Whether you’re a fan or not, the American Idol finale is always entertaining and this year’s did not disappoint.
There was little suspense on the winner…. it’s been clear for weeks that Candice Glover deserved it. A pretty, immensely talented girl who can belt, she tried out three times before making it to the top 10. From a tiny South Carolina town, her family has struggled, but her adorable parents sat on the edge of their seats nearly every week, cheering like crazy. That combination plus her confident and soulful performances made her a crowd favorite.
I was pretty certain Candice would win over country crooner Kree Harrison, so the only uncertainty was who would grace the Idol stage for the 2-hour extravaganza. Here are my highlights:
— The best performance of the night without question was the return of JLo. She sang her new single, “Live It Up,” with Pitbull and danced like she was still a Flygirl. When she hits the stage it’s like an adrenalin shot and I can’t take my eyes off her. The song is pretty good and I love the way she moves.
— Top 10 country girl Janelle did a fiery duet with The Band Perry that rocked and had high hair-flip count.
–Korean star Psy danced up a storm to his new hit and although it doesn’t sound much different from “Gangham Style” I liked it. He’s a dynamic performer and fun to watch.
—Keith Urban sang twice and I loved his new single “Little Bit of Everything,” but was disappointed not to have one Nicole sighting all season.
—Candice and Idol legend Jennifer Hudson commanded the stage for a powerful duet. They were a great match and killed it.
–I was a huge fan of Angie Miller who made it to the top 3 so I was psyched to hear her sing an intense version of “I Am Titanium” with former Idol diva Adam Lambert. She also held her own with her idol, Jessie J on “Domino.” I love her energy and predict we’ll be hearing her on the radio soon.
–There was a goodbye/retrospective piece for Randy Jackson— the only original judge left– who isn’t returning next year. Besides his wacky jackets and lapel pins, he didn’t add a whole lot to the show in the last few seasons, but I’ll still miss that old dawg.
Lowlights included all the cheesy song and dance numbers with the top 10 Idols. It always reminds me of the old Brady Bunch variety show episodes, with the matchy costumes and phony smiles. This is their last shot at an audience of millions so they milk it, which is part funny, and part icky to watch.
There was a hokey duet with the boys and Frankie Valli– not sure how he’s relevant to an Idol audience but the producers always throw in a throwback. Aretha Franklin also sang a medley of her hits but via satellite, which was odd and didn’t really work as a duet with the girls.
And then there’s Mariah. I said before that she had a tough time putting a coherent sentence together from her sparkly perch at the judge’s table. She seems like a lovely person and was clearly moved by the contestants. But if judging wasn’t her thing, singing should be, no?
She stood still like a statue in a glittery mermaid dress, singing a medley of her songs but it looked to me like she was lip synching or singing on top of a pre-recorded track. It didn’t seem natural at all and her limited movements and stuck smile reminded me of Cinderella waving atop a Disneyland float. Would love to know what happened there.
Twitter blew up with people suggesting she wasn’t singing but The Hollywood Reporter tweeted that Mariah’s rep denied any lip synching. Let the scrutiny and fallout begin!
I’m feeling ambivalent about Idol as season 12 comes to a close. The talent was powerhouse but there was no synergy among the judges and ratings were low so it’s unclear who will be sitting at the table next year.
I’m eager to see how the show will change and wonder if this might be our last season as loyal fans. If so, it’s been a good long run of watching dreams come true.