It’s Finale Here…

Well, how ’bout that? With this episode, the American Idol season officially ends. We made it! And even though all of you know (better than most) that I would have changed the top two if I had the power, the season was a pretty fantastic ride, wasn’t it? The changes that were made to the format, the new judges, Ryan’s new haircut…all took the season in a new and better direction. I, for one, can’t wait for next season…or maybe I can wait a little while. A girl needs recovery time, after all!

My first question of the night. Ryan revealed that 122 million votes were cast on Tuesday night. 122 MILLION. Now, that’s a heck of a lot more than 95 million votes from last week, but this fantastic sum of frantic texters, caller-inners, and website-ers doesn’t warrant fireworks? I think someone from the graphics department is getting fired. (Oh, that was very J. Lo of me). I’m just sayin’.

The final trailer of the season! Sniff. I’ll miss these. Maybe I should create trailers for my every day life experiences. Now THAT wouldn’t be a waste of time at all. This video set the stage of the night and to think about how many people auditioned versus made it to the Hollywood rounds versus made it to the Top 24 versus who made it to the Top 13 to who made it to the finale. Seriously. That’ll boggle your noggin if you let it. So I suggest we keep moving right along.

Ryan tossed out the fateful question to the 7,000 fans in the Nokia theater: Who’s your favorite contestant? And I have to say that Lauren’s fans sounded louder and prouder than Scotty’s in the house (da house, if you will). But when Ryan cut to their hometown celebrations, Scotty’s side had the clear advantage (despite the creative camera angles that Lauren’s hometown video crew tried to employ). This is when I started to gain some hope that the emotional manipulation from the night before wouldn’t win the day.

This show produced all the electric energy that I had expected from last night’s show and I found myself re-immersing myself in all that I love about the show. My zip was back–no Red Bull needed. And it made me wonder if I was just imagining the subdued proceedings of last night…nah. There’s a lot that happened, so I’ll try to keep my recapping brief so that when your alarm clock sounds tomorrow morning, you’ll be all caught up and ready to go.

You’re welcome.

Top 13 Perform “Born This Way”

CASEY! JAMES! PAUL! How I’ve missed you all except…Jacob. The performance sounded great! But I think it might have been pre-taped. Some of the close up shots of the contestants (and more accurately, their mouths) didn’t seem synced up with what was happening on stage. And wow, even the staged choreography looked Glee-worthy!

Oh, Scotty and Lauren. Stop with your shenanigans. We all know you’re just pretending to be competing for the center stage.  

James Durbin Performs with Judas Priest

Okay safety first, people. I can only IMAGINE the damage one could inflict with a spiked “booby-trapped” jacket. This performance must have been so cool for James. He looked right at home on stage.

I was still holding out hope that SteTy would be the one singing with the Durbs, so I was a little bummed. But that passed pretty quickly when I started to feel real fear that the hug the two guys exchanged at the end of the performance would leave them both riddled with holes and unintentional piercings. But seriously? That was an AMAZING electric guitar solo.

Judge Montage #1: Randy Jackson (aka RaJax)

This was pretty much what you would expect (everyone’s “in it to win it”…yeah, yeah), but it was still humorous. I didn’t realize that he asked “what is this show?” so much.

But the gold star of the night goes to Ry-Ry: “We need to get you a new writer.” From your lips to the producers ears, Ryan.

Jacob Lusk Performs with Kirk Franklin and Gladys Knight

My first thought was: who does he think he is with those Titantic-esque cuff links? And yep, I definitely remember accurately what a Jacob performance is. But having him share the stage with other people kind of tamed him and it wasn’t a hot mess. (Someone please find out what does Kirk Franklin do to get all that energy? ‘Cause I think I need me some of that.) He scurried around like an ant under a magnifying glass on a summer day. But at the end of the day, the performance proved that Jacob found his people! His tribe! And that made him seem a little more normal. I said a LITTLE more normal.

Casey Abrams Performs with Jack Black

As soon as Casey started singing and then whipped that couch out of the way to reveal Jack Black lounging on the stage, I couldn’t stop smiling and chuckling. (Boy, Casey’s pants are sure shiny!) These two are two peas in a pod. I think the dancers with 80’s neon bloomers were overkill. But the face to face ending more than made up for it (it did make me feel kind of gross on one level, though, b/c of all that sweat).

I would have rather seen Casey perform with his bass.  But still. It was so good for him to be back up on that stage.

Top 13 Ladies Perform a Beyonce Medley/”Crazy” with Beyonce

Finally Thia gets a solo in a group number! She and Karen rocked the “Irreplaceable” section of that. Kudos to Haley who had less time to learn the song and the choreography (and she did an amazing job). That must have been a lot of pressure to sing their solos with the original artist who sang them waiting in the wings.

