American Idol Season 12 Finale Recap: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Finalists [Updated]

american-idol-candice-kree-winner“Either way, we’re gonna celebrate tonight.”

With six simple words, Kree Harrison summed up what most American Idol fans have been feeling for the last fortnight. I mean, seriously, once we got down to what Loleatta Holloway once referred to as “the reeeeeallll nitty gritty” of the competition — by which I mean a righteous Top 3 of  Candice Glover, Kree and third-place finisher Angie Miller — how could you really be too upset about where the chips ended up falling?

Oh sure, executive producer Nigel Lythgoe stacked the Top 20 deck with powerhouse ladies and guys with questionable voter appeal in his effort to get a female winner. But as the kind of lunatic who’s watched every single episode of Idol since Kelly Clarkson was just a Texas waitress in a dress she made out of an old pair of jeans, I’d go so far as to say any single member of the Season 12 Top 5 would’ve been a worthy addition to the undeniably awesome list of the franchise’s champions: Kelly, Ruben, Fantasia, Carrie, Taylor, Jordin, David, Kris, Lee, Scotty and Phillip. From where I sit, that’s a pretty darn good season.

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Sure, that’s easy for me to say in retrospect since my No. 1 and No. 2 favorite contestants made it all the way to the final round. Candice had a hold on my heart from her Season 11 Vegas Round trio with Deandre Brackensick and Jessica Sanchez, then confirmed my obsession with her torrid “Syrup & Honey” Season 12 audition, her Group Round “Hit ‘Em Up Style (Oops!),” and an incredible string of live performances that stacks up pretty well against any singer who’s ever taken the Idol stage: “Ordinary People,” “I’m Goin’ Down,” “I (Who Have Nothing),” “Come Together,” “Don’t Make Me Over,” “Lovesong,” “Straight Up” “When I Was Your Man,” “You’ve Changed,” “Next to Me,” “Somewhere,” “I Am Beautiful,” and “I (Who Have Nothing)” a capella reprisal. #POW (That was for you, Mariah.)

RELATED VIDEO | Idol‘s Amber Holcomb on Her Almost-Didn’t-Happen Streisand Cover, ‘Young Whitney’ Comparisons and ‘Boo-Boo Trash’ Lower Register

Kree Harrison’s Greatest Season 12 Hits was a damn fine compliation, too, starting with her Hollywood solo on “Stars,” and continuing with “Up to the Mountain (MLK Song),” “Stronger,” “Evidence,” “Crying,” “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” “See You Again,” “Here Comes Goodbye,” “All Cried Out,” and her “Up to the Mountain” reprisal.

RELATED | American Idol Performance Finale Recap: Yes It’s Ladies’ Night and the Feeling’s Right

Of course, just because we wound up with two incredible finalists isn’t to say Season 12 didn’t have its deep, deep valleys. Too much focus on the judges and the kind of petty slapfights that — at least in Casa Slezak — would result in a two-minute time out in the Naughty Chair. Too little innovation and not enough creativity in choosing fresh, exciting themes to challenge (but still bring out the best) in the contestants. Too many songs we’ve heard a dozen times before, too much micromanagement of the outcome, not enough “Contestant’s Choice,” and…oh LET ME QUIT RANTING AND GET TO THE RECAP.

Much like Season 12 itself, tonight’s two-plus-hour finale had its own highs (Janelle, Angie and Candice’s respective duets) and its baffling low points (a Mariah “hologram” performance; J.Lo squeaking the same song she’s released for six straight years; Aretha performing via…FaceTime? Skype? Wha?; Lazaro snapping his gum and trying to steal focus from the winner’s celebratory moment). So let’s break it all the way down (in chronological order)…

* After 12 seasons of Idol, I’m aware that it’s a tough task to sound-mix a big group number, but the way the backing track steamrolled the Top 10 singing “Glad You Came” made the performance feel as organic as a gallon of melted Velveeta (in a Styrofoam container). Why not just give the dancers the night off, have the finalists sit on stools and deliver a stripped-down version where we could hear their individual voices? Then again, witnessing Curtis Finch “shoot the peacock” while absolutely no sound came out of his mic, perhaps it was a blessing in disguise?

* It was nice how Mariah and Nicki’s season-long rivalry ended tonight with a game of “Whose Dress/Shoes Combo Will Make for a More Treacherous Walk From Backstage and to the Judges’ Table?” Somewhere, Gloria Steinem is shaking her head, dahhhling.

* I’m gonna come right out and say it: somewhere in the past three weeks, Janelle Arthur transformed herself from a really excellent American Idol finalist into a budding superstar. Her duet with The Band Perry on “Done” — damn, I am downloading that jam first thing tomorrow — was raucous, delightful, beautifully sung, fiercely choreographed/hair-eographed and downright incredible. I’m not sure if those firepots were meant to go off during the performance or if Janelle just activated ’em with all the heat of her performance. Major label execs: Sign this gal! (And if you have any doubts, listen to her original song “Young and Reckless,” then sign her.)

* I’ll admit I guffawed four or five times during the pre-taped comedy package about the Season 12 ladies sabotaging their male counterparts. Funniest bit: Janelle gleefully tampering with Lazaro’s sheet music so he’d miss the key change on “Close to You.” The final reveal of Jordin Sparks as the mastermind — pointing out that her task was made easier by the fact that none of the guys played guitar, and then reminding said dudes that “Idol leftovers” have been doing well on The Voice — was the whipped cream on the Frappuccino.

* I know the Top 5 guys got a lot of flack for their general lack of luster in Season 12, but alas, their work on that Frankie Valli medley didn’t do much to turn that perception around. Also, was it me or did it sound like a backing track kicked in and the guys’ mics got switched off once the 79-year-old legend took the stage and took over lead-vocal duty? Le sigh.

* Okay, let’s have an honest chat about Mariah Carey’s “performance.” I know it got pre-taped on Wednesday night. And I know some of her fans have taken to Twitter to say that she really and truly sang her medley of hits and that the producers of the show just did a bad job of “dubbing”/”cutting” the various shots and whatnot. But honestly, however you slice it, this was a failure of epic proportions. As Mariah stood immobilized by her long white gown, and cameras carefully cut to all of her most flattering angles, we heard what sounded like disembodied snippets of her greatest hits get carelessly patched together. Meanwhile, the Lady Carey’s mouth moved out of sync with the music, as if a film-school student had dubbed the performance in Korean, then Hebrew, then French and then (hastily) back into English. If she’d performed this on the Holodeck of the Enterprise, it would have somehow made sense, maybe? But seeing how this was her final act in a high-paying gig that had her judging the vocals, musicality and performance style of young singers who clearly look up to her, would it have been too much to ask for the woman to pick up a mic during the actual live telecast and simply sing? Hashtag: Lame. *And yes, I am holding her to a ridiculously high standard. SHE’S MARIAH FREAKIN’ CAREY!

