Phillip Phillps Vs. Jessica Sanchez: We Pick Their Best And Worst Season 11 ‘Idol’ Performances

Tonight marks the final performance episode of American Idol Season 11. And while many viewers (like, say, us) were deprived of the Jessica Sanchez-Joshua Ledet heavyweight bout they wanted, the diametrically opposed styles and fan bases of Phillip Phillips and Jessica make for an intriguing finale. In one corner we have the miniaturized Beyonce-via-growling-tiger teenager, in the other corner we have a gruff Dave Matthews-style strummer. While Jessica showcased prodigious vocals and a commanding stage presence right away in the Top 13, Phil has evolved from a dude scatting and just having a good time into an actual singer — if his performance last week wasn’t a fluke.

So will squealing girls come out of the woodwork to again hand the title to a charming young man? Or will Jessica’s incredible voice break the ladies’ drought through sheer force of will? Before making your prediction, take a look back at the finalists’ most impressive and most disappointing performances.


Best Performance: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going” (Top 4)

As if there were any doubt! Little Jessica sang the hell out of this song on May 9. One of our commenters compared it to a Blake Griffin dunk, and she’s exactly right: this was a thunderous posterization stretched out for two minutes. It combined all of Jessica’s best qualities: the powerful vibrato, knowing when to run and when to hold out a note evenly, and that ferocious growl. And to think, the judges had to use a save on this girl. Let’s watch it again, shall we?

Runner-up: “Stuttering” (Top 7)

For this spot, we could’ve chosen her conquering another landmark vocal with her Top 13 performance of “I Will Always Love You.” But on “Stuttering” she displayed such amazing control, and such a honing of her craft that is far beyond her 16 years. What’s more shocking is that she landed on the bottom after this performance. But if you can do what this girl did to “Stuttering” and Jennifer Hudson, even if you lose the vote you pretty much win at life.

Worst Performance: “My All” (Top 3)

The judges gave Hollie Cavanagh a lot of flack for overthinking songs, and Jessica had that same problem with this one last week. She sounded uncomfortable; if a voice could sound confused, this was it. Jessica gave a string of noncommittal runs and her vibrato ran roughshod all over the delicate song, resulting in a warbly whimper throughout.


Best Performance: “We’ve Got Tonight” (Top 3)

It was immediately clear that Phil had the jovial rock song thing down pat, but this song highlighted his growth into a singer who can hold his own without the gruff scatting and jam band behind him. His voice had a softness to it that was previously lacking, stripped of the Dave Matthews comparisons and landing somewhere more classic and timeless.

Runner-up: “Beggin’” (Top 3)

This was a dexterous combination of his familiar “rawk” sound and his newfound delicateness and ability to hold a melody. More proof that Phil made “The Leap” last week. While Jessica stumbled in the Top 3, Phil seemed to be peaking at the right time.

Worst Performance: “Time Of The Season” (Top 5)

Phil’s tone and pitch were all over the place here. The needless scatting, plus seeing and hearing him strain for those high notes in the melody resulted in a truly cringeworthy performance.

Our Prediction: Look, Jessica Sanchez is clearly the better singer. But that means jack when tweeting tweens decide your fate — especially when you factor in the fact that Phillip Phillips is bound to get the pity vote on account of his increasingly serious health problems. So the only way Jessica can break the guys’ streak of winning Idol is by outdoing “And I Am Telling You…” Can she deliver the year’s best performance tonight? We think so. Girl’s got the killer instinct.

Which performances were your favorite? Sound off in the comments, or on Twitter and Facebook.

  • ezj

    Voting is tonight, Tuesday, not Wednesday!! Please remind every body, May 22
    Voting is tonight, Tuesday, not Wednesday!! Please remind every body, may 22
    Voting is tonight, Tuesday, not Wednesday!! Please remind every body
    Voting is tonight, Tuesday, not Wednesday!! Please remind every body

  • Adrian Kyocera

    What’s interesting about your comment regarding “tweeting teens” is that they are more “tweeting teens” following Jessica than P2! I think the last count I saw Jessica has 411K followers and P2 has 320K followers…JSanchez has almost 100k more followers. She has a huge youtube following as well. I think people are underestimating JS’s fanbase. I won’t be surprised when JS is the last one singing with all the confetti coming down at tomorrow night’s finale!

  • Critic

    Here’s my two cent-analysis.

