Live-blogging the American Idol finale tonight! COMPLETE (10:30 PM)

26May10

12:05 PM: Hey folks – I’m on the west coast, trying to avoid seeing who wins American Idol before it’s revealed tonight at roughly 10:07 PM. For most of this season, I’ve been live-tweeting each episode on my personal Twitter account, but I occassionally had details ruined by friends on the east coast. I’m not taking that chance today.

That's me in the upper left.

Watch this space tonight – I’ll be updating this post with an Idol live-blog every 30 minutes during the three-hour finale (Pacific time). My goal is to run it much like one of Bill Simmons’ running diary events. Of course, the only tweets I will be sending out tonight during the finale will be to announce that I’ve posted the next segment of the live-blog.

And, of course (as previously announced), go LEE!

5:15PM: Checking in. It’s 5:15, meaning it’s 8:15 on the east coast. The finale has officially started. I’m unplugging from Twitter, Facebook, and Google Reader until the show ends on the west coast.

Also: this is a post about American Idol, but I couldn’t resist. Paste Magazine has two new Arcade Fire songs – “Month of May” and “The Suburbs”. “Month of May” is more of a straightforward rock song than anything they’ve ever done, and “The Suburbs” leans on acoustic guitar and drags a bit. I hope the new record has some higher highs than this.

Listen to “Month of May” and “The Suburbs” right here. Thanks, Paste! You are among the best magazines I have ever subscribed to.

7:30PM: Well, here we are. 30 minutes until showtime. It’s more than a little weird that this thing is already over – Crystal and Lee fans on the east coast are alternately dancing / running amok in the streets. Remember, I’m trying to be completely unplugged from media that could possibly reveal the winner too early.

This is the first season I’ve been able to watch from beginning to end; I’ve been pretty busy with high school and college for the past decade. I love Idol for a lot of reasons. First of all, the idea of bringing people from obscurity to a chance at greatness is always fun. Great performers like Kelly Clarkson, Adam Lambert, David Cook and Carrie Underwood might have never been discovered and marketed to the music-consuming public if not for AI. Heck, Lee Dewyze was working at a paint store, for crying out loud!

Secondly, you don’t even have to win the show to do well. Chris Daughtry, one of the most well-loved AI contestants ever, ended up in fourth place. Adam Lambert and Clay Aiken were each in second place. Jennifer Hudson ended up in seventh place, but she has a Grammy award to show for it! Don’t feel bad for Crystal or Lee if they don’t win. Don’t feel bad for Casey James, Siobhan Magnus, or Michael Lynche. They’ll all be making records, and they’ll all have a chance to be successful.

Finally, even though it is mostly pop and R&B, Idol does a good job of picking fun themes and putting new spins on old favorites. Chris Daughtry’s “Walk the Line” or any of Adam Lambert’s performances are great examples.

(Can you believe Adam Lambert didn’t win last year? What a joke. That one’s on you, AMERICA.)

7:55 PM: My official prediction for tonight is that Lee will win due to the “Gokey Effect”. Last season, Danny Gokey finished third and therefore, could not compete for the finale. The judges were falling all over themselves to attempt to give the title to Adam. However, what they (and I) didn’t realize was that Danny Gokey’s fans all jumped over to Kris Allen. Allen and Gokey were more similar than Lambert and Gokey.

Bringing that to this season, I predict that Casey James’ fans will jump to Lee. Those two are much more similar to each other than either of them are to Crystal.

7:57 PM: Turning on the TV! Think I’ll go ahead and mute the end credits to “Two and a Half Men” and ensuing commercials.

8:00 PM: Here’s the first dramatic intro video. Reminding us that Lee and Crystal both started in Chicago, then recapping last night. I’ve been making fun of the cheesy intros all season, but this is the first one that actually ends with the remaining contestants standing back to back, arms crossed.

8:01 PM: “THIS… is American Idol!”

8:04 PM: Fashion update: Randy in a shirt from Paula Abdul’s closet, Ellen going with the angelic all-white look, Kara in a one-shouldered prom dress, Simon in something from Kara’s closet, Lee looks like he’s about to park somebody’s car, and Crystal looks like she just got kicked out of Hogwarts.

8:05 PM: Oh, I see. The top 12 are singing “School’s Out For The Summer.” That explains the wardrobe choices for the top 12. Also: don’t remind me.

8:06 PM: Alice Cooper is here, complete with drum major baton! Excellent! This is a great collaboration. He’s appropriately snarling through the song. The kids’ choir is more than a bit creepy, though.

