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'American Idol' Finale Mega-Diary: A Note-by-Note Account of Phillip Phillps' Big Win

May 24th, 2012 11:07am EDT

Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez Welcome to the American Idol finale Mega-Diary! Our annual blow-by-blow recap of what used to be the third-biggest night in television and is now somewhere between the 14th Monday Night Football game and the 15th Monday Night Football game.

But no bother! We’ll press on. And here’s a prediction before the show even starts: The contestants will start singing a song and mid-way through they’ll introduce the original artist to join them onstage. Sorry if I just ruined the show for you.

8:03 – What more could I want to start off the finale than my favorite contestant from this year, Heejun Han, screaming entirely out of context and as creepily as possible? The answer: Nothing.

8:04 – I like the poorly lit shot of the break dancer in an area that isn’t apparent at all. Was he backstage doing that? He didn’t seem involved in the actual performance.

8:05 – And Joshua Ledet attempts to do the splits. Falls. Attempts to get up. Falls again. DeAndre carries him off. Hey! He’s a great singer not a dancer.

8:06 – All I can think of with this all-white wardrobe is Mormonism. Lots of Mormonism.

8:07 – Hey! It’s Dean Cain in the audience! I haven’t seen him since…Actually I don’t think I’ve ever seen him unless he was a punchline on “Don’t Trust the B---- in Apartment 23”.

8:08 – 132 million votes? By my math that means each viewer voted…132 million times. Oooo, declining ratings joke!

8:14 – My biggest question with this John Fogerty performance is whether or not he’s going to get sued by his old record label for playing CCR songs on television. Also, I think he chose “Mangy Dog Fur” as his shade of Just For Men. Not really working.

8:16 – Is it just me or did Phillip Phillips just introduce ‘Bad Moon Rising’ as though it were his song? It sure sounded like it.

8:18 – I’m almost 100% certain that on the second-to-last refrain they both sang, “There’s a bathroom on the right.” And you can’t prove they didn’t.

8:20 – Whenever they show the clip package of the audition rounds on the finale it just feels like it was a year ago that we were watching this. Maybe because it almost was. Maybe because this show is too long.

8:22 – Joshua Ledet introduced Fantasia as the biggest inspiration in his life. After America has seen her looking like the first-ever drag queen super hero and screaming like Edith Bunker, I think she might be the biggest inspiration…of nightmares.

8:30 – I have no joke for the Jennifer Lopez/Jessica Lopez Jimmy Iovine outtake reel. It was funny enough on its own.

8:33 – I think we have a new world record for least-inspired choreography. Skylar and Shannon literally walked across the stage in turn and then walked back. That was it. Walking at the camera in turn.

8:34 – What in the world is going on with the ridiculous sequined jumpsuits tonight? First Fantasia and now Chaka Khan? Is this the new “in” look? Should I be buying stock in lycra and bedazzlers?

8:41 – Just kept my perfect record intact of fast-forwarding through every Ford Music Video. I don’t think I’ve watched one since the invention of the DVR.

8:42 – Either that’s a gigantic couch or Jessica’s friend is really tiny. He looked like a Muppet sitting on there.

8:43 – I like getting free stuff, but I can’t imagine having anywhere near the reaction of the two “music mentors” at getting a Ford Escape. It was like they just won an Oscar, Grammy, Nobel Prize and The Publisher’s Clearinghouse at the same time.

8:44 – If you haven’t seen ‘Battleship’ (and that means you’re in the big majority) then you’re missing Rihanna delivering this line: "My dad said they’d come. Said it my whole life. He said one day we’d find them, or they’d find us. Know what else he said? He said, I hope I ain't around when that day comes." Yes, she’s talking about aliens. Yes, that’s a real line from a real movie. In other words, stick to music.

8:46 – Or not. Where does this fall in the pantheon of Rihanna hit singles? “Only Girl in the World” is clearly at the top, followed by “We Found Love” and then “Disturbia”. I think this ranks 14th. She’s gotta have at least three more better than this. Even if it did have what sounded like a cell phone vibrating sound effect several different times.

8:53 – So Skylar is dressed like a maid at a leather bar. All these ridiculous outfits are making me long for the heyday of making fun of what Adam Lambert was wearing on every show.

8:56 – Sorry, fell asleep watching that Skylar/Reba performance.

8:58 – Stayed asleep during that lame Steven Tyler package.

9:00 – I think Simon Fuller kind of undermined Jessica Sanchez on the finale. He chose for her a Whitney song which meant she couldn’t repeat Whitney by singing this again during the competition. This should have been the clear choice for her second song on the final performance show and it got stolen from her.

9:01 – Nothing says “hip” and “current” quite like a Neil Diamond medley. Why is this show losing young viewers again?

