One Last Look At A Great Finale For American Idol Season 12

Candice crowned American Idol

The American Idol Season 12 finale aired this past Thursday and Candice Glover was pronounced the winner. Throughout this season of Idol there have been questions raised about the credibility of the judges and the transparent manipulation of the results. The finale generated a whole new set of questions and accusations and our readers in particular have had some of the strongest opinions and insightful comments to date. After reading them all as well as reports that have surfaced since the finale aired, I’ve decided to offer my opinion of the season finale.

This season’s finale was one of the best I’ve seen, especially because it made me forget all about the scandalous rumors that engulfed the show this season. It was filled with performances by the Season 12 Top 10 as well as finalists from previous seasons who have gone on to very successful careers in the music industry. Even the judges contributed performances, with the exception of Nicki Minaj, a glaring omission that did not go unnoticed by viewers. Many believed this was an intentional snub by Idol producers, but as it turns out that was not the case. According to reports, Nicki said “I was supposed to premiere my “High School” video on Idol but they said it was too risqué”. If you’ve seen the video in question, then I think you’d probably agree with them. Nicki also offered this as an explanation for conspicuously remaining in her seat at the judge’s table all night, “I had already committed to the Billboard Awards to perform “High School” so I wasn’t allowed to perform it on [both]”. I know Nicki has her fans and I have absolutely no issue with them or with Nicki Minaj, but I personally don’t feel deprived of anything and that particular song really isn’t suitable viewing for younger members of the audience. Can you imagine the backlash American Idol would have suffered if they aired the video after so many complaints about Nicki’s off color remarks all season? Watch the video, than decide.

Mariah Carey’s performance of a medley of her hits set off a barrage of accusations from readers here as well as on Twitter and Facebook. Fans of American Idol blasted the diva wondering how she could sit in judgment of the contestant’s live performances all season, yet couldn’t manage to deliver one of her own. Mariah’s rep immediately released a statement saying “She absolutely did not lip-sync. She performed LIVE in front of several thousands of people!” The publicist did say that Mariah sang along with a pre-recorded track recorded earlier in the day. Audience members present during the taping confirm her publicist’s statement saying she sang the songs live in front of them and she even included a few more that didn’t end up in the final broadcast. I think she only appeared to be lip syncing because the audio track was not perfectly synced up with Mariah’s movements. Mariah chose not to sing live during the broadcast and there are perfectly valid reasons for that, but unfortunately there are also consequences. It’s a live show after all and the performer’s spontaneity is going to be a factor. Ideally, every nuance of what Mariah intended to do during the live broadcast should have been synced with the pre-recorded track during rehearsal, and it probably was, but again it’s live TV. Mariah herself has so far kept quiet on the issue.

The rapid elimination of the guys of the Top 10 was a hot topic this season. The skit they did claiming it was a case of sabotage by the girls was hilarious in my opinion. One by one, the reasons for their elimination were revealed. The best of the clip for me was when Janelle was seen changing the sheet music for Lazaro’s rendition of “Close To You”. For anyone who remembers that disastrous performance from Lazaro, it was the one LOL moment of the night and an inspired piece of comedy. Some of our readers thought it was somewhat hypocritical of a few of the guys to appear in the piece, considering the comments made on Twitter and in interviews right after their respective eliminations. There was definitely plenty of “sour grapes” from Lazaro Arbos and Curtis Finch, Jr. and even Devin Velez engaged in some less than gracious remarks after being voted off the show. But, I imagine at this point they all realize their mistake in doing so and this was a way for them all to finish the season on a high note. The potential exists for all of them to be at the mercy of Interscope and 19 Entertainment who hand out recording contracts to the Top Finalists. Sounding off on Twitter and making disparaging remarks to interviewers about the show and the judges is no way to endear themselves to the powers that be. American Idol gave them a way to redeem themselves and to save face and there’s nothing wrong with that.

