Here’s the bottom line as we hit the finish line for this season: Where does the Joshua vote go? If his fans were a pop-loving crowd of teenage girls, they go straight to Jessica. If they were a deeper, more eclectic bunch, Phillip could score some of them. But let’s see how they do.
Round One, selected by Idol creator Simon Fuller, whom few viewers know or care about.
He begins by saddling JESSICA with a predictable, treacly Whitney Houston anthem. Was she good? Of course. Was it special? Not in the least.
Bolstering his affinity for shopworn classics, Fuller shackles PHILLIP with “Stand By Me,” equally robbing him of a chance to shine. First round to Jessica, and it’s not even Phillip’s fault.
Compounding frustrations, somebody made the genius decision to essentially nuke the judging, allowing only vague platitudes after each entire round. This show should be peaking with unforgettable moments. Instead it is dragged down by bad programming decisions.
Second round, the finalists get to pick their favorite.
JESSICA could have picked a lot of songs. Bold move to pick “The Prayer,” turning it into a fresher piece of work than Andrea Bocelli, Celine Dion and maybe even Josh Groban did. Very, very nice.
PHILLIP needed a special moment for his chosen song, and did not get it with Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out.” It was just the Phillip formula of standing there with the guitar, which is fine, it’s what got him this far. But once again, not special.
Now we get the sucky songs the writers have crafted for the eventual winner’s first single.
JESSICA gets “Change Nothing,” a boring piece of pop fluff that did her no favors. Much love to the judges for faulting the show for picking such a weak song for her powerful voice.
So imagine my surprise as PHIL is given the gift of a fairly decent song and even some drummers and background singers. “Home” was actually fairly memorable. And with this moment, he may have won this thing.
A third problem round for Phil, and I would have been officially scared. But as it is, with his entire season without an appearance in the Bottom 3, and this strong finish, I’m going to very cautiously suggest he wins the season.