* American Idol Top 2 Recap

A fun night ends with Simon predicting that Taylor Hicks has just won American Idol.

Tonight was the final competition night on season five of American Idol, featuring Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks as the final two contestants standing (or sitting, depending on the song). Breaking with tradition, I’ll be summarizing tonight’s American Idol performance in the order they sang, not from best to worst.

Katharine McPhee (20/25). For her first song, Katharine reprised “Black Horse And The Cherry Tree.” She wandered around the melody a bit and did more dancing and prancing than sitting like the first time. I don’t think this is the best song for a venue like the Kodak Theatre. The song isn’t big enough. It’s a fun pop song, and Kat sang it well, about as well as the first time she sang it this season. But, overall, I’d say that it was a song and she sang it. Simon said it was good with a small “g” and that it was a good warm-up for her. Ouch. Because it’s the final competition night, I don’t think anyone should score below 20, so that’s where Kat set the bar with this performance.

Taylor Hicks (23/25). For his first song, Taylor reprised “Living For The City.” The first thing we did in our house was turn up the volume. Grab the remote and turn up the volume, because Taylor is in the house! Taylor worked the crowd and the camera with an energetic big performance, definitely big enough for the Kodak Theatre. This was a slightly longer arrangement than when he first sang it. I counted a nearly 20 second ovation from the audience. Simon said that round one goes to Taylor.

Katharine McPhee (23/25). For her second song, Katharine reprised “Over The Rainbow.” She sang it slower and breathier than the first time she sang it (last week). She hit a clunker of a note on the second to last “birds fly” but otherwise sang it about as well as she did last week. But again I ask, why is she sitting? This has to look awkward to the home viewer. Simon said it was Kat’s best performance of the competition. Which means, unfortunately, that there is nowhere to go but down from here. See how song performance order matters?

Taylor Hicks (21/25). For his second song, Taylor reprised “Levon.” I jumped on the Taylor bandwagon for real after Taylor’s first performance of “Levon” early in the season. Back then, it was the first we’d seen of the passion of his performances, the emotional connection he makes with a song. This time, it was not quite as good as the first time. The first time, his performance was such a contrast to the other performances of the night. Now that we’re used to Taylor, this performance didn’t stand out as much. Simon said that after two rounds, we’re tied. I actually have Taylor slightly ahead 44 to 43.

Katharine McPhee (19/25). For her third and final song, Katharine sang “My Destiny,” which will be her first single. The key seemed too low for her at the start, and she stumbled her way through the opening. She was very pitchy after the modulation. This sounded like the perfect song for Kermit The Frog to sing, but not for Katharine. Then again, she was wearing a green dress. This is the problem with having the AI original song sung last. Simon said she went from great with her second song to very good with this song. I had to change my rule about not giving a score below 20 tonight, as I thought this was, by far, the worst of the night.

Taylor Hicks (24/25). For his third and final song, Taylor sang “Do I Make You Proud,” which will be his first single. Taylor was smooth and powerful, building to a great climax. The song got bigger and better as it progressed. And Taylor nailed the modulation. Unbelievable. You gotta love the gospel backup singers. Taylor can even make the bogus original song sound good! I thought it was, by far, the best of the night. Simon said, “Taylor, you have just won American Idol.”

The Kodak Theatre is a big venue, and not all of the songs were big enough for the venue tonight. But overall I thought it was a great final competition. It occurs to me that the Kodak seats about 3000 and that Taylor sang to much bigger crowds back home in Alabama. Not so for Katharine, so perhaps she was intimidated by the large stage. Interestingly, we have four hours to vote tonight instead of two. In our family, the votes were five to zero for Taylor.

Erik’s blogging promise: I hereby swear and affirm that, as always, I have not consulted other blogs (including DialIdol.com) before making my predictions. I am linking to others here, for your convenience, before having read the opinions of the other pundits (which I’ll be doing shortly). I will be updating the URLs in the chart as other posts become available.

Erik’s rankings (best to worst): Taylor (68/75), Katharine (62/75).

Erik’s pick to go home: Katharine.

(erikjheels.com is 80% accurate in picking the bottom American Idol contestants.)

Erik’s Chart of American Idol Pundits
Pundit Bottom 2-3 Accuracy Bottom One Accuracy Weighted Total Accuracy
Power Dialers @ DialIdol.com 87% (13 for 15) 71% (5 for 7) 82% (18 for 22)
Augie De Blieck Jr. @ Various and Sundry American Idol 73% (11 for 15) 57% (4 for 7) 68% (15 for 22)
Erik @ Erik J. Heels 80% (12 for 15) 43% (3 for 7) 68% (15 for 22)
Joe Reality @ Reality TV Magazine 80% (12 for 15) 43% (3 for 7) 68% (15 for 22)
Jennifer @ The Woes and the Prose of an American Idol Junkie 87% (13 for 15) 29% (2 for 7) 68% (15 for 22)
Dave @ High Lord Dave’s Blog 67% (10 for 15) 57% (4 for 7) 64% (14 for 22)
Ken Barnes @ USATODAY 67% (10 for 15) 57% (4 for 7) 64% (14 for 22)
DJSlim (Brent Natzle) @ American Idol Season 5 Blog 60% (9 for 15) 29% (2 for 7) 50% (11 for 22)
Flipping A Coin 50% 50% 50%
Simon Cowell @ American Idol NA 29% (2 for 7) 29% (2 for 7)
Web Searchers @ Zabasearch.com – Most Searched American Idol Contestants no historical data no historical data no historical data
Web Searchers @ Google Trends no historical data no historical data no historical data

See also (not in the chart but worth reading):

  • Laura @ idolreview.net
  • MJ @ mjsbigblog.com

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6 Replies to “* American Idol Top 2 Recap”

  1. I am sorry but I think this year the final has been rigged in favor of Taylor and here is why. All things aside we alerady knew how they both did the first songs so lets discount them right away, that brings the competition down to the final songs for both performers. they give Kat a lousy single and Taylor a good one, maybe they want a male winner this year since the past two years were female. How is it in previous seasons they both got to sing the same song as the single, that way you could see the differnce between talents, this season it changed. Again i think the show has tried to bias this towards taylor, and I agree with Simon he is a bar band singer, I spend a lot of time in Vegas and he would fit right in there. Kat on the other had has an amazing voice and range. It all boils down to where Elliots votes go, since he could really sing I suspect his votes will migrate to Kat, so bad song withstanding I pick Kat to win, tallent over novelty showman.

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