8:13 PM: Ryan Seacrest keeps saying that Kris Allen won season 8. He didn’t; Adam Lambert did. (In case you were wondering, this stage of the process is called denial.) Then his mic doesn’t get turned off, and he talks over Allen’s first few words. Oops.

8:16 PM: I wouldn’t want to follow Alice Cooper and the top 12, but… um… seriously? Kris Allen singing a generic mid-tempo modern rock ballad? This is the best we could come up with? He’s not bad, but it’s pretty low-energy. In fact, there are songs on his record that would be better choices than that one.

8:18 PM: I’m loving the Simon retrospective. “That sounded like a cat jumping off the Empire State Building, and the noise it would make before it hit the ground.”

8:21 PM: Siobhan and Aaron duet on a typical Aaron Kelly song, and they’re joined by two of the BeeGees. At least, I think that’s who they are. It’s somebody who was born around the same time as your last six Super Bowl halftime show performers. (Thank you! Thank you! I’ll be here all week!)

8:22 PM: David Hasselhoff is here, ladies and gentlemen! There will officially be no hasslin’ going on tonight.

8:26 PM: We come back from commercial and Big Mike is already singing “Taking it to the Streets”. Then, he introduces Michael McDonald. Don’t tell Paul Rudd! The two mix surprisingly well; Big Mike is going to sell a lot of records.

8:29 PM: “A special song set to Simon’s greatest insults,” performed by Dane Cook. That would have been an awesome idea in 2005.

8:31 PM: “You have the honesty of Abraham Lincoln, and the charm of the guy who shot him.” Okay, one nice line from Cook. Most of the laughs in the song come from Simon’s actual ‘feedback’ to contestants.

Hey, this is also our opportunity to bring back a bunch of terrible singers! One of them grabs the mic and starts yelling at Simon until Fox is forced to cut away and throw to commercial. Nice.

8:34 PM: Lacey, Katie, and Siobhan singing a Christina Aguilera medly? Alright! I’d rather  they left Paige, Crystal, and Didi behind, though. Also: Before Katie was shown on screen, I actually thought Christina was here. Epic fail, America. On the other hand, if she showed this much attitude, maybe she’d still be here.

8:37 PM: Christina IS here! Nice! I don’t know why I’m surprised. Mrs. CK: “Well, she sang for about four seconds.”

8:38 PM: Christina gets a solo song as well. She has some terrible hair right about now. Sounds good, though.

8:42 PM: A bearded Ricky Gervais calls Simon “the king-maker.” What?

8:48 PM: The top six guys are singing a Hall & Oates medley. Wait, what year is it? Also: I can’t wait for them to dramatically reveal that Hall & Oates are there.

8:49 PM: Wait, what? Hall & Oates are there? I am STUNNED. Stunned. In their defense, though, they’ve still got it! Get these guys to sing at the Super Bowl halftime show ASAP!

(Completely unrelated sidenote: is anyone else done with the ‘old guys’ theme at the Super Bowl halftime show? They’re okay, but you can’t tell me The Who is putting on a better show in 2010 than Jay-Z and Beyonce. Sorry. It’s time to bring back a little bit of sex appeal – or at least some hair that isn’t gray.)

8:52PM: Poor Janelle Wheeler is in the middle of the insane Crystal fans in Toledo. Why would you do that to a former contestant?

8:53 PM: Crystal sings “Ironic,” which contains no examples of irony whatsoever. Seems appropriate. In other news, Crystal’s dad is awesome. Crystal brings Alanis Morissette onto the stage, and they take turns singing lines while running back and forth on the stage. They sound good, but I can’t say I’m impressed with the choreography.

8:56 PM: Crystal’s dad is good at clapping.

9:00 PM: Carrie Underwood returns to sing her required “Idol” finale song. I don’t like country music at all, but for some reason I respect Carrie. I like that she’s always willing to come back to Idol and perform. She’d be a great mentor on a country week; she always lights up the stage.

(Cory Marshall bursts into flames)

9:04 PM: Lee and Crystal are taken to a ‘photoshoot’ where Kris Allen gives them new cars with their designs on them. They shouldn’t be surprised that they’re getting cars (this happens every year), but having their custom designs is a great touch.

9:06 PM: Casey James returns to the stage, singing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”! He’s wearing an electric guitar on his back while playing an acoustic.

