Welcome to the live blog and recap for the Finale and Winner Results of American Idol Season 12!
It’s finale night, and either Candice Glover or Kree Harrison will be proclaimed the twelfth American Idol! Who will take the season 12 crown?
Rickey.org readers predict the closest finale in series history, with Candice Glover prevailing over Kree Harrison by a margin of 1%, with Candice sitting at 50.97% to Kree’s 49.03%! It’s too damn close to call, but it’s not to late to add your voice to the conversation! Head on over and vote in the poll! (Lord knows, in a vote this close, you could actually tip the scales — not that the winner of the poll will necessarily win the show, but let’s pretend)
Also, check out the LIVE Red Carpet stream (still going, as we speak)! The video will be archived at that link for later viewing, in case you miss it. The show is…interesting, to say the least. TONS of Idol alumni, and amusing/funny, occasionally awkward interviews. The Scott McIntyre interview alone is worth the price of admission.
Once again, because of a snafu with last week’s live blog, we’re doing it classic style again tonight. All updates will take place in the body of this post. I’ll hit up the comments and let you know when to refresh for the latest update! And there are going to be TONS of them. (With videos too!)
Enjoy the show and sound off in the comments!
8:00 PM ET
-Ryan intros the event as Candice and Kree stand face-to-face…before breaking into laughter in what might be the most adorable moment this season.
-Of course, because this is the finale, the finalists are all dressed in white. Luckily for the top 10, white is totally their color…
The Top 10 Perform “Glad You Came” by The Wanted
-There’s absolutely no way this isn’t lip-synced. This makes it an incredibly awkward performance, as Curtis gets all gospel with his movements, really digging into the song…yet we can’t hear any of it because they’ve all been blended into a uniform audio mix. The dancers are pretty cool though. And Janelle looks absolutely STUNNING. I mean, I just can’t…
-After the performance, we get intros of the judges and Ryan, while getting brief shots of the audience, which includes season 2 and season 8′s third-place finishers, Kimberley Locke and Danny Gokey.
-Ryan then introduces our top two, Candice Glover and Kree Harrison. He asks the “besties” what’s happenin’, questioning whether they’ve slept or not. They claim to have gotten about five hours. There’s lots of celebrating to do, and they vow to celebrate at the end of the night, no matter who wins. We then go to commercial with promises of a finale that includes performances from The Band Perry, PSY (because what the hell, why not?) and “the highest-selling female artist of all-time,” Mariah Carey. I keep forgetting she’s that.
-Back from break, and we don’t waste any time getting back to the music…
The Band Perry and Janelle Arthur perform “Done”
-Isn’t it normally supposed to go the other way, with the contestant coming out first and then introducing the guest act? Ah well, minor quibble. I really enjoyed the hell out of this. Janelle just comes across like a complete package here, just from the way she works the stage, and how comfortable she looks, to say nothing of the vocal. Seeing her rock out and whip her hair like an 80s metal frontman is something I never thought I’d see Janelle do, but dammit, it just looks right. All four judges give a standing O for the performance. Damn straight.
-Ryan throws to a video package about “the scandal behind the scenes”…
The End of the Male Winners Streak
-It’s one of those comedy packages that turn up at the Idol finale, except this is actually pretty funny. The top 5 guys rationalize that they should have had it made, since no girls have won since Jordin Sparks (Curtis: “And that was ages ago!”). But then, the guys started getting eliminated one-by-one, which could mean only one thing — sabotage.
We get skits of each of the girls sabotaging the guys one at a time, including Kree convincing Curtis to wear that awful jacket from top 10 week, Angie talking Paul into making that awful “I’m feeling jolly!” joke during live shows, Janelle writing in the key change on Lazaro’s disastrous “Close to You” performance, and Candice shaking Burnell down for money, among other acts of sabotage.
The guys confront the girls and discover that the person behind the sabotage was…JORDIN SPARKS?
“It’s been five years without a girl winner, and I was getting lonely,” she pouts. She then rationalizes that assuring a female winner this year was actually pretty easy, since none of the top 5 guys play guitar (HA!). Jordin then says, “But hey, a lot of Idol castoffs are doing well on The Voice!” WOW.
I’m an Idol man, first and foremost, but I really don’t think that this show is in any position to be taking potshots at The Voice. Doesn’t help that the joke went over like a lead balloon.
The Top 5 Guys Perform with Frankie Valli
-The guys perform a Four Seasons medley, and it’s pretty good, although not exactly the kind of current thing this show needs to be doing. But whatever, it’s the finale.
That said, hearing all this Four Seasons music has me wishing I’d have gone and seen Jersey Boys last time I took in a Broadway show, instead of seeing Hair. Sure, I got to see Ace Young’s junk, but that doesn’t exactly do anything for me.
