American Idol: Your American Idol Revealed (season finale)
by Jason Hughes, posted May 21st 2008 7:45PM
(S07E42) Forty-two episodes later we're finally ready to find out who is going to take home the crown of the next American Idol. Look at all those faces up there, and now it's all come down to the Davids. The lingering question is if they're going to be Idols the likes of Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson; sales in the millions with mantles full of awards; or will they find mainstream success more of a challenge, like Taylor Hicks or Justin Guarini (I know he came in second but let's face it, at this point first and second are almost interchangeable as far as getting a shot at a career)? The show's an hour early and an hour longer, clocking in from 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM Eastern Time. That means you have two hours to chat live right here with your friends and frenemies about which David should win and how stupid they are for disagreeing with you.
You can join the chat by following this link. Look for the full episode review right here later tonight.
Tonight's open was no better than last nights. You could tell the Davids hated being forced to stand in the middle of the stage staring each other down under a harsh spotlight. Poor Archuleta struggled to keep a straight face throughout. I wonder if Ryan thinks these stupid things they make him participate in are actually really cool or if he hates them as much as the contestants and most of America do?
97.5 million votes came in during the four hour window available to vote, smashing by over 23 million votes the highest ever single night votes ever. Have they done four hours of voting before? Even more impressive was the 56%/44% split in the votes, meaning while not as close as years past, it was close enough for them to announce these percentages. And at nearly 100 million votes, those numbers are astounding.
Former contestant Mikalah Gordon was brought back as special correspondent to cover the crowd rally in Cookie's home region of Kansas City, Mo. They brought back former contestant Matt Rogers again as correspondent to cover the fan frenzy in Archie's home state in Salt Lake City, Utah. I guess the winner won't be coming from Southwest America this season, huh?
It looks like we got the All-Star So You Think You Can Dance troupe covering all seasons of the hit summer show to come out and dance with this season's American Idol Top 12 for the opening number. It looks like with ten of the twelve having plenty of time to practice for this piece we got a much tighter and better performed number than what the rest of the season has given us. With all the cross-promotion we've had this season of SYTYCD, I wonder if the favor will be returned this summer. It would be pretty cool if the winner and other Idol contestants appeared on their results shows.
Davids Cook & Archuleta - "Hero," Nickleback
The song clearly favored Cook, but Archuleta held his own on this one, and even picked up a few stage techniques from the elder David. Their voices harmonized together better than I would have expected. All in all, it was a good performance that brought Paula and the audience to their feet in ovation.
Syesha Mercado & Seal - "Waiting For You," Seal
I guess it was to be expected, but Seal outsang Syesha all over this joint. But our girl looked amazing, as expected and they did a good job overall making a duet out of his song.
Jason Castro - "Hallelujah," Leonard Cohen
This was the single highest point of Castro's entire fourth-place run on American Idol so if there was any song he should have sung tonight, it would be this one. There was something magical about his tender voice caressing those lyrics with passion and grace. While maybe not as strong as the first time he did it, it was still a wonderful number. An album of Castro on songs like that would be just beautiful to listen to.
Ford Commercial - "Let the Good Times Roll"
This one was behind-the-scenes clips from the making of all the Ford Music Videos throughout the season. I hate to say it, Idol, but this is the kind of footage I think we need to be seeing during the season. Showing the kids goofing off and having fun in their own ways just does so much to humanize them. Then we cut live to Ryan giving each of the Davids keys to new Escape Hybrids, parked outside.
Top 6 Girls - "Donna Summer Medley"
It was painful watching Amanda Overmyer stumble her way through this number. I thought she looked a little vacant during the opening number, but she was completely lost during this one. If she puts this level of effort into the Summer Tour, she might be better off just staying home. Or maybe she was struggling that much to remember the choreography. But then she forgot the lyrics in her one solo bit and I'm done trying to defend her. Ramiele was adorable, though. This number led to...
