NOTES: ‘American Idol’ Season 11, Episode 40

– Loved the opening montage and number, minus the break dancers. Starting with them, it constantly felt like segments were being stretched out so that “Idol” could fill all two hours and eight minutes of prime-time.

– In the footage that opened the show, last year’s winner, Scotty McCreery, is shown talking to Phillip Phillips. The country star tells Phillips to be prepared not to sleep the night before the results show. Phillips is on stage ten minutes later telling Ryan Seacrest he got a good “9 or 10” hours of sleep the night before. I suppose at this point in the “Idol” journey, especially with Phillips’ heath issues, there isn’t much that can keep him up at night.

– Throughout this season we constantly heard Phillips being characterized as a “throwback” and compared to older artists. I think everybody was able to make sense of this completely when he performed side-by-side on stage with John Fogerty. They both sounded great together.

– Some of the montages shown throughout the night were hilarious and well-done. The one of Jimmy Iovine constantly calling Jennifer Lopez “Jessica” – even once on live TV – was my favorite. How about at the end when Jimmy tells Lopez he’s working on getting her name right, and then jokes, “Yeah, next year.” Of course, JLO probably won’t be there next year.

– Was “Mantasia” (Joshua Ledet) trying to out Fantasia, Fantasia – or was Fantasia trying to out Mantasia, Mantasia? What a mess that performance was.

– Chaka Khan needs to hire a new stylist… or simply hire a stylist.

– Rihanna killed it. Great set, wardrobe, choreography, and she sang live (and sang well).

– Like earlier with Phillip and Fogerty, it was cool to see generations merge with Skylar Laine and Reba McEntire singing a duet.

– New England well-represented on the “Idol” finale with Top 10 finalist Erika Van Pelt (Rhode Island), Neil Diamond (“Sweet Caroline” might as well be New England’s national anthem) and Boston’s Aerosmith performing.

– Props to “Idol” for calling out Randy Jackson on recycling his cliches, namely, “You could sing the phone book.”

– I’m still trying to figure out what happened during that JLO performance. I saw Lil Jon, Flo Rida, and Wisin y Yandel, who will be opening up for JLO and Enrique Iglesias this summer. Again though, props to JLO for singing live. I don’t think the same could be said for anyone else during that set.

– Ryan Seacrest a little teary-eyed as season three runner-up Diana DeGarmo said yes to the on-camera proposal of season five finalist Ace Young. Again, we need to fill two hours here people…

– Jordin Sparks is well on her way to having the best year ever, no?

– The Jessica Holiday/Jessica Sanchez performance was epic in both the singers’ vocal prowess and Holiday’s facial expressions. It was definitely a “moment” for Sanchez, but simply too little, too late.

– Thought Aerosmith sounded OK. I like the band’s new single. Anyone else notice how there’s actual a screen that counts down the time until you have to stop playing on the “Idol” stage? Never saw that before.

– When Phillip Phillips made Top 5, this was his to lose. Week in and week out, he delivered effortlessly. It was great to see Steven Tyler shed a tear as Phillip was crowned the new “American Idol.” The moment where he lost it on stage and walked off to collapse in his family’s arms was another moving scene. I am curious to see how his career progresses, but I have no doubt that he’ll be successful.

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