9:07 PM: WHOA! Bret Michaels walks across the stage to join Casey! I was not expecting that. Bret is the coolest guest yet. If you don’t remember, he had a brain hemorrhage about two weeks ago. Since then, he’s been back and forth between physical therapy, winning “Celebrity Apprentice,” doing interviews, and apparently, playing on the American Idol finale. So glad to see him looking happy and well.

9:14 PM: Crystal sang with Alanis, now we’ve got Lee singing a medley with Chicago – because he’s from the Chicago area! Get it? As far as I can tell, there’s no abuse of literary terms here.

9:17 PM: Actually, Chicago wouldn’t be a bad choice for the Super Bowl halftime show if we have to continue the Old Guys theme. I can’t believe I’m still talking about this, but here we are.

9:18 PM: Aunt Becky is here (Lori Loughlin)!

9:21 PM: Another Simon Cowell roast video… Simon “the flirt”. Not as hilarious as the first one, but pretty good.

9:22 PM: PANTS ON THE GROUND PANTS ON THE GROUND LOOKING LIKE A FOOL WITH YOUR PANTS ON THE GROUND

9:23 PM: MOUTH FULL OF GOLD HAT TURNED SIDEWAYS LOOKING LIKE A FOOL WITH YOUR PANTS ON THE GROUND

9:23 PM: William Hung, the patron saint of terrible American Idol auditions, gives his blessing to General Larry Platt by joining him in singing “Pants On The Ground.” One day, there will be a third – two of the triumvirate have been chosen.

9:30 PM: So glad they brought Paula back for the Simon retrospective. It wouldn’t be complete without her. And, she’s here live, too!

9:31 PM: This Paula lovefest is getting very, very awkward.

9:33 PM: The montage with “My Way” is appropriate for Simon. It’s going to take somebody very, very good to fill those shoes; Simon is not someone who can be replaced. There won’t be a “new Simon Cowell.”

9:35 PM: Kelly Clarkson! Reuben Studdard! Fantasia! Carrie Underwood! Jordin Sparks! Taylor Hicks! Kris Allen! Wait… who’s missing? We have 7 of the 8 previous winners, and I can’t look it up because I’ll find out about tonight’s winner.

9:38 PM: Wow, so many faces from Idols past. We’re bringing out a bunch of runners-up and other notable contestants: Justin Guarini, Bo Bice, Blake Lewis, David Archuleta, Katherine McPhee, Jason Castro, Elliot Yamin… the list goes on and on! What a great salute to Simon.

9:41 PM: It’s David Cook. I just figured it out. David Cook is the only “Idol” winner who isn’t in the building. He must be out on tour right now.

9:45 PM: The top 12 (minus finalists) come out singing with Janet Jackson, who I completely didn’t recognize without any hair. I actually said out loud, “I have no idea who that is.”

9:46 PM: I don’t know if there’s an effect on the microphone or something, but Janet sounds exactly like her brother Michael. Wow.

9:51 PM: It’s too bad the camera won’t stay still; I want to see the choreographed backup dancers! And yes, I’m aware of how that sounds.

9:53 PM: It’s the Lee and Crystal ‘journey’ video, set to an alternate version of Sufjan’s “Chicago”. Very, very cool. Then we’re bringing them on stage together to sing “A Little Help From My Friends” for 15 seconds before introducing Joe Cocker. Somebody missed a cue in the song, making Cocker look kind of senile. Come on, guys, help him out!

10:01 PM: The official announcement from the official envelope from some guy you’ve never heard of…

10:02 PM: Your next American Idol is…

10:02 PM: LEE DEWYZE!!! Yes!

10:03 PM: Lee deserves it. He was in serious scared kitten mode right there! Very, very cool.

10:05 PM: A crying Lee Dewyze sings “Beautiful Day,” encouraged by the rest of the top 12. Glad they’re on stage. He sounds SO much better than he did last night on the same song! I’m excited to see what he sounds like in a few months when he has the tour under his belt. Lee had the most personal growth of any contestant this year. And of course, as I said before – don’t feel bad for Crystal. She did great, and she’ll have a great career. But she didn’t change much from day 1 to now. Lee has grown, changed, and learned so much during this ride… I’m excited to see where he goes next.

Lee Dewyze: American Idol

10:10 PM: Thanks for coming along for the ride with us! Congrats once again to Lee and Crystal. Goodnight everybody!

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4 Responses to “Live-blogging the American Idol finale tonight! COMPLETE (10:30 PM)”

  1. 1 Robi

    Can’t wait!

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