One memorable finale performance featured the Top 5 girls singing along with the “Queen of Soul” Aretha Franklin, who participated via a live transmission from New York. She spoke briefly with Ryan Seacrest and made a remark that set off yet another round of comments filled with the suspicion that Miss Franklin was privy to the final voting results. The comment that sparked the debate was “Candice, Tonight you’re a winner, win or lose you’re a winner”. Ryan responded to Aretha with “You don’t have the results tonight do you?” I don’t believe for a second that Aretha Franklin knew what the final result would be any more than I did. The remark was only part of what she said and it was pounced on by the conspiracy theorists that lie in wait for such opportunities. I do think that Ryan added fuel with his comment and I can’t even guess at his reasons for doing so.

Jennifer Lopez, former and possibly returning American Idol judge did a number with Pitbull. Rumor has it that JLo was in talks with producers about replacing Mariah next season. Some viewers saw it as a way for her to remind us of her qualifications to judge and there was even talk of it being a slap in the face to Mariah. It makes a lot of sense for her to appear if she is truly considering returning for Season 14. As far as it being a dig towards Mariah Carey, that seems unlikely and difficult to imagine.

South Korean pop sensation Psy performed “Gentleman”. There was a large group of dancers backing him up, but it did nothing for me. It seemed passé and lame.

The Top 5 girls had some great performances singing with the superstar guests who flew in for the night. Amber Holcolmb and Emile Sande performed “Next To Me”. While Emile moved around easily and confidently, Amber seemed a little awkward and they just didn’t connect that way. Their voices were a good mix though and it sounded great.

Candice Glover got the chance to duet with former contestant, Jennifer Hudson. It’s almost hard to imagine, given all of her amazing accomplishments since, that she was ever on American Idol. The audience and the judges loved the performance. Quite a few commented here that it was just a screaming contest. The same was said of last year’s duet with Joshua Ledet and Fantasia. I think their voices were evenly matched as far as tone and range and I loved it.

Former Idol contender Adam Lambert returned for a duet of his single “Titanium” with Angie Miller. I think Adam is extremely talented and I love watching him perform. He seemed to tone it down a bit for this duet, possibly to allow Angie her time in the spotlight which speaks to his generous heart. Her voice seemed to drown him out when they were singing together and the only time I really heard Adam was when he sang alone. Immediately following this, Adam introduced Jessie J, Angie’s personal idol and they performed a duet of Jessie J’s song, “Domino”. Angie did a good job, matching Jessie J’s exuberance, bounce for bounce. It’s been reported that Angie was given these two duets to make up for the producers reneging on their promise to allow her to perform “Set Me Free” on the finale. Angie again showed the side of her that Nicki harshly criticized her for earlier in the season during Motown Week. It seems she is moving away from the Christian music genre more and more.

Kree Harrison got to perform Keith Urban’s song, “Where the Blacktop Ends” along with Keith and Randy Jackson. This was a pure country performance and a great moment for Kree. The three of them actually make a nice trio. Maybe Keith and Randy are ready to try something new.

I think Idol producers worked hard to give the girls what could end up being once in a lifetime chances to perform alongside those who came before them and went on to incredible success.

The tribute video that Idol put together for departing judge, Randy Jackson was full of classic comments and shots of Randy over the years. The actual dogs shown in the beginning of the clip were a little to “on the nose” but entertaining, mostly to the young viewers in the audience. Overall, I thought they should have put more effort into it. Considering that Randy has been with them since the very beginning, they should have gone all out for him.

American Idol has said they intend to do a clean sweep of the judge’s panel for next season in an attempt to boost their declining ratings. We know Randy retired from Idol this season and won’t be back. It was widely reported that Mariah had been fired, but fired or not she will not be returning for Season 14. It looks like she will be replaced by Jennifer Lopez who sat at the table during Season 10 and 11 but American Idol has not confirmed that yet. Speculation as to whether Nicki Minaj will be returning next season has come to an end. US Weekly reports that Nicki said she is definitely not returning for another season of Idol. Nicki also claimed that from the outset, she had only intended to do one season of the show. Keith Urban, the only judge to receive consistently good reviews from viewers has said that he will be replacing Randy Jackson on the panel and will be back for another season of American Idol. That leaves only 1 seat to fill, assuming the producers return to the 3 judge format, which is what the majority of viewers have said they prefer. I’m betting it will be a man, but who should it be? That’s the burning question and the choice will be vital to achieving the dynamic that viewers want to see at the judge’s table.

