2012 The Year in Review

Special honors to a deserving few

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My series of Year in Review blogs wouldn’t be complete without special awards for the deserving few.

And, in some cases, for the undeserving.

So hang on tight, because I’m going to jump all over the place with this one.

Previous blogs in the series include the best and worst of singing shows in 2012, top Idol videos of 2012, top Idol albums of 2012, top Idol songs of 2012.

Now, those special awards.

Best performances: American Idol, Season 11

1. Joshua Ledet — “It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World” (Joshua at his ‘take it to church’ best.)

2. Jessica Sanchez — “I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” (Pitch perfect, as she so often was.)

Most Under-rated Idol Contestant

Elise Testone performs on Season 11 of American Idol. (FOX Photo)On Idol, the answer was easy: Elise Testone. Given the right song, the 29-year-old South Carolinian was as entertaining and talented as anyone on the show. Check out “Whole Lotta Love.” Song choice, not talent, probably kept Elise from finishing higher than sixth on the show. I would have placed her in the top 3.

Most Over-rated Idol Contestant

Heejun Han. Let’s face it, the 23-year-old from New York made the Idol finals based as much on his comedic flair as his voice. The “crazy cowboy” comments from Hollywood Week made him a household name. One of the most hypocritical moments of Idol Season 11 came when he turned in a light-hearted version of Billy Joel’s “Movin’ Out” on Top 10 Week, then was criticized for disrespecting the process. Huh? On the plus side, even his tweets were funny. Someone needs to put this guy in a sitcom.

Top Pre-Voice Songs, Season 2

1. “Black Ink Revenge,” Automatic Loveletter (Juliet Simms)
2. “Butterflies,” Automatic Loveletter (Juliet Simms)
3. “The Hustler, the Widow and the Boys From Detroit,” Tony Lucca
4. “Balloon,” Erin Martin
5. “Whiskey’s Got a Job To Do,” Karla Davis

All are available on iTunes.

Best Performances: The Voice, Season 2

1. Juliet Simms — “Cryin'” (Whoa, Juliet. Just one example of why she should have won. And extra points for the black wings.)

2. Charlotte Sometimes — “Misery Business” (Love her version of the song. The download is superlative.)

Best Idol episode

Skylar Laine performs on Season 11 of American Idol (FOX Photo)Top 7 night. Lo and behold, Idol lets the contestants sing songs recorded since 2000. Current music on Idol? Can we survive the shock? The contestants thrived. Every performance earned a B- or better in by song by song blog. Highlights: Jessica Sanchez slayed Alicia Keys’ “Fallin'” and Skylar Laine did a splendid country take on Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.”

Worst Idol episode

Hollywood Week, episode 2. One group argued. One contestant, Alisha Bernhardt, had trouble finding a group. The contestant affectionately known as “tent girl” got sick. Then lots of other contestants got sick. Some threw up. “Crazy cowboy” ticked off Heejun Han. Heejun cracked jokes about the “crazy cowboy.” We watched this nonsense for an hour. We didn’t hear one person sing.

Biggest Idol flop

It didn’t even involve a contestant. Tommy Hilfiger showed up on Idols Top 10 week to dole out fashion advice. Most of which was promptly ignored by contestants. He told Phillip Phillips to brighten up his wardrobe. Phillip showed up on stage in three shades of gray. Said Phillip: “I’m not a guy about the image. I want the music to be first.” Erika Van Pelt followed Tommy’s advice. She cut her hair short and changed her hair color. Guess who went home that week? Guess who never returned to give fashion advice?

Best judge (all the shows)

Jimmy Iovine of American Idol. Of course, he really wasn’t a judge and it was a shame all of his critiques came the night after the voting ended, because they were typically brutally honest and on the mark. Other than Jimmy, who really judged on singing shows in 2012? Come on, give me a name. Anyone? Cheerleading, not judging, is apparently fashionable these days. Of the cheerleaders, Blake Shelton and Adam Levine were easily the most entertaining. They were pretty darn good mentors, too.

Worst judge (all the shows)

Where oh where did the old Simon Cowell go? (FOX Photo)Let’s see, Britney Spears was the biggest non-factor. Demi Lovato possessed the most irritating speaking voice. L.A. Reid momentarily lost his marbles when he compared Emblem 3 to The Beatles. But this award has to go to Simon Cowell. Once we looked forward to his brutal honestly on Idol. Now we get a constant stream of b.s., some of which seems like the old Simon, but much of which is designed to drum up phony drama or hype undeserving contestants on his embarrassingly bad show.

Best Comedy Segment from the Idol finale

Idol’s top 12 don robes, choir style. They open phone books and start singing. Phone numbers. Advertisements. Everything you’d find in a phone book. All in homage to one of Randy’s worn ol’ lines — “(insert he, she or they) can sing the phone book.” Very funny. Especially when Skylar Laine ended the segment scolding Joshua Ledet for “going to church” yet again on a group number.

Worst Comedy Segment from the Idol finale

We visit Steven Tyler’s love shack, complete with girls dressed like Playboy bunnies, complete with expletives and a sign on the door to one room that reads: “All who enter must surrender the booty.” And people are worried about what Nicki Minaj will do to Idol? Really, folks?

Best Performances: The X Factor, Season 2

1. Fifth Harmony — “Anything Could Happen” (Ready radio folks. The show’s most improved act.)

2. Lyric 145 — “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (Brilliant song choice. They should have been Simon’s favorite group and the act getting hyped on X Factor)

Top Pre-Voice Songs, Season 3

1. “I’m All Over It,” Mycle Wastman
2. “You’re Not Fooling Anyone,” Lelia Broussard
3. “Secondhand,” Cassadee Pope
4. “Hipster Bit–,” Lelia Broussard
5. “It’s Not Love,” Lisa Scinta

All are live versions, but they’re also available on iTunes.

Best Performances: The Voice, Season 3

1. Cassadee Pope — “Stupid Boy” (Wow! See below.)

2. Amanda Brown — “Dream On” (She pulled off the Steven Tyler shriek!!!!)

Best finale

The Voice delivered 13 musical performances in a Season 3 finale that came off like a celebration of everything that had occurred to that point. The finalists invited their best friends from the show back to sing with them. Guest stars were accompanied by the finalists. It all played out like a family affair. And it ended with the most deserving singer winning, the only time that happened all year. I just wish they would have saved time for a Cassadee Pope victory song.

Worst finale

There were silly red carpet entrances that weren’t even timed properly. There were blatant attempts to make every finalist break down in tears. There was Khloe Kardashian in an unflattering black (it looked like rubber) dress. There was that brutal duet featuring Carly Rose Sonenclar and LeAnn Rimes. The two-hour show featured just seven performances. It was one hot mess, which was a perfectly fitting end to Season 2 of Simon Cowell’s televised nightmare known as The X Factor.


Cassadee Pope: “Stupid Boy”

Lots of singers covered lots of songs on singing shows in 2012, many remarkably well. This is the performance that sounded most like it could be a hit. Like right now. Cassadee is spot on, sounding plaintive when necessary, sounding defiant when necessary, showing off so many shades of her voice. By the end, I was convinced she was singing about a stupid boy she once met. And that’s when I was convinced she needed to win The Voice.

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