American Idol Season 9: Finale Week!

Filed under: Recaps & Reviews

Welcome to finale week! I am so deeply glad that we are almost done with this dreadful season. Dear sweet Idol producers, please make next year suck less.

Here we go with performance night...

Ryan does the now familiar open with his back to the darkened Nokia Theatre before the lights come on and we see all the people gathered to celebrate mediocrity. What does it feel like to be Ryan Seacrest, I wonder?

Crystal and Lee enter from the back of the theatre and parade down the aisles, high-fiving the audience as they go. Crystal has major troubles getting to the front. She drops her mic, she misses some kind of mark, she is very confused. Is this how the whole night's gonna go?

Lee gets to go first, or rather Crystal gets to go second. First up, he does his favourite song of the season. So of course he goes with his pick from Inspirational Week, "The Boxer." Oh dear. It's nice and all, but I am... well, uninspired. That is probably going to be a theme this evening.

Randy yo-yos in his stupid loud suit that it was nice if not particularly energetic, and really all the judges are on the same page here. Kara's hair looks HIDEOUS... which is a shame, because she has such lovely hair.

I hate when Ryan calls us "friends." Ryan, quit one of your jobs and get some REAL friends.

Crystal is redoing "Me & Bobby McGee" from Billboard Number Ones week. A wiser choice than Lee's, to be sure, and she knocks it out of the park again. All of the judges agree that it was wonderful and she's bringing it tonight, whatever "it" is.

Nextly, Mr. DeWyze sings Executive Producer Ken Warwick's choice for him: "Everybody Hurts" by R.E.M., frequently reappropriated in our house as "Everybody Poops." Lee does a good job with the singing, but it's still a BORING ASS SONG. Good grief. I am asleep. (P.S. He has a choir again. Snore.)

Randy goes off about "pitchy" again, which I'm pretty sure WE TALKED ABOUT, JACKSON. The judges collectively felt that Lee is still holding back too much.

Crystal's Producer's Choice song is "Black Velvet." This is all so predictable I could cry. I would, if I wasn't so bored. Crystal braves the big staircase for this number, but she has to look down a lot as she descends. Wither Adam Lambert? Anyway, she sings it fine but nothing special in any way, shape or form. This is a song where it is MAJORLY difficult to improve upon the original. It's better not to try.

This is what Randy is talkin' about, yo. All the judges loved it. Kara's hair! It is so bad! Oh em gee. Simon is a little allergic to that song because it's been killed (in the bad way) so many times in auditions, but Crystal impressed him nonetheless.

Idol Single time! I guess they get to release covers this year? I... really?? Whose big idea was that? And if Lee is going to pick (or be stuck with) "Beautiful Day," how is that any better than the schlock they're usually saddled with? Maybe let them sing songs they wrote! Or something that is not this idea!

So anyway, Lee sings U2's "Beautiful Day," because why I don't know. It's such a weird choice for him with all the synth and strings and the Bono-ness of the whole escapade. Also he does not sing it all that well, although there are a few nice moments.

Now I don't want Lee to win anymore. I don't need a "Beautiful Day" cover on the radio; I just don't. One is enough. This is not a song that was begging to be redone, especially by someone with such drastically lesser vocal skills.

Randy gets that Lee is not used to wandering the stage when he sings, and commends him for getting big with the vocals in the middle. Ellen could tell that Lee was "fully present" during that song, "taking in" the "energy" of "these people." Kara thinks Lee got swallowed up a bit by the song. Simon takes this opportunity as his last chance ever to judge on this show to say that Lee is what the show is about -- someone regular given a life-changing opportunity but not letting it change them for the worse.

You know, I was watching Simon on Ellen this week and I realized how weird it is to watch him walk. We never see him walk on this show; just sit behind a table. He is a WEIRD walker.

Crystal's potential single is "Up to the Mountain" (which I am afraid to Google lest I be spoiled for the results before I am ready, but which I think is a Patty Griffin song that Kelly Clarkson also does a cover of). This is a much better choice, and I really like that it's mellow. Going crazy rocker for her first single would have been a bad choice for Crystal (because I think she's going to win now, and I think I hope she does). She sings it very well, but I still feel like this grand performance finale is putting me to sleep. Gosh, I miss the last two seasons.

Judges: love. So much love. Ellen makes the valid point that there is no contemporary artist right now that Crystal can be compared to. Kara says that Crystal was more emotionally connected with this song than she ever has been before. Crystal takes a moment to thank Simon for everything before he says his piece. It's kind of awkward, but sweet. Good thing he then calls it the song of the night. For his final critique of the show ever, he finishes, "That was outstanding."

So that was that. Crystal is so going to win. I feel good about that.

