American Idol 2012: Will Georgia's Phillip Phillips beat Jessica Sanchez and win American Idol?

ssorich@ledger-enquirer.comMay 22, 2012 

For Georgia's Phillip Phillips, there was no place like "Home" Tuesday night.

No, I'm not talking about the "American Idol" contestant's Leesburg roots. I'm referring to the title of his potential first single, the song that closed this season's final "Idol" performance show.

Folksy "Home" was the only song that got all three judges on their feet for a standing ovation Tuesday night -- and it might have been enough to secure a victory for Phillip.

Phillip Phillips and Jessica Sanchez each performed three songs: Simon Fuller's choice, a song from earlier in the season and their potential first single.

My verdict? Phillip won the night.

From a technical standpoint, Jessica was solid as usual. But by singing three ballads Tuesday night, she lost much of the youthfulness that could make her a marketable recording star. It's hard to say who will win, but for now my money's on Phillip.

Who do you think will win? Comment and share your predictions.

Here's a full recap of Tuesday's show.

ROUND 1: SIMON FULLER'S CHOICE

Jessica Sanchez, "I Have Nothing": I'm not incredibly impressed with the song choice. Whitney Houston songs are usually a challenge on the "Idol" stage. Plus, this performance is WAY too mature for Jessica. It puts her into the adult contemporary category, rather than appearing as a marketable young star. Those concerns aside, the vocals are great as always. Nice power notes...I just wanted something a little more fun.

Phillip Phillips, "Stand by Me": Another pretty weak song choice. This tune has been overdone on "Idol." Phillip does his best to make it his own. He takes the stage with his guitar and puts a folksy spin on the song. It's pretty and definitely has enough heartthrob appeal to hook young female voters. I'd classify it as "fine." This song doesn't leave room for too much creativity so it probably won't do much to make or break Phillip's fan base.

The judges give their comments at the end of the round.

Jennifer: "It's like a battle of the opposites."

Randy: "Round one went to probably Jessica."

Steven says absolutely nothing.

ROUND 2: CONTESTANT'S PICK FROM THIS SEASON

Jessica Sanchez, "The Prayer": This is both a good move and a dangerous move. It's good because this is a song she performed very early in the competition -- so early, in fact, that it seems new to many "Idol" viewers. Now, the dangerous part. Jessica's seeming a little boring tonight. Vocally, she's spot on. But I want her to be fun and youthful. Singing two ballads on the night that seals your fate is a very risky decision.

Phillip Phillips, "Movin' Out": Yes! I wanted Phillip to sing this song. Actually, I wish Jessica would've repeated her Billy Joel week performance, too. Hands down, I think the first go-around on this performance was one of Phillip's top three moments of the season. This time around, it's just as good. It really showcases his musical strengths. I love the gritty vocals and intense emotion. This is a really solid performance.

Steven: Jessica won round two

Randy: Round two was a tie

Jennifer: Phillip won round two

ROUND 3: POTENTIAL FIRST SINGLE

Disclaimer: I'm not a huge fan of the "Idol" coronation songs. I think they're cheesy and awkward. I'll try to be as kind as possible. Or not.

Jessica Sanchez, "Change Nothing": This is a pop ballad about a romantic relationship that nobody understands...except, of course, the two people who are in it. Sound familiar? Um, yeah. Jessica does a fine job with it. But again...she's three for three on ballads tonight. I wanted her to show a Beyonce vibe. I don't think this song would go anywhere on contemporary radio.

Randy: "I did not love the song, but what I did love is that you made something more out of the song."

Jennifer: Wishes she would've done an R&B song

Steven: "I just didn't feel like that song was the proper song for you to sing."

Phillip Phillips, "Home": You are not alone...because I'm gonna make this place your home. Swooning? Yeah, me too. This is actually pretty good for an "Idol" coronation song. I'm happy we're seeing the folksy side of Phillip tonight. "Home" has a very strong folk vibe. It's a sweet, tender tune that includes musical accompaniment from a...marching band? Yes, really. Phillip is really drawing on his strengths and this might be enough to help him win the title. Standing ovation from the judges.

Randy: "I loved the song, I loved you, I loved the production, I loved the marching band."

Jennifer: "There's nothing on the radio that sounds like that."

Steven: "You were perfect tonight and I think you are the man."

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