American Idol finale recap: America crowns its next 'Idol'

On Thursday night, American Idol revealed who America chose as their next Idol. Was it Kree Harrison or Candice Glover?

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Host Ryan Seacrest and finalists Candice Glover (c.) and Kree Harrison speak on stage at the 'American Idol' finale at the Nokia Theatre on Thursday night, in Los Angeles.

American Idol started the long-awaited festivities on Thursday night with this season's top 10, it was like old home week, seeing all of the faces who seemed so significant just weeks ago but had quickly become distant memories as the episodes passed us by. They gave us a glimpse into what the Top Ten road show would be like as they pranced around performing "I'm Glad You Came." It was a nice intro into the finale of the 12th season fo American Idol but as any Idol fan can tell you, we still had a long haul ahead of us before we could call it a night.

Idol outdid themselves this year with a countless list of performers and duets designed to help them delay what we're all really tuned in to see. Collaborations between Kree Harrison, Keith Urban and Randy Jackson, The Band Perry and Janelle Arthur, Angie Miller and Jessie J, Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez, Candice Glover and Jennifer Hudson, the top five boys with Frankie Valli (yes, that actually happened, I wasn't just throwing it in there to check and see if you were paying attention) the top five girls with Aretha Franklin (via video feed) and Amber Holcomb and Emile Sande. There were a few things, during this two hours of performance after performance that were really worth watching and others that made waiting for the results seem tortuous at times.

The Worst

Sometimes it's best to start with a negative, so you can then wrap everything up on a high note. The low point of the evening performances was a tie between Jennifer Lopez's spastic performance with Pitbull and the top five boys' compilation with Frankie Valli. Perhaps, it is the fact that these two performances existed on the same show that made each of them seem infinitely more ridiculous. Rather than making Idol seem well-rounded and relevant, it made them seem desperate, as if they were throwing a whole bunch of stuff at the wall and seeing what would stick.

For the record, after thrashing about the stage for a good five minutes, it was definitely Jennifer Lopez, drenched in sweat and seemingly one breath away from passing out, who would have stuck to that proverbial wall.

The Strangest

It probably won't come as a surprise to many to hear that Mariah Carey was partly responsible for the oddest performance during the finale. In a compilation of her hits that she performed in a pre-recorded segment, Mariah stood rooted in one spot, as if her feet were in cement and performed vocal gymnastics that somehow didn't seem to go along with her lips. To say that she was lip-synching just doesn't seem accurate but when they replayed the recorded segment, somehow they didn't match up her odd mannerisms with her over-the-top vocals. At times it seemed as though viewers were watching a mechanical Madame Tussaud Mariah.

The Best

Hands down, the absolute best vocal collaboration of the evening was that of Angie Miller and Adam Lambert performing, "Titanium." Their chemistry during their performance, both vocal and just general chemistry was the highlight of the evening. For that brief minute or so it seemed as though Idol had found its way out of the pomp and circumstance of superstar performances and just delivered viewers pure, raw, relevant talent. Kudos to both Angie and Adam for their incredible vocals.

The other highlights of the evening included the two video skits by the top ten. The first was the delightful skit documenting how the top five girls sabotaged the boys by carrying out a plan masterminded by Jordin Sparks. The skit showed Janelle Arthur changing the music on Lazaro Arbos' sheet music, Kree encouraging Curtis Finch to wear his ugly jacket and Angie encouraging Paul Jolley to tell jokes, all which resulted in the boys' demise. But the best part  of the skit came at the end when Jordin Sparks' told the boys not to worry about being voted off Idol and encouraged them to try out for, "The Voice," where "Idol leftovers seem to do pretty well." Ouch. Tell us how you really feel, Idol executive producer Nigel Lythgoe!

The second skit involved the contestants making fun of the judges and ended with Devin Velez in a teal wig, spandex, and a very padded behind. Three guesses who on the panel he was imitating . . .

The Results

And then, after 4,532 performances, it was time to dim the lights one last time on Season 12 and announce who America crowned as their next American Idol. Amazingly, after three attempts, justice prevailed and Candice Glover was chosen as this year's winner! It was the perfect send off for Mr. Randy Jackson who bid America goodbye during this, his final night as an American Idol judge - way better than the lame montage they put together for him with extras from the nearby animal shelter.

Candice's album is available now for pre-order, another change Idol is hoping will help them capitalize on their momentum. The next big change, of course, will involve next season's panel. Some reports are indicating that all four judges will be recast next season. Who would you like to see on the panel? Sound off in the comments below.

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