Its been what you might call a lackluster season. The performances haven't been great, but maybe just good. The personalities haven't been outstanding, but maybe just interesting. The season hasn't been steller, maybe just manageable.
However, it wouldn't be right, it wouldn't be the same, nay! It wouldn't be proper, American or wholesome if we didn't finish this season out right. That means the final two performance shows, that means the final two results shows...
And we begin tonight with Crystal, Lee and Casey. My predictions have Lee and Casey in the Idol Championship.
THIS IS AMERICAN IDOL'S TOP THREE!!
Tonight, all the contestants do two songs... one picked out by themselves, the others picked out by the judges.
Casey James is up first. He's picked a song by Eric Hutchison called "Okay, Alright With Me." I've never heard the song, but I liked it. It was totally in his wheelhouse, and I thought he sounded pretty good.
Randy the Dawg says, "Yeah, it was okay, alright with me too." America's Favorite Lesbian Ellen DeGeneres kinda... well, kinda babbles like Paula used to do. I miss Paula Abdul. Kara, though hot, is no Paula. Kara the New Hotness says it was just okay, and Simon the Cowell says this is the most important night of CJ's life, and this song is nothing but the salad to the dinner.
Crystal Bowersox comes up next. She sings "Come to My Window", which is AWESOME.... this is one of my favorite songs of all time--Top 100--and a great part of my Troy State Experience. Came in the spring of 94, if I remember quickly. Its off the album "Yes I Am' because it was about the time that Melissa Etheridge came out. The Lovely Steph Leann is a fan of "I'm the Only One" but I take this one.
C'Bosox starts out with a quiet harmonica, then kicks it in. Perhaps its because I adore this song, but I like C'Bosox' take on it. Granted its not perfect, but if I wanted the perfect version, I'd fire up the iPod, scroll to Melissa Etheridge (under the "Lesbian Rocker" playlist, a list that I've had to add Jennifer Knapp to recently. Sigh) and hear the original.
Randy the Dawg didn't love the arrangement, but loved the vocals on it. Ellen DeG, speaking on behalf of her fellow Butch, says Melissa would be proud. Kara the New Hotness says it wasn't a "moment", but it was good. Simon the Cowell says it wasn't a great performance, but it was good. The Lovely Steph Leann liked the song, but not the arrangement.
Seacrest sends it to commercial with "Lee is up next, with some Skynyrd!" To which I groan, "...oh no..." Let's hope its not as bad as I think it is.
Lee DeWyze is singing, "Simple Man", which is good. We dodged a bullet. Cause there is really one song not named Freebird that Skynyrd is known for, and I was so afraid we'd hear that. Of course, I don't really know the song that he is singing, but it sounds like its straight out of 1974... but that's probably because its a Lynyrd Skynyrd song. Lot of "y"s in that name.
I thought it was pretty good, The Lovely Steph Leann liked it. Randy the Dawg thought it was a great song choice, and it was a great performance. Ellen DeG said it showed that Lee takes this seriously. Kara the New Hotness says what Lee did is what all the contestants should do. Round One goes to Lee! Simon the Cowell asks Lee why that song was chosen, and Lee said, "Because when I play that song, it makes me happy." Simon says the song choice was brilliant.
Me: That was a good fit for him. Of course, Crystal doing Melissa Etheridge should have been better.
The Lovely Steph Leann: Exactly. She should have just played her guitar. The arrangement killed it.
Alrighty, we now go a quick hometown videos, where the contestants will also find out what songs they'll be singing. Let's go to Texas with Casey James.
Randy and Kara the New Hotness have selected "Daughters" by John Mayer for Casey to sing. Not my favorite John Mayer song, so let's see how CJ does...
I think he's singing it really well... but I find the original to be a little boring, so I kinda find this one to be a little boring too. Randy the Dawg says this song fits him like a glove. Ellen DeG says lots of daughters and mothers and... sons too... that will be voting for CJ. Kara the New Hotness says CJ shone in this song. Simon the Cowell thought it was much, much better. And he agrees with me that the song was kinda lazy.
So, Randy the Dawg, one of the two original judges (and soon to be the only original judge) on the show, has to share a song selection with Kara the New Hotness. Ellen DeGeneres gets a selection all by her lonesome. Why? Probably because she's America's Favorite Lesbian.
Let's cut to Ohio, where we see Crystal Bowersox getting a text from Ellen DeGeneres, telling her she'll be singing "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney and Wings. Good song. No, great song, and its in my Top 15 of all time. No joke.
Again, maybe its because I love love lurve the song, but I really like what Crystal is doing with this. The arrangement isn't too far off base, and it sounds great. Randy the Dawg says, "Great song, great vocals, America! She's in it to win it!" Ellen DeG loved it. Kara the New Hotness said it really showed off different parts of her vocals. Simon the Cowell says that she has soul, and the song was terrific.
Let's now go to Chicago to find out what Lee DeQWyze will be singing... and its "Hallelujah" by Jeff Buckley. Let's be real here--Jason Castro has the definitive version on Idol of this song.
The Lovely Steph Leann says, "Oh, please, please be good."
Lee is not speeding it up any, but is putting a little raspy rocker twist onto the song. The Lovely Steph Leann says, "I thought it was good. Castro did his own version, Lee did his style, it was good." I concur.
