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Two Idolettes sing one last time

"American Idol" producers waste no time pumping up Tuesday's final performance show as though it's a WWE match being held at the Nokia Theater in front of 7,000 fans.

"Tonight the battle is on between Crystal and Lee," show host Ryan Seacrest screeches as we see the two Idolettes in profile, going nose to nose.

Will 'Idol' finalist Crystal Bowersox win this year's title? (Michael Becker -- Fox)

The judges have come in fancy dress as befits the occasion -- all except Ellen The Generous who, being the new judge, did not get the memo, and is seriously under-dressed. Randy Jackson is sporting a red riding jacket, like Sir Percy Foxwhacker. What the heck? Kara DioGuardi has five figures worth of gems dangling from her ears. Simon Cowell is, as usual on a final performance night, in full Il Divo: button-challenged shirt and black jacket. It is Simon's very last performance night on the show.

The two finalists are seen walking down the aisles towards the stage. Crystal Bowersox's microphone is knocked out of her hand twice, after which she makes a false stop, seemingly looking for her cue. Okay, there's nerves and then there's bad directing and she's a victim of the latter.

Each of the two Idolettes will sing three tunes Tuesday night. First, a song they've already sung in the competition.

For Lee DeWyze, that tune is Simon and Garfunkel's redemptive "The Boxer" -- but only after a taped bit in which his parents explain "we thought he was going to be a professional baseball player" but without any clips showing a convincing baseball past.

'Idol' finalist Lee DeWyze performs on last night's show. (Michael Becker -- Fox)

Lee's definitely performing very hard between his chin and his nose. The rest of him -- not so much. But he has brown hair and blue eyes. Chicks really dig that. He's going to win.

Sir Percy was "not sure that was a really energetic exciting kind of thing." Ellen The Generous "couldn't be prouder if I birthed you myself." The American Idol Decency Police scratch their chins and wonder. Kara says he's "got to punch harder" and Simon called it "a kiss on the cheek when I wanted a kiss on the lips -- not from you."

Because chicks don't go through a sports phase in their taped 'Idol' bios, Crystal's dad cuts straight to "she was born to do music" bits. She started out playing in a shopping mall. Yes, she's the Janis Joplin of the mall. She's picked "Me and Bobby McGee" to sing. It's virtually identical to the time she first performed it this season on the show. So far it's not a night for risk taking. We miss Adam Lambert.

Sir Percy calls it "dope, dude." Ellen The Generous says she likes saying "pass the salt" whenever possible and Crystal's performance was "compelling." Kara found fire in Crystal's belly. It reminded Simon of when she sang it the first time and "we absolutely fell in love with you" and adds "we got a comeptition tonight!" Is Lee competing? At any rate, Simon's getting very sentimental as the evening wears on.

In Round 2, each Idolette must sing a tune chosen for them by show executive producer Simon Fuller.

Lee gets the REM tune "Everybody Hurts." He starts off key and never looks back. The judges sense this show is not shaping up as a competition at all. But the judges are deeply committed to promoting Lee because they think he's the more commercial singer and has a much better back story -- paint store salesman. How will they sound like they're hearing the same performance we are, and yet keep him in the running?

Sir Percy, Ellen The Generous, Kara and Simon all find various ways -- "pitchy" "you went off" and "wasn't a perfect vocal" among them -- to note his off performance, but quickly add:

Sir Percy: You pulled it together.

Ellen The Generous: You went off a couple times but I don't care - it's all about the performance.

Kara: What makes you great as a performer is that you are emotionally accessible.

Simon: You're nervous and you've got another song to come and you've got to really understand the importance of what this night can do in terms of changing your life. And when you come out for your last performance I want a 10 out of 10, cause you're capable of it.

A this point, we're looking for a personal guarantee from Simon Fuller that Lee is going make this thing interesting in the stretch, or we're just going to go back to creating a Facebook page with our awesome experience today watching The Salahis chat with Matt Lauer and David Letterman, and wait it out till "Glee" starts.

Just in case you didn't think the producers were trying to do in Crystal, they saddle her with the dreadful "Black Velvet" to sing, strip her of her guitar, put her in the most gawdawful black satin flouncy cheap hooker dress, make her wear high heels, plant her toward the top of the Stairway to Paradise, and instruct her to walk quickly down to the stage. Sometimes she has trouble competing with the too-big orchestration, but she's definitely out-singing Lee by laps.