* Anyone else find it slightly odd that, a mere week after Candice covered “Next to Me” on Top 3 performance night, that the producers had Amber Holcomb reprise it for the finale as a duet with the show’s new spirit animal Emeli Sandé? The gals sounded really solid together, but if I’m being honest, Amber looked reluctant to dig deep and connect with her major-label sparring partner. And that kinda bummed me out.

* Psy sang “Gentleman,” though I like his shtick better when he’s backed by dancing pistachios. (What? I’m trying to be nice for once.) Might’ve helped if he’d bothered to raise the microphone up to his lips every once in a while, though, no?

* Keith Urban broke out his new single “Little Bit of Everything.” And while it’s not exactly a game-changing kind of ditty, I love the fact that dude always comes off like he’d have just as much fun playing for some fireflies and junebugs next to some bonfire embers in the backyard as he does playing for an audience of (hopefully?) 15 million.

candice-glover-jennifer-hudson* I injured my hand pounding the side of my armchair (while whooping like an idiot) for the duration of Candice’s duet with Jennifer Hudson on “Inseparable.” (Can this collaboration PLEEEEEEASE be on Candice’s debut CD?) I didn’t even take notes while it happened because I threw my pen about 11 seconds in, and was not going to take my eyes off the screen anyhow. Candice’s clarity, her power, her phrasing, her internalization of the lyrics! J.Hud’s vibrato, her bombast, her grit, and her megawatt energy! You combine these things and it’s just…I mean…I don’t have the right superlatives to take you there. You just need to go to YouTube and watch it. But suffice to say when Nicki and Randy are waving their arms and having a musicgasm (gross, but true) in unison, that we’ve reached some God-just-brushed-your-arm-level SANGING.

angie-miller-adam-lambert* If that wasn’t enough for you, how about Angie, at the piano, lilting along to “Titanium,” and then the camera pans and there’s ADAM LAMBERT!? I loved the aching restraint the duo showed as they slowed David Guetta and Sia’s high-octane dance hit into an inspirational ballad. Adam, who we know from “Slow Ride” (take it EEE-ZAY!) is a generous duet partner, really allowed Angie to set the tone and grab more than her share of the juicy parts of “Titanium” — as it should be considering this is Angie’s season, y’know? (I did love when both of ’em unleashed in the final moments, though…good stuff.)

* Adam proved just as gracious when he stepped aside so Angie could share the stage with her idol Jessie J., who hopped across the pond from London for a last-minute throw-down with the gal who covered her four times this season. (I hope Angie gets a small percentage of Jessie’s 2013 U.S. sales, yes?) Their rendition of “Domino” was a frothy confection with spot-on vocals and a bit of amped-up drama at the ending. Even better for Angie? Jessie admitting that her appearance had prevented Angie from performing her debut single “You Set Me Free,” and agreeing to do a show with her in London this summer as a consolation prize. Um, who says finishing third is such a bad thing?

* Kree’s duet with Keith on “Where the Blacktop Ends” seemed, well, a little less well thought-out than Angie, Kree Candice and Janelle’s collaborations, perhaps? I mean, girlfriend was so fab all season, but never really gave any indication that an uptempo, beers-on-the-bar jam was her cup of mocha chocolata ya ya. Why couldn’t Uncle Nigel have brought in Bonnie Raitt or Susan Tedeschi or Carrie Underwood or Wynonna for Kreedom? Ah well, it was still a solid effort, even if Kree’s vocals seemed to get a tad lost in the mix.

* Idol said a formal farewell to Randy Jackson. And here, I say a formal good riddance! (That one was for Haley Reinhart, dawg! #NeverEverForget)

Aretha-Franklin-Idol* Um, so the legendary Aretha Franklin doesn’t like to fly. And so she appeared via satellite from New York to sing a medley of hits — did I mention I despise medleys, even when they are made up of some of the greatest soul songs ever? Meanwhile, the Top 5 girls — the people most responsible for the ad revenue Fox raked in on the show from January to May — stood underneath said screen and acted as background singers whose mics were set to “low.” (Maybe this is how Aretha ensures no up-and-coming divas make eye contact with her?) How this idea made its way from some associate producer’s brainstorming pitch to actualized seven-minute segment is as patently ridiculous as the sight of Devin Velez in leopard stretch pants with a “Nicki Minaj booty.”

* J.Lo showed off her world-class backside lip-sync skills on the same god-awful track. (Yes, of course Pitbull is on it!) (No, I didn’t think it was worth Googling the song title.) (AND NOBODY WANTS YOU BACK FOR SEASON 13, LADY!)

* All week long I’d been looking forward to a Candice Glover-Kree Harrison duet, and then they got stuck with “One Less Bell to Answer”/”A House Is Not a Home” — the same exact songs Candice sang with Amber back in Top 6 Week. WHY???? Fox’s reality chief Mike Darnell told me back in January that expense really isn’t an issue when it comes to song clearances, so again I ask, WHY??? Okay, the ladies sounded lovely as usual, but I feel like the selected tracks — and the fact that it was placed mere seconds before the winner’s announcement — robbed us of what should have been a true Season 12 moment.

You know what was a moment, though? Kree and Candice cradled in one another’s arms as Ryan Seacrest prepared to reveal the news for which we’d been waiting all night.

Candice-Glover-Confetti-ShowerTHE WINNER OF AMERICAN IDOL SEASON 12 IS…

Tears streamed down my face. I won’t even pretend that didn’t happen. Wow. This girl is on fire. She had come out with passion and ferocity from the moment she auditioned, and she never really lost focus. Watching her sob her way through her debut single “I Am Beautiful” underneath a confetti shower, well, it’s one of those Idol moments that make all the maddening production foibles and manipulations and treachery worth wading into. Hang onto that moment between now and January 2014 — and before you know it — we can all meet back up here for Season 13.