What did you think the Season 12 Finale? Did American Idol do enough to counter the negativity that surrounded them all season?




      • Eh, I’m not so sure about Steven. J.Lo I would love to see back. If not her, then I would love to see Pink on the panel.

      • Yes Pink. Many people love her and I’m sure ratings would come back because people love her. And she has so many hits on the radio, so she’s not going to stay away. When did she re-emerge. She’s been around for the last five or so years. She’s had many hits on the radio since then. If she’s big now, I’m sure if Idol hired her, they would bring many viewers to the show.

  1. billboard

    American audiences got another taste of K-pop with PSY’s debut on the “Idol”
    stage, The Korean rapper had one of the high-energy performances of the evening
    with new single “Gentleman,” featuring its infectious hook and hilarious dance
    moves, some of which resembled those of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

  2. Good job of summarizing the finale and the situation about the judges. I really enjoyed this finale. I think one reason was because there was some great humor in some of the skits. Sometimes, during the season, humor was attempted, but was not that funny. The performance I liked least was Psy. You’re right about Nicki’s video–not a good fit for a finale like this one. Did Angie need to have two duets? Kree did not get to sing her original song and didn’t even have a guest. She sang with Randy and Keith, but it was a good number. Idol can’t please everyone. The closest they can get is to be fair. I will remember the tribute to Randy, but I don’t remember what they did for Simon. Maybe the third judge will be Jimmy Iovine. I’d rather see someone other than JLo. Her predictable comments are still running through my head from her last time as a judge. I had hoped Idol would get Shakira from The Voice since Christina is coming back, but The Voice has arranged to share the job in two different “cycles” each year. I think this finale ended a season filled with bitterness and complaints in a way that gave hope for the future. Really liked your articles this year, L.A. Hope to read more from you here and, maybe, other places like this.

  3. It was a great season for the part I watched. Still would have liked to see Johnny Keyser in the top ten, but hey, Candice made it and won. I kind of wish Randy would be there next year, I’ve always liked him even when I didn’t. also I’d kind of like to see Jlo back as well as Steven or they could keep Keith, he is fair with his judging and seems to really care. I think most everyone likes Steven and Keith.

    • You are right that everyone likes Steven however I don’t feel like he is a good judge. The only comments he made were “That was beautiful.” He basically said that for every performance he liked. He never gave any constructive critiques like Keith and sometimes it seemed as though he wasn’t even paying attention. I would absolutely love to have Keith back. He deserves to be asked back by the producers and I do hope they ask him to return. I could do without JLo and her “goosies” so I’m hoping reports of her return are completely false. They need someone like Jimmy Iovine (if not him) because he is totally truthful whether he likes what he hears or not. Anyway, that is just my two cents…

  4. I don’t agree it was a really great finale. Why didn’t Kree get a famous person to duet with like Candice? It’s Candice all the way. Who wants judges breathing down their neck for a finale? How about Dolly Parton or somebody else in her genre paired up. Kree will do well even though the judges were never her way (except for Keith). She’ll really go places because the judges were wrong wrong wrong.

    • Excuse me, but I’m pretty sure that Keith Urban qualifies as famous. I’m also certain that Kree was thrilled to perform with a member of the Grand Old Opry, considering he is still selling out concerts. He also has had Kris Allen open for him, so why not Kree?

      • He does qualify as famous, but he was not brought in as a guest. Keith was a judge and part of the show as well as was Randy. If Keith stays with Idol, will he have time to do concerts? That’s one of the problems with being on Idol or a show like Idol. I think JLo left so she could do concerts and maybe the reason Steven left as well. I think Steven was best during the audition part of Idol when he would make some pretty funny comments. After that he did not add much in the way of helpful criticism for the finalists.

    • I’m sure Kree loved singing with Keith Urban, it might of also been nice to hear her sing with Scotty McCreery.

      • I would like to have seen Kree sing with Patsy Cline. Remember the duet between Celine Dion and Elvis? Maybe it would have been too expensive to do that again, but sometime I would like Idol to repeat that concept as a “guest from beyond” in the season finale. Kree had mentioned that Patsy was one of her idols. Even so, I still liked seeing Keith and Randy perform with Kree. I’m not complaining–just dreaming big.