Ryan is a master of stretching time, isn’t he? Though, having fallen victim to a DVR cut-off, I didn’t really think his comment, said jokingly, was appropriate. This is not a joking matter, Ry-Ry. 

Judges Montage #2: Steven Tyler (aka SteTy)

[BTW, the only reason I know what a “montage” is because of a one Greg Spangler. Greg is also singlehandedly responsible for teaching me to parallel park on the rough streets of Santa Clarita. Yay, Greg!]

Accurately labeled the “Loose Cannon” of the judging panel, I think the video was true to SteTy’s presence on the show. I just wish they would have done a portion of the video on how many times he said the word “beautiful” in response to a contestant’s performance, though.

Haley sings with Tony Bennet

I’ve never noticed before that Tony Bennet doesn’t have a neck. He looked like one of my former Ken dolls that lost the little “head turny” piece and so the plastic head had to be jammed directly on the plastic neck. But, even that feels irreverent to mention about an 85-year-old legend who is STILL making albums. Haley looked classy and was the perfect vocal partner for him. I especially appreciated the impromptu dance.

This was definitely my favorite performance of the night.

Judges Montage #3: Jennifer Lopez (aka J.Lo)

Basically, auditioning contestants and voted-through contestants sang of J.Lo’s beauty from far and wide (and J.Lo chastised Randy for sucking the joy from all her compliments). But the best part of this video was Marc Anthony’s face inserted in between all the people hitting on his wife. And let it be noted that fair J.Lo was the only judge to get a standing ovation.

Lil’ John and Thia, Ashton, Naima, and Karen with TLC

Ryan introduced this as the Top 13 performing with TLC, but I only saw Thia, Ashton, Naima, and Karen. Let’s just talk about the elephant in the room: this was definitely taped. There is no way that TLC was singing live.

Scotty McCreery Performs with Tim McGraw

Wait…isn’t “Live Like You Were Dying” Kris Allen’s song? Aw, man! I wanted to see how he was going to pull that off. But I was totally faked out. In my defense, the titles are darn similar.

And how great was The Blind Side? That along makes me a fan of good ‘ole Tim. This was a great performance and Scotty seemed like a pro, even standing next to a real bona-fide star.

Unsung Heros Montage

While I’m glad that they didn’t do the “faux awards” to the worst of the audition process, I’m not sure this was entirely necessary, either. It seems like a million years ago that we were watching the audition rounds, right?

This montage  featured Ryan’s protegé, Joe (you might remember him as the one who thought he had a career in radio but could only spout off one pre-rehearsed radio type phrase). It also included a “best use of logo” section in which the AI logo was plastered over anything that needed to be censored. Which, apparently was a lot. But I notice that they’ve been pleased to have Lady Gaga on several times, soooo. Whatever you want to do with that.

Marc Anthony Performs

Boy, it sure pays to be J.Lo’s husband, doesn’t it? And why are all the suits so shiny tonight? Anyhow. J.Lo was absent from the judges table, so I thought she’d appear at Marc’s side at some point during the performance. What I didn’t realize was that we were mostly going to just have a view of her bum and tousled hair. There was also a weird interpretive dance section. But their kiss at the end was sweet. Awww.

“Shocking” Elimination Montage

This was the single most hilarious thing I’ve seen on Idol. Ever. James and Casey really made this sooo funny, I had to pause my DVR because I was laughing so hard. I watched it twice, I’m not going to lie.

Highlights:

Casey: “America must really hate me because they eliminated me twice.” 

Casey called James a crybaby.

James coined the phrase “Shocker Rocker”.

Casey mocked the fact that James compared himself to Daughtry.

Good times, good times.

And once Pia entered and stole the scene, I was sold. There’s a lot to be said for a sense of humor, eh folks?

Top 13 Guys Perform a Tom Jones Medley/Tom Jones performs “It’s Not Unusual”

I was impressed with Stefano (finally)! And Jack Black was rockin’ out.

Ford Music Video Montage

Cute. And since Ford sponsored the next segment, I’m not going to mention what a waste of time this was. Oh. Whoops!

Ford Gives Back

Scotty and Lauren each got a donation of $20 per test drive on the Ford vehicle at their school…up to $10K. That’s pretty amazing. But I was glad they made it personal…each got to invite a teacher to the finale. Note to all teachers: find out who has vocal talent. Encourage them to try out for American Idol. Be really nice to them until they make it on the show. It’ll pay off!

Both teachers got cars! That’s a cool twist! And Scotty and Lauren get whatever Ford they want, so it’s a win-win-win-win. 🙂

Lady Gaga Performs “The Edge of Glory”

Whoa. Headdress. She looked more like a wall hanging than a human. She’s on the edge of somethin’. Maybe sanity? When she shed her “choir rob” for a warrior-looking bikini I knew we were in for a traditional Gaga performance. And while she stood on that precipice, I realized something: she actually has a pretty amazing voice. Sometimes it gets lost in her “entertainment” factor, but Gaga got skill.