If you sat through the whole 2-hour-and-7-minute finale-finale, then you're a stronger person than I. But if you didn't, here are the things you missed:

  • Randy's shirt, which appears to have grapes all over it.
  • Randy standing up to applaud Simon Cowell instead of booing him, FOR ONCE.
  • The Top 12 in possibly the strangest thing I have ever beheld on this show: like, a School of Rock-themed "School's Out" group performance featuring, I think, Orianthi, and a zombie schoolchild choir, and Alice Cooper. Oh the humanity.
  • Kris Allen, being adorable and singing "The Truth," without the guy from Train, but with special interjections from Ryan Seacrest, whose mic wasn't turned off for a second there.
  • A lame video "tribute" to Simon, the saddest part of which is that it is clear that Randy Jackson will be returning next season.
  • A "How Deep Is Your Love" duet from Siobhan and Little Aaron. Oh, and the two remaining Brothers Gibb. Fast-forward!
  • Big Mike singing something that may be called "Takin' It to the Streets" but I can't be bothered to listen to it, along with that guy with the white hair whose name I don't know, but I'm pretty sure he is the one Jane Lynch kept playing at the store in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Michael McDonald? Is that him? Gosh, but I am exceedingly bored.
  • A special song by Dane Cook, composed purely of Simon's various insults. Dane is looking even better than usual these days, but his jokes are worse than usual. Then some of the worst auditioners of the season come out and it's like a nightmare. Thank God Dane's so cute. That was just weird.
  • The Top 6 girls singing a Christina Aguilera medley of "Beautiful" and "Fighter," but all the Christina-style mic-tapping in the world can't suck Lacey Brown back into key. AND THEN CHRISTINA SHOWS UP IN THE FLESH. YES! She then proceeds to sing her most boring song ever. WHY? I just want to be entertained, and I don't feel like that is too much to ask of a 2+-hour-long show.
  • Ricky Gervais via video, funnier than Dane Cook by many miles.
  • The Top 6 guys with a... Hall & Oates medley? What. Ever. Oh, but I had almost forgotten about Andrew Garcia. Tim Urban does much better with this medley than Andrew. The boys are allowed to actually sing with Darrell & John, unlike the girls with Christina.
  • Crystal doing an Alanis cover. Of "Ironic." What frigging decade are we in? I probably don't have to spell this out for you, but obviously Alanis comes out and sings "You Oughta Know" with Crystal. There is a clunker of a lyric change to "Would she go down with you to the theatre?" and so much awkward pacing around the stage. Crystal does sing the hell out of this song, though, and I think maybe her voice is more like Alanis' than anybody.
  • Carrie Underwood with her new Kara-penned single and her doppelganger backup singer. Carrie, I will even watch all the way through. She is amazing.
  • Lee and Crystal getting Ford Fiestas with the designs that they did lo those many episodes ago. Well, that is kind of shoddy. Who would drive one of those things all covered in crap like that? This is followed by their "Ford commercial," which features some nice singing from the two of them on some random country-sounding song. (This is the halfway point, by the by.)
  • Casey James and two guitars. Who will be his duet partner? Well, he's singing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," so Bret Michaels? Yes indeed. This is so fancy.
  • Lee DeWyze and Chicago. Like the band, but also the city where he is from. I love you, Lee, but... ffwd.
  • "Pants on the Ground: The Remix feat. William Hung." Appalling.
  • Paula Abdul! In a pretty pink and crazy short dress! To sing Simon a song! Or just to talk to him! I really have not missed her ramblings.
  • KELLY!!!!!!!! To sing Simon a song of inspiration and thanks! Oh, but also RUUUUUUUUben (so very skinny)! And Fantasia! And Carrie! And JORDIN (no Taylor Hicks?)! Oh, and Taylor Hicks even! And Kris! WHERE IS DAVID COOK???? WHAT. Also! Holy crap! A whole bunch of runners-up! David Archuleta! Justin Guarini! Blake Lewis! Alison Iraheta! Melinda Doolittle! Ace Young! Kellie Pickler I think! Constantine! Brooke White! Jason Castro! Bo Bice! Chris Richardson! Elliot Yamin! Matt Giraud! Other people that they do not show up close or I do not recognize! Seriously, where is David Cook?
  • Simon with a nice speech.
  • The Top 12 again, with Janet Jackson and her new super-short hair. And then she DANCES in very high heels and does "Nasty" and is so very, very hot, even if she is maybe lip-syncing some of it. Janet wins the night. American Idol what?
  • A retrospective on Crystal's and Lee's "journeys," set to Sufjan Stevens' "Chicago." Good choice. Why couldn't Lee have sung the song "Chicago" with Sufjan instead of just with the band Chicago? Oh right, because that would have been cool.
  • Lee and Crystal sing "With a Little Help from My Friends" with Joe Cocker, who is pretty awesome.

And of course, at the end of this whole extravaganza, the crowning of Season 9's winner... Lee DeWyze!

Not to take anything away from adorable Lee and his confetti shower... but there sure is a type what wins this show these days, isn't there? I did not expect this after Crystal sort of blew him out of the water Tuesday night.

They make Lee sing his "Beautiful Day" through his happy tears and it is, well, beautiful and appropriate.

Here's hoping next season far outdoes this one, and meanwhile let's cleanse our palates with a little So You Think You Can Dance, shall we?

Tags: american idol, recap

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