Usually these recaps come late because my day is so busy that my breaks dissolve into nothingness. And trust me, any notes that I take the night of the show need to be deciphered so that normal people can read it and not want to claw their eyes out. This time, though, mostly I had to work myself up to even care. I mean, I care about American Idol, clearly. And all of you (of course). And I care about Scotty and Lauren. But I don’t really care who wins. I won’t buy either CD. I won’t be holding my breath waiting for Ryan’s delivery of the winner. I won’t be jumping up and down with Noelle trying to scream quietly so as not to wake any sleeping children, no matter which name is pronounced the new “reigning” American Idol. [Point of order:] Shouldn’t the current reigning American Idol get to do one last walk across the stage or song or something before handing off the “crown”?
I wish I was more excited, I really do. I guzzled a few Red Bulls for the event*. I tried to channel my cheerleading days energy into the finale. But…nothing. Nada. Zero. But even given all of that, it’s worth nothing that no matter what, I’ll probably cry when the winner is revealed. After all, I’m nothing if not an equal opportunity crier. (Much more important than a town crier, btw).
It’s just a complete 180 from the beginning of the season when my top two were Lauren and Casey, right? But still. We have a show. And a lot happened and I have a lot to say about it, as you might expect.
The night opened with a trailer, same as most show nights. But the trailer kind of puzzled me. Why were David Cook and Carrie Underwood the only two Idol winners featured in the video? Why did they choose those particular ones? It would make sense to do the most successful Idols (Carrie and Kelly) or the most recent (Kris and Lee) or a montage of a few winners through the ages. It was just kind of weird. And now we’ve seen the auditions of Scotty and Lauren approximately 30 gazillion times in the last three weeks. And I’m guessing we’re not at the end here. It was pretty cool that they had footage of a young Scotty saying “And the next American Idol is…”. Gotta wonder about the back story there, eh?
After the trailer dramatically came to a close, Ryan stood on the stage in his tux and actually uttered the phrase: “Tonight we change lives.” We’re so important.
[Side note:] Did anyone else see that sign that an audience member was holding that said “Ryan Seacrest you’re the reason I moved to LA”? I guess that’s as good a reason to uproot your life and move to a new place as any. Moving on…
Ryan introduced the top two to us and proclaimed Scotty “The Guy Next Door” and Lauren “The Southern Belle”. American Idol seems to take great delight in labeling contestants as the “Guy Next Door” (Kris Allen also sported that label), but I don’t quite understand the logic behind the titles. Why wouldn’t it be the “Guy Next Door” vs. the “Girl Next Door”? Or the “Cowboy” vs. the “Southern Belle”? It just seems a little lopsided to me. Can’t we have some symmetry in these random made-up categorizations?
Ryan gave us the “breaking news” that had apparently been circulating today that Lauren was having trouble with her voice. Lauren’s response? “I’m here, I’m ready to sing, and I’m fine…don’t worry about it.” Well. That was clear as mud.
But THEN Dr. Nizzari emerged, basically serving the role of the most intense doctor’s note ever in the history of the world. The upside? Dr. Nizzari was finally acknowledged on television for his fine work with the Idol contestants. The downside? During the rehearsal she was pushing her voice, she “kind of” blew out one of her vocal chords. (How does one “kind of ” blow out a vocal cord?) Her vocal chords were kind of rough and sprained like a badly sprained ankle. The Doc gave her a medicine and said she’d do great. Well, isn’t that just like a doctor? In case you are as confused as I was, this might shed more light on the situation.
Returning to our regularly scheduled program, Scotty won the coin tossed and deferred to Lauren, who chose to go second. Whew. Now that just sounds like a “hang up, no you hang up” kind of situation, doesn’t it?
Tonight’s mantra must have been “end on time” because even Ryan’s “This….. is American Idol” was rushed. And once the beginning of the show was done and Lauren was given the go ahead from the doctor clad in black scrubs, we were pushed into some sort of warp drive wormhole in which time ceased to move at a normal pace.
Scotty Performs “Gone”
A very calm Scotty hit the stage. So calm was he, that I questioned if he was really awake. His performance started lacking some energy…this was not as dynamic as his first performance of this song. But I do have to say when he hit that chorus, that was a moment. But Scotty managed to kind of crush that moment with his slow, meandering stroll across the stage to finish the song.
And this is more a complaint of the whole night, but it was really hard to hear Scotty’s actual vocal. The instruments and back ground vocalist came through much more strongly in the mix.
Personally, I’m glad that Scotty and I are on the same page here. This was definitely my favorite performance of his this season (the Elvis song was a close second).
But to say that “the race for the title is heating up live on American Idol” was kind of an overstatement.
Funny commercial during the break!
Lauren Performs “Flat on the Floor”
Lauren inserted a few more of her signature shimmies into the beginning to show that she was REALLY into this song, but managed to wobble a bit coming down the stairs. This performance, like Scotty’s, was a subdued version of the first time she performed it.
