American Idol Gets Crowned
The "American Idol" finale opens with the two remaining Idolettes, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert coming out on stage after having finished painting the dressing rooms. Or, maybe they're dental-hygenist Idols. Anyway, they look creepy in their all-white twinsie outfits.
Show host Ryan Seacrest tactfully ignores the costumes and instead asks them how they are. We gather they are nervous and excited but we can't be sure because both their mics are dead. We're guessing the guys in the sound booth are nervous and excited too.
After brief, painful video visits to Adam and Kris's hometowns, the top-13 Idolettes, including Adam and Kris, sing Pink's "So What," and they're all dressed in white, too. The Singing Dental Hygienists!
Last year's pageant winner, David Cook, sings his tune "Permanent" while the crowd makes like a sea anemone. Will this song never end? After two false stops, he's done. Seacrest notes Cook's had a couple rough weeks -- he recently lost his brother to cancer. Cook tells viewers at home if they buy the download of his tune, the money will go to cancer research. Now we feel bad for hating his performance. Cook says he doesn't know that America can get this year's "Idol" vote wrong. Apparently he's not a regular viewer.
Sadly, when the "Idol" producers were working so hard to make all those changes to mess up this season's show, like adding judge Kara DioGuardi and bringing on The Judges's Save, no one thought to suggest losing the Golden Idol Awards gag from this year's finale. So this year's first Golden Idol goes to Nick Mitchell, aka Norman Gentle, and we're treated to another round of his particular brand of hysteria.
Queen Latifah wants to promote the first single, "Cue the Rain," from her new album out this summer -- so much so that she's willing to let Idolette Lil Rounds join her. We're reminded that Lil may look the part but does not have the chops.
Poor Jason Mraz draws Alexis "Go Get Dirty" Grace and BMOC Anoop Desai to join him in singing "I'm Yours" -- in order to maybe try to squeeze a few more sales out of that tune? We give up -- what is he promoting? Whatever it is, it's not worth it.
Keith Urban's here to promote his tour and his recently released single "Kiss a Girl" and Kris Allen gets to sing along; tweener girls begin to weep openly nationwide. Next to Urban, Kris looks like he could do this genre.
The Femidolettes break out into a Fergie tune and then Fergie herself walks out and lets them stand behind her while she sings a few bars of "Big Girls Don't Cry." Then she pushes the Femidolettes off the stage entirely, and her Black Eyed Peas and some androids take the stage. We're reminded how little hip hop impinges on "Idol" land as we see those portions of their new single "Boom Boom Pow" that are not censored by the American Idol Decency Police.
Fox says the censoring is not the network's doing. The bit where they all go silent and cut to the "Idol" logo is because singer will.i.am decides to stay mum, apparently to keep a naughty word from airing, the Associated Press says. Loosely translated, this seems to mean Fox would not allow the word to air, and will.i.am would not change the lyric, so the network censored will.i.am being silent, and cut away from the shot rather than show him being silent.
"That's why they are No. 1," Seacrest gushes at the end of the performance. "That is how you do it."
The second Golden Idol Award goes to Bikini Girl, Aka Katrina Darell, who naturally, comes out in her trademark bikini and showing off her new store-bought breasts. "I was gong to ask you what's new but I think I already know" Seacrest snarks. Katrina doesn't seem to understand. He offers her one more chance to sing "Treat Me Kind" which she takes. Except judge Kara DioGuardi, with whom Bikini Girl tangled during auditions, appears behind her and begins to sing and upstage Bikini Girl, showing Bikini Girl how it's done by a pro. This involves doing the supermodel stomp and crouching over the big notes. Bikini Girl is totally furious at having been gamed on national TV, and stands there with one hand on one hip while Kara finishes her routine, at the end of which she whips open her dress, revealing a black bikini. Judge Paula Abdul gnashes her teeth and makes mental note to call her agent to find out whether it's too late to negotiate for splashy on-stage wardrobe malfunction for next season.
"We bet Kara wouldn't do that," Seacrest says, explaining Kara has just won a bet and so a donation will be made to a charity of Kara's choosing.
Cyndi Lauper is touring with Rosie O'Donnell this summer, so she consents to sing "Time After Time" with Idolette Allison Iraheta, but only if they will let Lauper play what looks to be a zither -- or some other national stringed instrument of an east European country.
Taking a break from all the pop-star plugging, Seacrest interviews Kris Allen's parents. Why do they sound like politicians?
Mom: "I forgot what we were doing, we're having so much fun. This is a great show."
Dad: "It's the greatest day. We're here appreciating two fantastic individuals, two phenomenal artists, and it's a good day no matter what happens tonight."
We now respect Kris for turning out genuinely modest despite these role models.
Next, Seacrest checks in with Team Lambert, but only very briefly, because those Allens have chewed up so much on-air time, obviously on the advice of their media coach. Adam's mom cops to being nervous. Thank you, Adam's Mom.
