Jessica Sanchez' song choice may have cost her the "American Idol" title. But was it the worst coronation song ever? Not by a long shot.
Sometimes it comes down to one song… On all the singing competition shows, there is one theme that abounds when critiquing an artist's song -- the importance of song selection. Jessica Sanchez may have learned that the hard way in Tuesday evening's finale performance on the "American Idol" stage. With everything on the line and having already performed two songs well, she entered Round 3 and sang her potential coronation song, "Change Nothing." And it was not even close to being a worthy song of her vocal talents. But was it the worst song ever chosen as a winner's song in "Idol" history? Hardly.
Even Sanchez knew she had problems with the song, admitting that it was a song she chose herself because she thought it was a winning song. It was not, but the 16-year-old cannot be blamed entirely for the choice. Somewhere in all her advisors, handlers, and mentors, (including Jimmy Iovine, whose name was associated with the song selection) there had to be someone who needed to step in and say something about doing some other song. But that did not happen.
Instead, as judge Jennifer Lopez pointed out, what America heard was pop ballad devoid of the qualities in Sanchez' voice -- the soul, the blues -- that makes her a great singer. "Change Nothing" was a simple saccharine ballad that could have been sung by anyone.
None of the judges liked it. Steven Tyler said it wasn't the "proper" song for her. Randy Jackson said that she at least did "something with it" but he didn't love the song at all.
Gil Kaufman at MTV News, when reviewing the Season 14 finale, asked if it was the "worst song ever" in his title and likened the performance to Sanchez being sucker-punched while seemingly moving toward a strong finish. He noted, however, that Sanchez admitted to choosing the song herself. (Taken to its logical conclusion, this points to Sanchez basically sucker-punching herself.)
Brian Mansfield at Idol Chatter summed up the moment thus: "The 16-year-old's performance of Change Nothing Wednesday left the judges scrambling for words to let her down tactfully. Basically, their comments boiled down to this: You sang real well, but, wow, did that song suck." He also noted that Sanchez would pay for her song choice on the finale results show.
But was it the worst? As pop drivel-esque as the song was, it still would have to perhaps go a bit further to qualify as the worst coronation song performed by a winner -- or even the potential winners -- of "American Idol" over the years.
Most "Idol" coronation songs have trended toward the inspirational. Songs like Kelly Clarkson's "In This Moment" and Fantasia's "I Believe" (which was written by Season 1's Tamyra Gray) were songs that worked in this regard, but songs like Season 7 winner David Cook's "Dream Big" (a song most people most likely won't remember without a YouTube prompt) went completely off-target in their banality.
Besides Cook's tune, perhaps the worst cover tune to be chosen by a finalist for their "Idol" song was Lee DeWyze's "Beautiful Day." And not because it isn't a great song. It is. The U2 version of it, that is. Lee DeWyze's rendition has all the appeal of Bruce Springsteen belting out a disco tune. The problem: Execution was lacking.
But the all-time worst song ever from an "American Idol" winner was the Kara DioGuardi-penned "No Boundaries" for the Season 8 finalists, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert. It was such an awkwardly pretentious song that it failed on every level, from lyrics to arrangement. In fact, it was such an awful song, judge Simon Cowell immediately mocked it during the live performance finale when both finalists performed it. Even such talents as Allen and Lambert could not make the song itself a winner.
So was Jessica Sanchez' "Change Nothing" the worst coronation song ever? Not quite.
However, it was not the song she needed to seal the win.