Tonight’s the night. After five long months of the Seacrest and Cowell Variety Hour, an American Idol champion will finally be crowned tonight in front of a live national audience. Kris Allen, the singer/songwriter/instrumentalist, hailing from the metropolis of Conway, Arkansas, takes on the glamorously banshee-voiced rocker/theater veteran Adam Lambert in what may end up being the closest final vote in American Idol history. Given their diverse traits, it’s really impossible to compare Adam and Kris. The best we can do is state our preference for one or the other and then root our little faces off (I suppose you could also vote, but who does that?). It’s been the Season of Lambert, Adam being the media darling/judge’s favorite/most interesting contestant of the year, but Kris is, musically speaking, every bit as noteworthy, blending a good voice with excellent musicianship and laidback charm. It helps that both men are exceedingly likable and on agreeable terms with one another. Although the prospect of millions of as yet gaydarless tweens crying in agony over an Adam Lambert defeat is very appealing (at least for YouTube purposes), I’m still rooting for Adam. But, really, I think both of the dudes are great, and wouldn’t be upset if either of them ended up winning.
Strap in, America! I have been your GPS all season, guiding you through the rough terrain of American Idol, helping you machete through the pesky wilderness of Bikini Girls and Tatianas and DioGuardis and Lils and Paulas and Gokeys and Scotty Macs, and tonight we burst out of the forest, the promised land in full view, a champion awaiting their crown. I’ll be here all night, live thoughting the finale while pumped full of caffeine and some lingering Vitamin D. Stick around, get comfortable, make some comments, do your thing, have some fun.
Here’s a list of the confirmed guest appearances for tonight’s show: Rod Stewart (most underrated rock vocalist ever), Steve Martin (who’s about to drop some crazy banjo on all our asses), David Cook (who will sing a tribute to his recently deceased brother), Cyndi Lauper, Black Eyed Peas, Lionel Richie, Keith Urban (who will be singing a duet with Kris), Jason Mraz, Queen Latifah (NO!) and Carlos Santana.
Adam Lambert will be singing with an unnamed band. However, there is a strong rumor floating along the interwebs saying that Adam will be performing with Kiss. Which, I mean, might be cool if you are a Kiss fan. You can expect the Top 13 to all get on stage, and according to Paula’s Twitter (if I ever write “according to Paula’s Twitter again, please find me and Gilooly me) Tatiana del Toro will take the stage. What she will do, I know not.
Also, my goal tonight is to write the longest BuddyTV article of all time. Join me on this fool’s quest.
And…here we go.
The intro is appropriately dramatic, featuring scenes from last night and CRAZY visuals, Michael Bay-esque camera work and a scary heartbeat playing in the background.
Kris Allen and Adam Lambert are dressed in all-white cult suits tonight, for reasons that will forever remain unclear. Seacrest walks on stage, all smiles, as a star-studded (read: mid-level FOX personalities) watches on from the Nokia Theater.
Just under one hundred million votes cast last night. Randy once again dipped into the Fonzworth Bentley wardrobe, dropping a suit jacket with a huge red bow tie. Kara DioGuardi is dropping some cleavage on an unsuspecting populace tonight. We get clip packages for each of the judges. Randy’s is about his penchant for saying “for me, for you…” and whatnot. Kara’s is about her calling people “sweetie.” Paula’s video showcases her massive vocabulary. Seriously. And, she’s going with another prom dress tonight. Simon’s video is about him saying “What?” a lot. This is a fine way to randomly waste ten minutes of air time. Clearly, this is why tonight’s show has to run over time.
These white suits are ridiculous. Kris’s microphone doesn’t work, and neither does Adam’s. Adam looks like a gay future spaceman. We get a live feed from Conway, Arkansas where we interview a little girl who doesn’t know how to talk. The live feed from San Diego is being hosted by Carly Smithson. You remember her? She’s like totally Irish.
The Top 13 come on stage, and they’re all wearing all-white outfits. I didn’t catch the name of this song, but I recognize it, just can’t pull it out right now. “I Am a Rock Star,” maybe?
Allison Iraheta drops some karate moves in the middle of the song. I found it adorable.
Do you think 19 Entertainment signed a three-year deal with some all-white suit manufacturing company to outfit the singers for Idol Gives Back and, when they decided not to do Idol Gives Back this year, 19 Entertainment was like “Well, we have to use these dumb ass white suits that make our contestants look like members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult. Let’s just use them in the finale?”
Let’s take bets on how long this episode will run over time tonight. I’d say the Vegas over/under is about 6.5 minutes. I’ll take the over and guess it goes about 10 minutes overtime. Guesses, anyone?
“Permanent” by David Cook
No mention of this being a tribute to his brother before the song begins. Cook is in a white spotlight, his band all in green. I liked Cook last season, but never paid much heed to his album, because that genre’s not really my thing. Think Cooksie has a great voice, though, and this is a pretty solid ballad. His brother’s story is very sad, and you can tell Cook is infusing a little extra emotion in this song. I wonder if Cook is the first non-contestant to perform more than once during an Idol season (this is the second time he’s performed, right?). The end of the song strays into that Nickelback sounding genre that I can always do with out. But a solid song for what it is. He sang the hell out of it.
