Thursday, May 24, 2012


Phil Phillips gets emotional after his big win
They came from all over the country, hundreds of thousands of young things. Each of them had a dream, a naive belief that TV could make that dream happen. They flocked like mosquitoes to a bug zapper, the flashing lights of that fantastical creature called American Idol luring them in with promises of fame and fortune. Dreams, they were told, were precious things that needed to be cherished and also exploited on national television. So the hundreds of thousands of young things presented their dreams to the great Idol monolith, positive that they were that one special child-contestant whose dreams deserved to come true. These people put their hearts on the line for the murky promises of Hollywood and fame and non-negotiable contracts. And try as they might, sing as they did, about 99.9% of their hearts and dreams were ultimately broken. 

The hundreds of thousands were whittled down to hundreds. Then the hundreds were whittled down to the Top 24. And from then on, America, their dreams were in your hands. Music was provided, millions of votes were cast, and each week, another dream bit the dust. And that's because there can only be one American Idol, Dawgs. 

And this year, one brave young soul scraped his way out of a Georgia pawn shop, put his serious kidney problems on the back-burner, sang some songs, made some faces, bared his chest hair for the entire world to see, probably slayed a dragon and found his way out of a fantastical forest so the Idol producers could get their kicks. He remained standing while other brave young things dropped around him, trying to remain impassive in the face of such brutal carnage. His name is Phillip Phillips Jr., and little did he know, he was destined to be the American Idol from the moment he was born with that face, picked up a guitar, and discovered he could sing kinda well. 

You see, Dawgs, some seasons of Idol have foregone conclusions. This has been one of those seasons. As sure as I am that Ryan Seacrest wakes up every morning perfectly coifed and be-suited, I also knew that Phil would win this game of shenanigans long ago. Call me psychic, call me obsessed, but don't call me dumb. Is Phil's destined victory a bad thing? Nah, not particularly. Sure, I cheered for exciting acts like Joshua and Skylar, but it's been well-established that my favorites always lose. Once Phil actually found a melody he could latch onto, I started to appreciate his low-key artistry. Plus, his refusal to bow to the wishes of Idol's commercial machine was super fun to watch. Remember when Tommy Hilfiger was all like, "Seriously, Phil, if you wear gray on that stage again, you're going to cause my imminent death and bring a permanent rain cloud over LA that will eventually wipe out Idol studios for good. Do you hear me? You will KILL Idol," and Phil wore gray anyway? Remember how he took a perfectly-fine-on-its-own song like "The Letter" and transformed it into some alien, growling, singer-songwriter Phil thing without any semblance of shame? From the beginning, he looked the judges and America in the eye and said, "Don't bother telling me what to do because I'm going to do my own thing anyway. So vote if you want. I really don't care." America loves a rebel, and Phil's apathy toward us only made us empathize with him more. So, bravo, dear Phil. Well-played, sir. Very well-played. 

Of course, the reveal of Season 11's American Idol didn't take place until only about 7 minutes remained in the telecast. That left for a lot of filler segments. As usual, Idol snubbed new and current acts for slightly aged and firmly entrenched in the 60s and 70s special guest stars. I guess that's fine. Most modern pop music is crap anyway. I fast-forward through Rihanna's performance because her voice is probably the most toneless thing I've ever heard. I hear enough of that tripe on the radio. So yeah, the finale slightly resembled an AARP benefit concert. Let's go over the things that stuck out. This ... is American Idol! 

Top Finale Moments

1. Joshua Bites the Dust: The show executed a really cute opening with the Top 12 (minus Phil and Jessica) performing "Runaway Baby." It was high energy and fun, and all went well until the moment before the troop of professional dancers took the stage. The dance fail takes place around 1:43. 

How creepy is it that the producers still insist that the finalists wear white for the finale? Are we supposed to think they look like angels? Personally, I think the guys look like rogue sailors who need need haircuts. 

2. Speaking of the White Outfits:

Meet Guy Who Forgot to Wear an  Undershirt and  Return of the Teenage Mummy.
3. Jimmy Iovine Never Bothered to Learn J. Lo's Name: Okay, Iovine, you finally got me. Each time he referred to Jennifer Lopez as Jessica, the sniveling record producer weaseled his way into my heart a little more. 

