Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finale Part 2: Winner Crowned

Welcome back. Tonight is it. The winner of American Idol Season 13 will be crowned. But not before about 1 hour and 58 minutes of a ton of other things and performances. So we'll try to streamline it a little but it's gonna be a good amount of non-results. We predicted that Jena should win, but ultimately Caleb will win. We really don't know which way it's going to go, but taking the pulse of the judges last night and the in-house audience the momentum was shifted in Caleb's direction. We obviously don't know how the home audience felt or voted.

Before we get to the finale show itself we want to recognize the Top 13 by offering our Recap and Review of the entire season and the Top 13.

Season 13 Review

Season 13 Awards
Best Performance 
Jena Irene(Creep)

Worst Performance
Ben Briley(Rocket Man)

Most Shocking Moment
Majesty Rose and Sam Woolf's Plummet From Bottom To Top
(Although Sam was saved at Top 8 Week, both Majesty and Sam were front-runners going into Top 13 week. Both could not live up to expecations and thus their early exits.)

Least Shocking Moment
Judges Save Sam Woolf
(We knew it was coming. The Judge's did not use their save last year, and to end on time and without double eliminations they needed to save someone and he was their obvious choice)
Runner Up:The Producers Tried To Save Sam Again.
 (They wanted the contestants to choose whether or not they wanted to eliminate someone that night or carry over with
the remaining contestants to the next week. The producers wanted the contestants to choose the latter, but they(Jena and Alex) chose to eliminate someone that night, thus finally ending Sam's time on the show.)

Most Shocking Elimination
(I thought that although she wasn't doing as well as expectations she was still far better than Dexter and CJ at that point.)
Runner Up: Malaya
(For Same Reason as Majesty)

Least Shocking Elimination
(After pretty luke warm reception by the judges that night, and by Jennifer Lopez pretty much all season you could see from a mile away that Jessica was not making Top 3. She had a great run, but it was one of the more predicatble eliminations of the season.)  

Our Top 13 Contestant Season Recap 
These are our picks for each contestant's best performance and the average grade they received from us during the season. 

                                          13th Place                                             12th Place                                                11th Place
                                 Kristen O'Connor                                          Emily Piriz                                             Ben Briley 
Best Performance=Turning Tables (Rush Wk) Best Performance=Glitter in the Air (Top 13)  Best Performance=Folsom Prison Blues (Top 13)
                         Average Grade= N/A                                       Average Grade=C+                                      Average Grade=C+                      

                                                                           10th Place                                                         9th Place
                                                                            MK Nobliette                                             Majesty Rose
                                                  Best Performance=Satisfaction (Top 13)     Best Performance=Tightrope (Top 13)
                                                                       Average Grade=C+                                        Average Grade=

                                                                          8th Place                                                         7th Place
                                                                   Malaya Watson                                               Dexter Roberts
                                                Best Performance=Ain't No Way (Top 8)   Best Performance=One Mississippi (Top 8)
                                                                 Average Grade=B                                             Average Grade=C+

                                                                                  6th Place                                                 5th Place
                                                                                  CJ Harris                                               Sam Woolf 
                                                   Best Performance=Can't You See (Top 11)   Best Performance=It's Time (Top 6)
                                                                          Average Grade=C+                                Average Grade=B-

                                                                       4th Place                                                                         3rd Place
                                                                       Jessica Meuse                                                              Alex Preston
                              Best Performance=The Crowe & The Butterfly (Top 13)                  Best Performance=Stay (Top 3)
                                                               Average Grade=B                                                          Average Grade=B+

2nd/1st Place
                                                                 Caleb Johnson                                                               Jena Irene
                                   Best Performance=Dazed and Confused (Top 9)                       Best Performance=Creep (Top 7)
                                                            Average Grade=A-                                                      Average Grade=A-

Our Season Predictions
(Not Including Top 2 Week)
Bottom 3/2=19 of 26

Going Home=6 of 12

Tonight's Recap
Hope you enjoyed our season review. Now onto the show:

Caleb and Jena Perform Together
They perform a couple different songs. They sing "We Will Rock You" by Queen,  "I'm Just A Girl" by No Doubt and "It's Only Love" by Bryan Adams. So one song suited for her, and one song suited for him and duet.

