The American Idol Season 11 finale is here. The finalists are ready to do battle and Philip Lim gets to the front row for a better view
THE showdown is between the Kid and the Pawn star. I half expected Phillip Phillips to go out in third place but those legions of fanatical young girls just refused to let their idol down.
So Joshua Ledet made his exit, disappointing millions of his fans around the world.
Now, with the finale tonight, 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez feels the pressure but she may be too young to comprehend its enormity. Phillip, like the non-conformist he is, will strum his guitar, dress casually, and, may grab the title before anyone has time to take a restroom break.
Earlier, I had hoped to see a Jessica-Joshua finale but that wish was upset by that cheeky Grinch of Idol seasons.
If Phillip wants to achieve the greatest triumph of his life, he needs to sing his best, melt all the young hearts in the United States and upset the odds a little.
But that is a tall order. Phillip, 21, majored in industrial systems technology at the Albany Technical College. In his free time, he helps out at his father’s pawn shop in Leesburg, Georgia.
The pawn shop business isn’t exactly the most lucrative trade in the world but it also isn’t the safest. You may have noticed last week that Phillip’s dad was sporting a gun at his hip.
Phillip’s musical career is seven years long — he started playing music at 14. He has stated publicly that mushy love songs rank low on his preference list.
Besides the guitar, he also plays the piano, bass and drums.
Of the judges — Randy Jackson, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez — J. Lo was the most perceptive and intuitive. She told Phillip: “There are about 20 million girls out there who wish you were singing to them.”
She was spot on. On the finale night, the bloke from Georgia will be relying on the dedication and devotion of his massive female fan base to pull and push him to the top.
Phillip scored a home-run in this third song of the evening last week with We’ve Got Tonight by Bob Segar. Everybody seemed to love his performance, especially the young girls in the audience who were
yelling their lungs out.
Earlier, his first number Beggin’ sounded a bit strange to me. I was also in the dark when he sang Disease in round two. Phillip has shown in the past 10 weeks that he is simply not the type to put up robust performances like Chris Daughtry or James Durbin (previous seasons).
Americans in general love Phillip for his easy-going ways and country boy attitude. That means good manners, gentlemanly conduct and a healthy dose of humility. Idol records have shown that guys with these qualities usually fare quite well in the end.
Previous Idol seasons have revealed that at this stage of the competition, it doesn’t matter how well you sing, it’s how well the contestant’s image is received by the voting population. Everyone seems to have made up their minds.
Presently, Phillip’s reputation has similarities with past winners like David Cook, Kris Allen and Lee Dewyze.
If Phillip is the “giant” in the vocal arena, Jessica Sanchez will surely come across as “the kid with the slingshot”.
I believe it was Idol music mentor Jimmy Iovine who commented that Jessica was “technically perfect” in most of her songs. In other words, this young girl of Filipino-Mexican heritage was born to sing.
In fact, she began her singing career at 5 and according to her family, her baby vocals were activated at 2.
Jessica appeared on television at 10. When she was 11, she competed in the first season of America’s Top Talent and managed to get into the semi-finals.
At 13, she was called upon to sing the US national anthem at the San Diego Charger football game. During the current Idol season when the results of the Top 7 were announced, Jessica received the lowest number of votes.
She suffered a “technical knockout” but was saved by the three judges. Thereafter she stormed into the final of Season 11 with stellar performances week after week.
Her performance last week began with My All by Mariah Carey. It was unanimously considered one of the most difficult songs to sing in any Idol season. Jessica was one of the few who sang it convincingly and enough to earn compliments from the judges.
Her second number, I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing, was a hit song by none other than Steven Tyler. Naturally, Tyler gave her a standing ovation with these words: “You took a great song and made it better.”
Her third number I’ll Be There by Jackson Five was very similar to how Michael Jackson had done it.
If Jessica is crowned the winner, she will be the first female contestant to take the title after five Idol seasons. The last female champion was Jordin Sparks in Season 6.
Previous winners are David Cook (Season 7), Kris Allen (Season 8), Lee Dewyze (Season 9) and Scotty McCreery (Season 10).
Victory for 16-year-old Jessica would make her the youngest winner in the 11-year-old American Idol competition. Jordin won the title when she was 17 years old.
Now the question in everybody’s mind is who has better chances of winning. On vocal perfection alone, I would stand in Jessica’s corner. In the years ahead, this young girl is capable of surprising the whole world.
On popularity and personality, I think Phillip has the edge. But the final outcome is still a guessing game. The aftermath of Idol seasons do not always favour the winner.
Such being the case, it comes down to how the contestants make use of the opportunities given to them that counts in the end.
American Idol Season 11 finale airs on Star World (Astro Channel 711) & Star World HD (Astro Channel 722) with performances tonight at 6pm (repeat at 8pm) and results show tomorrow (live at 8am, with repeats at 6pm and 8pm).