9:05 – Did you know that Neil Diamond’s last name is actually Diamond? And that his middle name is Leslie? Yes, I’m so bored by this medley that I’m looking up Neil Diamond facts on Wikipedia.

9:12 – I think my favorite feature of celebrities is seeing their uncomfortable-looking bodyguard sitting stonefaced next to them. Check out the behemoth near Jason Derulo. He looks like he’d rather be getting a root canal.

9:13 – Do you think Randy gets nervous when the producers are talking about “shake-ups” next season and then they deliver a package mocking how he’s boring and never says anything original? Though I think the chorus singing the phone book is actually a pretty solid comedy moment. Maybe Randy’s banality has been made worthwhile.

9:15 – Another sequined jumpsuit. This one’s baggy though. Should I grab some Umbro stock too?

9:15 – So that’s what happened to Li’l Jon. I was wondering about that.

9:16 – There’s something almost criminal about a singing contestant judge lip-synching. Though I guess Britney Spears just got a similar gig, so what do I know?

9:18 – Ok, I still have no idea who Pitbull is. But I really have no idea who all these rappers joining Jennifer Lopez onstage are. (Insert Dog-Breed Joke Here)

9:20 – Remember when Jennifer Lopez was a serious actress who stole the movie “Out of Sight” and should have gotten an Oscar nomination for “Selena”? Yeah, me neither.

9:25 – It’s probably not a good sign for any television series if your first couple is Ace Young and Diana DeGarmo. Though, according to Ace Young, they did “conquer Broadway.” At least he didn’t work a jewelry store plug into a marriage proposal or anything. Because that would just be tacky.

9:30 – Did Hollie just out-sing Jordin Sparks? You bet your sequined-dress she did.

9:37 – This may be disrespectful to the dead, but watching the Bee Gees being performed on ‘Idol’, I can’t help but be reminded of my favorite bad singing competition audition of all time.

9:39 – And, once again, Joshua proves just how superior he is to the rest of the contestants from this season. He did Robin Gibb as proud as Robert Unwin made him roll over in his grave.

9:41 – Shouldn’t Jennifer Holliday have been introduced as Jennifer Holliday and her teeth? And her wig? And her earrings? And her lipstick? She has an entire backing group right on her.

9:43 – Okay, once Jennifer started going all diva, Jessica should have just walked off the stage. Nobody wants to see anything but Jennifer Holliday kill this song once she gets into it. Though I supposed Jessica held her own as best as could be expected.

9:44 – Never thought I’d say this about an ‘American Idol’ finale performance, but that was pretty goddamned awesome.

9:48 – We got J-Lo and now Aerosmith. Can’t they give Randy Jackson a bass solo up there on one of these finales? Maybe he could perform ‘Big Bottom’.

9:50 – I’m going to abstain from my own opinion for a moment and leave it up to the readers to decide: What do you guys think of Aerosmith’s new song?

9:52 – Yes! Dean Cain again! Do you think his agent is considering this a turning point and taking a lot of credit?

9:53 – I’m going to make a grand declaration right here. If you think the Run-DMC version of ‘Walk This Way’ is better than the Aerosmith original, you’re just wrong. That’s all there is to it.

9:58 – I just shouted at the TV, “Oh my God! End already!” I don’t think that’s a good sign.

10:00 – I’m having trouble discerning the purpose of the chorus standing on the stairs. I couldn’t hear them. They were dressed in all different clothing. They were so far away you could barely see them. Maybe it played better in the room?

10:03 – And Phillip Phillips wins! I’d just like to point out (and pump my chest a little bit) that he was number one in my power rankings all season long and I never, even for a second, considered taking him out. Cute guy with guitar will always win out on this show. It just seems destiny at this point.

While I didn’t think he was the best, you have to really give him a lot of credit. After all, this is a guy who needs to go have emergency kidney surgery like four weeks ago and managed to gut through the rigorous ‘Idol’ schedule and take home the crown. When I have a mild headache, I don’t even want to type up this column let alone perform for 30 20 million viewers.

Plus, seeing him quit the song in the middle to go celebrate with his family. That's just all class and heart right there. A great way to end the season.

And with that, seeya next year!

Related: Ace Young, Aerosmith, American Idol, Chaka Khan, Diana DeGarmo, Fantasia Barrino, Heejun Han, Hollie Cavanagh, Jennifer Lopez, Jimmy Iovine, John Fogerty, Jordin Sparks, Joshua Ledet, Neil Diamond, Phillip Phillips, Pitbull, Reba McEntire, Run DMC, Skylar Laine, Steven Tyler, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Reality, TV Networks, FOX

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Photo Credits: Michael Becker/FOX

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