Thanks for all your fantastic, thoughtful comments here at TVLine all season long — and don’t forget — WE’LL HAVE VIDEO EXIT INTERVIEWS WITH CANDICE, KREE and ANGIE (plus, the season finale of Idology!) coming soon to this very Web site!

And with that, let me turn things over to you. Did America crown the right Season 12 champ? What were your favorite musical performances? And what changes do you want to see in Season 13? (Don’t front: You’re totally watching Season 13!) Take our poll below, then sound off in the comments, and for all my Idol-related news, recaps, interviews and videos, 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. ChrissieK says:

    Wow…whatta season! We went from no whiteguywithguitar to tumbling, falling ratings to Randy Jackson hoggin’ the spotlight from the contestants (because he finally packed his bags and will go) to JLo doing the same old same old…Mariah thinks she is the plastic bride on top of a wedding cake and no one asked Nicki Minaj to perform last night? How come?! There are definitely stars coming out of this group of contestants! But really, Aretha Franklin and Frankie Vallie…can we not get out of the 60s with this show? It was my time but I am sick of it!! We had strong voices this year but just dreadful song choices. And I want Keith Urban to rule the judge’s table in 2014 with only TWO others to join him–we don’t need 4 mouths to go on and on and on and take away time from the reason we watch…to find and crown the next American Idol.

    • Miss O'Ginny says:

      Preach….Yeah, that Aretha set was just dreadful…looking and sounding like she and Father Time was in a fight and guess who won….I mean she is a legend but they should’ve just done a pre-recorded piece with everyone in the same room.

      • marie says:

        Which would have involved flying the contestants out to wherever Aretha was (I think they said NY, not sure) – no time for that, possibly no money either.

  2. Mark says:

    LOL “Idol leftovers doing well on The Voice”– such as Hillary Scott, who is already 100 x bigger than Jordin will ever be.

    • Ctz says:


      • Mark says:

        Singer for Lady Antebellum. Heard of that?

        • HTGR says:

          Yeah we have but what in the world does she have to do with Idol contestants (toss aways or not) or The Voice contestants?? Sure she has been an adviser there but what does that have to do with the sales of Jordin Sparks or anything else you said?

      • HTGR says:

        +1 when was she a discarded Idol contestant (or one at all) and when was she a contestant on The Voice? (wasn’t she already big before The Voice even existed?)

        • Mark says:

          She tried out twice and was rejected both times. Now she is a mentor on The Voice. So yes, Idol rejects Ade doing well on The Voice.

          • HTGR says:

            Oh wow. I never realized she had tried out and gotten rejected. Was it pre-yellow paper even or dumped in Hollywood?
            Anyway yeah you do have quite a point then!!

      • syb says:

        I know, lol. But yes, Hillary Scott is part of Lady Antebellum. She did not get the job from being on the Voice, so not sure what the point is except, even Hillary Scott isn’t good enough for Idol.

    • deedee says:

      Yeah, who? I mean Hillary Scott, not Jordin.

      • teatime says:

        Hillary Scott is from Lady Antebellum. One of their hits is a little ditty called “Need You Now” that won 4 Grammies including song of the Year and Record of the Year

    • Adam Fachry says:

      That line was written by the screenwriter I believe, and not her. I’m pretty sure by leftover(s), she meant Jon Peter Lewis (Midas Whale).

      • Lisa says:

        Season 2 voice winner Jamar Rogers was Top 30 AI Season 8. Frenchie Davis Season 1 The Voice finalist (2nd) was disqualified from Idol Season 2. Then JPL this year. There may be others.

        • deedee says:

          Jamar Rogers won The Voice in season 2?? I had no idea!

          • Lisa says:

            I was wrong. He finished 4th on Season 2 of The Voice. The point remains the same.

          • deedee says:

            Ah, ok. I didn’t realize that Frenchie was on, too. Jordis from Rockstar:INXS also showed up on a past season.

          • Adam Fachry says:

            OMG I forgot about Jamar. I only watched a glimpse of season 2 and vaguely remember him, so I googled him all over again and was surprised to find out that he was Danny Gokey’s best friend lol.

      • Mark says:

        You are most likely correct on both points. However, it was a stupid statement, especially since “Idol Rejects” Hillary Scott and Colbie Caillat have outsold all but possibly two idol winners. BTW, Colbie Caillat got rejected singing “Bubbly” as her audition song, which only went on to sell over 2.6 million.

    • teatime says:

      The comment was not a dig to Hillary Scott. Hillary is massively successful. Turning down Hillary and Colbie Caillat are 2 of Idol’s fail moments.
      She was making a comment about previous Idol contestants trying out on The Voice years afterward. Like Frenchie and Midas Whale, and I am sure others.

      • syb says:

        Yeah, I’m certain that the Voice has identified every contestant with the potential to create hits, and has maximized the potential of each with its very nurturing format of randomly pitting one singer against another, telling each what they have to sing and how to sing it, and then arbitrarily kicking one to the curb.

        We’ll see if the Voice ever produces a hitmaker if it last as long as Idol. So far, no Kelly Clarkson.

        • teatime says:

          Kelly Clarkson? Every Idol winner has sold more music than anyone from The Voice or X-Factor so far. It’s a tough industry to break into. Idol is still the one that will give you the most exposure and the best chance for at least one hit single or successful album right after the show.
          Idol also gives contestants the best chance at being able to control what and how they perform. I’m eternally frustrated that Idol controls the song list much too much and does not allow everything a contestant might want to do like sing an original song. But the other shows are much more controlling where every performance has a “coach” who might have been very heavy-handed in orchestrating the performance.

  3. ChrissieK says:

    Can someone tell me how many votes were cast for the final two? I don’t think Ryan said and that is somewhat shocking.

    • Miss O'Ginny says:

      Because it did not “shatter” any records as apparently last year’s did….bet it had something to do with the continued fall in ratings for this tired series that is getting a bit long in the tooth…..

      • Mark says:

        Last night’s show did shatter records–for lowest rating ever. It was down 33% from last year’s finale. I used to think the show could be fixed and viewers would come back, but I’m starting to think it’s just over.

    • Oh me, Oh my! says:

      @ChrissieK I don’t think American Idol would want Ryan to announce how many votes for this final, if it were really low. My opinion that it’s really really low. Also, seems like Candice has it all locked up for the win, so a lot of people didn’t bother.

