‘American Idol’ finale review: Phillip Phillips’ ‘Home,’ Jessica Sanchez soars

Who was better from your vantage point?

Who is the next “American Idol“? We can’t say for sure — but based on the crazy audience support, Phillip had the edge going into the show’s final performance show Tuesday night.

This is typically not the finalists’ best night of the season, mostly because there is so much going on and they have had little time to actually work on their songs. Therefore, can we really be too upset that most of these performances were good rather than great?

Jessica Sanchez, “I Have Nothing” – Seriously? We understand that this is one of Whitney Houston’s greatest songs, but it benefits no one to have this song performed for the second time this season — and this is with there being other performances of the song on “The X Factor” and “The Voice” this past year.

Jessica sang this well, but we worry that Simon Fuller hurt her by picking a song that no one is going to particular remember, mostly because so many are tired of it.

Phillip Phillip, “Stand By Me” – Meanwhile, Fuller picked a much better song for Phillip in a classic that has not been covered on a singing show recently — and it continued what has been a hot streak for the Georgia native.

What made this a good performance for Phillip is that he combined a little bit of melodic sensibility with his trademark style, and by doing a slower song he showed off some vulnerability and a bit less of his bizarre in-song facial reactions.

Winner: We know the judges picked Jessica, but we’re saying Phillip here.

Contestants’ choice

Jessica, “The Prayer” – While we don’t necessarily love Jessica following up a ballad with another ballad, it was a smart choice in that she hasn’t performed it since before the top 24. Therefore, it actually felt fresher than her “I Have Nothing” — and she completely killed it. If you didn’t get emotional during this, it’s possible that you have no soul.

Easily, this was her best performance of the night.

Phillip, “Movin’ Out” – In the battle of song choices, Jessica clearly won. Rather than going with “Thriller,” “Volcano,” or even “Superstition,” Phillip picked a song from Billy Joel Week that was good, but also forgettable. While Jessica made some magic on the stage, Phillip did his thing — which would not be enough for him to win this competition if he was anyone other than a good-looking guy with a sense of humor and a guitar.

We also wonder if Phillip is going to bring that lady saxophonist out on tour — hey, he’s used her in just about every week (and this time, she used the clarinet).

Winner: Jessica by a mile

Original songs

Jessica, “Change Nothing” – Oh, the “Idol” coronation songs. These have a history of being pretty terrible, even if Scotty McCreery did okay with the still-cheesy “I Love You This Big.”

As good as Jessica could sing this ballad, the only thing we could say is that this song was horrific. If we were here, we would have sat with Jimmy Iovine and refused to perform until they brought her something else that was age-appropriate and actually fun … not duller than rusty butter knife.

Phillip, “Home” – Phillip clearly had the edge here. Can anyone say Bon Iver tribute? This had a bit of that, some Mumford & Sons (yes, we agree with Randy), and a whole lot of awesome.

This was the best coronation single on “Idol” since “A Moment Like This” — and while it’s not fair to Jessica that he got such a better song than she did, we think it probably just won him the competition.

Winner: Phillip

Who do you think is the winner based on these performances?

Photo: Fox

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