American Idol Finale, Finally!

So after approximately 43 episodes containing at least 6,721 song butcherings and 347 different outfit changes (63 by David Archuleta alone containing 112 tiny, little jackets,) our American Idol journey has come to an end. I can’t believe that I’ll need to wait another eight months to hear, “This… (crickets chirping, I’m starting to feel a little bit awkward, oh boy, I think that I’m starting to sweat a little bit. Dude, could you just get to it, already? Don’t people need to sing? Aaaah, Fantasia Barrino!) is American Idol!” I really think Seacrest was starting to get a little bit full of himself, especially there at the end with all of his stage makeup. For a minute there, he really looked like a more feminine version of “Jem and the Rockers” especially once the show moved into the decidedly more cavernous Nokia Theater.  

Fire! Finale. And more fire!

I hate to admit it, but Simon actually knows what he’s doing. He’s been campaigning for approximately the past 10 weeks for a David/ david Battle Royale, and he got his wish in the final. (And the conspiracy theorist in me can still imagine Simon and Nigel in a little back room manipulating votes like a Ghanan presidential election. Especially after Taylor Hicks managed to win two years ago against Simon’s wishes, was dropped from 19 Records (the American Idol label) after poor album sales and was not even mentioned during the final when they showed images of American Idol “superstars”–Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson and…Chris Daughtry (!!!!) who took fourth! They really hate Taylor Hicks! And I believe that since then, both Simon and his Red Sea-parted hair and Nigel and his Leif Garret flowing locks have decided to wrest back control of the voting since the American public is so haphazard. That, and Tupac is still alive, working in the post office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.) 

But give it to the curiously coiffed duo, they certainly know how to pick a final. I dare say, this was the most entertaining slugfest since the weekly arguments on “The Golden Girls” or any conversation with George and Weezie from “The Jeffersons.” But pardon for a momentito, what was up with the lame boxing metaphor? I mean, I understand that this is a “Heavyweight Bout for the Title of the World” and everything, but do you really need to slap our faces with it? Putting the David’s in little boxing robes AND boxing gloves? (And by the way, didn’t little Archie look like the anti-Hugh Hefner in his little robe? Even though the size 6T fit him like a glove, he never really seemed quite uncomfortable in his silky adornment, but at least he gave it a try.) And interview portions with Jim Lampley? I mean the guy’s got an impeccable hair line and dates more than ABC 4’s Randall Carlisle, but I don’t think we need his playful boxing metaphors sprinkled throughout the broadcast. Even Michael Buffer got to take over the pre-show announcing duties for Seacrest, and although he has an impressive voice and says his now cliche’ opening line with panache, I just wanted to hear some music after 5 months of buildup. I admit I wasn’t really ready to rumble.

I’m pretty sure that Archey lost because of THIS face.

I’m sure no one remembers now as it’s been so long ago now, but for the final showdown, both of our Davids were given a chance to perform three numbers. One selected by Clive Davis, who’s about 6000 years old and yes, does have a knack for discovering new talent (Janis Joplin, Miles Davis, Mariah Carey, Leona Lewis, Alicia Keys, etc.) and has the creativity of a bran muffin when it comes to selecting songs from the pop music library. There’s got to be at least a good 12,000 songs to choose from (2 for every one of his years on the Earth) but instead of picking those, he selects “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” from U2 for David the Elder (because in Clive’s words, he still hasn’t found what he’s looking for. Get it! He doesn’t yet have the title and is not yet complete? So what better song to sing than a song that has all of those words in the title and chorus!) Mr. Davis you’re a genious. No wonder your record label that you started a scant five years ago has kicked you to the curb!

And for little Archie’s song, the Clivinator has selected the all time classic “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” a personal favorite of Clive’s as he’s currently battling the sun and Father Time himself in his spare time. Please Clive, let’s not make this personal. We’re sorry that you’ve been reassigned, but why do you need to give little david a song that has already been attempted by a trio of lackluster American Idol candidates (Justin Guarini, Jasmine Trias and “shudder” Clay Aiken?) Are you trying to get the young man killed? Nice work, Clive, now please proceed out to pasture, buy an island and actually enjoy your millions while you still can.

And I beg to currently disagree with the most irrelevant judges in the history of the world behind Antonin Scalia and David Hasselhoff. Both “5-Phrase Randy” and “I Thought Your Dress Rehearsal Was Disappointing” Paula were way off as I thought that “Rocker David” (not his real name) did a great job with his stodgy U2 anthem and actually made it sound fresh and new. Something I’d buy? Yes, and I might even use money. Tiny david Archuleta also did a good job as well with the lamest song since Carly Smithson’s trainwreck “The Show Must Go On.” I don’t know if it was his “best performance ever” or even “molten hot.” I was thinking more along the lines of “pretty good” and “Please stop squinting at me. I’m not the sun, or even very far away.” And I know he can pretty much “sing the phone book” already Randy. Could you come up with something new and fresh for each show, please? Could you borrow Paula’s writers to come up with something like, “You can sing a soup label!” or “You could sing the entire list of captured criminals from ‘America’s Most Wanted–Starring Adam Walsh’ from 1986-2001!” or “You could sing the entire Paula Abdul discography and make it sound better than she ever did!” but then, I guess that applies to pretty much anybody.

