(MOCK THE VOTE - Lee and Crystal share a tender moment before Ryan reads America's vote off of his card and marginally changes both of their lives... forever!)
In continued observance of how I breeze through Am.Idol by fast-forwarding on my DVR, here are my brief comments on Tuesday's Top 2 performances, followed by the impossible-to-be-brief Wednesday Season 9 Finale. We're finally at the end! Let's see what happened, shall we?
Well... here we are. We moved out of that cramped space known as the Idol-dome and are now cruising along the universe in the starship USS Idol-prize aka the Nokia Theater. It's huge. Thousands of people are on hand to make Lee feel overwhelmed by this unbelievable situation. There is tiny Seacrest swallowed up by the stage. There are judges. There are our final two, America. They'll be singing three songs a piece. There will be boxing metaphors. Round 1 will be encore performances from this season. Round 2 will be Producer's Choice (omitted from last week) and then lastly (and leastly) it will be coronation songs. Bowersox won the coin toss so she will perform second throughout the night.
Round 1. Ding!
Lee - The Boxer. How appropriate for the boxing metaphor. Lee has lost whatever confidence he's been gaining the past couple rounds with tonight's change in venue. He's trying to be into it. But it's winding up pitchy and weird. Maybe he's just trying too hard. The judges are all like "dude, this is yours. Stop thinking like a paint salesman. CLAIM IT." Lee shoots them a nervous smile. Oh jeez, it's gonna be a long night.
Crystal - Me and Bobby McGee. I love how she sings this song. It just continues picking up momentum until this frenzy at the end. She looks like she's having... FUN? Oh, look Mamasox has kicked it into high gear for the finale, after a couple of sleepy weeks! Excellent! We'll have to see if there are enough solid performances from her tonight to reverse Lee's show-mentum.
Round 1 victor: Bowersox Round 2! Ding! Ding!
Lee - Singing "Everybody Hurts." Ugh, really? Two downer songs in a row? I don't understand the reasoning behind this song. I have no interest in listening after a few bars. Zip Zap Zop. The judges tell me I wouldn't have liked it, if I'd listened to it. They explain to Lee that he is in the process of what in performance lingo is called "choking" and he better do something with his coronation song to save his ass.
Crystal - Singing Black Velvet, which I think is another odd Producer's choice song in terms of tone. Somebody behind the scenes was certainly in a dark mood! Perhaps they are having a hard time dealing with Simon's impending exit from the show? Anyway she's forced to wear heels and a long dress and walk down some stairs with no railing. The show is trying to kill her on Live TV. She survives the descent, however and sings the hell out of a song that will always remind me of Nickelodeon's "Fifteen" because in one episode one of the characters mentioned how they loved Alana Miles new album. The strange things that stick with you 20 years later. Again, the judges love what Bowersox is bringing tonight.
Round 2 Victor: Bowersox. Round 3 begins! Ding! Ding! Ding! (Note: They've finally given up on original coronation songs and figure since covers sell so well on itunes as it is, the finalists will just cover formerly awesome songs.)
Lee - U2's Beautiful Day. Well, since Bono hurt his back I guess it makes sense that someone should tour the country singing this song this summer. But holy cow is this performance all over the place. Lee looks totally confused on stage. And this is not a singer's song. It's all about what the instrumentation is doing. The lead vocal is not really the lead. Somehow we all make it to the end of the song in tact. Kara rightly notes that the song swallowed him up on stage. Really not a good night for DeWyze. I still kinda think he will win, but tonight shows he's really not as good as Bowersox despite how far he's come. OMG, that should've been his coronation song! How Far We've Come by Matchbox Twenty.
Crystal - Up On The Mountain by Patty Griffin. It's powerful, her emotional walls that she sometimes puts up come crumbling down, it's vocally interesting and soulful. She really digs deep within herself but doesn't stay stuck within herself. So so good. The judges all give her raves once again, she thanks Simon and wishes him well before he gives his final critique ever on the show: Outstanding. Round 3 Victor: Bowersox.
So to sum up, Lee got outperformed on each song. It's unfortunate because he will likely still win having won the favor of the voting public over the past few weeks. A woman hasn't won this show since 2007. There wasn't even a woman finalist the past 2 seasons. I'm resigned to her loss, but if Lee had brought anything to the stage tonigh, tomorrow's result wouldn't look completely ridiculous like it will now. Bowersox at least proved what she could really do as an artist tonight on the big stage, even if she doesn't take the title tomorrow.
THE BIG FINALE. This is gonna be taxing. As quickly as possible to spare us all then! It started with Chicago where Crystal and Lee sat one person apart. A bunch of shit happened over the course of several months and then they made it to the Nokia Theater. One has been consistently great. One has achieved GROWTH! 2 hours from now we'll most likely learn America has rewarded GROWTH! regardless of whether that Growth has met an actual standard of excellence. Think of it as No Artist Left Behind.
Lee and Crystal are in their Hogwarts-best, minus the wizarding robes and they sing a song about school being out accompanied by the Zombified corpse of Alice Cooper is on stage and it's all too frightening and I can't look. School's out forever indeed.
Then Kris Allen is on stage and he's cute and likable and he gets a considerable amount of screentime singing a song I don't know. I like this dude.
They start Simon's Farewell Parade with a clip package of him yelling at untalented and unstable people. That's good fun. Then Randy Jackson tries to do some "staged humor." That is not good fun.
