Two really obvious things hovered over us as we entered Top 3 week on American Idol. One, the finale will definitely be between Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox. Two, Casey James has no chance in hell of making it through. Unless, of course, the daughters and the mothers (and the sons) revolt and trigger an unlikely series of events. But still, these are two really obvious things. There’s no need to drill them, right?

Well, in usual Idol fashion, they did. And the most surprising thing is, it all happened within the confines of one single performance: Lee Dewyze’s take on “Hallelujah.” Who would’ve thought? Thus, a really special edition of this week’s best and worst round-up, in wihch we will talk about one thing and one thing only.

First, a video of the performance, just to set us up for the debate ahead:

The best of “Hallelujah”: the performance

This is perhaps Lee at his best: confident and in control. Sure, the vocals weren’t perfect, but it was a soaring anthem, a testament of sorts to his growth on the show, and it provided a moment that this season sorely needed. In a year of blah performances and numbers that just don’t quite make it, this redeemed the season somewhat.

The worst of “Hallelujah”: everything else

The problem is that moment felt more engineered that genuine. First, it was the very last performance. Second, every resource available was at the number’s disposal: epic staging, epic lighting, epic orchestral arrangement, epic mini-choir in the background–something that not even Crystal Bowersox had. Third, there’s “Hallelujah” itself, a song that elicits misty eyes and goosebumps all on its own. Heck, even Tim Urban did well with that song. Even Idol runner-up Blake Lewis called it “the biggest Idol set-up ever.”

So, at the end, I don’t know what to feel about the performance. I’m not doubting Lee’s talents, but I don’t think we needed all that shoved down our throats. Yeah, he’s making it to the finale. Now, judges, stop acting like he’s the best thing in the world and like you forgot you said the same thing to Crystal weeks back! For a season that’s been pretty flat, this was a strong performance, but everything else about it smacked of manipulation.

But what did you think? Was it a genuine moment, or was it a last-ditch effort to save the season?  Join the discussion or, of course, we can talk about it in the comments below.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Henrik Batallones

Staff Writer, BuddyTV