"American Idol" Final Performance Night
"American Idol" host Ryan Seacrest wastes no time pumping up Tuesday's final performance show like it's some titanic struggle between two gladiators:
"Tonight is the battle of the acoustic rocker...the guy next door versus the guy-liner!" Seacrest gushes -- and offers a whole lot more where that came from.
Actually, it was the Preakness of Meekness; nice guy Kris Allen versus nice Guy Adam Lambert.
The judges, meanwhile, are in fancy dress, as befits the occasion. Randy Jackson has come as a gorgeous Savile Row tailor. Paula Abdul is wearing a bright poison-green satin number. Simon Cowell is in full Il Divo: button-challenged white dress shirt and black jacket. But it appears no one gave the new judge, Kara DioGuardi, the Fancy Dress Memo; she looks very underdressed.
Each of the two Idolettes has to sing three tunes tonight. First, one they've already sung in the show. Not surprisingly, Adam picks "Mad World" and once again, he's going to perform it while bathed in blue light. Only this time he's wearing some long Victorian duster coat and heavy boots, and is standing ankle-deep in dry-ice fog, looking for all the world like Heathcliff searching for his Catherine on the moors. Or, as Simon suggests and not in a good way, like the Phantom of the Opera, though Adam has proven impervious to Simon's musical-theater dings before.
Randy, on the other hand, loves the whole Emily Bronte thing Adam has going on: "I love the long coat -- love the fog!" Randy enthuses. "I'm going to give you an A-plus!" Ditto Paula: "You look astonishingly handsome," she simpers. The American Idol Decency Police rappel down from the balcony seats.
At the piano, Kris parallelogram-mouths his way through "Ain't No Sunshine" and the veins on his neck are straining. He's definitely competing hard from the neck up. Randy thinks it was one of Kris's best performances ever and Kara believes that if we can't feel a Kris Allen performance, there is something wrong with us. Oh, great, now it's our fault if Kris doesn't do well.
Seacrest asks Simon who won that round. Simon calls it for Kris.
"Kris takes Round 1 -- Ding! Ding! Ding! Next!" Seacrest shrieks before they cut to commercial break.
"It's too close to call tonight -- it's time for Round 2," Seacrest says when the show returns, still hanging onto his metaphor for dear life.
"Idol" creator Simon Fuller picks the two tunes for Round 2. Adam gets Sam Cooke's "A Change is Gonna Come." It's a great demonstration of Adam's controlled range -- one of his best performances all season, once again proving absolutely no genre throws him. And once again we get to look into Adam's wisdom teeth and we know he flosses. He's dressed in a Sam Cooke silver sharkskin suit, white shirt and teal tie.
Kara calls it Adam's best performance ever. Paula is so moved she's on her feet doing an old Laker Girl routine. "That was the best I have ever heard you sing. Ever! Ever! Ever! Ever!" she gushes.
Then Kris performs the whitest version ever of "What's Going On." But he sounds pretty good nonetheless. And he looks helpful. The thing about Kris is he looks like a really helpful person -- like if Josh Groban worked at a hardware store. Anyway, Randy thinks the performance is "a little light for me" and Simon finds it "like three friends in their bedroom strumming along to Marvin Gaye." Simon also thinks the performance was "too laid back for a night like this." But Kris has been ignoring the judges' swagger advice all season, so don't expect him to change now. Kris is selling one thing -- laid back. You want Phantom of the Opera, Simon -- go see Adam. Oh wait, you don't want "Phantom" either.
Seacrest asks Simon to call Round 2. "A million percent Adam," Simon says.
And, finally, Round 3 sees the two weary Idolettes compelled to slog their way through this year's American Idol Treacle Tune, which will become the first single released by the winner, who's going to be announced at the end of a two-hour orgy of excess Wednesday night.
This year's American Idol Treacle Tune has been written by "Idol's" own Kara, with, apparently, two helpers. It's called "No Boundaries." It is, hands down, the Very Worst Treacle Tune Ever.
Adam gives it his generic sell-it treatment. Poor guy -- it's like using a race horse to pull a pony cart.
"Dude -- you can sing anything -- you can sing the phone book," Randy raves. Wow, did he just savage Kara's tune? This certainly would mark a milestone in Randy's "Idol" evolution.
"I'm not going to judge that song; I'm going to judge you over the entire season," Simon says. He's definitely just savaged Kara's tune.
"The whole idea about doing a show like this is that you hope you can find a world-wide star," Simon continues. "I genuinely believe, with all my heart, that we have found that with you -- congratulations." Won't he feel foolish if viewers don't crown Adam American Idol.
Kris has slightly better luck with this mess of a song. After he's done, Kara says "I don't want you to be judged on that song." Say what?!
Randy notes the song fits Kris's voice better than Adam's. Paula dodges the song and the performance altogether, saying she wishes him luck.
And Simon also ignores the performance, because he's been saving his yearly "our little boy has grown up" talk for just this moment. Simon even mentions "your mom and dad's faces tell me everything." But, of course, Kris has been a grown man for quite a while -- long enough to have gotten married.
Discuss last night's episode with The Post's Lisa de Moraes today at noon ET here.
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