This year's second runner-up Danny Gokey is back, singing "Hello," which can only mean he's about to introduce Lionel Ritchie. I was right! They duet on Ritchie's "All Night Long." What's Ritchie selling?
Adam has saved his most theatrical "Idol" outfit for the finale. He's in some leftover "Starlight Express" costume complete with cages for shoulder pads, platform boots, sparkly eyeliner and mascara. He sings a few bars of "Beth" then says "Ladies and gentlemen -- Kiss!" and suddenly Adam's way underdressed. On the other hand, Adam is totally outsinging Kiss.
Here's Carlos Santana performing "Black Magic Woman" -- cue up Matt the Hat, aka Matt Giraud. They're then joined by the Idol Top 13 for "Smooth." All the Idolettes take full advantage of their individual camera time during the pans -- lots of struttin' and posin' here.
And, because it's an "Idol" results show, there must be a Ford Music Video. After which, because it's the finale, David Cook will perform his final duty as American Idol 2008 and hand Adam and Kris the keys to matching Ford Fusions.
It's a defining moment for the two Idolettes:
Kris says: "Wow, I needed a new car so bad!"
Adam says: "This is quite the vehicle."
Which means: Kris will really drive his Fusion. Adam will cash his in for a down payment on a Mini.
Luckiest of Idolettes Megan Joy Corkrey and Michael Sarver get to sing Steve Martin's new tune "Pretty Flowers" while comic/playwright/musician Martin accompanies them on the banjo. Martin's new album came out yesterday.
Seacrest wants to know who Martin thinks will win. Martin has not given it a second's thought; he's here to plug his album. "Well, I know it's a long shot -- but I'm hoping I do," he says, smiling sweetly.
Guydolettes in black suits begin to dance in a line and sing Rod Stewart's if-you-want-my-body number like they're about to go into The Full Monty. Sadly, they do not. Then The Man himself comes out. But not the Rod Stewart who sings American classic standards -- the Rod Stewart who reenacts songs of his youth. Specifically "Maggie May." And we wonder how we could have thought Stewart's voice was so awful back in the day, when it could actually have been this much worse.
Stewart, Seacrest tells us, is on tour this summer and has a new album coming out in the fall. There is a kind of charming old-school TV quality to the "Idol" finale, bursting as it is with plugs and promos.
Another Golden Idol is bestowed on Tatiana Del Toro. The gag here is that Seacrest pretends they are running late and need to cut to commercial, but Tatiana will have none of it and dodges beefy stage managers who try to haul her off so she can perform "Saving All My Love For You" for the fourth time in the show -- or is it the fifth?
Right about now exhaustion is setting in, which means it's the perfect time to have Adam and Kris sing Queen's "We are The Champions" while the producers unload all their leftover fireworks and dry-ice fog, and Queen's Brian May himself accompanies on guitar. It is a fitting end to an Adam Lambert-flavored season. This really is Adam's world -- Kris is just visiting.
And, as we approach the bewitching hour, Seacrest asks Simon to weigh in. Simon declares them both brilliant and unusually nice people. After which some "adjudicator" comes out and actually upstages the two contestants, so they have to move over to stay on camera.
Envelope is opened. Kris Allen has won.
"The underdog! The dark horse!" squeals Seacrest. He asks Kris how it feels:
"It feels good but Adam deserves this -- this is crazy!" Kris says dizzily. Some chick we've never seen before hands Kris the new American Idol trophy; it looks like an old microphone from some broadcasters' convention -- pawnshop material.
Confetti starts to pour into the theater -- huge dollar-bill-sized confetti, or maybe it's the royalty checks Kara thought she was going to cash for writing this year's American Idol Treacle Tune "No Boundaries." Kris begins to slog his way through the worst Treacle Tune ever. He makes a compromise with the song, kind of talking his way through the beginning. But he has to actually sing the chorus, poor slob.
And so, as we bid adieu to "American Idol," we do so knowing we're in for days of navel gazing in the blathersphere, days of questions as to whether married-man Kris, a one time church worship leader, won because he had picked up the votes that had been going to second runner-up Danny Gokey, a widowed church music director.
And, of course, the is-he, isn't-he chatter about Adam will explode into full-on gay-bias debate tomorrow morning. Whichever team Adam is playing for we don't care -- he can sing the national anthem at our stadium.
The appealing thing about Kris's victory is that it's so anti-"Idol." It's kind of like one of those old Frank Capra flicks where the little guy gets caught up in the Big Hype Machine. Maybe singing Kara's gawdawful Treacle Tune is the musical equivalent of jumping off the tall building, like Gary Cooper was supposed to do at the end of his deal with the political bosses in "Meet John Doe." Maybe The People stuck it to the bloated "Idol" machine by electing this un-hero. Or maybe Kris just got lucky -- the third party to Danny and Adam's crowds.
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