Donna Summer -"Stamp Your Feet/Last Dance"
She needed help getting down the steps which makes me wonder if maybe they could have just not had her come down them. The girls, singing back-up for her, looked amazing in their red dresses and five of them were really giving a full effort. The dancers came out again in accompaniment to this piece limiting the movements of Summer and the contestants, so they mostly shuffled around in place.
Toward the end, Summer shifted into "Last Dance" because I guess she thought she needed to remind the kids who the hell she was? Actually, I'm not sure why she felt she needed to do that, but she wound up doing a duet with Syesha on it. Did you notice how Syesha and Paula had matching massive cleavage in their red dresses? Do you think when they saw each other they get all mad "Oh no, she's wearing the same cleavage as me!"
Carly Smithson & Michael Johns - "The Letter," The Box Tops
Bringing together the two non-American singers who both had amazing voices and yet were eliminated fairly early, the song showcased their vocal abilities. Oddly, I think this may have been the most passion in performing we've seen from Johns all season. Smithson was clearly just having fun singing on the big stage and hoping that maybe, just maybe, this time she can get a real music career going.
Top 6 Boys - "Summer of '69/Heaven," Bryan Adams
David Hernandez wasn't very good on this one, and David Archuleta couldn't stop smiling. It's good to see the kid relaxing and looking like he's having fun.
Bryan Adams - "Thought I'd Seen Everything/Somebody"
While Donna Summer needed help getting to the stage, Bryan Adams came literally running out to sing "Thought I'd Seen Everything." They skipped the big dance production and simply lined the guys up behind him to sing back-up. The problem is it looked like they were about to assault him. After he switched to his classic hit "Somebody" the guys spread out and it got a lot less creepy. Adams himself was in okay voice, but didn't blow me away.
David Cook & ZZ Top - "Sharp Dressed Man," ZZ Top
Cook's naturally raspy voice fit extremely well into this ZZ Top number. What a great experience, to be able to perform essentially lead vocals with one of the most legendary rock bands of all time. If only David had had more time, he could have grown his beard out to match theirs. Bonus points for doing their patented leg shimmy.
Brooke White & Graham Nash - "Teach Your Children," Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Another thrill for another delightful person. You could tell that Brooke was just beside herself singing with an industry legend like Nash. I will give Idol credit for giving us such a wide variety of vocalists this season, as it's made for a better collection of performances on the finale. I thought Brooke held up her end of the song very well.
The Jonas Brothers - "S.O.S."
I've seen them live all over the place and I know they're huge, but every other time I just never really got it. But I thought they did an excellent performance tonight. The song was incredibly catchy and they sounded great. I guess I'm ready to go stand in line with the kids and scream and pass out when I catch a glimpse of them.
David Archuleta & One Republic - "Apologize"
This is a great song, but what happened to the contestants singing with these stars? I prepared a whole rant about this but then David Archuleta came out and tore the house down vocally on this one. Archie on a current song sounding pretty damned good. You go, boy. Why the hell didn't you sing this song a couple of weeks ago?
Jordin Sparks - "One Step at a Time"
The dress wasn't very flattering, and yet despite a slow start I can't make any more complaints about her performance. Sparks has a very good voice and is growing into a consummate pop artist, so I give her credit for that. She actually has a chance to follow the Clarkson path to post-Idol success, even though she was on arguably the worst season ever of American Idol.
Carrie Underwood - "Last Name"
This is what I would have rather seen more of. Former winners and contestants filling up the stage. They have six seasons of legacy, as I've been spotlighting in my "AI Aftermath" posts, so there's plenty of artists there to select from. Underwood wore the shortest outfit yet on the Idol stage, sporting a suit coat as her entire outfit. The low camera angles had several pushes toward giving this a TV-M rating; it does look like she had some short shorts on, though I can't swear to it. She sounded and looked amazing, though.