David. A Jacket. A Match Made in Heaven.

For their second selection, the boys then chose one song from a variety of crappy songs submitted by equally crappy songwriters that didn’t win the “American Idol Songwriting Competition.” Isn’t that kind of like being rewarded for not being good at something? Well, you didn’t make it on the Olympic team, but we’ll still let the competition use you as a hurdle. Sounds good. Where songs with titles like “This is My Moment for My Soul to Fly Like An Eagle” or “My Journey Home is Comprised of Pancakes and Lullabies and You are My Maple Syrup” or something equally craptastic. These performances were quite hard to judge, as I don’t think even Clive Davis with a Mariah Carey-Alicia Keys-Leona Lewis hat trick could make one of these songs a hit, but our two finalists gamely forged ahead and tried to make these sugary confections suck less. Well, at least David Cook did. He selected “Dream Big” which contains a few components of what makes a successful American Idol selection. It contains the word dream, and talks about the journey that they are going on. And it sucks more than ten things that suck. David rocked it up a little bit and tried to make it a passable song. I think he succeeded in showing his “rockin” side, which he needed to do with the songs that were on deck. However, you can only put so much lipstick on a pig. And this pig’s lips were adequately covered.

Little david selected a song that more closely matched the American Idol winning song aesthetic. It was a ballad, it was super cheesy and I would never want to hear it on mainstream radio. Unless it’s in an advertisement for Depends Undergarments or something. “In This Moment” has the required level of cheese, it refers to a moment and has some of the most cringe-worthy lyrics I’ve ever heard since Digital Underground’s “Humpty Dance.” Although it did provide some classic television moments as Sir Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber returns(!) to triumphantly coach our little kidlets through the scary morass of the finale. My favorite part was Lloyd Web trying to show the Arch how he could truly start feeling the crappy lyrics that he was being saddled with. “Staring through windows of my own reflection/ How can a window encompass perfection?” Wow. How can I listen to this without jabbing a fork through my carotid, should really be the question we are asking ourselves. However, it was classic comedy seeing the Web trying to get Davey to really encompass the lyrics. I love that creepy, little Brit who makes it glaringly apparent that if he’s ordering a sandwich, he’d enjoy a slice of Archuleta and some little David on the side. I hope that our boy from Murray has a bodyguard with him at all times to help him fend off his advances. And of course, the judges rained down praise on the Archuleta train and let him know that HE had selected a song that was worthy of the American Idol finale. Apparently dripping with cheese and squintiness is what we’re really looking for here.

For the third and final round, the boxing metaphors were cranked up to 11, our two remaining kids were shown in videos where they were swathed in white on white outfits and bathed in heavenly light getting ready for their last and final showdown. I was all goosebumpy as I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen next. In round three, the Davids were able to actually select their own songs and if history is any indicator, this is when the kids dig into their treasure trove of warmly received performances from the just-completed season and break out the one that the judges seemed to swoon over the most. Luckily, the Cook is cut from a different cloth and decided to sing a new song that we haven’t yet heard before, “The World I Know” from Collective Soul. Not only did he bring a fresh take to this song, but he was able to give us something new and different that he’d been wanting to do all season long. I thought it was quite pleasant, and I could almost hear Clive Davis turning in his chair to ask his assistant what song the Cook was singing as he had never heard of the band before. Welcome to 1998, Clive. It’s nice to have you here.

And Archey went into the archives and brought out “Imagine” yet again. This was about as shocking as learning that professional wrestling is not really a legit athletic competition. He claimed in a few post-show interviews that he was going to try something new but he couldn’t get clearance from the publishers to do so. Yeah, I’m sure that’s pretty accurate. I know a lot of artists would hate to have their songs sung in front of 30 MILLION people on live television by a little chipmunk that everyone is talking about. Good call there. But little davey was smart in that he did pick a selection that he brought out back when I liked the kid and thought he had a shot of actually winning the whole thing. It was nice to hear his soulful rendition of this song, even though I felt like I had been here before. However, when he was done, I was certain that he had helped the world to truly achieve peace, or had configured a new sustainable fuel source to hear the judges talk about him. Apparently little davey and his jackets are the stuff, and if we can’t realize just how well he can sing the PHONE BOOK (again Randy, really? Twice in one show?) then WE’RE the ones to blame. Unlike Lloyd Web, we don’t want to have davey shoved down our throats, judges, thank you very much.

This is weird.

