'American Idol': 20 Weeks Later, The Final Two Finally Perform
Abbey Simmons
Abbey Simmons
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
It's almost time for the Idol coronation songs and while tonight hasn't been terrible, it hasn't had any of the "wow" moments of past finales either. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I'm feeling disappointed in a season of disappointments, but thus far, I'm pretty underwhelmed by it all.

Idol Coronation Songs

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Turns out the biggest surprise of the night may just be the fact that the contestants will be doing covers, not a Kara original for the coronation song ... and the "winning single" will be different for Lee and Crystal. That will help Lee more so than Crystal ... and it almost makes me feel bad for the ham-handed photo:

kara-ham-handed.jpgOkay, no it doesn't. That's for taking Casey James and making him a cougar joke all season, Kara!

Anyway ... it's time for one last performance from Lee and Crystal and Lee needs to bring it if he's going to snag a round from Bowersox.

Lee - "Beautiful Day" by U2

Yikes. There's nothing like a poorly done U2 cover to make you long for a traditional Idol coronation song. Oh Lee, that was not good. At all. Lee starts off off-key and off-melody and doesn't really find his footing until the last 30 seconds or so of the song. Again, Lee's nerves seem to be getting the better of him tonight, which is a shame, because while I've enjoyed many of Lee's performances this season ("The Boxer," "That's Life," "Simple Man," "Treat Her Like a Lady"), I haven't enjoyed a single one tonight. And here's why: what made Lee's problems with staying on key forgivable/bearable is the passion he put into the performances and how he made you feel the song. Tonight, Lee lacked the emotion and still had the pitch problems. Unless people completely ignore his performances tonight, which they very well may, Lee's going to have an uphill battle to win.

Simon Says:
"I genuinely wish the best for you. You're a great guy." (Way to not mention singing AT ALL Simon and .... yeeee-ouch!)

For our last performance of the competitive season, it's Crystal ... and after Lee's cringe-worthy U2 cover, all Crystal really has to do is not fall on her face to take all three rounds tonight.

Crystal - "Up to the Mountain"

I'm not familiar with the song, but it's a great choice for Crystal and not just because she won't be overly compared to the original. (A fate Lee is certainly stinging from right now.) No, it's a great choice because it shows off her soulful folk side, much like Crystal's best performances of the season, "As Long as I Can See The Light" and "People Get Ready" did. And just like during "People Get Ready," I wonder if Crystal is going to start crying mid-song. You can hear the emotion in her voice and by the end she's shaky and on the verge in a way that manages to highlight her voice rather than detract from it. 

It's the performance I've been waiting for all night and maybe all season. Crystal sang with equal parts technical skill and impassioned emotion ... and it is totally worthy of being an Idol victory song. If it is, I'll be there to download it on Thursday morning.

And then Crystal potentially blew the goodwill that much of America was feeling for her after that performance by awkwardly interrupting the judging to wish Simon good luck on his future endeavors. It's like throwing yourself under the bus for the world's most superfluous reason. Believe me Crystal, Simon doesn't need luck in his future endeavors -- they'll be around long after Idol -- and your well wishes could cost you dearly tonight. Why oh why couldn't you have learned the Tao of Tim (Urban): smile silently? 

Simon Says: Simon thanks Crystal for the ill-timed well wishes before saying, "I thought that was by far the performance and the song of the night. And since this is going to be the final critique I'm ever going to give, that was outstanding."

Round Three Goes To: Crystal

So that's Crystal in all three rounds ... which comes as a total shock to me. Lee's had momentum in his favor for a few weeks and has matched Crystal on stage, but tonight she absolutely cleaned the floor with him. If this was a boxing match, it would be Crystal with a TKO in Round 3 (and one and two).

Who do you think will walk away victorious tomorrow, Crystal or Lee?

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