Tonight's American Idol finale comes in the wake of media speculation that the entire judging panel will be wiped clean for a new set of judges, that may include bringing back former judge Jennifer Lopez. In all reality, Mariah is a better vocalist than JLo and Rihanna combined, but where she lacks (or lacked tonight) was being a better performer.
Though Mariah has the voice, she certainly did not use it tonight, instead opting for (unfortunately) a lip-synced medley of some of her greatest hits. She squeezed 5 past hits and '#Beautiful' in a 5 minute performance, that was a little too fast paced to appreciate. 'Vision of Love' and '#Beautiful' would have been fine darling. She breezed through the hits a little too easy, and had a few missteps in her 'lipping' job. Had she actually sang them live, her performance might have been more impressive. But it's hard to argue against her lipping when she didn't even move. The most we got out of her were some standard melismatic hand motions. Overall: B-
Update: An eye-witness to this crime says that Mariah sang this performance in 3 takes, and that the Idol producers snipped together pieces of the best takes. In #Beautiful, We Belong Together and in Hero parts were lipped to the studio. Basically this performance was a hot mess of editing.
Jennifer, on the other hand, though her live vocal is questionable, gave a rousing performance of On The Floor Part 3... I'm sorry, 'Live it Up.' For one she looked great, and second, she danced great. Not half as much of a vocalist as a dancer, JLo lit up the Kodak Theatre with pyrotechnics, and fiery dancing, and a maybe live vocal? If it was lipped, it was definitely a pre-recorded vocal, because the track did not match the studio performance exactly, but not even Beyonce could have sounded that good with that kind of dancing. For example, at 2:43, she pops her chest back and forth, which should've resulted in a change of volume or air control, but nothing was heard. I might be crazy though, since no one has accused her of lipping it. As for Pitbull, we could have done without him, as always. Overall: A-
After a performance like this, or really Battle of the Divas: live, it would seem CRAZY for the Idol producers not to want JLo back. She didn't ramble, she wasn't as expensive, and she didn't try to play Hunger Games with the rest of the panel. Simon Fuller: GET JLO BACK.