:

    Jessica got robbed. I seriously have lost all hope in singing competitions. It truly is a mans…..(white) mans….(guitar) mans… If someone as remarkable as Jessica couldn’t beat the WGWG curse, we’ll have a predictable next few white guitar strapped men in confetti showers. Jessica will be a superstar. She was gracious and with good reason….Matolla and her on her album debut. Fantastic if that is true. You can’t say Jessica doesn’t deserve an incredible contract, cause she got duped my friends!!!

  45. Carly says:

    PS; Does anyone feel like its new years eve after every season??? We stay up, watch all the star studded performances, and then “it’s a new year!!!” or in this case, winner.

  46. josephB says:

    I see no point of arguing of who deserves this., that.., etc.. Actually I ‘am a solid JESSICA fan since the beginning., I don’t just support her by watching only her performances but in voting as well (power voting).. Honestly., after the finale I kinda felt happy for PHILIP also because the guy deserves it.. he may not be the best singer of the group but his artistry and personality shines through in the finale.. kudos also to JESSICA because she made a great run the entire competition and her rendition of “THE PRAYER” was sublime.. to both P2 and JESS.. thank you for sharing us your talents and inspiring most of us to not stop dreaming and realizing our ambitions… and to all Jessica fans here, congratulations to all of us! just continue supporting our gal after this..

  47. Ebony says:

    I am a 29 year old African American female who votes online, rarely using all of her 50 allotted votes (therefore no power voting, especially if at time I spread the votes around to other contestants) and I say GO PHILLIP PHILLIPS!!!!!!! People have complained about White Guys With Guitars winning for the past 5 or so years, but I’m (not) sorry, I happen to like the music that white guys with guitars make. Therefore, I vote for them. This history for goes back to Chris Daughtry. Yes, Jessica has an amazing voice, and so does Joshua, and yes I voted for them based on their performances throughout the season, along with Erika, Colton, and Skylar. But musically, the kind of music I actually love and listen to, Phillip Phillips is the kind of artist I support and listen to the most. It has nothing to do with looks (though he is easy on the eyes) and it has nothing to do with viewing him as a teen idol. When it comes to American Idol, I am ALL about the music, first and foremost, paying especially close attention to those contestants who I would spend money to support in their post-Idol careers. And for me Phillip is all about the music that I love to listen to. So, I am VERY happy that he won and I look forward to buying his album this fall.

    If Jessica is the type of artist whose music is more in line with your tastes, I can understand being upset that she didn’t take the title. If fact I went in to tonight’s finale expecting her to win. But, Phillip won. Perhaps we do need to look at changing the voting rules and I do wish that people would use their voting power to support talent first and foremost over good looks and who’s the most popular. But please, don’t make blanket assumptions about who votes. It just irks me sometimes the stereotypes people throw around about who votes for certain types of contestants.

  48. darcy the slutty twin says:

    I HATE it when Phillip is dismissed as just a WGWG. I have better alternatives: HGWG (Hot Guy With Guitar) or HGWCH (Hot Guy With Chest Hair).

  49. idared says:

    I’m happy that Phillip won. Not because he was the best vocalist between the two of them but because he was the better all around entertainer. He was comfortable in his own skin. Genuine. His style of music is more relevant and indicative of what most of today’s voters want to listen to. Like it or not. Jessica’s mentor/BFF will end up as her husband (Celine and Rene’, Gloria and Emilio) via an arranged marriage that has been in the works, probably since she was an infant and they’ll make billions together in Vegas or Branson, MO. Phillip will go the way of Taylor Hicks (who I still love and admire), make one album with 19 Entertainment and then happily go his own way to enjoy the fruits of semi-celebrity and spending his tour money on his own label and recording his own songs. The door is open and he will enjoy his own version of success, not anybody else’s. Congrats to the both of you.

    • marie says:

      Sorry I like P2 and all but there is NO WAY he’s the best all around entertainer on Idol this year. That title would go to Joshua and by a landslide

  50. Bonnie A. says:

    Was fun for me to see my favorite, Phillip, start the show singing with the most famous person from my hometown of El Cerrito, CA, John Fogarty!