"This is what I'm talking about -- Mama Sox is in it to win it!" rants Sir Percy.

"It's like a Cher concert in here," Ellen The Generous says of all the costume changes.

"You want it; you can tell and that's what tonight is all about," adds Kara.

Simon is allergic to the tune because, he says, he's heard it murdered so many times during auditions. But, he adds, "I've got to tell you, you took that song and you absolutely nailed it. I'm very impressed."

Round 3 calls for each Idolette to sing the tune they will release as their first single, should they win. They have driven the stake through the annual American Idol Treacle Tune, for which we are grateful.

Lee gets U2's "Beautiful Day." It's a loud arrangement with lots of voice covering. There's a whole lot of action on stage with backup musicians. Lee is an interested bystander. Sir Percy calls it "interesting" and gives him credit for "starting to get your groove back" toward the end.

Ellen notes Lee was "fully present for that song."

Only Kara's brave enough to note Lee "got swallowed up a bit in that song" but could not resist adding that Lee's "grown the most on this show and you have one of the most commercial voices of the season and deserve to be here tonight."

And Simon, who by now is just downright maudlin, says "this is what this competition was designed for, which is somebody who needs a break, having a normal job working in a paint shop. He added, "you've worked very hard and you're a nice guy, and I genuinely wish the best for you."

The single Crystal will record, should she win the competition, is "Up to the Mountain," which has also been performed by Kelly Clarkson and Susan Boyle.

Crystal's very connected to this song. It's kind of spiritual. Anyway, she's walking up a mountain because somebody asked her, and she looks like she's been there. Maybe the mountain is that boyfriend. Man up and marry her, you lug.

It's Crystal's best performance of the season. Don't take my word for it. Sir Percy called it "one of the greatest performances" ever on 'Idol.' Ellen The Generous says she's just happy to have witnessed it. Kara commends her for being "completely emotionally invested in that tune." Before Simon can weigh in, Crystal preempts him with a Good Luck On Your Future Endeavors, Simon statement that's either really showbiz sincere or really showbiz fake, but either way, we admire her for not mutely sticking with the script like Growth Boy.

After Crystal's speech, Simon -- looking like someone on whom no flattery is wasted -- says:

"Crystal, since it's becoming a bit of a love fest tonight -- I felt that was by far the best performance and the song of the night. And since this will be the final critique I'm ever going to give, I would just say that was outstanding."

Crystal is showing growth, too. She tries a little Rat Pack banter with Ryan, who doesn't take the gambit:

"...I'm beside myself. I'm actually beside Ryan Secrest, but you know what I mean. Ah. Comedy tour starts next summer. No, I'm just entirely grateful for my family, and my life, and my son, and I'm ready for anything," she says.

To sing us out over the nostalgia tape is:

Will Young, Pop Idol UK's original winner, singing from his new album "Leave Right Now" -- because Simon Fuller must have a cut of the action. Hey, Brits, we're already cleaning up your oil spill, now we get the overflow from your reality shows? What happened to that famous self-restraint?

And, in conclusion, it's now up to the tweener girls who vote.

Never miss another "American Idol" after-show analysis. Text "IDOL" to 98999 to have a link to Lisa de Moraes's blog post sent directly to your phone.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  May 26, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  "American Idol"  
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Next: "American Idol" crowns a winner tonight......


I've been a fan of both all season, with the edge to Lee. Mainly because I thought he would need more of the "winner" perks to make his career, whereas Crystal is likely to tell them to stuff it.
But she definitely outdid him last night. If I had voted, I probably would have voted for both, which would have made the whole effort of voting rather pointless.
Whatever happens, I'm fine either way.

Posted by: disposall | May 26, 2010 8:12 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely one of the worst written articles I have ever read. Did you even TRY to use a spelling checker? In fact, I had to fight thru the whole article just to read it. At first I thought maybe it was your blog program hiccuping and missing a word here and there. Then as I read on... not only did I see missing words in your sentences, I seen words misspelled or letters transposed.

Please seek remedial writing training 101!

Posted by: darbyohara | May 26, 2010 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Unlike the schoolmarm-slash-New Yorker-proofreader above, I think this is one of the best AI wraps from Lisa. 10x more entertaining than the actual show.