  4. Tammy says:

    Here is my suggestion for next season…… Let’s go old school. Strip it down. Make it more about the vocal. Get some judges that won’t upstage the contestants. Go for diversity, no more power ballads!!!!! If you get singer/songwriters, why not allow them to sing their own song at some point. Let them be creative and pick a variety of songs. Get some mentors that aren’t there to promote a new album but to work with the kids. Don’t over produce! All the other shows now over produce… back ground dancers, major lighting, smoke, back ground singers, etc. So AI needs to be more unique in the future and less predictable. Ban over sung songs. It’s time to make some changes or even the diehard viewers will want to jump ship. Other networks are going to start putting their best shows up against AI because they see it is weak. At this point…. Project Runway is looking better than AI.

  5. davey says:

    I know most people wanted Candice to win but I was a Kree fan. And I’m not a country music fan at all. I thought she was the best country singer they’ve had on American Idol. I know some found her too passive and even sleepy but I was struck by her devotion to the lyrics and melody of the songs without any showboating and her lovely tone. And she really can sing outside the country genre and should continue to sing songs that aren’t country.

    I don’t know if her being runner up will hurt her but she sure deserves a future music career.

    I like Candice a lot but I think she does overembellish what she sings and it’s a habit that American Idol encourages.

    • Miss O'Ginny says:

      ITA, Davey…..but she got such great feedback with it–and I’m talking from her audition this season–that you can’t really blame her for not doing it at every available opportunity

      • carol522 says:

        Well, thank goodness there is more than one way to sing a song. I don’t think Candice overdid any song. She was fabulous and in the zone from the moment the competition began. It wasn’t just the idol judges praising her performances either.

        I liked Kree and felt all along that it was between her and Candice; Angie and Amber were really a sideshow meant to distract enough voters to make it interesting and it worked somewhat.

        Voters came to their senses in the end and put the best singers in the finals

    • deedee says:

      I actually think one of Candice’s strengths (besides beautiful tone and great musical instincts) is how she doesn’t over-embellish everything. Her runs are always tasteful, imo. They’re also quite surprising. As I’ve said many times before, Candice doesn’t go for the obvious – she embellishes in a uniquely Candician way, which I happen to think is quite brilliant.
      Kree is also brilliant in her understated way, and her recorded voice is stunning. She’s already been invited to the Opry, so there is nothing to fear. Kree will have a fantastic future in music, no doubt!

  6. Ctz says:

    I really enjoyed the finale, mostly fast paced and great performances. I didn’t care who won, but was very touched by Candice and family’s reaction to her win. Can’t wait for season 13!

  7. Cheryl says:

    As a fan of Kree I was disappointed that she didn’t get a chance to show off like Angie & Candice. I guess they thought Angie was going to be in the Finale. It was great that Kree got to play with the Keith and Randy but it showed them off more than Kree. I would like to see Harry Connick Jr. do something with Kree. He seemed to appreciate her more than the Idol producers. Kreem does rise to the top so no doubt she will shine again in the future.

  8. DAG says:

    Kree was shafted! How about Trisha Yearwood or Alison Krauss or Martina McBride or one of her idols/mentors. No she gets Randy Jackson. What the What?

    • deedee says:

      Well… she got Keith Urban, which would have been a great score … had he not been an Idol judge this season. They should have made the effort to get a good outside act to pair her up with, but I did enjoy the Keith/Randy/Kree jam. It could have been worse, I suppose.

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Kree and Candice’s duet partners are not as say, as groundbreaking as Angie’s tbh. I love JHud, but her being Candice’s duet partner was totally expected given 1) she’s an alumni, and a successful one; 2) Idol’s budget for the finale is allegedly really small this season. Her duet partner, in my dream, was supposed to be Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Sharon Jones, Janelle Monae, or even Adele The same thing can be said for Kree’s. I mean, heck, even Janelle got a way more unexpected partner. Kree should’ve been paired with Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, Rosanne Cash, your choice Alison Krauss, or if we’re talking about contemporary country act, Pistol Annies. It’s not fair for them either to perform with only one legitimate singing partner (Randy and Travis Barker don’t count, obviously) while Angie’s got two (and one of them is her ultimate idol).

        • deedee says:

          You know, the finale was fun and all, but it did feel more low budget than usual. Fewer stars in the audience, too :( .

          You’re right that it wasn’t fair to give Angie more than her share, but I’ve long given up expecting fairness from Idol. That’s ok, because Angie’s fans are crying that she’s the victim of the night because her single wasn’t featured on the show. So nobody’s happy and all’s right in the Idol universe :) .

  9. new winner tonight says:

    I have to give some love to Janelle, once these contestants are no longer in handcuffs by the production, their true strengths shine. The end of the show was touching to see the entire top ten cheering for Candice. Like in real life it is like she was the big sister of the entire group.

  10. hmr says:

    Congrats to Candice!
    I enjoyed the top 5 guys with Frankie Valli. It is shameful that none of the boys were paired with anybody. I thought Devin Velez in leopard stretch pants with a “Nicki Minaj booty” was hilarious. Amber was not into her performance at all.

  11. MariMari says:

    About Kree’s collab with Keith you said – * Kree’s duet with Keith on “Where the Blacktop Ends” seemed, well, a little less well thought-out than Angie, Kree and Janelle’s collaborations, perhaps?” Did you mean to say …. less well thought-out than Angie, Candice and Jenelle’s…? o.O

  12. Bailey says:

    “Idol said a formal farewell to Randy Jackson. And here, I say a formal good riddance! (That one was for Haley Reinhart, dawg! #NeverEverForget)”
    AMEN, Michael, AMEN!

  13. new winner tonight says:

    Where was Jimmy I in the last two episodes?

    • Oh me, Oh my! says:

      Jimmy Iovine was disgusted that Amber and or Angie did not make the finals. ;)

    • deedee says:

      Jimmy’s been a bit disengaged this season. Last year he and a guest mentored the kids almost every week. This year they had to produce filler intro vids for most of the performance weeks. Maybe Jimmy’s busy? Or maybe he’s just over the whole Idol experience. Too bad. I, for one, think he adds something to the show — despite all the incessant griping that goes on about his input.

  14. Oh me, Oh my! says:

    Adam Lambert’s return to the stage to duet with Angie Miller on “Titanium” was nothing short of perfection! Adam Lambert so graciously put Angie first and focused on the art of two people singing together. Also, Adam said “If they called me, I’d say, ‘Where do I sign?'” he told reporters after the show on being a possible Idol judge. Please sign Adam up ASAP! :)

    • deedee says:

      Adam said that last night? Oh, that’s so nice. I know he was game last year, but good to see he hasn’t given up hope for the show’s continued success. Of all the former Idols, Adam has the most “Idoloonie” within him. He follows the show every year, and comments on his faves. Adam is just a big ol’ Idol stan like the rest of us. I’d LOVE for him to be a judge next year because he’s genuinely passionate about the show; he has insider understanding of it; and he’s intelligent and articulate. *Fingers crossed*

    • HTGR says:

      I think he could be a really good judge. He might not be malleable though, but hopefully the new producer’s won’t care.

  15. darcy the slutty twin says:

    That was Aretha Franklin?! I thought it was one of Eddie Murphy’s “Nutty Professor” drag characters. Her wig was askew, like it was dropped onto her head from a passing jet.

    • marie says:

      DET! I’m surprised at you! Aretha is 71 years old and, from what I’ve been reading since last night, in poor health. She’s ARETHA. She can still sing better than some 15 years younger than she, with all the fire and passion she’s always had in abundance if not all the vocal ability. And she deserves nothing but R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

      • deedee says:

        Right on, Marie, R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me. Re re re re re re re re respect – just a little bit. Respect, just a little bit …

      • Adam Fachry says:

        That’s not DET though, lol.

      • darcy's evil twin says:

        Okay, that was funny, but it wasn’t me. That was my twin.
        Honestly, Aretha sounded great but I would have liked more of the girls and less of Aretha. I kept thinking about the year the female finalists sang with Beyonce and it was SO good.

    • mike says:

      Dear Slutty, “askew”, “from a passing jet”, as funny as it gets, you get me hot, you know, if you fell over dead today it would be perfect timing…..on top.

      • darcy the slutty twin says:

        Get over yourself. I meant Aretha Franklin no disrespect. Seriously, that was the first thing that popped to my mind when she first appeared on the giant screen! Until she started singing. So I wish you fall over dead too.

  16. darcy the slutty twin says:

    I enjoyed Janelle a lot. Candice was fantastic. So were Adam Lambert, Angie and Jessie J. Lazaro was not.

    I was hoping Jessica and Deandre would pop out and sing “It Doesn’t Matter Anymore” with Candice.

  17. Greg says:

    Angie will sell 5x the records as bigguns Candice.

    • carol522 says:

      Did taking a cheap shot at Candice make you feel better?

      • Lola says:

        You see, that is the difference between Angie’s fans and Candice’s fans. They are immature (hence the adoration of leggs and toothy grins over vocal “virtuosity”) and poor losers. Take a lesson from Kree, who was truly happy for Candice. That is class.

        • DonB says:

          Per the Hollywood Reporter – 7 things you didn’t know about the final between Candice and Kree. The first one up on her feet out of the 7,000 at the Nokia theater when Candice finished Chasing Pavements. Angie Miller.

      • SnoreBrothers says:

        I think it did. Sometimes people need to let out some steam. :)

    • Bailey says:

      Angie is so lucky to have such classy fans. *rolls eyes*

      • Miss Otis Regrets... says:

        Every year…

      • SnoreBrothers says:

        I think Angie’s fans are a bit younger set. Younger people like teens through the 20’s like to bash people and are haters. Look at Justin Bieber’s fan bash. Candice’s fans are older and more mature. They can speak without bashing. Anyway, Candice, Kree, or Angie. All will make a good living. But seeing who will break out and have the next level of success like Kelly Clarkson or Carrie Underwood remains to be seen.

        • syb says:

          I think they might be the creepy guy in mom’s basement set. If I were Angie, I’d run from them.

          • deedee says:

            OMG, you’re not kidding. Last year, I had front row for the tour, and there was a creeeeepy middle aged man who spent the whole show leering at Jessica. He told everyone within earshot that he drove 200 miles just to see her because she’s so beautiful and innocent and pure, and he felt a connection to her through the tv. He was majorly upset that she didn’t show up at the meet & greet before the show. Security (and Ray the tour manager) were watching him like a hawk, lol. Yikes!

          • HTGR says:

            ….as he was surrounded by the 200 old women who reported the guy to security as they pawed all over P2 and tossed underwear and told them they they voted for him 4,000 times just as they had for the previous 4 WGWG….

          • deedee says:

            HTGR, if by “200 old women”, you mean “families with small children, young couples, and men and women of all ages”, then, yeah, he was surrounded by 200 old women. And yeah, we “200 old women” were concerned for Jessica because he didn’t look harmless.

      • HTGR says:

        To be fair don’t forget Angie got a lotta similar crap tossed her way by Candice/Kree fans.

    • dj says:

      We’ll see.

    • deedee says:

      Gosh, wouldn’t it be SO COOL if Angie Miller outsold every artist ever on the planet who ever lived, EVER?? It would be sooooooo coooool!!!11!!!!1!

      • Adam Fachry says:

        YES THIS!!! I’m waiting for Angie to finally break The Beatles’ record of having 20 number one singles and make Mariah jealous of her success!!! Werk honey child!!!

    • HTGR says:

      I think you meant bigguns referring to sales. Angie does seem to have a lot more star power and that energy and presence know to bring people in but Idol just is not a big launch platform these days so unless you make the finale and now probably win I don’t know she’ll get much of a push and Candice could easily outsell her I bet. Unless maybe the Jessie J youtube stuff happens and the label goes full 100% tilt backing her like they want to make her the next thing. Otherwise it’s just been rough for anyone not winning.
      I hope she gets awesome sales. She deserves. (for that matter hopefully Candice will too)
      And she seems like she could’ve been the sort of winner they needed, but she didn’t make finale and didn’t win so…. unless she get some of those lucky breaks and a mega push we will just have to see. She did get good placement on the finale show at least, although it wasn’t anything specifically launching a sale for her.

    • syb says:

      We’ll see about that, Smallun Greg. ;)

  18. Marilyn says:

    I love you, Michael, because reading your columns make me smile, laugh out loud, and just feel happy. You’re the best.