    • I kind of thought keith urban was a famous person. I can only assume you are not a fan of the country genre. Considering his concerts sell out instantly all over the world and any country newcomer would give almost anything to perform with him AND Randy Jackson for that matter, I’d say Kree did alright and we wont hear any complaints from her.

  5. I’m glad to see Keith Urban returning as judge. How about Mick Jagger as a judge? He probably doesn’t have the time.

  6. That finale was the best thing that ever happen to that show,literally.Candice and Jennifer was breath taking,but Angie really demonstrated that she was the rael winner by matching note by note Alan Lambert and Jessie J.Still,The Voice is a better show…..

    • I agree, Lynne!! As far as I’m concerned theirs was the best performance of the night. I don’t like Divas trying to shout down one another. Adam and Angie sang the duet the way a duet is supposed to be sung, and not in competition with one another. I heard Adam’s voice very well, and he showed them what a true pro is!!

  7. I will watch nest year as long as Nikki is booted. She is a no-talent loud moth phony and if she should return viewership will continue to go down!

    • Totally disagree! I loved Nikki – her comments were always inciteful and interesting, and she was always interesting to watch. I personally am very sorry she won’t be returning, if that is the case. She is a real personality, not bland and uninteresting

      • Nicki was…um, an experience. She made a lot of enemies but, my goodness, what a showcase it has been for her! I’d never heard of her before, really. She isn’t big in England. One year of her was enough though.

  8. Harry connick jr would be the best and if your having three judges Harry Connick Jr ,J lo and Kieth Urban and give them some voting power 30% judges score and 70% voters and if you put it on itunes as a vote and people download its a double vote

  9. I enjoyed the finale. All of the five finalists sang really well and I think, all will do well. I hope Jlo isn’t being considered again. I wouldn’t call that refreshing the judging panel. I like the idea of three new judges, who will have different approaches to critiquing, that we’re not familiar with. I think with the way Idol is set up, two guys and a girl works best. I hope too, the contestants will be more free, to sing songs of their choice, to showcase their preferred genre and talent.

  10. if you want this show to be really entertaining put Steven Tyler and Ellen DeGeneres at the panel that would be hilarious xD

  11. I enjoyed this season of AI. I feel that if anyone should have been fired, it was Nicki. Mariah should not have been fired, but she should have been able to quit the show. She was always a perfect lady and very gracious in all of her comments to the idols. I am glad that Keith will be back next season. He was very gracious in all of his comments and a perfect gentleman to all of the idols. His comments were not hurtful and he never cursed and used foul language, which is very refreshing! I feel that a good judge would be Michael Buble’ or Harry Connick Jr. or maybe even Barry Manilow . I liked Paula Abdule and wish she could come back in place of Jennifer Lopez. I also liked Jimmy Iovine, but I feel he should remain in the same position, as he really tells it like it is, no matter what the audience thinks or how many times he is booed! I also think that I have seen a few better finale shows than this one, but I didn’t seem to care, as long as Candice won and became the new American Idol. I wish her well, she is very deserving of her new title. She has a beautiful voice and will be very successful in the future. In fact, all top 5 girls will do well because they all have great voices. Good luck to all of them. See you next season!

    • Funny you should mention Michael Buble’. I totally agree. I think he would be a breath of fresh air and he would give good corrrective criticism. I loved Keith Urban to return also. JoLo. iffy for me, she was too dramatic for me last year. I liked Mariah Carey too. I think Nicki was too honest with her comments and that offended a lot of people. Oh well, on a hold I enjoyed this season and I think great talent came out of it.
      I know I’ll be watching next season as always. Have a wonderful summer and thanks again to Matt and his staff. I thoroughly enjoyed the recaps, updates and first hand information….Great job!!!!

  12. I do feel like Keith should stay, as well as Mariah. The only problem with her was the insecurity because of Nicki Minaj. Personally I liked Minaj comments, but it all turned out terrible because of the feuds. It’s still important tho to have someone who speaks their mind just like Nicki did. It could be Harry Connick Jr, but is he famous enough to atract viewers, especially young ones?

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