Sam Woolf & Phillip Phillips Perform
At first Sam sings Phillip's hit song "Home". Then Phillip joins Sam on stage and sings his new song "Raging Fire". I love this song. I kinda think that he sang this song earlier in the season on one of the results show, but whatever, it's a good song. Sam just stands there with his guitar and sings "backup" for Sam. It's mostly Phillip's performance.

Jennifer Nettles & Jessica Meuse Perform
Sans Sugarland a solo Jennifer Nettles comes out and performs her hit "That Girl". She starts off all by herself on the stage. After she performs on her own Jessica Meuse comes out and with Jennifer Nettles they perform Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball". Their voices sound outstanding together.

Jennifer Lopez Performs
With her new CD set to come out pretty soon, Jennifer Lopez sings her new single "First Love". So that's two performances for Lopez this season. I actually don't mind this song. It's a heck of a lot better than that nonsense song "I Luh Ya Papi". That single didn't do anything for her. Then at one point JLo goes into a dance solo and goes crazy on stage with backup dancers and on tables. Good for her for being able to do that, looking at her do that gives me a sharp pain in my back. 

KISS & Caleb Johnson Perform
Together with KISS, Caleb performs "Love Gun" and "Shout It Out Loud". KISS is a legendary band so it's pretty cool that Caleb got to join them on stage. They just rock out, like they are known for. Caleb lets it all loose.

Bad Lip Reading Bit
I kinda love this bit. They do bad lip reading for the NFL and football players and it's hilarious. I recommend it if you haven't seen their former videos. So in this case they take some really random moments and decide to put in fake voices and expression in and the real voices out. It's pretty fantastic. It all matches so perfectly but really doesn't at all.

Aloe Blacc and Idol Guys Perform
Together with the Top 13 guys, Aloe Blacc performs his single "The Man". Obviously some of these guys sound better than others, but that makes sense given that they were all eliminated at one point, except Caleb.

Ford Commercial/Video
We have our last FORD video of the season, and I'll give it as much attention as it deserves...
The only good part about FORD is that they are giving away a car to each of the people that inspires Jena and Cale the most. So that's kinda cool.

Demi Lovato and Idol Girls Perform
Demi Lovato comes back to the Idol stage after awkwardly coming by a few weeks ago when she was there to say "Hi" but ended up kind of judging some performances, that was really odd. Anyways, she performs her single "Don't Really Care". Then the Top 13 girls comes out and perform "Neon Lights" with Demi. Actually MK Nobiliette is sick so she is not there, it's unfortunate that an illness took her away from being there. The girls, sans Jena start off the song on the side stage, and then Jena joins Demi on the main stage to finish up the song with the rest of the girls.

Jena & Paramore Perform
Jena starts off this segment singing the song that actually started people to really to take notice of her "Decode". It was the moment that Jena herself has referenced as the performance that made people forget that she was a wildcard and actually a contender.  After about a minute Paramore comes out on stage singing their new single "Aint' It Fun". Jena joins them after a minute or so. This is right in Jena's lane, hopefully she'll follow this kind of style. Towards the end of the song a ton of huge balloons reign down from the ceiling. They are huge and I almost couldn't see Jena and Paramore performing at one point. They dominated the whole stadium.

John Legend and Malaya Performs
Singing his new single "You and I" is John Legend. He sings that song and then after Malaya joins John on stage to sing his hit "All of Me". It was a sweet duet.

Jason Mraz and Alex Perform
Jason was a guest mentor this season and did a really fantastic job. Tonight he sings his new song "Love Someone", Alex kind of backs him up at first then sings a couple verses from the song as well. Jason Mraz is someone that Alex needs to model himself after, if he stays in that lane he can do well post-Idol.

Ryan Seacrest(Kinda) and Richard Marx Performs
Yes! it finally happened, Ryan in a mock-performance sings "Right Here Waiting". Luckily, it only lasted a few seconds before Richard Marx rescued Ryan. Seacrest tried to back him up, it was pretty adorable. Seacrest has been doing this job for 13 years, he's allowed to take a moment of his own in the midst of everything else. . He said "I apologize at home".  Nice moment.