The Top 12 - "George Michael Medley"
As I expected, Michael Johns was given a solo bit on this song and he was amazing. David Hernandez did a lot better here, but again Amanda Overmyer phoned it in. And in a throwback to her time on the show, Kristy Lee Cook worked sparkles onto her black dress. Once again the medley led into --
George Michael - "Praying for Time"
I haven't seen Michael since Eli Stone, but he wasn't live there. I've always considered him a vocalist on par with the likes of Freddie Mercury, and while it took him a few bars to get into it tonight, he proved the beauty of his instrument. Paula must be a super-fan because she was on her feet when he was announced screaming like a little girl and moved to tears by his performance.
The Love Guru
The show again used the power of Idol to promote a movie, thrusting the kids into a contrived meeting with Mike Meyers in character from his new movie The Love Guru. Once again, while Cook was able to keep a straight face, Archuleta clearly struggled to keep it together. I hope they were able to hang out with the real Mike Meyers after that goofiness. At this point, they trotted out Meyers fully in character. This encounter was about as awkward and stupid as Robin Williams' skit during "Idol Gives Back." At least he admitted he was shamelessly promoting his new film and didn't hog the stage for fifteen minutes.
Reviewing the Season - Jimmy Kimmel
I guess they liked the speech/roast he gave during "Idol Gives Back" as they brought him back to do it all over again. I'll admit, I thought his cutting jabs were great on that show and enjoyed him again tonight. I liked that he didn't hold back in tackling everything from Ryan's prim look to Paula's wackiness. Also, he did callbacks to contestants on past seasons. I could have taken a longer segment with him and no segment with Meyers.
The American Idol Experience - Jordin Sparks
They used last season's winner to hype the new American Idol attraction at DisneyWorld in Florida. There's not much to say about that really, but in their defense the attraction hasn't opened yet. Based on what we knew about it before, though, I'm not booking a trip to Florida around it.
The Worst of Season 7
Haven't we already done this? I think the Finale should be the time to focus exclusively on the positive. But despite my "higher than thou" stance on this, "Let My People Go Guy" still made me laugh. Damn you Idol! Then they trotted out Renaldo Lapuz to again sing "I Am Your Brother" in that same gaudy outfit he wore during his initial audition. He even got cheerleaders and a marching band. Imagine getting the call. You're going to be on the number one show on television. (Euphoria) We're going to need you to dance and play behind one of the rejects ("Excuse Me."). Poor Lapuz doesn't know how to sing in front of a band either.
Did you catch the David Archuleta acting Tom Cruise in Risky Business commercial? That boy is seventeen years old and we're trotting him around in his underwear already? Sure they're boxers, but it's still underwear, right?
I didn't get this. Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey, Jr. sang back up with a video recording of Gladys Knight in her hey day. They were silly but sang the song straight up, and it just wasn't that funny. I'd rather have had Paris "Princess P" Bennett come out and sing this again; she blew this away. I won't even discuss the fact that Black ended up in his underwear for no reason. At least the money raised from the video (downloaded from iTunes) goes to charity. And how exactly did this promote their new project, as it was never mentioned?
CROWNING THE WINNER
Final thoughts of the year: Randy is happy that the two Davids made it to this point and declared them both winners. Paula is honored and proud to be sitting there and again declared that this was the beginning of their careers. Simon back-tracked stating that it was not as clear-cut as they called it last night (he gave it to Archuleta). He also apologized to David Cook. Ultimately he said he didn't really care which one wins for the first time ever.
The winner of American Idol 2008 is David Cook. Finally, America got it right! David was overwhelmed by the moment. His brother was in the audience despite his ongoing struggle with cancer.
Well, I made a pick despite myself. While I thought Cook should and might win, I gave too much credit to Archuleta's legion of fans. So I got that one wrong and dropped on the year to 10-13.
You guys, though, got it right again and kicked my ass finishing out your year at 15-8.
|David A.||140 (10.6%)|
|David C.||881 (66.7%)|
|David H.||6 (0.5%)|
|Jason C.||35 (2.6%)|
|Jason Y.||1 (0.1%)|