And that was that. I can’t wait to see what the Finale is going to be like. Like, seriously. I can’t wait!

So here we are. The finale! Red Carpets. “Celebrities” like that one girl from “Full House” that married Uncle Jesse. That other guy from Beverly Hills 90210 that looked forty years old when he was on the show, and looks about sixty now, who somehow was able to score a ticket for him and his kids even though he’s been filming movies that go straight to TV for about eight years now. He must have a pretty good agent.

To start things off, we get to see the Top 12 again! Look at all the kids that I haven’t even thought about for the past three months! David Hernan-who? You’re dead to me. Ramiele. Still tiny. Still as forgettable as a calico jumper. Welcome back, Amanda Overmyer, and you look horribly awkward attempting the complicated choreography that they’ve broken out for the finale. Step to the left. Turn. Step to the Right. Turn. Smile. Step, step, sing. Smile. These are some complex movements, y’all, and she couldn’t have looked more miserable.  I hope she still has her motorcycle.

Like a pack of badly choreographed angels. One with a weird hat.

We did get some greatest hits from the season. Jason Castro! Singing “Hallejuah” from back when he still cared. The top 6 girls! All dressed in red and singing with Donna Sommer who is NOT, I repeat NOT dead. She’s alive and well and has a wig on her head that would make Beyonce proud. One fun thing I noticed about these group numbers is that I haven’t missed Carly at all. And apparently she hasn’t spent her time in LA tanning, as she wore black leggings the entire show. No matter what color of dress she was wearing. Isn’t it May? And shouldn’t you embrace your pasty legs by now? Ramiele has embraced the fact that she’s shorter than most leprechauns, after all!

Everyone is SOOO into it. Except Carly’s leggings and Amanda “I’m so” Overmyer

Syesha and Seal. I fell asleep. I thought white jeans went out with Units and Swatch watches. But since Seal is married to Heidi Klum, I would expect him to be a little more plugged in to what’s fashionable than I am. And Syesha came out really strong on this song, but as soon as Seal came out, you could almost see her get all intimidated. It’s just Seal, Eesh. Don’t forget that you’ve met the Mariah Carey. And her wind machine.

Seal-esha

The USC Marching Band and that dude from the tryouts = Me pushing fast forward.

Brian Adams. Is NOT dead. He and Donna Summer have been writing songs together in the Bahamas for the past 16 years. And he has been busy not developing his arm muscles. Eat something, Brian. And have it go to your arms, please.

Bryan Adams’ arms. Smaller even than Archuleta. Hard to do.

What could have been and in some cases SHOULD have been the final two (if the producers hadn’t shoved them down our proverbial esophagii, so early on) Carly and Michael Johns sang a song. It was ok. She’s still wearing black tights, by the way.

Carly. Michael. Leggings!

Graham Nash and Brooke White both played a song of his with guitars. It was nice. Like vanilla ice cream is nice. I think Brooke could have had a nice, Joan Baez-y career in the 60’s. Maybe she and Josiah Lemming should get together and write a few songs.

Jonas Brothers Band = pukeworthy. I couldn’t fast forward fast enough. Especially that one with the really big eyebrows. Eek. No wonder Miley dumped you.

Jordin Sparks and her vocal chords are just fine, thank you very much. Here she is singing in a rather unfortunate golden dress that makes her look like a life-size gilded muffin. Apparently Blake Lewis has purchased her album as he knows every single word. Oh Blake. Enjoy your time in the spotlight, you’ve got about three minutes left.

Jordin Sparks. Spanish for Golden Pastry.

Carrie Underwood sang something, but I was too busy fast forwarding her. Is it just me, or has she been EVERYWHERE lately? She’s even more ubiquitous than David Archuleta’s dad. And that’s pretty hard to do. In fact, his new plaid cap just got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He’s THAT famous. And what’s up with her weird, white sash and mini-dress combo? She looked like she’d been ‘Project Runway’d’ or something before the show with 50 yards of fabric and only $23 to put it all together.

What the fabric?

George Michael. Looks hammered and is starting to get a bit thin on top. Is lurking in public bathrooms finally catching up to you, George? WHAM!

And…David Cook wins! I’ve got to tell you, that even I was left wondering what would actually happen here. Which David was going to win it all, and does it even matter anymore? I don’t know, but since we’re American, we love to win things! No matter what they are! So the Cook wins by 12 million votes (probably more people than voted for the President. But I haven’t checked) and is reduced to tears while davey is hurriedly shuffled off the stage. Thanks Archey, but we’re done with you. Please get off the stage of the Nokia Theater. There is no longer room for you.

Cook. Confetti. Screaming Arm-swayers in the “pit”

So that’s it. American Idol is over. My Tuesdays and Wednesdays will be surprisingly barren. But at least I can drown my sorrows in “According to Jim” re-runs. Like death, taxes and Paula Abdul, they’ll always be around.

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