idol-27

Tonight, season 12 came to close. But before the winner was announced, the top 11 all had to come back and put on an extravagant results show, for ratings’ sake. As a group, they dressed in white and performed “Glad You Came” by The Wanted. Now we know why they don’t do group numbers: It was clearly ill-rehearsed, with everyone pretty much just doing their own thing, save for their synchronized strutting. It was almost as bad as Mariah and Nicki struggling to walk down the steps in their giant heels, clinging to Randy and Keith for dear life.

One of the top 5, Janelle Arthur, sang with The Band Perry on their song “Done.” She was the fiercest she’s ever been, and sounded great, even while head-banging and jumping along with Kimberly, the lead singer and only female of the sibling trio. You could even argue that Janelle would make a perfect addition to the band!

After a ridiculously cheesy segment where the boys “accused” the girls of sabotaging them (because they were all eliminated first), the top five guys went all Jersey Boys on us and sang a mash-up of Four Seasons mash-up of “Let’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got)” “Walk Like A Man” and “Who Loves You?” before introducing Frankie Valli himself, who joined them in singing “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You,” and “Grease Is The Word.” They were pretty decent back-up, but damn, that man has still got it!

Mariah made her “comeback,” taking to the stage to lip sync bits of a number of her past hits: “Vision of Love,” “Make It Happen,” “My All,” “Hero,” and “We Belong Together.” Well, let’s be clear, she sang a little bit, but it was VERY obvious what parts she was singing and what was the backing track, because she sounded like she A. hadn’t sung in years and B. didn’t remember the lyrics to her own songs. She also gave a sampling of her new song, “#Beautiful.” Yes, another song with a hashtag in it.

The fourth place contestant, Amber Holcomb, came back almost as soon as she’d departed. She joined Emeli Sande in her hit “Next to Me,” and it was clear why they had had her singing the Scottish singers’ songs: They have a similar sound, but Amber was overpowered in stage presence by Emeli for sure. It was a vast improvement over the disaster of a performance that came before it, though.

After Kree and Candice played Oprah and gave their family members new cars, Psy came out and sang his new song “Gentleman.” Wait… who’s Psy? Oh yeah, Gangnam Style dude. And, not surprisingly, this was basically the same song: You have no idea what he’s saying other than a few words, and he performs a few choice, weirdly-provocative dance moves. Which leaves us all to wonder: Why are we so fascinated with K-Pop?

Another judge performance: Keith Urban took the stage to sing his song “Little Bit of Everything.” It wasn’t anything special, but he certainly didn’t bomb like Mariah. It’s a light, summery song, and made for a good addition to the night’s line-up. A shout out to his band, who were laughing and enjoying themselves while jamming away up there.

Candice finally got to take the stage herself, singing Natalie Cole’s “Inseparable” with season 3 finalist and Grammy Award-winning artist Jennifer Hudson. The two powerhouse vocalists tore up the stage, belting out ridiculous notes you have to hear to believe. Afterwards, Ryan said, “Moments like that are what this show is all about!”

Third place contestant Angie Miller resumed her rightful place at the piano, singing a particularly somber version of David Guetta’s “Titanium.” She was accompanied by Adam Lambert, who placed second during the eighth season of Idol. Angie also got to sing with Jessie J on her hit “Domino,” which was clearly meaningful to the contestant, who performed a number of the Brit’s songs on the show. It was the most playful performance of the night, with the two riffing on and goofing with each other the whole time, and genuinely enjoying themselves up on stage. Apparently the two will be performing together in the future as well, which I will definitely be staying tuned for.

Kree took the stage for her performance with quite a posse: judges Keith and Randy on guitar, and Travis Barker of blink-182 on the drums! She (and Keith) sang his song “Where the Blacktop Ends,” and the result was an energetic and entertaining performance. I guess it was Randy’s last hurrah, as he’s announced he’s leaving the show after being on since the very first season. (They also did a tribute to him that featured a bunch of real dogs… how pun-y!)

The biggest shock of the night came when Aretha Franklin was brought in via teleconference to sing with the top five ladies. They sang her hit songs “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman,” “I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)” and, of course, “Respect.” It was nice that they didn’t focus on the girls as much, since Aretha was on a screen, making it hard to have the camera on everyone at once. And they really were just her back-up singers. It was a very well done performance.

Jennifer Lopez was the final celebrity performance of the night. She and Pitbull performed their new single “Live It Up,” though the latter only made two very brief appearances on stage. The diva is in incredible shape, taking the stage with dancers half her age who she actually managed to keep up with. (The costumes she and the dancers wore were really ugly though.)

Finally, the two finalists sang together one last time, performing “One Last Bell To Answer/A House Is Not A Home” by Burt Bacharach. Then all that was left to do was announce the winner: Candice Glover! And in Idol tradition, she then got to sing her first single, “I Am Beautiful,” through her tears as the confetti and sparklers rained down. The best contestant won in my opinion, which rarely happens, so all in all, it was a good season!