Posted by: molsonmich | May 26, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

There are some shenanigans being reported regarding the Coronation songs. Some media who were backstage heard Lee say that he did not get to choose the Coronation song (and if he did, what a stupid, stupid choice). However, Crystal is saying she DID get to pick it.

Producers are very good at driving the bus over those they don't like and pimping up those they do, but that's just ridiculous.

Posted by: jljardon2 | May 26, 2010 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Laughing like crazy here at work - excellent next to last AI column!

Posted by: MrsKirby | May 26, 2010 9:24 AM | Report abuse

"Then as I read on... not only did I see missing words in your sentences, I seen words misspelled or letters transposed."


Good one darbyohara. I SAW some words misspelled, too. But I always love pookie's column.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | May 26, 2010 9:25 AM | Report abuse

Crystal did the producers of American Idol a huge favor last night -- she sang and carried herself with total conviction, ease and professionalism. Clearly people have been tuning out on Idol during what has mostly been a season of mediocrity, and poor Lee DeWyze is emblematic of it -- he was waaay out of his league. He couldn't sing on key if his life depended on it -- literally! Even with everything that was on the line last night. Watching the two of them alternate was watching someone lacking a sense of pitch, rhythm, dynamics, phrasing and stage presence in contrast with someone with all of the above. I've overestimated the American public before but I don't see how this guy has a career a year from now. Lisa, you're right, the judges were on the spot to make it seem as if he belonged there and as if there was a real contest going on, so they felt they had to state it, because it sure as heck wasn't self-evident.

Anyway, I think Crystal just pulled this show back from the brink and justified its continued existence as a search to discover exciting new talents.

Posted by: owingsmills | May 26, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Sure there were some typos but the most important thing is that Lisa had an emotional connection with this blog post and that's all that matters. She deserves to be writing this blog!

Posted by: DC2LA | May 26, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

I see last night's performances rather like the 1973 Kentucky Derby...Secretariat won decisively. And while the 2nd-place horse couldn't hold a candle, he was no slouch, he also surpassed the Derby record time up until then.

The 2nd-place horse was named Sham.

I don't think Lee was a sham, not at all...he is very talented; but he's not in the same league as Crystal. At least not last night, when it was necessary to really nail it, lose the timidity...because the world is already full of talented singers. Agreed with the judges that Lee started to do that a couple of times last night, then retreated.

Personally, I thought Crystal gave some of the best final-night performances of any Idol season. The girl can tell a story when she sings, and she peaked the very night it mattered. Well done, girl!

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | May 26, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Crystal killed it last night, especially with her third song. The judges finally got their moment. And what a great time for that to finally happen.

Too bad the speed-dialers & mega-texters care more about puppy dog eyes than talent...

Posted by: Duodenum | May 26, 2010 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Dialidol predicts a decisive Lee victory. It's probably better that Lee wins. Crystal will have no problem developing her career from here - but Lee may need a little more help.

I would definitely see Crystal in concert - but then, I like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Emmylou Harris, Kathy Mattea, Bonnie Raitt, etc.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | May 26, 2010 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Vote for the Worst had detailed instructions on its site for how to power-text and computer-call for Lee. I think they may finally have gotten their person the win.

Posted by: chantooz | May 26, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I am not on the same page with the American Icon producers and judges. They want young Justin Bieber types. I prefer older singers who have a better understanding of the artist they want to be. That want singers to belt out the song - loud passionate singing. Singing in tune? Optional. Singing softly? Optional, and only in the beginning.

'Black Velvet' wasn't one of Crystal's best performances, but I knew the judges would eat it up. She was giving them what they wanted.

Many are stating that Lee's performances weren't stellar. I agree, but they were no worse than his prior performances. He's been mediocre the whole season. That is who he is.

I can't fathom the possibility of Lee winning the contest. If he was very attractive and charismatic, then I would understand. But he's an average looking guy, there is no possible justification. I can't help but blame a Lee victory on the unjustified, overly favorable judging that he got over the past two months.

Posted by: niceshoes1 | May 26, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

As DC2LA said, this blog post had some errors and was a little pithy. However, who can deny that Lisa showed her emotions and had a personal connection to it? Her delivery was flawless. She made excellent keyboard contact and really made it her own. Since this is my last comment here ever, all I'll say is that it was outstanding!