-Frankie Valli sounds as good as ever, particularly on “Grease,” which is a song I don’t think I’ll ever tire of. The judges give this a standing O as well, unsurprisingly. They love their living legends (and why not? Frankie Valli is a man for all seasons! The one time where that superlative actually fits)
-Back from break, and we go right into our next performance:
Mariah Carey performs a medley of her hits
-Is it just me, or does this sound lip-synced too? The only performance that didn’t seem to be lip-synced was Janelle and The Band Perry’s.
-Okay, her performance motions pretty much gave away that this isn’t a live vocal. Sounds awesome and all, but still, I have no idea why so many acts are singing to backing tracks tonight.
-Awesome dress on Mariah though, and completely different from the too-tight-to-walk dress she started the night off in.
-You know, I can’t help but enjoy this, for the most part, since I’m getting so many nostalgic flashbacks to summers in the mid-90s, when my sister had Mariah on blast and hit all those crazy-ass high notes at her gigs in town. I’ll always have a soft-spot for Mariah, lip-syncing or live.
-Back from break with our next performer…
Amber Holcomb performs “Next to Me” with Emeli Sande
-I actually suggested this song for Amber in one of the Week In Review columns with Trey, only for Candice to eventually do it instead. As much as I enjoyed Candice’s version of the song, I actually think Amber’s version is better (don’t bother throwing your rotten vegetables, I’m behind three inches of veggie-proof glass). Her voice just sounds so right on this song. Also, Amber and Emeli get double the kudos for not lip-syncing. The judges give this a standing O, and Keith is more enthusiastic than most, having sang along throughout the performance in one of the more amusing live camera shots of the night so far.
-And Kree and Candice are now in the audience with their loved ones for no discernible reason, which can only mean our two finalists will be giving away a car in 3, 2…
The Ford Fiesta Mission
-We get a recap of the Ford Fiesta Missions this season, culminating in the top 10 thanking Ford for their contributions this season. We then get videos in which both Kree and Candice discuss how their mentors have changed their lives, before offering them both tickets to the finale (Candice’s mentor, her grandmother, exclaims her shock and says that she never would have seen this coming, and while it’s a sweet moment, all I could think was, “You must never have seen an American Idol finale before”). Candice and Kree then give their mentors a brand new Ford Fusion, courtesy of Ford. I still like this better than the finalists getting the car. If there’s going to be product placement, I prefer that it be heartwarming.
Then, because the world is a land of chaos…
PSY performs “Gentleman”
-It’s better from a showmanship performance than just about anything else on the show so far, even if the song itself is nearly indistinguishable from “Gangnam Style.” On the pre-show, PSY made certain to distinguish that he was saying “Mother-father gentleman!” in the chorus, and not that other expletive. Luckily, the sound mix here was good enough that it actually sounded like “mother-father,” which is more than I can say for any of the other times I’ve seen him perform this. Dude needs to stay out of Lazaro’s closet though.
-Back from break, as Idol tries to make up for an entire competition without a WGWG…
Keith Urban performs his new single, “Little Bit of Everything”
-Love Keith Urban’s voice. Love his guitar skills even more. Though I’m sure you fans will think of other things to love about Keith Urban. (For those wondering about Keith as a judge going forward, he confirmed in the red carpet pre-show that he’s yet to make up his mind definitively, one way or the other)
-Ryan is in the audience with Candice’s family, as he throws to our next performance…
Candice Glover performs “Inseparable” with Jennifer Hudson
-This is our monster duet of the night (a la Jessica Sanchez and Jennifer Holliday last season), as these two women just kick down the doors and slay this vocal with the sharpest sword in armory. This is CRAZY, and what’s even crazier is that I genuinely have no answer for who the better singer is, of the two. The entire arena is on their feet when the performance ends. I might have to rewatch this later. Amazing.
-Back from break as we throw to our next matchup of current and past Idol finalists…
Angie Miller performs “Titanium” with Adam Lambert
-I’ve never been big on contestants performing “Titanium,” since I generally find Sia to be untouchable, but sue me, I love this. It’s one of my favorite performances of the night so far, short though it was. Their exclamations to one another at the end of the performance (“ANGIE!”/”ADAM!”) make for a cute cap on things. But things aren’t over yet for Angie, as Adam introduces her personal idol, Jessie J…
Angie performs “Domino” with Jessie J
-They both sound terrific, though this song will never not belong to The Collective, to me.
-After the performance, Jessie J announces the title of her next worldwide single off of her second album, “Wild”. In addition, she says that because Angie had to compromise singing “You Set Me Free” in order to perform with her, Jessie J wants to fly Angie out to the UK to perform the song together at one of her shows (or in a video on YouTube, her choice). Angie gleefully accepts.
-Back from break with more comedy…
The contestants talk about the judges
-Candice doesn’t know Mariah meant by “Tour de force” while Angie does her best Mariah impression (“Dah-ling!”).
-Janelle loves that Keith always wears T-shirts, while Burnell does an amusing impression of Keith’s judging faces (it’s funnier in execution).
-Burnell says that Randy says everyone is “In it to win it”, and Candice says that the phrase ends up meaning nothing when he says it to everyone else who performs after you.
-Devin wears a Nicki wig (and leopard print pants with butt implants!), while Curtis does an impression of Nicki’s “trainwreck trio” critique.
-Of course, all this judge business is to set up our next performance…
Kree Harrison performs Keith Urban’s “Where the Blacktop Ends,” with Keith Urban, Randy Jackson and Travis Barker on drums
-Is this the first time Randy has performed on the Idol stage? Regardless, all we need is Nicki to perform and we’ll have had the first season in which all four judges have performed onstage.
-Keith and Kree are a perfect fit together. Seriously. Even Randy looks at home on the stage (one would hope so, given his extensive background as a touring musician with Journey, among other accomplishments).
-Back from break as…
Idol says Goodbye to Randy Jackson
-This is a pretty amusing retrospective of Randy’s highlights on the show, set to “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter, just to give him an extra 90 seconds on his 15 minutes. That said, the whole “heartwarming farewell” only works if the person leaving is someone we’re actually going to miss. The dogs operating the switches in the control room are the best part about this video.
-The judges give Randy a standing O, while Randy bows to the audience. Ryan tells Randy that he speaks on behalf of the entire production when he says “The door is always open, brother.” Randy says he hopes he’s touched these contestants’ lives the way they’ve touched his.
-Ryan then introduces, live via satellite, ARETHA FRANKLIN!
-Aretha tells Candice she’s a winner, win or lose, and then says that she and Kree are winners, no matter what happens.
The Top 5 Girls perform with Aretha Franklin
-This is strange, if for no other reason than that Aretha is in New York and everyone else is in LA, which results in Aretha not sounding as clear as she might otherwise have sounded. That said, to those arguing that Mariah and Frankie Valli have been singing because their live voices are shot, allow me to submit to you the case of Miss Aretha Franklin. She’s got CANCER and she’s still singing circles around most of tonight’s performers. When you got it, you just got it.
-We return from break with the video hyping Season 12 auditions. We then cut to Candice and Kree in the audience, as Ryan announces that both finalists will be winning a Ford Escape. We then throw to a retrospective of the season, set to “Gone, Gone, Gone” by Phillip Phillips.
-I miss Jesiah Baer, Kez Ban and Zoanette. So much, you guys.
-Cute video, though probably not as moving as the production team might have hoped it would be. Then again, even if it had been tremendously affecting, the spell wouldn’t last for long, since we throw directly to our next performance after the video…
Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull perform “Live It Up”
-I can’t help but stare at the dancers and hope that the trance can drown out the song, because this is just not doing it for me. But then, I’ve never been big on J-Lo’s music. Or her judging.
-Gotta give it up for this choreography though. This is really damn slick. Well, except for the “Let’s jump up and down while imploring the audience to clap along!” part. But it’s still kind of hypnotic. The dancing, I mean. It’s part of why reality dance competitions are as compulsively watchable as they tend to be.
-Back from our final break of the night with the final duet before the results…
Kree Harrison and Candice Glover sing Bacharach-David Medley
-At this point, it’s like the producers are saying, “You don’t like the music I like? SCREW YOU, you’re getting more of it!” That said, calling this a medley is somewhat generous, given that it’s simply “One Less Bell to Answer” and “A House Is Not A Home,” but it sounds great on both finalists. It’s a lovely duet that caps off what’s been a thoroughly solid finale.
-After the accountant comes out to verify the results, we get to the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
The winner of American Idol Season 12 is…
-Candice has a reaction worthy of Fantasia Barrino, crying and shaking as she holds the winner’s trophy. Burnell gives her a kiss on the cheek. Ryan asks how she’s feeling, and she can only respond with the words “Three years!” Kree is all smiles as she embraces Candice. Ryan announces that the winner’s album is now available for pre-order. We then introduce our new American Idol, CANDICE GLOVER, singing her new single, “I Am Beautiful.”
Candice Glover performs “I Am Beautiful”
-She cries during the performance, as one would expect. Except she STILL sounds phenomenal. And now I’m choking back the waterworks too. Pyro! Confetti! A beautiful winning moment. Candice shares a long embrace with Burnell as we go off the air. And that’s a wrap on season 12!
Thank you so much for joining me for season 12! This was my first season covering Idol anywhere, and it’s been a real learning experience, to say the least. I want to thank Rickey for affording me this opportunity and for generally being the best boss I’ve ever had. I’d also like to thank Trey M. and Joe Tranchina for their support and contributions to the site and to Idol coverage. And, of course, I want to thank all of the commenters who have made Wednesdays and Thursdays a highlight of my week, even when I wasn’t always looking forward to the shows themselves. I couldn’t have asked for better readers, and I’ll never stop being thankful that you guys chose to hang out here with me.
Keep it locked as I’ll be adding the remaining videos from tonight’s finale.
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