Randy the Dawg says Lee just threw down the gauntlet, and that Simon set him up for this moment. Lee thanks Simon for the selection. Ellen DeG says it was stunning. Kara the New Hotness says that he is what the show is all about--starts in one place and ends up where he is now. Simon the Cowell says he is very proud of Lee.
For me tonight... Lee's "Hallelujah"... C'Bosox' "Maybe I'm Amazed"... Lee's Skynyrd... Crystal's "Come to My Window"... CJ's "Daughters"... CJ's "Okay Alright"
Tomorrow.... who makes it in the Idol Championships?
Aaaaaaaaand we're back. Its about 24 1/2 hours later, and The Lovely Steph Leann just got in from a "thing"--you know, sometimes at work you have to do a "thing", and she had to do one tonight. So, I grab the DVR remote... and...
Its Casey. Its Crystal. Its Lee. Its Americal Idol's "semi-finals".
Tonight, Justin Bieber is performing. Uh... yay? And some guy named Travis Garland is also performing. Uh... yay? Interestingly enough, this will be my first time hearing Justin Bieber sing, for as long as I let him sing on my TV. Oh, and just a note, its pronounced Bee-ber, not Bye-ber. I know this because I have a niece who is twelve.
While The Lovely Steph Leann is unwinding, I've been surfing the interweb, checking headlines on ESPN (by the way, my Magic is down 2-0... and I have a feeling its over. Dwight Howard, as much as I want to like the guy, is overrated), Sports Illustrated, Drudge, Obama.com and Facebook, and I just realized that we are like, 10 minutes into the show and Seacrest has killed that time by chatting to the three Idolites about winning. I just realized at this very moment, I'm kinda bored. Sigh.
Fast forward through commercials
Fast forward through Ford Commercial
Now we cut to the video from Texas where Casey James went home. I remember when I worked in Hell-TV, Taylor Hicks, as a Idol Top-Three'er, came to the nearby Fox 6 station. Holy smokes that was a mess. There were cars everywhere, parking in our own station lot and up and down the driveway. They did a rooftop concert and it was loud and crazy and I was kinda jealous... they have fun at Fox 6 from what I could tell.
Seacrest: Up next, Travis Garland performs with his new single
The Lovely Steph Leann (pause): Who?
Fast forward through commercials
And we're back, and Seacrest is talking to Perez Hilton. He comes from a long line of people that make you wonder, "....aaaaand how is this guy famous?" So now we go to Travis Garland, who Perez Hilton "discovered".
Me, remote in hand, finger on >> button: Say when, dear.
The Lovely Steph Leann: You could have already fast forwarded for all I care. Who is this guy?
Fast forward through Travis Garland
Fast forward through commercials
Now, let's go to Crystal's go-home video. Back to Taylor Hicks, I also remember when he came to the Galleria mall. I wasn't working there at the time, I was actually sitting at a Sneaky Pete's restaurant with... Tom Johnson, I think. Anyway, we were watching the action on televsion, and it was insane.
Heard later that the retailers in the mall, especially those around the food court, hated hated HATED having Taylor Hicks there. For all the people that came to see Taylor Hicks sing, it killed business that day. The people that were there were there to see Taylor and leave. The people that would have wanted to shop stayed away to avoid the crowds. Some stores saw a slight bump in sales, but for the most part, it was a bad day for anyone with a business to run that day.
We now go to the Chicago video of Lee DeWyze's homecoming. Someone on Facebook made the comment that they didn't understand the fascination with Lee DeWyze, and said he had the personality of a doorknob. As personable and nice as the guy certainly is, I kinda agree.
Gotta be honest though, if you put a gun to my head and said "Okay, d$, either I shoot you, or you go to a Lee concert, a Casey concert or a Crystal concert. Pick one or die." I'm probably headed to a Lee concert. Just sayin'.
Idol has big changes, by the way. The are pulling the performance shows back to 90 minutes instead of 2 hours, which is fine with me, though I could go either way. When you have up to 12 people performing, a 2 hour show is not unreasonable, though it can be trimmed, though. The results shows are the big change--from an hour to 30 minutes, which is wonderful. There is no reason to go a full hour. Heck, they could cut "Fringe" by 10 minutes and have a 10 minute results show, and I'd be fine with that.
Listen to about :30 of Justin Bieber
Me: Holy crap, he looks like he's four
The Lovely Steph Leann: Because he is.
Me: Did you know he was nominated for a BET Music award?
The Lovely Steph Leann: Did someone not realize he wasn't black?
Granted, Justin Bieber only got one nomination, for best new artist. That pales in comparison to Jay-Z, who got five. Jay-Z, incidentally, is in fact black.
Fast forward through Justin Bieber
The Lovely Steph Leann also observes that the judges aren't even watching Justin Bieber perform
Fast forward through commericals
Also heard a completely unsubstantiated rumor that Idol might replace ALL the judges next year. Get rid of Ellen, that's my pick.
Dim the lights... here's the results.. the first person...
Lee DeWyze. We almost all knew this to be true. So, who will join Lee for a shot at the title? That would be Crystal Bowersox. So, my prediction only half came true... Casey James punks out and is gone.
So there you have it. The American Idol Season 9 Finale will be Crystal Bowersox vs. Lee DeWyze.
NEXT TUESDAY... full recap of the final performance show. And next Wednesday, a LIVE RUNNING DIARY OF THE IDOL FINALE... Be here!