Posted by: bv70 | May 26, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

There were no typos. I reviewed the whole text by myself, and with a spell-checker, and there were no typos. Just saying....

Posted by: hlef | May 26, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

As DC2LA said, this blog post had some errors and was a little pithy. However, who can deny that Lisa showed her emotions and had a personal connection to it? Her delivery was flawless. She made excellent keyboard contact and really made it her own. Since this is my last comment here ever, all I'll say is that it was outstanding!

Posted by: bv70 | May 26, 2010 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey Darbyohara, You SEEN words misspelled? Those who live in glass poor-grammar houses should not throw words misspelled stones.

Posted by: mommysalami | May 26, 2010 11:19 AM | Report abuse

Lee looks schlumpy, has no personality, and has yet to sing one note on-key all season long. Which means he'll probably win.

Posted by: Regis09 | May 26, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse



Hey, Brits, we're already cleaning up your oil spill, now we get the overflow from your reality shows? What happened to that famous self-restraint?


Where is Lisa'a pulitzer? cavaiar pop journalism in a hamburger world.

Posted by: ancis42000 | May 26, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse



Hey, Brits, we're already cleaning up your oil spill, now we get the overflow from your reality shows? What happened to that famous self-restraint?


Where is Lisa'a pulitzer? cavaiar pop journalism in a hamburger world.

Posted by: ancis42000 | May 26, 2010 12:03 PM | Report abuse

Lee looks schlumpy, has no personality, and has yet to sing one note on-key all season long. Which means he'll probably win.-Regis09

HaHaHaHa! Sad but true.

Posted by: hodie2 | May 26, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Pookie - You forgot one thing. Not only did they shove Crystal in that awful dress with the too-high heels, but it had a bustle in the back and they filmed her from BEHIND as she gingerly walked down those stairs.

Personally, I think she should be able to file a tort lawsuit over those televised shots . . . .

Posted by: jqw3827 | May 26, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

I think they were making sure we saw the huge tattoo across her back, to show how "relevant" she is.

Because to portray any character on TV as ultra-cool these days, they give them a tattoo.

Personally, my reaction is to think, "Oh, honey, someday you will regret that."

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | May 26, 2010 1:32 PM | Report abuse

The judges were shamelessly rooting for Crystal. They even set her up to go last. This show is a joke. Last week, Lee was their little pet who could do no wrong. I hope this isn't some ploy to make Crystal win so Lee is free to set up a contract on different, less rigid terms (like that Adam tongue-kisser guy). This show is a sham! Crystal was great last night, but still... they dogged Lee out last night after praising him all season long. Whatev!

Posted by: forgetthis | May 26, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

I was actually waiting for Crystal to trip and fall all the way down those steps. She kept looking down the steps like she was frightened of them. I'm glad she made it though cuz I would have laughed myself into a hernia if she had fallen.

Posted by: forgetthis | May 26, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I think Crystal could get a contract even if she lost and would probably have a much happier career not needing to sing AI rehashes and lame pop singles. She definitely carried the night, but I would not be surprised to see Lee win the competition.

Posted by: ozpunk | May 26, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

forgetthis: "They even set her up to go last."

No, they didn't. There was a coin toss after last week's result show. Crystal won, decided to go last. They even mentioned this last night at the beginning of the show.

Posted by: Duodenum | May 26, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

Pookie, I'm going to be on a train to NYC during this weeks chat and the new software won't let me post a comment today. But, I have a solution to make next season's IDOL better. Instead of the usual audition process, let the casting directors of GLEE select the top 40 to send to Hollywood. I know the cast of GLEE gets a lot more time to rehearse, etc., but still. Last night's GLEE had a phenomenal cast better than almost every finalist on IDOL this year.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | May 26, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

It is a shame that Bowersox appears to be the favorite as she has as much appeal as a pair of sweaty socks.

Lee deserves the title of 'AMERICA IDOL.' Definitely more personable and wider range of talent. I am surprised they haven't assisted him in wardrobe selection but that will come with the title.

Posted by: imaginemore | May 26, 2010 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Hey, darbyohara, you're a freak. How can you get upset about that? What has it done to your self-esteem to go on a rant?

Posted by: Urnesto | May 26, 2010 8:39 PM | Report abuse

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