And then it seemed like she lost a little of her voice with that big note, which scared me a little bit but I’m sure scared the Doc much more after her proclaimed her fit to perform. And it’s possible that it scared the American Idol legal counsel a lot more than the Doc. I’m just sayin’.
But Lauren pulled it together and finished as strongly as she could.
George Strait’s Selection for Scotty
“Check Yes or No” by George Strait
At first I thought that the “Idol’s idol” pick was supposed to be their own song. But Lauren’s performance shattered that theory, so I’m left thinking that George Strait must think a lot of his songs. Or maybe didn’t have time to really think through a selection for Scotty.
And seriously. Where can I get myself some dulcimer lessons? It’s such a cool instrument. Almost as cool as the bass! 🙂
The eyebrow wiggle was back in command as Scotty sang through the song. I don’t think that the song showed a lot of dynamic contrast…even the modulation was pretty tame. So for me, the song choice was “meh”.
At this point, I didn’t feel like either contestant really had the fire to win. Which happened to coincide with how I felt. It’s possible that those two things were related…
Carrie Underwood’s Selection for Lauren
“Maybe It was Memphis” by Pam Tillis
Now Carrie really had her head in the game when she picked this song for Lauren. Maybe that’s ’cause she had a “home court advantage” of sorts. Maybe that’s ’cause she has a better assistant than George. Or…maybe it was Memphis.
costume outfit was sort of showgirl meets ballerina topped off with a pretty ugly necklace.
But, I liked this performance. I thought it was the best of the night, really.
If only her bangs weren’t driving me nuts.
Judges’ thoughts on two rounds…
I don’t really get why the judges didn’t respond between each round? It seemed like a funny break. And listening to the judges try to recap their thoughts on both songs was kind of hard to listen to.
Randy basically thought they were really good. I refuse to include any other overused phrase of his here. Is Randy incapable of coming up with any new material? Sorry. Rhetorical question.
J. Lo basically tried not to state too strong an opinion and wanted world peace.
SteTy kept his vote squarely with his girl, Lauren, because she was prettier than Scotty. Scotty didn’t seem to be contesting that.
“Positive” by Taio Cruz
And just like that, the winning song of the “Perfect Harmony” contest was about to be performed by Taio Cruz.
Clearly, Mr. Cruz was dependent on his auto-correct microphone situation. And those lyrics were not earth shattering or anything. (“I put my hands up oh-nah-nah and stand up oh-nah-nah…”)
About a third of the way through poor Taio hit some microphone difficulties. The microphone cut out and then it seemed like the auto-correct went down. Then it came back up and then it went back down.
But, still, it was a catchy tune. And I especially liked that they gave James’ now out of work drumline a gig.
Scotty’s Single: “I Love You This Big”
This ballad was not that exciting to me, though he sang it competently. I think it kind of aged him. And can I be honest? I miss the low note ace-in-the-pocket that was so totally Scotty.
While Scotty sang, the violinist saw the camera and took the time for a Kodak moment. Dude. Be into your music.
At one point, the camera cut to his mom who was weeping. I can’t blame her. It was a big night for her boy!
And after the performance was over, Ryan tried to infuse some level of gumption in Scotty and kept trying to get Scotty to speak into his microphone. But Scotty continued to use his own microphone even though Ryan never put his down.
Lauren’s Single: “Like My Mother Does”
At first I thought that this emotional song choice would go the way of the parking-lot-breakdown and that it wasn’t the best idea. But then I started to realize Lauren’s strategy. Or maybe not Lauren’s, but someone directing her steps on this finale night. I’d like to call this performance “Emotional Manipulation: American Idol Edition.”
Halfway through the song, Ryan appeared to escort Lauren down the stairs to sing to her mom in the audience. And while I really am all for the parents in this whole situation, I wish that Simon was on deck to call the whole thing “self-indulgent”. Because it was. I don’t doubt that the emotion was genuine, but it was a pretty brilliant game plan. Whoever thought it up.
I might have felt differently if Lauren’s mom didn’t come off so annoying. But that’s where I’m at.
David Cook Performs “Don’t You Forget About Me”
Well, this was kind of random. But always good to see a fellow Idol winner return to the stage, right? And at least David had the decency to not sing about collard greens and cornbread.
The song was fine, but his version was much too low for him. Even a half step up would have been a better choice.
And boy did David Cook get a lot of face time on the finale tonight! Curiouser and curiouser.
So, that was the end of this rather rushed affair. The finale is now complete. The votes are cast. The Idol winner has been chosen, even though we don’t know who it is yet.
And maybe this is a mean thing to do, but I keep wondering what final duo would have made a more interesting finale. James and Scotty? Paul and Pia? James and Haley? Casey and Jacob?
Have a thought on that? Put it in the comments. 🙂
*Yeah. I didn’t really do that.