  19. init2winitdawg says:
    Candice’s hometown paper did an excellent job compiling snippets of her song journey to the title. Like Jimmy I said, Candice is a smart singer. She picked the right songs for the right week. That Don’t Make Me Over and Lovesong week was pure genius and turned the corner after being left out of the top 3 by all the judges except Madame Butterfly.

    • syb says:

      I’ve really enjoyed reading their coverage before and since the homecoming. The region has a lot of character like their now most famous hometown girl.

  20. CAM says:

    Loved Janelle’s performance with The Band Perry, Candace with Jennifer Hudson and Angie’s 2 duets. (Especially loved the way Adam seemed to let Angie shine.) However, Kree was robbed of that same sort of moment when the producers decided it wasn’t worth getting someone special for her. Seriously? She ends up with Keith and Randy on guitar? 2 people that had to be there anyway, instead of someone she truly admired that she might be excited to meet and sing with? There were so many other choices they could have made, it almost seemed as if they suddenly realized they forgot about her.

  21. Alienate says:

    Mikey, you picked my 2 lowest moments amongst a very good Finale:
    Miss M. Carey was terrible, and Lazaro and his open mouth gum chewing, scene stealing,love mooching, was Crude, Rude, and Pathetic.

    Highest Hi-Lite for me was the Candace/J-Hud Duet.
    All in all, a very fine 2 hours. And the right winner. :)

  22. Geralynk says:

    oved this review enough to read the entire thing! Agreed with most everything. Adam Lambert, what a gentleman he is for keeping the spotlight on Angie Miller & sharing his undeniable, phenomenal vocal talent & commanding stage presence. Why doesn’t America show him the unconditional love like other countries? I’ll never understand the shunning of his music on the radio either. See you next season!

    • Oh me, Oh my! says:

      Adam Lambert is real huge in Asian countries like Singapore and China. Heck Adam appeared on the The Voice (China). I didn’t watch season 8 of Idol. I’ve recently to notice how great Adam is.

    • coalby says:

      Completely agree with you about Adam. He did a few controversial things early in his career that didn’t go over well with most folks, but the dude oozes cool in just about everything he does.

  23. Jeanna says:

    So thrilled for Candice. The best singer really did win but Kree and Angie are right up there challenging her every step of the way with their great voices. Kree was so gracious, as always. Angie and Adam – Wow – my favorite collaboration. And, I know Angie like performing with Jessie J, but I really would have loved to have had her sing ‘You Set Me Free.’ Maybe another show like SYTYCD will have her perform it – that would be an awesome song to choreograph! Yay IDOL! Great season

  24. Valerie says:

    So happy Candice won! What an amazing vocal talent. Hope she will be played on R&B stations as she richly deserves. And I hear Kree is going to be on the Opry stage in early June. So cute considering she told Rosie O’Donnell when she was 10 that that was her dream.

  25. MLO says:

    Not sure if you’ll catch this, Michael, over here on page four, but here are my thoughts on the Candice/Jennifer duet. As generous as Adam was with Angie, conversely, I thought that Jennifer tried to take the spotlight away from Candice. At several points in the song, she oversang her and drowned her out. I always feel, when Jennifer is on Idol, that she tries too hard… almost like, “Booyah! I should have won!” IMHO, that is.

  26. Dimitri says:

    Slezak, it’s nice of you to have come around on Janelle toward the end of the Idol season. I remember that you wanted Breanna Steer instead of Janelle during top 10 and shortly thereafter.

  27. Timmah says:

    I just read that all but the top 11 are eligible to come back next season. That means Charlie Askew is your frontrunner for American Idol Season 13 winner!!!

  28. coalby says:

    JLo…horrible. Mariah….ditto. You both could be schooled by any of this year’s top 5. Not a big fan of Candice’s genre, but the girl can sing. Congrats on the win. Kree, you’re the classiest runner up ever. (Sorry, Adam, have to bump you to #2). Jannelle, I was a fan before, but you totally won me over with that performance with The Band Perry.

    • SnoreBrothers says:

      J. LO and Mariah = EPIC FAIL! I heard of The Band Perry recently and after seeing and hearing them with Janelle. LOVE IT! I always like Janelle, she is so bubbly. I think Janelle would thrive in the Country Rock genre. Angie and Adam duet equals PERFECTION! The poll got it right!

  29. Oh me, Oh my! says:

    NEW RECORD LOW! Last Night American Idol’s Finale of Candice Glover’s victory over Kree Harrison was watched by only a paltry 14.2 million viewers. That’s a whopping 34 percent drop from the year before, when nearly 22 million viewers saw Phillip Phillips claim the “Idol” crown. That represented the show’s previous record low finale audience. Among advertiser-coveted young adults, “American Idol” saw an even steeper 42 percent drop for Thursday’s season 12 finale. The lack of interest in the winner (Candice) and the runner up (Kree) of this year’s contest parallels the show’s declining ratings for the season.

    • deedee says:

      Bad news. Maybe Idol should announce that they’re going only to season 15 and then calling it a day.Maybe that will get people panicked enough to both audition and watch. Nothing more attractive than a limited-time-only offer. Three more years of Idol is reasonable. I mean, I’d rather it last forever, but if declining ratings will render it totally irrelevant, then there’s no point. Give it a Grand Finale date, and let the show play itself out with dignity.

    • teatime says:

      The ratings are down because Idol has become more about the judges and less about great performances. The judges need to be interesting and entertaining, not just blah blah blah.
      Songs that were 20 years old in 2001 are now 32 years old! Time to update the song selections AND stop pushing contestants to sing songs that have already been done on the show! That is what makes it stale.

  30. new winner tonight says:

    It is so funny how people come to AI blogs to talk about how bad the show is or how the contestants are not going to have success, etc. etc. If that is the case, why are you wasting your time on a blog about a show you don’t care about?

  31. RedInDenver says:

    Both Candice and Kree are great singers and will undoubtedly go on to have great careers. But Kree was, for me, the most likable. She is one of those rare, nurturing people who genuinely care about the people around her — as much, if not more, than herself.

  32. RedInDenver says:

    Did anyone else notice that Nicki Minaj was the only judge not to be involved in one or more performances? What’s up with that??

    • SnoreBrothers says:

      Since Nicki Minaj already confirmed she will not be back on Idol (by choice or fired). I think she just checked out. Can’t you tell she was out of it. Probably didn’t want to do anything for the show.

