Wednesday, May 20, 2009

American Idol, episode 8-40 (May 20): final results (season finale)

[There is a LOT missing here, but I'm posting now in the interest of timeliness. I promise I'll clean it up and fill it out later this week.]

After the chickens of mediocrity came home to roost last night, I fear the mother of all chickens will roost, and Kris will pull enough of the moony-eyed teenager vote.

Kris and Adam aren't being piped into the mix. Fox sound guys strike again!

The Top 13 performance of "Rock Star" reminds us of all of the far worthier singers that could've been there in Kris's place, and not just the criminally-denied Allison Iraheta and Danny Gokey-- there's Alexis Grace, Li'l Rounds, and even Michael Sarver, bless 'em all.

(Did they just sing "and you're a tool"? Man, Fox's censors are on a non-roll!)

David Cook! Yay! Strands of hair plastered to his forehead and everything! "Permanent" is a pleasant enough moody arena-rock ballad, and David still sounds in good form, with a killer high note at the end of the last chorus. He, Danny and Daughtry should get together and make the hoarsest album ever.

David says "I don't think America can get this wrong." Er, they already did. Have you seen the top 2?

Li'l Rounds and Queen Latifah duet on ???????. This song would've gotten her farther in the competition. This song was so good! Where was it when she needed it?!

Anoop Desai and Alexis, who both sound fantastic, lead into Jason Mraz (just back from a fishing trip, apparently), which leads into the entire Top 13 singing together. The last few bars of this song, with the thirteen of them singing in glorious harmony, sounded better than any of the Ford videos, which I'm sure are done painstakingly in a studio over a course of hours. How bizarre.

The ladies of the Top 13 perform, and Megan Joy immediately reminds us why she should never have made it past the Wild Card round.

Then Fergie walks on, and of course the opening chords of "Big Girls Don't Cry" are played. Sam immediately says "Are you kidding me? Hasn't she performed this a million times? It was old on New Years' Rockin' Eve, and she's still doing it!"

And... then The Black Eyed Peas, accompanied by some really, really creepily-dressed backup dancers, demonstrate how far they've fallen from their original appeal as a funk/hip-hop hybrid band.

(They cut to another camera angle for about ten seconds. Anyone know why they did that?)

More awards, during which we meet many enablers. (Ryan Seacrest says one of the greatest off-the-cuff lines in the history of live television.)

Allison is accompanied on the zither by Cyndi Lauper. Why them together? The hair?

Danny takes the stage alone to sing "Hello", which is of course heartbreaking, and of course shows us that his absence in the Top 2 is utterly absurd. Lionel Ritchie, of course (and by "of course", I mean that we can just take for granted that Idol will book anyone and everyone they want), joins him onstage for "All NIght Long", and damn they sound good together (and the horn section is outta control).

Adam plays into the media's worst stereotypes of him with his outfit, and sings "Beth"... and... gee, we didn't see this coming... K.I.S.S. joins him! In a hail of fireworks, no less. And they're a performing a medley of, well, K.I.S.S.'s greatest hits.

Carlos Santana and his two killer Latin percussionists tears through the intro of "Black Magic Woman", joined by Matt Giraud and eventually the entire Top 13. Even with the mass unison, it still sounded pretty good.

Oh no. Not a Ford video. And of course, it's a montage of previous Ford videos. *snore*

Steve Martin accompanies Michael and Megan on Martin's bluegrass ballad "Pretty Flowers". This is Michael's obvious home territory, and Megan just gets more bizarre everything we hear her.

Boys' number! Finally. Michael seems to be getting a lot of solo time tonight. Of course, Rod Stewart shows up, and puts them all to shame.

In my opinion, we haven't heard enough of Jorge, who we heard earlier briefly. We have yet to hear a featured line from Scott at all tonight, so I thought I'd just mention him here.

The last "award", Outstanding Female, goes to Tatiana Del Toro, who is seriously a killer singer. It's such a shame she had to amass such massive ill will (I lost track of how many anti-Tatiana groups popped up on Facebook) during the Top 36 rounds, which, to be fair, she was asking for.

Brian May!!!!!!!!!!!! Freakin' Brian May!!!!! Under the bass-drum banner of Queen, Kris and Adam sing "We Are The Champions", with a monstrous, amorphous chorus behind (and around) them. This was quite glorious, I must admit.

And it comes down to... 100,000,000 votes. A large number in and of itself, but I will stick to my usual math and assume that there are 100 people voting 1,000,000 times.

And finally, after the bikini-wearing and middle-finger-displaying and adversity-overcoming and wife-mourning and sexual-orientation-questioning and machine-gun-laughing, the winner is...




I'd been gunning for a Danny/Allison final, so it's not like I had a personal favorite here, but at least Adam was entertaining and brought something new to the table. Kris is a capable musician, but is also a shag-haired bottle of Sominex. America, you officially are idiots. Well, the over 50 of you who cast 1,000,000 votes are idiots, anyway.

And now Kris sings "No Boundaries" as Fox and 19 Entertainment's new milquetoast golden boy. I do admit, the song is growing on me. Nevertheless, and I say this with the deepest sarcasm: enjoy your idol, moony-eyed teenage girls of America.

What a bummer to end this season on. What an anti-climactic end to what should have been a two-hour coronation. I will eagerly await both Kris's and Adam's (And Allison's and Danny's) first recordings, which I will critique here, and contrast-and-compare here, with relish.

And that's the season! 40 episodes of pure white-hot entertainment, most of which I was able to cover here, and I hope I did it with tact, grace, inside musical jargon, a grain of intolerance for entitlement, and a grain of my own entitlement. And, of course, there's the real reason I started this blog, which I occasionally diverted from but remained the guiding principle througout: to give some of the music educators (and other educators) out there some jumping-off points for legitimate critique of the show (and other pop culture offerings).

Thanks for reading!

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