Now, if only the performance didn’t end with a slightly pornographic dance, I would have been okay.

And THEN at the end of the performance, she fell off the edge! That made me gasp. I bet it made the American Idol legal counsel gasp, too.

Cannot. Wait.

Lauren Alaina Performs with Carrie Underwood “Before He Cheats”

Seriously? Another Carrie Underwood song? Can we drive this comparison into the ground, please? Oh, wait. We’re already there.

The two of them sounded fantastic together, but I think the song was a too-mature choice for young Lauren. And this just in: stomping 6″ high heels doesn’t equal attitude, Lauren.

Former Contestants Weigh in on the Final Two

Jacob and Pia got the sappy part out of the way before this magic ensued:

Paul: “It’s unbelievable. They’re 16 and 17 years old, they can’t vote, they can barely drive…”

James: “They’re CHILDREN.”

Karen: “Go to your prom!”

Paul: “They can’t even watch ‘R’ rated movies.”

Stefano: “Wasn’t ‘American Juniors’ cancelled a while ago?”

Casey: “They’re just learning cursive. I’ve learned cursive for about the last five years now. They’re just starting.”

Beyonce Performs “One Plus One”

Boy, Beyonce is getting some good face time. The red mist was kind of creepy, but her dress was cool. And she totally sang her guts out.

This was the point in the show where I just wanted to know already. So, don’t tell anyone, but I kind of fast-forwarded half of her performance. Shh!

Bono and the Edge with Spiderman Turn Off the Dark Perform “Rise Above”

LOL. While Ryan was introducing this, there was a big guy sitting right behind him in the audience who was having NONE of it. The more excited Ryan got, the less expression on his face. Gotta love people like that, right? It provides balance to our world…

One thought struck me as the camera rested squarely on a rather attractive dude with a Spiderman letterman’s jacket: The American Idol set changing crew is amazing. The song actually got a little repetitive, but was entertaining enough. And when Spidey was lowered (upside down) right in front of J.Lo, I thought for a second that J. Lo was going to go for the upside down kiss! But, apparently remembering Marc’s expression during her video, she passed on the opportunity with a giggle.

[Side note:] That “The New Girl” show looks like something that will be occupying my DVR this fall…

Steven Tyler Performs “Dream On”

Wow! I didn’t know he played piano. All of his fans throughout the season (remember the plethora of “Walk This Way” signs?) were waiting for this one moment. J.Lo supported her fellow judge by rocking out in her judge seat Paula-style. And holy teeth, Batman! He’s got a lotta them.

Final Results!

Oh, hold up! Apparently this news warrants a wardrobe change! Scotty and Lauren looked spiffy while clutching hands and waiting for the word. Oh, except for the part of the waiting where they were engaged in a tickle fight on stage.

And the winner is…Scotty McCreery!

Whoa. Did they just kiss?!?!?! [I know. I’m juvenile. But I rewinded that about 4 times just to make sure that I saw Lauren plant one right on Scotty’s lips. Apparently, reliable news sources deny that they are a couple. But I’d like to present a few pieces of evidence for your verdict.]

1. The kiss.

2. The acceptance speech. “Well, it’s been a year since Lauren Alaina and I tried out now. Me and her have been together since day one and we’re going to stay together and this is just…never in my wildest dreams. I gotta thank the Lord first because he got me here.” [Side note: Since when have they gotten trophies?]

3. The “I love you, baby” directed to Lauren during his performance.

You be the judge. As you might guess, I think they are MFEO.

Aw, he has lipstick on his cheek. And he interjected his final American Idol performance with a disbelieving “Are you serious?” before descending the stairs to hug family. Gotta love this guy. This was not really a song as much as it was a hug-fest. It was sweet to see Scotty so choked up seeing as how he’s usually the one that’s cool as a fudgsicle.

Meanwhile, Scotty’s dad had fun with the confetti streamers.

At the end, poor Scotty was so overcome that he collapsed to the ground and cried. Which was actually kind of awkward because everyone was intent on bringing him to his feet again. Leave him alone, people!

But then he stood up and tried to catch confetti on his tongue. So I knew he’d be okay.  And one last “thank you so much” from Scotty and we were out!

A Few Final Thoughts

1. Why is the typical MO to “surprise” us with the celebrity artist in the middle of the song? I’ve grown to expect it now, someone better get on that. Nigel, you want to come up some more ideas and then give me a call and we can brainstorm? Mkay, thanks.

2. I bet Jordan Dorsey wishes he was nicer to Scotty, right? (He was the one who wouldn’t let Scotty be in his group during the group round of the Hollywood auditions).

Until Next Season,

Haddock out!

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