      • Amy says:

        What a dink. For the millions she got for this, FINISH the overpaid gig like a professional …she was paid all that to work the “whole” season…not saying she needed to perform, and maybe they didn’t want it, but she wasn’t being paid to “check out” early.

  33. Joe says:

    Slezak – If you read this far back in the comments, please ask Candice if her cover of Lovesong was something she had in her pocket prior to the season or was it something that happened during the season. I’m fascinated to know if she came up with that on her own at home or if it was something she put together quickly on the show. Either way, it was brilliant and tells me this woman knows exactly how to present herself as an artist.

    • deedee says:

      I’m pretty sure it was modeled after Adele’s cover. No, it wasn’t exactly the same, but I’d bet the idea came from the fact that Adele covered it first.

  34. Steve says:


    • Matthew Philips says:

      Not on the judges chair, but from a different view. I want him to judge the judges, and criticize their criticism.

  35. SnoreBrothers says:

    Here’s my take on the Idol Finale.
    Better than I thought. Fast pace for the most part.
    Top 12: The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” – Ok
    Janelle “Country Rock” Arthur & The Band Perry: “Done” – Love It! FLIPPIN AWESOME HAIR BANGING!
    Frankie Valli and Top 5 Guys: Frankie Valli Medley – Not good! Lawrence Welk anyone?
    Mariah Carey :Medley / “#Beautiful” – Ok, Milli Vanilli lip sync moment. At least she din’t wear the outfit slithering the motorcycle.
    Amber Holcomb & Emeli Sande: “Next to Me” – Emeli Sande great! Amber lost her energy or what? Tank top and those pants? Should of dressed up vs dressing down.
    Psy: “Gentleman” – Lot’s of energy. Hate to see a mid thirty something guy acting like Justin Bieber. Genie pants c’mon, that was so 90’s.
    Keith Urban: “Little Bit of Everything” – Very nice. Keith is fun to watch.
    CANDICE GLOVER & JENNIFER HUDSON: “Inseparable” – Liked it! Two powerhouse vocals. I felt towards the end that Jennifer was trying to out sing Candice. Candice has the chops!
    Angie Miller & Adam Lambert: “Titanium” – Love it! Adam is so cool letting Angie have the spotlight. A perfect blend of two vocals.
    Angie Miller & Jessie J: “Domino” – Liked it! Fun and energy. Angie always full of energy.
    Kree Harrison & Keith Urban: “Where the Blacktop Ends” – Liked it. Keith Urban should maybe invite Kree as an opening act for some of his concerts.
    Aretha Franklin and the Top 5 Ladies: – Boring! Seems enternity, kept watching the clock. When will it END!
    “J.Lo” (featuring Pitbull): – Hot mess, 43 year old J. Lo trying to channel a Beyonce?
    Candice Glover & Kree Harrison: “One Less Bell to Answer” – Ok, song choice is boring. A current ballad would be much better.

  36. Mv says:

    MS summed up the night perfectly. And what an awesome ending !!! the girl with that amazing voice, from some obviously benevolent bestower of all things beautiful, WINS !!! I am freakin’ thrilled! and, yes, overcome by tears of happiness for her. YaY Candice!!!

  37. SaraMiller says:

    Love all 3 ladys that were in the Top 3 but last night Angie proved America wrong!! When people say Candice shouldn’t have won because this is not The Voice they aren’t saying that she shouldn’t have won because of how she lookS: THAT’S JUST PLAIN RIDICULOUS. IMO by “American Idol not being The Voice” I mean that the winner should be about more than the vocals and although Candice is probably the best singer that doesn’t make her the more talented because there’s more talent to music than plain singing. This is what I see in Angie and why I think she’s THE REAL WINNER OF AI12:

    Work ethic – check (she wanted to win and worked for the win more than anyone else)

    Music knowledge – check (she made some prety smart decisions througout Idol that show she knows how to navigate the industry and manage herself as an artist – for example not giving in to the judges and staying at the piano everytime)

    Voice – check (you might personally dislike her tone but you can’t deny she CAN SING)

    Stage presence – check (working the cameras isn’t a permanente problem – just remenber she’s not gonna have to worry about TV cameras when she’s on tour or recording a CD)

    Artistry – check (she knows what suits her and she always makes it sound Angie)

    Writing killer songs – DEFINITLE CHECK (don’t even get me started on YOU SET ME FREE)

    Huge and INTERNATIONAL (Portugal here!!) fanbase – CHECK CHECK CHECK

    Twitter – Top 1
    Facebook – Top 1
    Most watched performance of the season – You Set Me Free
    Youtube views – Top 1 overall
    Internet polls for the win and betting odds – consistently Top 1

    Looks – check
    Personality – check
    Relatability – check


    • deedee says:

      Ugh, Sara Miller, you must be related to her.

      • SaraMiller says:

        Not by a long shot :D but have to say I wouldn’t mind, she does seem to be a fun and sweet person to be around. I’m actually not even American that’s probably why i get so frustrated with the results cause i feel like the ones who could vote didn’t and the ones who wanted couldn’t. But it is AMERICAN Idol so i’ll have to take America’s choice for what it’s wort ://

    • SnoreBrothers says:

      @SaraMiller. Marvelous post. I would have to agree with you. Idol is about the entire package and presentation. Image is everything. Top to bottom. Angie HAS all of that. I heard that she will soon sign a record deal.

    • SnoreBrothers says:

      @SaraMiller: obrigado! :)

    • dj says:

      I disagree. Angie is a good singer and a good songwriter, but Candice is in a different league with her artistry.

    • kaba says:

      Lord, please don’t try and claim Angie had a harder work ethic than Candice.
      Sorry, but disregarding the previous 2 seasons, Candice put in much more work than Angie consistently. Even making the worst of songs sound great. She never let a chance to shine go to waste.
      Work ethic alone is why Candice deserved it more

      • HTGR says:

        How do either of you know any of that?
        Angie certainly appeared to have worked hard too seeing how she really grew into strong pop stage presence the last few weeks and seemed to adapt a lot to notes given.
        But saying one had a far better work ethic than the other who the heck knows? They probably both had pretty solid work ethic.

  38. Meme says:

    This is the first year since season 1 that my personal favorite has won! The best performances of the night were Candice and Jennifer, Angie and Adam and Janelle with the Band Perry. I could have listened to these over and over again. Best of luck to Candice! What a deserving American Idol!!