Siobhan Magnus and Aaron Kelly duet on "How Deep Is Your Love," and for ONCE I actually dig their harmony, but then some more zombies break free from what I can only assume is their holding cell beneath the stage and start singing along with the kids. I think it's the BeeGee's? They've passed beyond facial recognition, folks. Somebody shoot them in the head before the bite somebody!
Big Mike, sings "Takin' It To The Streets" with Old Old Old (Michael) McDonald, and now that he doesn't have to worry about getting votes Big Mike is free to be as hammy as he can possibly want to be. I observe the whole thing from the safe distance of Fast Forward Land.
And then as if the show knows I'm already fastforwarding, Dane Cook is on stage with a guitar and as we zip by I see several shots of Ellen looking totally steel-faced and I wonder what that's about. Then there's some other random shit happens with bad people. (Later I learned it involved Tatiana from last year, so I'm glad I missed it.
Jeebus, we're not even at the one hour mark! All the girls come out singing Beautiful and then Stronger so you know Xtina will be showing up on stage sometime soon. There she is! I don't even know how to describe her anymore. Man, she used to have something good going on. Now she's here. What is she even singing? Bah.
Ricky Gervais has taped a message to Simon. He loves Simon. We love Ricky Gervais. It's all good.
Then the boys come out and dance and sing and it's all bad. And then Zombie Hall and Oates come out. OMFG Show, really? What cadaver will you be having Crystal duet with later tonight? I am having a painful physical reaction to seeing these people on stage.
Then Crystal is singing Ironic which means she's gonna be singing with Alanis Morissette which is a huge relief for me that it's not literally Zombie Mama Cass performing with Mamasox. You know they would've had it if they could've had it. So Alanis is there and these are two cool chicks doing there thing. But then they start singing "you oughta know" with CLEAN lyrics. Would she go out with you to a theater? Yeah, and I bet she'd go down on you there too. Ugh, they should've done something that was nicer, like Hands Clean or Thank U. I mean I know they're not as big as You Oughta Know, but gimme a break. Anyway they finish and Alanis continues to be cool on her way out the door.
Carrie Underwood is here singing a song co-written with Kara. Carrie Underwood has turned out to be arguably the biggest winner this show ever had. I didn't really love her during her actual season, but she's grown on me enormously since then. I feel like she's made the most reappearances on the Idol Stage since she won more than any other contestant.
There's a very long sequence where Kris Allen gives the two finalists new Ford Cars and then we watch another long Ford commercial - perhaps it's a retrospective of other Ford Commercials throughout the season? Now the commercials get their own montage? Jeez.
Then Casey James is singing Every Rose Has Its Thorn with with Bret Michaels who continues to make live appearances on every reality show in town despite all his recent brain troubles.
Then Lee sings "Does Anybody Know What Time It Is?" with Zombie Chicago. I'm pretty sure one of them is really Will Forte wearing costume hair and make-up. The old folks musicians are really not doing well tonight. We haven't reached the point where it's like that time Bette Midler showed up and couldn't hit a note, but we're getting there.
Then there's more montage footage of Simon when he pretended to have an affair with his reflection. Then Paula is on stage! If you can figure out what she says, you're a better person than I am. Simon seems sincerely happy to see her and I think he really missed doing the show with her this season.
Then Kelly is on stage singing! And then Ruben and Fantasia! And then Carrie, Jordan and Taylor! And then Kris! But no David Cook? On tour, one guesses? Then it's everyone you've ever known from the show on stage. Oh it's turning into the last fifteen minutes of Lost! Maybe Paula was trying to explain the Flash-Sideways earlier and that's why I couldn't follow what she was saying! The song they are singing - that I don't think I've ever heard before - finally ends and Simon comes on stage. He's very touched and thanks everyone nicely. This show is not gonna work without him.
Then there is what seems like a 40 minute Janet Jackson section. It's not really Zombie Janet Jackson. She looks really hot, but maybe Zombie Hall or Zombie Oates bit her hand backstage, because she seems like she's struggling to sing and dance at the same time. Fight it, Janet! Don't succumb!
And somehow this show is STILL not over and Lee and Crystal are singing O"With A Little Help From My Friends" with the help of Zombie Joe Cocker. They seem to be enjoying themselves on this one, but c'mon, Show. End!
Finally - FINALLY - they are on stage with Ryan and about to get the news after some Brit comes out and tells us the results aren't fixed, but who believes him? Crystal is standing with eerie calm while Lee is doubled over with anxiety. I think the only thing better than Crystal winning would be Lee winning and passing out on stage. But it's not to be. Lee wins and stands up straight(er). He thinks it's all amazing and can't believe it. I agree with him on the last half of that sentiment.
He sings his song, (well, U2's song) and there is confetti and streamers and stuff. Then we're done. I think this might be the silliest finale vote in this history on the show. I mean some people thought Adam Lambert was robbed last year, but this to me is much stupider because Kris Allen came on really strong at the end of last season and the finale itself was a pretty even match. This year it was undeniably clear who performed better at the end, but voters give the title to DeWyze anyway. What can you do? Wait for redemption next season? With the only judge worth a damn leaving the panel, the jury is certainly still out on that one.
(We'll miss you, Simon! Hurry back with American X-Factor!)
Thanks to all who've read my recaps throughout the season. I hope you enjoyed them. Have a great time overy Memorial Day Weekend, and I'll see you soon for So You Think You Can Dance!