At long last, the season 8 finale of American Idol has arrived! It's been fun watching all of the Idols grow in their musical prowess (that's a Paula word), especially Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, the final two performers who couldn't be more different, but are both awesome in their own way.
Ryan started things off by introducing the judges, along with a funny video clip for each of them -- Randy Jackson saying "For Me" throughout the season; Kara DioGuardi saying "sweetie" and "honey" to people who didn't make it past the audition process; Paula's round-up of colorful adjectives (vocal prowess, masterful and effortless, palette, etc.); and Simon's issues with hearing what people say (as in, he could probably use a hearing aid!).
Adam Lambert vs. Kris Allen might seem like a heavyweight versus a bantam weight, one guy who's already been splashed on magazine covers -- last week's Entertainment Weekly -- as the presumptive champ, while the other was nearly knocked on his butt by the judge's song choice that was so bad that Simon faulted Kara and Randy for setting him up to fail.
It's getting down to the wire, and all three of the remaining contestants are certainly talented enough to be crowned the next American Idol. While I've been an Adam Lambert fan all along, I'd be fine with whomever wins this season.
Things start off tonight with the Ford commercial, kind of a fun little cartoon-oriented ad with Adam, Danny and Kris singing "Break My Stride." It must be really fun to see yourself as a cartoon/comic book character.
Yet another results show has come around, and Ryan starts things off by asking, "Who will graduate from the Idol school of rock, and who will just get schooled?" You know, Ryan, I'm available if your writers are on strike. Call me.
Anyway, sounds like it was a dramatic week on American Idol - a large column collapsed and in a separate incident, a staffer was injured on a stair mishap. Whew. But the show must go on, and we'll find out tonight whether Allison, Danny, Adam or Kris will be going home. The other three get to go home, too, but for a big hometown parade with cheerleaders and town leaders gushing praise on them.
My dad, however, thinks that Adam is in a class of his own and no one can touch him. That he'll win and nobody else even deserves to be in the competition. I pointed out the fact that he scream-sings all of his songs, but my dad was hearing none of it. My father is also tone-deaf -- not that that means anything.
Anyway, since we couldn't talk last night, I had to get that all off of my chest before we get into the Taylor Hicks and the Jaime Foxx and the elimination in tonight's show. Regardless of who leaves tonight, Adam's going to win and I'm going to be sad. Everything leading up to that is just going to be vague disappointments. Let's get started!
Two of the seven remaining contestants on American Idol went home this week. And this time, they actually did go home. It seems like the producers have been trying to psych us out all season, throwing as many surprises as they can to keep the show fresh. Not so tonight. Two went home, and it was no surprise to me who those two were.
But first, we got to see some behind-the-scenes stuff as the Idols prepared for their group number. When Ryan said they called on a huge name in the choreography world for this week's group number, I was pleasantly shocked to see that it was Paula.
It was nice to see her dance again. Makes me want to go back and watch some of her vintage music videos. Thinking about it also took my mind off the goofy disco outfits the Idols were wearing. Anoop had quite the George Michael look going.
Alright, results show: I haven't watched the episode yet; it just started and I have it on pause so I can make my predictions. I think the bottom three is going to be Anoop, Lil Rounds and Scott. Lil Rounds will go home. Anything else would officially shock me, but I love being shocked, so here's hoping.
We're still on the whole "year of their birth" thing, so Ryan makes a big deal about how old Simon is by showing a clip of Frankie Avalon singing in the year he was born. Then the stage opens, and Frankie Avalon himself comes out and sings. Simon looks completely surprised and amused. It's actually a really cute moment, and Frankie sounds great.
Enough of that, though; I want to find out who's going home! So let's get on with it. We've got 50 minutes of filler left before we get our answers.
This being the results show of Motown Night, the Idols sang a montage of Motown hits against a backdrop of classic Motown stars. Very nice. I also liked the Ford commercial, with the contestants putting together giant puzzle pieces while singing "Take Me Away." They look like they're having a blast.
Then the Velvet Teddy Bear Ruben Studdard sang a tune, and Ryan mentions that he was recently married. Congrats to Ruben!
And then the countdown begins with Adam Lambert up first. I can't imagine that he'd be going home, and sure enough, he's safe. With his ability to show such vastly different sides of his artistic talent, Adam has launched himself straight to the top of my favorites list.
Former American Idol contestant Justin Guarini caused some controversy earlier this week when he disclosed that when the Idol singers do their big group numbers, the singers are lip-synching. First the people at Idol said "the Idols don't lip-synch, period," but now they admit that it's true. I guess you always look silly when you publicly add the word "period" to a denial.
On what planet is this new, breaking news?
The American Idol empire hasn't quite expanded its reach enough so it's going to go into the once vast but now slightly less impressive trading card market. That's right, American Idol trading cards are coming your way starting April 21, 2009. The set promises "chase cards" like autographed cards by past Idols as well as face time for rejected favorites like William Hung and even this season's Nick (Norman Gentle) Mitchell.
In the show's eight seasons, we've had six Top 12s, one Top 10 and this year's Top 13, meaning it'll take 95 cards just to spotlight each finalist at least once. Give one to each of the four judges and Ryan and you're down to 38 cards up for grabs in the 138-card set. I wonder if we'll get any of the quirky side shows like Crying-Girl, Super-Clay-Aiken-Fan or David-Hasselhof-Fanatic? Maybe a bonus set of Simon's weird faces and inadvertently rude gestures.
TVS: So some Idols fade away and some – like you, for instance – are still in the public eye years later. What's the secret?
Justin:I can't speak for other idols, but I feel very blessed to have made it to the top two on season one. That season had such an impact on people, and even though I've been in and out of the spotlight, people remember me, whether it's for my hair or for my voice or whatever. You can't buy that. There's no amount of press you can do to stick in peoples' consciousness like that.
The Macy's 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular will air from 9-10 p.m. on NBC. Sound like something you'd watch? I don't know if I'll be tuning in for this. I'd rather find a local fireworks show than watch one on TV.
After Sanjaya-gate last year, the biggest controversy to come out this year was that finalist David Hernandez used to be a stripper and David Archuleta's dad might be a Mr. Meany-Pants. And we got to be pissed that Kristy Lee Cook outlasted the likes of Michael Johns. Not until we got to the finale of Davids did things get really intense.
Gallery: AI '08 Top 24
He thanks the show for allowing him to grow as an artist, and shrink at the waistline. "I've lost probably about 10 to 15 pounds. There was definitely a progression for me on this show. Early on ... the vocal coach really hit home for me ... Going into this, I had built up a wall, sort of a protective barrier between me and the audience. She forced me to break that down and I think it helped for my performances." I can agree that there was something keeping him from standing out in those early weeks as he came to later.
Sure, David Cook was good, but virtually nobody saw him as an early favorite to take the title, and the '50s theme in week one didn't do anything to light him up. Then Archuleta let loose with "Imagine" the following week and pretty much sealed the deal as the front-runner. He even encored with the number in the finale, knowing that it had been his season's high point.
In the exit interview with David Archuleta, he said that Cook "just proved week after week that he deserved to be the 'American Idol' ... My main priority wasn't to win the competition ... just to do my best. We both gave it our all. To make it to the top two, I don't think there's any reason to be disappointed with that."
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