“American Idol” returned to the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Tuesday as Jessica Sanchez and Phillip Phillips battled it out for the title.
The two contenders couldn’t have been more different – Jessica Sanchez, the 16-year-old with the big, big voice, and Phillip Phillips, the 21-year-old bashful singer with a soulful edge.
Here’s how the finale went down:
Jessica took the stage first, performing the Whitney Houston classic, “I Have Nothing.”
Then, Phillip performed the Benny King classic “Stand By Me”
And the judges weighed in.
Jennifer Lopez said: “For me, this is a tough one because it’s like a battle of the opposites. How do you compare?”
Randy Jackson said: “I will say, Round 1 went to probably Jessica.”
Jessica tackled “The Prayer,” a song she performed earlier in the competition.
Phillip then tackled “Movin’ Out” from Billy Joel week.
Steven Tyler said: “When it comes to Phillip Phillips, I would say… you don’t always have to be a good egg, hatch or go bad. And tonight he’s hatched some. But… I would have to say that Jessica took it again.”
Randy said: “I think that round was a dead heat. I’d call them both even.”
Jennifer said: “I’m gonna have to go with Phillip on that round because it was real.”
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Jessica sang “Change Nothing,” her single, if she wins.
Randy said: “I did not love the song, but what I did love is that you made something more out of the song… You brought the song to life, but I thought the song was just OK.”
Jennifer said: “If I was thinking about what your first single was gonna be, I don’t think I would do that because you have so much soul… I think we missed that in this song for you.”
Steven said: “I just didn’t feel like that song was the proper song for you to sing with the voice and the places you’ve taken the world before this.”
Phillip then performed “Home,” his single, if he wins.
Randy said: “Yo! Dude! I love the song, I love you, I love the production, I love the marching band. Everything about that was perfect, I loved it. That’s your best performance of the night. That was amazing. True artist, performer, reminds me a little of Mumford and Sons… Genius.”
Jennifer said: “I think what was so moving about that, it was so different. I couldn’t think of any other singer or band that you sounded like in that moment. It’s just Phillip. It’s Phillip Phillips. That was a Phillip Phillips song and there’s nothing on the radio that sounds like that. Congratulations.”
Steven said: “By virtue of your vulnerability and style, you have made the world your home, my friend. I heard a little Paul Simon in there and other un-godlike creatures… You were perfect tonight and I think you are the man.”