After the ads, Steven yields his seat to Ryan, who introduces Jessica's last song. It's called "Change Nothing," which seems to be a general motto for American Idol in more ways than one. The song itself proves to be a standard ballad and fairly unchallenging -- at least for the listener. For the singer, however, there are plenty of big, high notes in every chorus, so it's the perfect Jessica song. At the end of the song she sky-dives off the piano where she was sitting, and this time the judges get to give some feedback. Randy says he didn't love the song, but he loved what Jessica did with it. But then he compares her to Beyonce, so I'm not sure what he heard. Jennifer says she wouldn't make Jessica's first single a pop ballad like that, and that she should have come out with something more surprising. Like either of the final two have surprises left in them after all these months. Steven agrees that it wasn't the right song for her. "Thank you," she says, and then tells Ryan that she agrees with what the judges said, but wanted to pick a winning song. Then she promises that if she makes a record it'll be more her. Good thing she didn't do that in the last song of the last night of competition, then. Shorter Jessica: "Thought I'd better sell out."
And of course she's played right into Phillip's authentic, keeping-it-real hands. His song for tonight, "Home," actually sounds more like Paul Simon than Dave Matthews, which I did not expect. I also like it, which I expected even less. It's got fingerpicked acoustic guitars, duh, and actual harmonies, and a high school band drumline and a coda that's actually nothing but melody, which Phillip actually sings. And that's the ballgame right there, even before the judges stand up and Randy literally whoops. Randy loved everything about it and then calls it Phillip's "best performance of the night." And then he says it was "brilliant" and "genius." He was actually more effusive at the beginning and the end there. Jennifer says it was totally different from anything else, I guess because she doesn't know about Paul Simon. Steven did catch that aforementioned vibe, "and I think you are the man." Ryan comes out and tells Phillip that they're done with the competition; the rest is up to us. Cool, can we have a fifteen-minute coronation show tomorrow night then?
Ryan runs the clips from tonight, and "the most important phone numbers of the season." After those, Ryan has Jessica and Phillip on the stage with him for their last words to each other. Jessica sucks up to Phillip for a while, and Phillip makes like he's going to demur but manages to mumble out a speech about how amazing Jessica is. "Well said," Ryan lies. He reminds us that the phones are open for four hours (although they're closed by the time you're reading this). And to wrap things up tonight, he brings back last year's winner, Scotty McCreery, to sing us out live with "Please Remember Me." That is of course the song that's been played behind the farewell montages on the live shows all seasons, and tonight there's a clip show of the whole season playing behind the song. I have to say, this year is a lot more interesting in two minutes that it was over seventy-some hours.