Cook looks like he doesn’t really want to talk about his brother very much. However, that song will be available to buy right after the show and proceeds will benefit cancer research. Good stuff.
Golden Idol Awards
These are the awards for the terrible auditions from this season. This always borders on cruelty for me, with the live audience openly laughing at these sad, sad delusional people. It’d be like filming desperate dudes trying to hit on girls in a bar and getting rejected, then airing that for the world to see. It’s sad, admittedly funny, but maybe going too far.
The first award is for Best Male. The nominees are Creepy Guy 1, Creepy Guy 2, Low Low Voice Guy, Flannel Suit Guy and Nick Mitchell. Norman Gentle will win.
Ryan reads the winner – it’s Nick Mitchell. He’s wearing normal clothes, and says he didn’t know he would be on stage and then BAM – he rips off his clothes and is wearing his Norman Gentle clothes.
Norman Gentle – “And I’m Telling You”
He goes out into the crowd, hands his microphone to a random and says “peace out.” Well, that was entertaining. Love me some Norman Gentle.
“Cue the Rain” by Queen Latifah and Lil Rounds
I don’t know this song, but Lil sounds pretty good to start. And then, ugh, Queen Latifah comes out and is soon followed by some break dancers. The Queen is wearing a skintight belted dress, looking like she just got back from an audition for the remake of “Pink Flamingos.” Kind of a lame song, not difficult to sing. But at least Lil looks like she’s having fun.
Anoop Desai, Alexis Grace and Jason Mraz
Some reggae beat begins playing, and our favorite Noop Dog comes out and starts singing. Alexis Grace joins him, and then Jason Mraz walks down the Idol steps. Kind of a groovy little tune. The rest of the Top 13 emerge to sing back-up. Jason Mraz is sporting a creepy goatee, and Anoop is still rocking his wispy facial hair.
And now, the journey of Kris Allen. From beginning to end. I forgot he wore a silly hat for his first audition. It’s rare that such an ego-less, modest guy makes it this far, especially someone who clearly even lacked a little confidence going into the season.
“Kiss a Girl” with Kris Allen and Keith Urban
I’m confused why Kris Allen is playing with a country singer. He’s from the South, sure, but he’s far from country. During the duet, Kris and Keith stare longingly into each other’s eyes.
The moral of this song: They would very much like to kiss a girl. They appear to have a specific girl in mind, but the tone leads me to believe that they’d really just settle for any girl. Or, it feels like there may be an implication that they’ve been stuck kissing guys or inanimate objects for awhile and now would like to switch things up and try it with a girl. Perhaps I’m adding some unnecessary subtext, but you can never be sure.
The performance receives a standing ovation from Justin Guarini, which is absolutely the ultimate stamp of approval.
“Glamorous” by The Women of the Top 13
God, how I hate Fergie. The only good thing about this performance is Megan Joy’s extremely short dress. The ladies of the Top 13 sing the first verse, and are then joined by Fergie. She is rocking darker hair than usual, and is still the pop world’s leading butterface. She starts singing one of her many awful, horrible, crotch-kicking singles. “Big Girls Don’t Cry” is the song, I believe.
The Black Eyed Peas then join Fergie on stage to sing what I presume to be their new single. Dancers who look like extras from Tron enter the stage to dance. American Idol cuts away to their logo and no sound for about five seconds for no apparent reason in the middle of the son. Maybe their was some accidental nudity of profanity. Those back-up dancers are scary.
Next Award: Best Attitude.
Nominees: Bikini Girl (god, how I hate this woman), Alexis Cohen (crazy hippie chick who auditioned last year as well), Tiffany Shedd (weird-looking bitter loser). The award goes to Katrina Darrell, who walks on stage in her bikini and her new breasts. They look expensive.
Ryan smacks her down, saying “I was going to ask you what’s new, but I think I know.”
Then she performs, and shows off her extremely mediocre voice. This is a new low for American Idol. Halfway through the song, Kara comes on stage to show her up and sings with her. Obviously, this is staged. Kara sounds pretty good, though. Bikini Girl really will do anything for attention, including being made fun of on a national stage.
Weird – so Kara had a bikini on under her coat/dress. Apparently, she was thinking about showing off her body too. Did she balk once she saw Katrina’s new boobs, or did she just chicken out? I wouldn’t have minded seeing Kara in a bikini, to be honest. But, c’mon, how despicably exploitative was that whole episode?
“Time After Time” with Cyndia Lauper and Allison Iraheta
Cyndi plays the acoustic slide guitar as Allison sings the first verse. Cyndi sings the second verse, and she’s definitely lost her fastball. That voice just isn’t very strong anymore. Allison sounds all right, but it’s not the type of song she excels at. I think it’s weird they’re sitting in metal chairs. I don’t know why. This song was recorded well before Allison was born (that’s to make everyone out there feel old). Cyndi starts having a seizure near the end of the song. That was also weird.