Darius Rucker, CJ and Dexter Performs
No longer associated with the Blowfish, no longer called Hootie, but never forgotten, Darius Rucker performs his song "True Believers". After that CJ and Dexter combine to sing with Rucker on his song "Alright". I like Dexter and CJ in small doses, so this was a fine performance.

Lady Antebellum Perform
Next on the Idol stage Lady Antebellum sings their new song "Bartender". They don't get any accompaniment by Idol alum. But it was still good.

The Judges & Randy Perform
Given that last year Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj refused to perform together with Randy and Keith, this is a nice treat to see all the judges and (I guess) Randy performing together. Keith on guitar, Randy on bass, Harry on piano and Jennifer on lead vocals sing "True Colors".  The guys sing back-up for Jennifer on that one, Jennifer sounded lovely being so subtle and delicate. They then move onto Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way" and the boys are more lead vocals and Jennifer picks up a tambourine. They all sound great together, it's really enjoyable to see them really having fun and doing something other than judging together. Sometimes in the course of a long season, and a ton of judging, and agreeing or disagreeing with them, you forget that these are some talented musicians and artists, it was nice to see that. Plus Keith is the man on guitar, he is amazing and at one point Harry was playing two different pianos at the same time. Very talented.


After months of performances, hours and hours of television, hundreds of contestants, and a ton of  minutes wasted on watching Jennifer Lopez dance or seeing her facial expressions rather than being able to watch the contestants sing WE ARE READY!!!

Caleb Johnson 

Final Thoughts
*Wow. I know that I thought that Caleb was gonna win due to momentum, but in my gut I really thought that Jena would pull it out. Caleb really had a wonderful run throughout the competition. He tried out 2 times prior to this season and never made it to the Top 24.  Last year Candice Glover returned after being rejected and ended up winning, now Caleb has done the same. He deserves the win.

*Jena had fantastic run on this show. She went from being the wildcard to placing second on American Idol. The odds just weren't in her favor. No female had beaten a man in 7 years and only 4 out of the previous 12 winners had won after going first. Plus Jena was in the Bottom 3 during Top 11 week, and there have only been a couple of Idol winners to ever land in the Bottom 3 and still win. Caleb never was in the Bottom 3. She had a lot going against her and those few things might have tipped the scale in Caleb's favor.

*I'd be curious to know what the results were, and how close was it. Given that Caleb had never been Bottom 3 and Jena has riding on top for awhile I'd be interested to know if it was as close as it seems or if it was a no brainer for Caleb.

*Last night's episode was the lowest rated episode of American Idol ever. Sure there were other options, The Voice and Dancing With the Stars, but Idol only had 6.6 million people tune in. I don't know what the number is tonight, but if these numbers continue like they are then next season might be it's last. 

*Finally, I'd like to Thank each and every person that has come to this blog. Whether it be one time, or multiple times a week, we appreciate you reading our thoughts and our opinions about this (sometimes) crazy show. It's a lot of time devoted to a TV show but we enjoy it, and are glad that you do as well.

Please come on back here from time to time for some Idol news and then we will return with our regularly scheduled blog in January of 2015. So until then, see ya!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Season 13 Finale: Final Performances

Welcome back. Well it's been a long season, over 3 months of singing, contestants, eliminations, a few shockers, a ton of Jennifer Lopez dancing, and a sprinkle of nonsense here and there, but overall we have two pretty great performers left in Caleb and Jena. They have been the most consistent contestants week to week, which is a good reason why they are still here. They both deserve a place at this finale.

A couple quick Idol History Notes: Last week we mentioned that the last time a female beat a male in a finale was Season 6, when Jordin Sparks beat Blake Lewis. Another interesting note is in the last two seasons, the winner is the person who sang second, Phillip Phillips and Candice Glover. Out of the 12 prior Season Finales 8 out of 12 winners sung last. So it's not impossible to win if you go first, Scotty McCreery, Lee DeWyze, David Cook and Ruben Studdard each prevailed while going first, but the odds aren't in the first performers favor.

For this season we learn that Jena won the coin toss but decided to go first. That's risky. We'll see what happens this time around with that choice.  So as always, let's get to it:

I'dol Be The Judge Rankings-Season Recap
We usually post our power rankings here, but given that this is the finale you never know what can happen. So in lieu of that, posted below is how Jena and Caleb fared in our Power Rankings all season long. You'll see that although Caleb hasn't been ranked lower than 4th all season long, Jena has progressively gotten better and better and finally has staked claim as our #1 in Power Ranking. We do these power rankings paired with all the remaining contestants and never do the 2 contestants side by side, so it's interesting to see their two journey's next to each other and see what kind of path they took to get to the finale.

Top 13 Week-Jena #8, Caleb #4
Top 12 Week-Jena #7, Caleb #4       
Top 11 Week-Jena #8, Caleb #3                                                                             
Top 10 Week-Jena #5, Caleb #1                                                    
Top 9 Week-Jena #4, Caleb #2
Top 8 Week-Jena #3, Caleb #2
Top 8 Week(Redux)-Jena #2, Caleb #3

Top 7 Week-Jena #2, Caleb #3
Top 6 Week-Jena #1, Caleb #3
Top 5 Week-Jena #1, Caleb #2
Top 4 Week-Jena #1, Caleb #2
Top 3 Week-Jena #1, Caleb #2

Performance #1-Producer Simon Fuller's Choice

(Dog Days Are Over-Florence & The Machine)
I think this was a good song choice, I don't know if she hit as much as I wanted her to. There were a few moments in the beginning/middle that she missed the microphone or just wasn't on it as well as I wish. She hits those high notes like crazy though. Really well done on that. I think it wasn't her best performance but it was still quite good. I still give her credit for going first, that's a big risk. B+
Keith=Great song choice. The way that she owned the stage is so good, sign of a real pro. A few issues with breath control, but that's because there is so much adrenaline going.
Jennifer=The electricity in the room makes the performer a little overwhelming. Did a really good job, sounded good. Loosened up and owned the stage by the middle of song.
Harry=It was fantastic. Favorite part was when she was walking on stage in time and really enjoyed how she owned the stage.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Pretty much. Her adrenaline and excitement got to her a little and she was a little off, but it was still really good.

(Dream On-Aerosmith)
If Simon Fuller's intent is to make Caleb current then he did a bad job with this song choice, it's about 30 years old. But with that being said Caleb did a really great job with it. Everyone knows that huge Steven Tyler note in the song and Caleb really nails it. Keith and Jennifer give Caleb a standing ovation. A-
Jennifer=That's what you got to do. Gotta deliver and seize the moment and he just did that. Right song. That might have did it right there.
Harry=As powerful as the ending in his low register he needs the same focus and energy for the beginning. Phenomenal but needs it for the low intense part too.
Keith=Literally had me from opening song. Had a great arc to the song. Stayed really quiet in beginning and ramped it up by end.
Do The Judges & I Agree? For sure. I think Caleb did a great job. I have to believe there are more current songs that could have been picked for Caleb, but given his track record this season I'm not surprised by the choice.

Our Choice of Winner of Round 1=Caleb

Performance #2-Contestant's Favorite Performance

(Can't Help Falling In Love)
Ya gotta think that if her hometown didn't pick Creep as their selection for Jena last week that Jena would have chosen that this time. I love this song and her version a couple weeks ago, but it gave her a big moment just a couple weeks ago, not a lot of time to have people put the prior performance out of their mind and take in a new one.  That being said, Jena does such a beautiful job again, along with string accompaniment. Really quite lovely. Again, this is a take on the Ingrid Michaelson version, but it has even more to it. Her voice is ridiculous. Keith gives her a standing ovation. Nothing but cheers from Jennifer who gave her a kiss last time. A
Harry=Can clearly hear the influence of other performers that perform this song. But what separates her is that she puts that aside and come out with a unique interpretation on it. Absolutely beautiful.
Keith=Did this song 2 weeks and was so good, showed in this moment that she is a leader and is a trailblazer.
Jennifer=Soul comes through on that song. So incredibly talented and it's overwhelming. Such a battle because both of them are so different. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? 100% It was so beautiful and the judges tell her that. She is so good behind that piano and so good on stage when she is moving around, basically she is good at most everything she tries.

(Maybe I'm Amazed-Paul McCartney)
I think that this was a smart song choice for Caleb. It allows him to show his tender voice and really powerful one as well.Some of the runs he does are pretty intense and right on point. He hits some falsetto again and nails it. I think this song benefits from being sung a little less intensely, but that's Caleb, so I'm sure that's hard for him to do.  B+
Keith=Such a deep emotional song. Don't get caught up in the gymnastics and lose the feeling.
Jennifer=His power is so undeniable that if he holds back then his should comes out. Required a little more heart and less of the powerful thing.
Harry=I think that the first round goes to Caleb and second round goes to Jena.
Do The Judges & I Agree? For the most part. Caleb got to show his tender side but he could have had even more.

Our Choice of Winner of Round 2=Jena

Performance #3-Original Song/Winner's Single

(We Are One-Jena Irene)
The fact that this song is written by Jena is amazing. She completely owns the song, literally and figuratively. This song could have been on the radio already, it fits completely into what the Katy Perry, Pink's and Rihanna's of the world are putting out there. Jena's final performance was pretty flawless, she moves around the stage, sings well and really enjoys herself out there. A-
Jennifer=Thought that the song really suited her.
Harry=Strong as in the studio. Nice work.
Keith=Perfect song for her.
Do The Judges & I Agree? Yep. The judges had to rush with their critiques due to the show being close to over but they seemed to enjoy it.

(As Long As You Love Me-Caleb Johnson)
Again this song was written by Caleb himself, so that's pretty cool. The song is what you'd expect, big rock moments, crazy runs and a chance for Caleb to go nuts. This is a perfect song for Caleb. I love hearing Caleb performing something so current and from this decade. It was an excellent job by him. A-
Harry=This was Joe Frazier versus Muhammed Ali tonight. Good Luck America.
Keith=It's been an amazing night.
Jennifer=Gave it everything. Felt that he put it out there. 
Do The Judges & I Agree? Sorta. They didn't really give great feedback on this song in particular, they mostly gave a general view of the whole night, but I really liked this song.

Our Choice of Winner of Round 3=Jena(by an inch) 
*Explanation Found Below*

Top 13 Perform
Right at the end of the show the Top 13 join Jena and Caleb on stage and sing the song that's been the eliminated contestant's song "Breakaway" by Kelly Clarkson. I kinda wish we had a few more seconds of feedback from the judges on the last performances, especially Jena who the judges really didn't get to say anything about. But, it is what it is.


Should Win-Jena Irene. I think she nailed the second round, nailed her last performance, but Caleb's first performance and last one were really good as well. Jena has been close to or at the top of the leader board for weeks. She has had many weeks of just unbelievable performances and vocals. Her overall resume is a strong one and deserves to be recognized. She should be crowned the Season 13 American Idol winner.

Will Win-Caleb Johnson. I don't know, this isn't a clear cut choice like last season was. I just feel like the momentum was all with Caleb tonight. I think that Jena didn't have a huge lead over Caleb prior to the episode and although they tied the first 2 rounds and Jena's final song was a little stronger, Caleb just had a little something extra on his side. Not saying that he wouldn't deserve the crown just as much as Jena, but Jena probably just barely beat Caleb 2 out of 3 rounds. But momentum is key in this case and Caleb had it throughout the night.

Final Thoughts

*This was a pretty outstanding finale. I think each of them delivered absolutely great performances. Caleb's first performance and last one were fantastic and Jena's second and final performance was fantastic. This looks like it will be a very tight race. Both of them deserved to be in the finale and had an impressive resume to get to where they are, so neither of them were far and away the front runner. I think whoever wins will have deserved it.

*I think Jena winning the coin toss and choosing to go first was costly. I think that as good as Caleb's first performance was, it wouldn't have come off so big if Jena had gone right after him with her first performance. I'm not saying she is going to lose just because of it, but I think it was a bad risk that I would love to know why she did it for. Last season Kree Harrison also won the coin choice and elected for Candice Glover to close out the show, we all know how that turned out. Maybe I'm making a big deal of it, maybe not, I'm just saying if it's as close of a final battle as the judges and I think it is, a coin toss and order of performing could make all the difference.

This has been a really great season, and we'll finish up with our last blog of the year tomorrow night after the 2 hour finale. We have a few "awards", some recaps of the season and then our full blown recap of the show. So expect a decent sized blog tomorrow. We hope you have enjoyed our coverage of the show. So come on back here tomorrow and until then, see ya!