    Jessica has a better technical voice. She was pushed to her range’s limits tonight, however. She also got off key numerous times in her single; it was rough. You can like her all you want, but any professional vocalist or musician was cringing during that song.

    Phillip has a much better tone to his voice, but his voice can’t compete with Jessica’s technically. That much is obvious. He performed very well, and only got off a bit during Stand By Me, and slightly on his single. (This has nothing to do with Phillip, but WOW, that song was a rip-off of Mumford and Sons. Same chord progression and the works.)

    Phillip’s actual artistry through guitar-work and vocals will be his possible edge, paired with his looks-appeal to younger voters. He has a sound that could actually make an album. His voice is also “soothing”.

    Jessica’s slight edge is her vocal prowess, age, and potentially ethnicity (as the first Philippine’ Idol). Unfortunately, she has not made her voice known, and lacks the unique features of an artist. I’m not saying she doesn’t have them, but she hasn’t shown them through this competition. Due to her “every song sounds similar” association, I assume Phillip will be the winner. He’s not as good of a singer, but he is a much better, and more marketable, artist.

    • Betsy

      I am sick and tired of seeing cougars from the Midwest and hormonal teenyboppers rag on Jessica for her voice when she is (a) obviously more talented and (b) NOT ONCE did I ever hear her sing badly. Personality? Really? You had nothing else to critique her on so you pick something as pathetic as that to use against her.

      Phillip Phillips was ALWAYS off key and looked pained as he sang. I am surprised they even let him in at audition. This was a shameful win not only for him but for America as a whole. For him because even he recognizes his apparent lack of talent and for America because “America” voted for him.

      I am not watching American Idol ever again. Am sick and tired of all the WASP winners.

      I will not be surprised if the ratings for next season are at an all-time low.

      • Frank N Stein

        And you are a cougar from the West or east coast?? Check out Sanchez’s butcher job on “My All” which apparantly you missed or have chosen to forget

      • Zeki

        Jenna – I have looked at this post plobabry 10+ times and I smile every time. My sister married the love of her life and the album captures them. The shots are amazing. I love each and every image. You guys did a superb job. Thank you so much!!

  • Tammi Noel

    Philip has all the best performances… Jessica has ALL the worst!!!!!!!

    • Frank N Stein

      Whoa there ANDroid! calling the lady a slut! she hit a nerve ragging on poor little Jessica? you must be a Filipino. If you are then you are a pootang inamo (you might need to check my spelling, I don’t write Tagalog.

  • kirbys

    What!! she has the best, the girl can really sing, Phillip sounds the same on every song, that same old low slow voice, no high points, no runs, just the same boring tone. For you to say Jessica had the worst performances means you cannot hear or you think talent is Justin Bieber.


    Jessica Sanchez! !!! Love her voice!


    Jessica Sanchez you should get it! Your voice is our favorite! Out of all the contestants from the get go! You have been the one I have tuned into!

  • Jessica

    His health problems are not getting pity votes. I like his singing over Jessica. If I were to buy an album I would buy his over hers

  • CAR

    Jessica has a voice very similar to Witney Hustenand Phililpsvoice is the same in avery
    song he has OKgood looks. Jessica is #1 for me.

  • summer q

    if another white guy with a guitar wins, and over someone as obviously amazingly talented as jessica sanchez, i will stop watching this show. what a farce, it’s becoming tiresome. yesterday felt rigged, with the crap song they gave jessica and having the judges practically pronounce phillip the winner.

  • SoOver

    What were Phillips’ worst performances? The ones where he opened his mouth.

  • Mike

    Here’s the thing. Jessica has a much better voice, but Phillip has a MUCH better grasp of musicality. Jessica got better the last couple of weeks, but for the most part it is just power vocals and runs. There is no tenderness or delicacy in how she sings. Phillip’s voice will sound just fine in a recording studio, and he will pick or write music that suits his style and allows him to do what he do. By the way, the “crap song they gave Jessica” was picked by her out of a pool of songs.

    • James Bolt

      If you read the blogs, you will know that she chose the best song out of the all the crap choices they gave and she tried to make it work for her…her studio version is SOOO much better…however, i think it would have been fairer to allocate the SAME original song to Jessica and Philip and let then let them sing their arrangement on the song…this would have been way fairer to test the outcome of the song choice…but musically, i think Philip has the edge because of his experience and ear in musical arrangements from guitar playing

  • Cathy Gilliam

    People just get over it he won!!!! The votes were there for him and not Jessica, America decided who they liked better!