After slogging through endless weeks of auditions, cut-downs and brain-deadening Hollywood episodes, it’s hard to believe we’ve come to the end of another season of “American Idol.”
But we have, as “Idol” placed the season 11 crown on the head of Phillip Phillips on Wednesday night. And while P-Squared may have won it all, we here at MTV News had a few ribbons and trophies we thought needed to be handed out as well — because much like Little League or Wall Street bonuses, everyone gets something just for participating.
That’s why we’re presenting the first-ever “American Idol” Awards, a dubious set of distinctions that honor some of the things — and folks — we loved most about the show. And the ones we totally hated, too. Because while you may have forgotten about Heejun Han, believe us, we haven’t — and we probably never will.
So let’s step up to the podium and hand out some hardware, shall we?
The Corey Clark/ Frenchie Davis Award For Past Indiscretions: From the moment he showed up in the audition episodes, there was something … special about enormous crooner Jermaine Jones, and we’re not just talking about his ability to sweat and cry at the same time. And when the top 12 finisher got booted for not disclosing his rap sheet , our suspicions were confirmed.
I Don’t Think That Compliment Is the One You’re Looking For: When she wasn’t heaping praise on just about everything the finalists did, Jennifer Lopez was busy telling third-place finisher Joshua Ledet that his performances were “sickening.” That’s not a thing.
Get Your Own Sitcom Already: In a season where once-lauded judges Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez appeared to be phoning it in, Interscope boss Jimmy Iovine was the series’ straight-talking MVP. His advice was almost always dead-on, but when his lifelong pal, Bruce Springsteen guitarist “Little” Steven Van Zandt, dropped in to mentor during ’60s week, the two had a familiar, crackling rapport that just begged for a buddy sitcom. It would be on CBS, of course.
Most Egregious Use of the Phrase “Assless Chaps” on a Family Program: “Rock of Ages” director Adam Shankman did not have to go there.
Those Stripper Heels Are Making Me Feel Like I Need to Register for Something: This one goes to 16-year-old Jessica Sanchez, whose too-revealing outfits and ankle-breaking stilettos were enough to make Jimmy Iovine uncomfortable — and he’s the dude who signed t.A.T.u.
“Really, Dawg?”: Presented for the 11th consecutive year to Randy Jackson, for his absurd (even for him), bedazzled “Yo” pins and crustacean lapel decorations. Whenever you’re out-accessorizing J.Lo and Steven Tyler, it might be time to fire the wardrobe consultant.
The Ween “Pumpin’ 4 the Man” Award for Sartorial Splendor: Phillip Philips refused to do a lot of things on “Idol”: sing melodies, appear in the Ford commercials, perform songs that most of America knew or wear any of the flashy clothes Tommy Hilfiger picked out for him. Instead, he opted to dress like a gas-station attendant every week, which turned out to be the most interesting thing about him.
Best Performance by the Daughter of a Former MLB Pitcher With a Career .460 Winning Percentage: Goes to Shannon Magrane, which is about the only thing she ended up winning on “Idol.” Except maybe the award for “Most unwilling recipient of Steven Tyler’s creepy advances,” that is.
The Gone Too Soon: To poor David Leathers Jr., who definitely had the goods and could have given “Idol” a desperately needed shot in the arm this season. Instead, he was passed over for a spot in the top 24 in favor of Eben Franckewitz, who fared about as well as you’d expect a slightly husky, sorta-terrified Justin Bieber clone to: i.e. he totally crumbled and was never heard from again. “American Idol,” everybody!
The Glass of Warm Milk: Goes to our girl Hollie Cavanagh, whose somnambulant performances this season put us to sleep faster than a handful of Ambien and a pitcher of whiskey. And believe us, we’ve done our research.
The Sanjaya Malakar Award for Tremendous Achievement in Hair: In a close race, we gave this one to Colton Dixon (over the epically maned DeAndre Brackensick), if only because his dumb mall-hawk managed to inspire actual emotion: rage.
The “Dude, Knock It Off”: Goes to the eternally annoying Heejun Han, who dominated the category to such a degree that next year, we’ll probably just name it in his honor. From his catty sparring with Richie Law during Hollywood Week and his constant pining for J.Lo to his compulsive hugging tendencies and that ridiculous strip show during his performance of Billy Joel’s “My Life,” no one did it quite like HH did. Thank God.
Most Overused Words or Phrases, Judges Edition: Tyler, who seemingly couldn’t get through an appraisal of a performance without using the words “beautiful” or “over-the-top.” The “beautiful” bug caught on with Lopez, too, and the repetition became so overpowering it made Jackson’s use of “yo” look restrained by comparison.
Nice Makeover, Nice Knowing You!: On the March 21 episode, Erika Van Pelt debuted a dramatic new look , trading her long, blond-and-pink locks for a short, angular, jet-black ’do that she said was inspired by Pink. Viewers responded by voting her off the show the next night.
The “Wicker Man” Award for Unintentional Comedy: Goes to Joshua Ledet and Ryan Seacrest, for the immortal moment during April’s “Then and Now” show when Seacrest intro’d Ledet’s performance of “A Change Is Gonna Come” as “an emotional civil-rights anthem,” only to be followed by a shot of Josh holding a wind-up toy, grinning like a goofball. Runner-up: every Jeremy Rosado performance.
Carrey-ing the Family Torch: The San Diego auditions introduced viewers to Jane Carrey , a 24-year-old waitress in Los Angeles and, oh yeah, the daughter of actor Jim Carrey (Lopez semi-convincingly told her she remembered Jane hanging out on the set of “In Living Color” as a baby). Carrey earned the go-ahead to Hollywood and called dad to share the good news. “Oh my God, is this going to be an exciting year!” pops exclaimed. Not so fast: Carrey was dropped early on in Hollywood Week.
For the Kids, Part 2: While the rest of TV chases the 18-29 demo, “Idol” bookers continued to court the Geritol Generation with the finale lineup. With an homage to Robin Gibb, not to mention appearances by Gloria Gaynor, Reba McEntire, Neil Diamond, Thelma Houston, Gladys Knight, Sheila E., Chaka Khan, John Fogerty and Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth, the final night of season 11 had a roster fit for a cruise ship.
Loosest Theme Week Ever: The May 9 episode featured what may have been the most lax theme week ever: Music of California and Songs They Wish They’d Written . The former didn’t even have to be songs about the state of California; it was expanded to include songs written or performed by people who hailed from the state, which helps explain why Joshua Ledet did a Josh Groban song. And Songs They Wish They’d Written: Doesn’t that encompass just about any hit song ever, which is one more hit song than they’ve ever written? The only way the categories could have been looser is if they’d just made it “Songs.”
Standing Ovations Crown: Presented to Joshua Ledet , who racked up a record number of standing O’s from the judges this season. After a while it was hard to keep count of them all, but Skylar Laine kept a running tally and said on the April 25 episode that Ledet had earned his 12th standing O of the season. Ledet kept racking up O’s — right up until his elimination May 17, naturally.
The Sad Nostradamus: Goes to our man James Montgomery for his dour prediction (back in January ) that, for the fifth year in a row, “a white guy will end up winning anyway.” Unfortunately, he was right.
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