  39. unvarnishedTruth says:

    Blacks are 13% of the population, yet they must be in half of all reality show finals and win 50% of those. This is yet another politically correct injustice. She had no business even being in the final two let alone winning.

    • HTGR says:

      Well, I think that she 100% deserved to be in the finale. Absolutely.
      That said I think it’s more than time to put away the cry that the show and voters are out to hold back blacks. It’s hard to apply statistics to such small samples and the samples are somewhat self-selected and so on. But yeah 13% of population and something like 33% of AI and The Voice wins and 50% of xfactor so nothing seems to be particularly unfairly holding anyone back there.
      If anything it’s the poor Northeasterners hah: 0 for 12, 0 for 3, 0 for 2. An incredible 0 for 17 despite having a very large population base. That does seem to the point that something out of the ordinary might be going on one way or another (i can think of a number of things that might come into play). Virtually none of them have ever even made a finale. Carly Rose and that might be it (Trevin was from there originally).

  40. Macy says:

    Well deserved win! Candice has been killing it every single time, from her first audition to her last performance on Idol.

    Side note: I thought it was really cute how Burnell got on his toes to reach Candice for a random kiss at the end. :)

  41. Ann VerWiebe says:

    I played Candice’s #3 from Wednesday and my co-worker said, “I don’t really like that kind of singing…” We’re no longer on speaking terms.

    • Timmah says:

      Your co-worker is probably thinking, “Another one of those insufferable Candice fans who can’t tolerate other viewpoints.”

  42. It's not all about the money! says:

    Michael’s tweeting about how great Candice’s song is doing on i tunes. One of the perks of winning that the others are contractually handcuffed for a year and we can only guess as to how they are really doing. Have to say I am curious…….

    • deedee says:

      The others are only contractually handcuffed until they are either signed by 19 and/or Interscope, or let go. Their window is usually until the tour ends in September, so it’s really only about 4 months after the finale. After that point, the Idols are free to find their own management and record deals. Often, if they are surely not going to be signed, Idol will cut them loose sooner. Nobody’s handcuffed for a whole year after the season ends.

      • It's not all about the money! says:

        A year, or a month, still I am curious… problem charting Kree why not Angie?

        • deedee says:

          Because Angie is the victim of foul play and Idol shenanigans. They don’t want her to succeed, and wish her mother hadn’t forced them to release her single against their will.

  43. Erichama says:

    In my opinion, Psy was one of the best parts of last night’s show. He’s a great performer, and not only that―he’s a genuine person. Humorous, humble, and flat-out nice. Why is everyone on this board giving him such a hard time? It’s one thing if his music isn’t your cup of tea, but it’s another thing to be grouping him with William Hung. Psy has been a presence in South Korea for over a decade. There’s absolutely no need to be rude, guys.

  44. Neli Dlugo says:

    YAWN!!!! same ole same ole…….CRAP!!!

  45. xerxia says:

    Hmmm… a Candice/Kree finale and Candice Flipping Glover wins…. too perfect…. Michael, did you sell your soul to Uncle Nigel for this? It was worth it.

  46. Leela says:

    I love Kree’s voice – something about it just breaks my heart every time. I liked her duet with Candice. I enjoyed seeing her perform with Keith (and his performance was great!). Kree was not given a celebrity duet which made me very angry. It’s clear the show believed Candice & Angie would be in the finale and made no effort to remedy that – including having Angie’s precious Jesse J flown in to sing a nearly 2 year old song which reduced her lovely (amazingly lovely) duet with Adam to a warm up act. Fie. Candice & Jennifer sounded lovely together at times, and at others like a couple of screaming cats, truly unpleasant. The less said about Mariah, Psy, Frankie Valli, JLo, the rampant lipsynching and the nasty “sabotage” spoof the better.

    • It's not all about the money! says:

      Keith Urban is “a celebrity”, he is a great musician and knows how to put on a show! His knowledge of music from all genres, his abilities to write,play and sing and the fact that he is willing to share the limelight with his band are what draw me to his live concerts. My oldest son who gravitates toward the Indy genre and whose mantra is ABC (anything but country) had to eat his words after experiencing a Keith Urban live show. (he had no choice, wound up marrying a country girl) no sweeter words than when your grown up kids admit that maybe dad does know a thing or two about music!
      Best performance I ever had the pleasure of watching was a live jam with Keith Urban and Brad Paisley two of my favourite live performers!
      Kree, in my opinion, was not sold short. Unfortunately for both her and Candice someone neglected to tell Janelle and Angie not to out perform the top 2!

  47. Blank Slate says:

    You know what is hysterical about much of the guest talent brought in to entertain the finale audience? Note I said much, not all.

    They cannot sing.
    They have NO voice.
    They are robots.

    Adam Lambert: I am SO NOT talking about you.


  48. darcy's evil twin says:

    Wow, I really hope Keith Urban comes back. he seems to really enjoy what he’s doing and I enjoy watching him.
    Mr. Sleazak – are you going to do an exit interview with Randy?

    • deedee says:

      That would be almost as uncomfortable as the Danny Gokey interview. :)

      • Adam Fachry says:

        Did Slezak ever interview Gokey though? i watched some of season 8’s idolatry episodes and he and his co-host pretty much despised (still do probably) the guy. It was really hilarious and cathartic cause I hated Danny on that season too. What an attention whore! I would be really interested in reading or even watching the interview though. LOL

        • deedee says:

          Sorry, ^^ accidentally pressed “post”.
          Adam, Mr. Slezak did, indeed, interview Danny. I couldn’t stand the guy either that season, but admire him for showing up to that interview, lol. I probably would have declined … with an anthrax-laced RSVP. :)

  49. darcy the slutty twin says:

    Candice and Jennifer were great, but I thought Janelle and The Band Perry were the best of the night, followed closely by Adam Lambert and Jessie J. Just my opinion.

  50. Sandi says:

    Don’t really understand the low numbers. Candice/Kree finale couldn’t have been better. I watch The Voice also, but there are very few numbers when they actually in tune. 3-seasons and still no break-out. X-Factor’s Melanie got a contract but still hasn’t released a CD. It isn’t all the winners of AI that are successful. Clay Aiken, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry. Elliott Yamin was more successful than Taylor or Kathryn. Casey James’ CD debut at #2on Billboard. Kelly, Carrie, Scotty, Phillip, David. AI can be proud of the number of contestants that are successful.