4. Joshua, Skylar & Hollie Got to Sing with Their Idols: Joshua and Fantasia abandoned the stage and took us to the Church of Fan/Mantasia in their rendition of Elton John's "Take Me to the Pilot." If you closed your eyes, it was almost enough to unsee Fantasia's glittery catsuit. Alas, we'll be stuck with the image for the rest of our lives. Skylar hooked up with her spirit animal Reba in a fun, high-energy performance that made me miss Skylar even more. They genuinely seemed to enjoy singing with each other, and I hope the future allows for them to do it again. Hollie teamed up with Jordin Sparks to sing "You'll Never Walk Alone," and although I don't remember being a fan of Jordin, I thought they sounded amazing together. 

5. The Creepiest Televised Proposal of All Time: So apparently Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo are still people who do stuff in this world. Broadway? Awesome. Since I'm hormonal right now (and a romantic at heart), the moment it became evident that Ace intended to propose, I got super excited. Yay! Love! Unfortunately, Ace Young: Moment Killer pissed all over that excitement by name-dropping his jeweler. Really, Ace? Product placement during a marriage proposal? That's so gross! Diana, who's about 75% plastic, 25% naive, didn't seem to mind, but I found the whole thing off-putting. Tsk, tsk, Ace. And you used to be so attractive, too, before you grew your hair out longer than your fiancee's and delivered the douchiest proposal EVER on national television. 

6. Jennifer Holliday Scares Jessica into Singing with Conviction: I have to give major credit to Jessica Sanchez for resisting the primal urge to cover her eyes and run offstage when Jennifer Holliday first started making faces like she literally wanted to consume Jessica's nubile flesh. Those were some crazy faces, lady! No one outshines Jennifer Holliday at her own song! This was a very rousing performance. Scary or not, Holliday forced Jessica to inject some personality into her singing, and the result was outstanding. Bravo!

7. Uncle Steven's In It To Win It: Maybe Idol's resident creepy uncle can't put a coherent thought together as a judge, but the man can still perform. His performance was far more entertaining (and way less grating) than fellow judge J. Lo's dance-a-thon. 

8. The Kids Can ACTUALLY Sing the Phone Book: Just try to lie and tell me you weren't entertained. The Top 12 gamely tackled an actual phone book and treated us with bonuses from the Yellow Pages. And of course, Joshua got all carried away on the final number, forcing Skylar to lament, "Every time!" This was actually clever, Idol. Let's have next season's contestants do this every week instead of the stupid Ford Music Videos. 

9. Phil's Finale "Formal Wear": 

Phil Phillips: Dressed to Impress
BWAHAHAHAHA! BWAHAHAHAHA! *Wipes eyes* Dawgs! DAWGS! Look at that priceless ensemble. Only Phil Phillips would take the glamour of a formal suit jacket, dress it up even more with the type of vest men only wear to weddings, the prom, or the Oscars, and then leave the look hanging with a v-neck tee under the vest. Would it kill this man to wear an actual collar? You can tell that Phil's naked chest hair is killing Ryan in that picture. Ryan, who can't wait for the week he gets to wear a bow tie to work. Ryan, who probably has every hair but the ones on his head waxed by a personal assistant. Phil dressing like that in front of Ryan is equivalent to a person sneezing on her hand and then immediately touching a germaphobe. So mean, but my god, SO FUNNY. 

10. Phil's Finale Performance: Bless him. Phil only made it through one verse of his coronation song before he broke down in tears. Even horrible trolls like me - who celebrated when Phil won mainly because it meant I've been RIGHT all season - had to be touched when the emotion of the moment overcame Phil. And since Phil's made it very clear all season that he doesn't really give a damn about playing to the cameras, he backed away from the microphone before the song was even over, handed off his guitar, and walked off the stage to share a Team Phillips hug with his family. Nuts of wonder, that was touching. I may have even shed a tear! 

And there goes another season down the memory hole. Season 11 had its own kind of charm, didn't it? I haven't seen a more talented Top 10 in years. Now it's time to amp up for summer and start brain-storming about the important stuff, like who will replace J. Lo on the judging panel. Idol gods, please let her be a good singer! Is it asking that much?

You've been a very quiet audience this season, Dawgs, but I can tell by page views that you're reading. For that, I thank you. I also apologize for my sporadic posting habits as of late. We made it through this together, though. It wasn't always easy, nor was it always fun, but we persevered like the good little soldiers we are. Take care, and I'll see you next season!

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