'American Idol' Season 9 Finale to Have "Something ... for Everybody"

by Anna Dimond, posted May 25th 2010 10:44PM
Who will America choose? On Wednesday, 'American Idol' will crown its winner in the season 9 finale, which pits all-American Lee DeWyze against vocal powerhouse Crystal Bowersox.

With the annual red carpet glamour kicking things off Wednesday (May 26, 6PM ET on Fox), the extravaganza will feature requisite group performances with the entire top 12, as well as duets, guest performances and a bevy of other acts that have yet to be revealed.

As the flurry of preparation picks up pace, the gurus responsible for orchestrating the season's last show are working overtime to make the magic happen. "It's like summer camp," said Michael Orland, the associate music director for 'Idol.' "It is really my favorite time(of the season), because you bond so much with all the contestants, and they all go so quick. Now they're back, and it's almost like they never left."Who will America choose? On Wednesday, 'American Idol' will crown its winner in the season 9 finale, which pits all-American Lee DeWyze against vocal powerhouse Crystal Bowersox.

With the annual red carpet glamour kicking things off Wednesday (May 26, 6PM ET on Fox), the extravaganza will feature requisite group performances with the entire top 12, as well as duets, guest performances and a bevy of other acts that have yet to be revealed.

As the flurry of preparation picks up pace, the gurus responsible for orchestrating the season's last show are working overtime to make the magic happen. "It's like summer camp," said Michael Orland, the associate music director for 'Idol.' "It is really my favorite time(of the season), because you bond so much with all the contestants, and they all go so quick. Now they're back, and it's almost like they never left."

"There's so much work to do, it's crazy," he said. "We always tell the contestants that they're never going to sing this much in their whole career."

While Orland and his colleagues have been working furiously with the returning 10 cast-offs, the night is, of course, ultimately about DeWyze and Bowersox. Orland wouldn't name his pick for the winner, but he did gush about the contestants with whom he's worked for 15 weeks. "They're both very stylized, definitely both unique and I love that," he said. "They definitely came in with less experience, but that's what this show used to be about... . We're taking the guy who was a paint salesman, and this girl who's a mother, and an incredible artist in her own right who was playing for 10 people before this.



"I think they both got a taste of it when they went home for their hometown (visits). You get out of the bubble for a minute, and they were both overwhelmed. I was asking Crystal about it when she got back, and she said, literally, 'I can't talk about it. It was so moving, I can't even talk about it without welling up.'"

Going home for a stint before the finale had other kinds of effects on the finalists and former contestants. "Some people gained weight, some people lost weight, and even then, (none of them were) off-the-rack body types to start with," explained Soyon An, who styles 'Idol's' female contestants all season long. Despite the challenge, An said that she'll be taking all the girls' style up a notch for the big finale, glamming them up and making their looks more cohesive.

Bowersox will also sport a few surprises, including an eco-friendly outfit that An would only say relates to recycling. To prep for the multiple clothing changes, An took Bowersox shopping last week for a marathon two-hour session that involved "a lot of sitting down, taking notes and figuring out what to do with each song," An said. "For me, as much as I am focused on branding [(Bowersox) as an artist, and establishing and developing her image, I think we've gotten to that point at the finale, and so (now) the music choice is very important,"



While An was able to make a pre-finale retail dash with the finalist, shopping for Bowersox wasn't always so easy. "When I first met her, she was very reluctant, and definitely didn't want to change," she said. "(Black clothing)] was like her security blanket. ... The way we worked that out and her (style) evolution was to accessorize with bits of color ... and just explain to her that when you present color into wardrobes, especially with Crystal, it opens up her face and her as an individual, and showcases (her)."

DeWyze's stylist also faced hurdles with the singer's transformation from fresh face to top-2 finalist. "He's very laid-back. He doesn't particularly like the shopping experience, but he knows he has to do it," said Miles Siggins, the show's stylist for the male contestants. "If Lee had it his way, he'd be in a pair of Levi's and an Old Navy T-shirt the whole time."

Still, DeWyze''s fans can expect at least one new item in the singer's finale wardrobe: the fancy leather jacket that he's apparently had his eye on since the top 24 show. "We managed to buy it for the finale, so he's very happy. We're here to make dreams come true," Siggins joked.

As Siggins, An and other members of the 'Idol' staff focus on the finale's aesthetics, Orland and the musical team keep the two finalists and 10 former hopefuls busy prepping for their performances. Of course, he won't reveal any specifics, but he did say that Wednesday's show will include songs that span decades, and make for crowd-pleasing TV time. "There's going to be something in it for everybody," he said. "Without revealing more, it's such a great, diverse bunch of songs, but I think 'Idol' does that every year, and that's why it's my favorite part of the show. I promise there will be a lot of great surprises."

And as for who he thinks will take the top spot? Again, Orland won't say. "I used to get devastated when people were voted off," he recalled. "But going through the whole experience with (Lee and Crystal) and watching them, feeling the joy -- it sounds so corny, but the two of them really are winners. Even though one of them will become the American Idol, they're both going to have huge careers."

For Siggins' part, the end of season 9 will bear flavors that are less bittersweet than of the alcoholic variety. When asked what he's looking forward to most about the finale, he said -- tongue planted lightly in cheek -- "A cocktail at the party afterward."

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