Seacrest talks with Kris and Adam’s parents. Both seem like kind people. Kris’s mom is wearing a very loud dress.
“Hello” by Danny Gokey
Gokey sits dramatically on the steps. Lionel Richie will join him shortly you can bet. He sings the first verse, and then they start a new song with Lionel himself. Linoel is wearing a cape. Lionel grooves on stage while Danny stands there awkwardly, trying to figure out what to do with his extremities. That was always Danny’s problem – he never looked comfortable on stage, lacked charisma.
They end this medley with “All Night Long,” which is the best Richie song ever. Damn, I love this song, even when Gokey sings it. Paula dances like someone who is getting drunk for the very first time. And, then, oh god almight, Danny does some wiggly-legged dancing behind the judges’ table. The song ends, and the two men embrace. Goodby, Gokey. It’s been real.
Now it is time for Adam Lambert’s journey, set to Colplay’s “Viva La Vida.” I love seeing Randy Travis’s reaction to Adam’s version of “RIng of Fire.” He really did kind of dominate everything this season, at least in terms of the media. He had to be talked about maybe five times more than any other contestant this season.
Kiss Medley with Adam Lambert
Adam is wearing wings on the shoulders of his leather jacket. I have no idea what the hell this is. He begins by singing “Beth” by Kiss, a stripped down version. Which means, Kiss will join him on stage. And, yes, here they ar, in full make-up and everything. Well, this is something. They’re a bunch of old dudes at this point. Adam Lambert sounds good with a big band behind him, you have to admit. They sing “Detroit Rock City” and then “Party All Night.”
Kiss songs aren’t built to feature great vocals, but Adam throws some big riffs in there jsut for fun. And, hey, PYOTECHNICS!!! All sorts of stuff is blowing up. Adam works as a rock star. I hope 19 Entertainment lets him be one.
Carlos Santana takes the stage. Ryan tells us that Santana is about to kick off a 2 year run at the Hard Rock Cafe in Las Vegas. I never know how to feel about formerly great artists retreating to hotel jobs in Vegas. On one hand, it’s admission that you’re way past your prime and thus, kind of depressing. On the other, they make tons of money.
Matt Giraud sings “Black Magic Woman.” And, by sing, I mean “stand on the side of the stage and sing half of the first verse. The rest of the Top 13 join ‘Los. Hey, it’s a Jorge Nunez appearance. Danny Gokey is wearing another stupid vest, as the Top 13 sing “Smooth.” Good thing, too – Rob Thomas could use those royalty checks these days.
Final Ford Music Video. No comment.
In a pre-taped video, we see David Cook surprise Kris and Adam with brand new Ford Fusions. It’s a Hybrid. I wish I had a new car.
Banjo Music with Steve Martin, Michael Sarver and Megan Joy
Well, this is about the oddest thing we’ve ever seen on American Idol. And, yes, it’s that Steve Martin. Sarver sounds all right, and Megan sounds pretty good, though she strains for some high notes. Steve Martin is finally looking old. Kind of a lovely song. Steve actually wrote that song. His new album came out yesterday.
The Men of the Top 13 and Rod Stewart
The men of American Idol start by singing “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy,” a classic bad song that’s so good it’s bad. The mandolin player gets his time to shine, and plays the opening to “Maggie May.” This is another one of my favorite songs of all time, and it’s pretty depressing that he can barely sing his signature song anymore. He sounds like he laryngitis, but I think it’s jsut that his voice isn’t there anymore.
Rod is given a large pity ovation from the audience. He gave it all he had.
Final Award: It’s for Outstanding Female. It’s a bunch of girls who sucked and Tatiana del Toro. So, Tatiana wins, of course. Tatiana and Ryan do this little song and dance where Ryan says they’re out of time and Tatiana can’t come on stage but she does anyway and of course no one believes the ruse but Ryan keeps trying to sell it and Tatiana takes the microphone and starts singing and it’s annoying and then we cut to commercial and I’m relieved.
“We Are the Champions” with Kris Allen and Adam Lambert
This is a cool way to end the season. I’ve been waiting for Adam to sing Queen all season. And, whoa!!! It’s actually Queen on stage. I think. The rest of the contestants join in to sing-a-long. It’s a triumphant way to end the season, for sure.
All right, everyone. After the break, we’ll get the FINAL RESULTS!!!
Ryan talks to Simon before the results. He says that they were both brilliant, incredibly nice people, and that both should be proud of themselves. Now, the results…
KRIS ALLEN IS THE NEW AMERICAN IDOL CHAMPION!!!!!!!!
Kris Allen cannot believe it, and tells Ryan that “Adam deserves it.” He’s given a winner’s trophy. This is something else. The underdog did it. Good for Kris.
Wow, so that’s it. Kris sings us off with the crappy “No Boundaries.” Stay tuned for a whole bunch more coverage.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer