AMERICAN IDOL Finale Recap: Two Heavyweights Slug it Out on Enjoyable Finale (updated w/ photos)

AMERICAN IDOL Finale Recap: Two Heavyweights Slug it Out on Enjoyable Finale (updated w/ photos)

Well, we've been through quite a lot together this season. From emotionally manipulative format changes (courtesy of new EP Per Blankens) to tone-deaf contestants making the Top-6 to way too many mid-performance cutaways to Jennifer Lopez, but when all is said and done, very few can legitimately argue that the voting public didn't get it right in selecting the season's best to face off in Tuesday's epic finale.

In Caleb Johnson and Jena Irene, we have the season's only two performers that consistently gave credible, entertaining performances, and also had a professional command of the stage. As you would expect these two heavyweights delivered a knockout of a competition finale. While I always hate the recycled song choices, and don't get me started on the generally nauseating coronation songs, this was a very enjoyable way to close the competition part of the season.

So, without further ado, on to the show (I will be back with pictures of each performance as soon as FOX makes them available):

A white-tuxed Ryan Seacrest welcomed us to the Nokia Theatre and Caleb and Jena came out for a brief introduction. It was interesting because Caleb seemed to lap up the new, bigger stage, while the younger Jena had a bit of a deer-in-headlights look on her face.

Ryan runs down what we will be hearing, the first round is songs chosen by AMERICAN (and POP before it) IDOL creator Simon Fuller. The second will be the contestants' picks of any song they have performed already this season, and the final round will be the singles that each will release if they win tomorrow night. Ok, on to the performances...


Jena IreneAMERICAN IDOL Finale Recap: Two Heavyweights Slug it Out on Enjoyable Finale (updated w/ photos)
"Dog Days Are Over" by Florence and the Machines
Three-Word Review:
Took a Second

Jena's nerves were clearly evident in the song's opening moments, but it didn't take her long to ease into her comfort zone. I'm not sure that the song did much to showcase her vocal talents, but she owned what the song gave her, and, perhaps more importantly, show owned every single square inch of the stage. If you took the amount of genuine interactions that all of the other contestants have had with the audience this season and multiplied them by 10, they still wouldn't equal the number that Jena had just tonight. She is so comfortable on stage, and it showed in this performance, something an IDOL champ must have.

AMERICAN IDOL Finale Recap: Two Heavyweights Slug it Out on Enjoyable Finale (updated w/ photos)Caleb Johnson
"Dream On" by Aerosmith
Three-Word Review:
Channeling Steven Tyler

Well hot damn, I guess Caleb's vocal hemorrhage has healed fairly well over the past six days. It seemed that he was protecting himself through much of the song, but when Caleb went up to those legendary high notes at the end of the song, it was clear that his voice is 100% healthy. It might not have been great from start to finish, but man did that finish make up for the early wobbles.

Round One Scoring: Caleb Johnson on points


Jena Irene
"Can't Help Falling in Love" by Elvis Presley
Three-Word Review:
Still My FavoriteAMERICAN IDOL Finale Recap: Two Heavyweights Slug it Out on Enjoyable Finale (updated w/ photos)


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Matt Tamanini Matt is BroadwayWorld's Senior TV and Film critic, and works behind-the-scenes at BWW as well. He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University and has worked in professional and collegiate sports, as a theatre director, producer, and teacher, and he is a podcast host and producer with BroadwayRadio. He also hosts BroadwayWorld's pop culture podcast, 'Some Like it Pop.' You can connect with Matt through Twitter @BWWMatt.
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