Well, that was a bummer. Tonight’s finale held no surprises–no “ahh” moments. Instead, we get the usual, plus a few eww moments that add up to an anti-climatic final. Out of 50, 000 plus submissions, the songwriter contest produced a turd. The two never-before-heard songs by Blake and Jordin were respectively lackluster and earsplitting. And the judges comments, quite often, made me want to punch someone.
I think Jordin will win. But that’s fine. To be honest, I’ve been ambivalent about Blake continuing on in this competition past 4th or 3rd place. When he signs with 19R, there’s no way he’s going to be able to make the kind of music he’s been writing and performing back in Seattle. Is it worse to come in first or second? After hearing that horrid “winner’s song” I’m thinking Blake will be lucky to come in second so he never, ever, ever has to sing that song again…
Ryan opens the show, “100, 000 down, 2 to go. One guy, one girl, and one last chance to win your vote. This is the night, this is the audience. dramatic, lights come up. This is American Idol!” Excitement!
There’s more, “Tonight is another Battle of the Sexes. We’ve had Justin and Kelly, Bo and Carrie, Taylor and Kat and now Blake and Jordin. Two very different people, with two very different styles, chase one unforgettable dream. And you at home will make that dream come true.” CHEESE! I love it.
Ryan introduces the judges. Randy is dressed in a hideous retro-80’s jacket. All he needs is that bizarre triangle hairdo from his days with Journey, and he’ll be all set. Great make-up job covering the bruises on Paula Abdul’s face from her unfortunate encounter with her dog Tulip over the weekend. She looks like she’s feeling no pain, if you know what I mean.
She explains to Ryan that she, “Tripped over her dog Tulip, ” and that, “The dog is fine.” Ryan says, “So the bitch is ok. We got it.” Har-dee-har.
Simon should really button up his shirt.
Next is a clip that can be summed up as a mea culpa to the city of Seattle. When the writers were setting the story line for the auditions–that Seattle was full of no-talents–they must have assumed that the winners would come from the South this year as they always do. Ha ha. Don’t they look stupid. The clip takes us through Blake and Jordin’s audition experiences. We see Jordin standing in line in the rain. Hmm. I smell a set up. She won Arizona Idol which entitled her to an audition with the producers, bypassing all that nasty waiting in line. Yay for creative editing.
Next is a clip of
Blake throwing the competition. Oops, I mean, Wednesday’s coin toss. Blake wins, but he gallantly (cough) allows Jordin to pick her spot. She chooses to go last, of course. She wants to win.
Ryan explains How It Works–They have three songs, one is their favorite, one is something they haven’t sung on the show before, and one is the winner of the songwriter competition, “This is My Now.”
Blake Lewis – “You Give Love a Bad Name” by Bon Jovi – This was nearly as spectacular as his Top 4 performance. Removing the element of surprise on repeat is the only thing that brings it down a notch. Blake works the stage and his vocal sparring with the drummer is exhilarating. For me, “You Give Love a Bad Name” is this year’s “Idol Moment.” Simon says the singing was flat in the middle, but I think he’s high. The singing AND the performance are very, very good. Randy gives Blake 10 out of 10 on the beatboxing, but he thinks the singing “was just a’ight.” (High) Paula says, “I wish I could give you more than a 10!…a 10+10+10! (High, but you already knew that.) Simon recites the refrain we’ll be hearing all night ad nauseum (That, and and endless references to Jordin “What’s my Age Again?” Sparks) You’re not the best singer in the competition, but you are the best performer. Simon says, “I thought the performance was great, the energy amazing, I thought the singing actually was a bit flat in the middle, I thought you were shouting…but I don’t think it matters because it was your best performance 3 or 4 weeks ago…”
Jordin Sparks – “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera – It seems Jordin can’t sing an uptempo song live to save her life. On the bridge, she loses her place in the song–she can’t spit the lyrics out fast enough. And of course, when in doubt and feeling you might be blowing it, begin SHREIKING the lyrics, which she does when she hits the chorus. Oh, and make sure the shrieking is off-key, too. Check. This was NOT good, despite Randy’s raving that she was “stellar” and “amazing.” Simon calls it correctly, “I thought the vocals were actually a bit shrieky in the middle. I’m going to call round 1 to Blake.”
Blake Lewis – “She Will Be Loved” by Maroon 5 – Second round features video clips of the kids talking about their early years. When Blake first heard someone beatbox, he instinctively knew how to do it. He was practicing in the garage, and his Dad thought it was a drum set. Blake’s vocal is good and mostly controlled here. It’s not a copy of the original–he adds a few really nice vocal flourishes including some really sweet falsetto. Randy likes his vocal. Paula says he sounds relaxed. Simon says, “It was good, it was safe, it wasn’t as good as the first performance, and I actually would not have chosen that song in the final because I don’t think it makes that much of an impact…” I have to agree with Simon here. Finale is WOW time. The song was well done, but it was not a head turner like last week’s Robin Thicke performance, which took my breath away.
Jordin Sparks – “Broken Wing” by Martina McBride – In her clip, Jordin says she always knew she wanted to sing. She competed in her first singing competition when she was 12, and that’s when she really knew. Jordin performs a song she killed on early in the competition. Although not quite as good as the first time, she turns out a compelling and emotional performance. Round 2 will go to Jordin, just because her song was more dramatic. Randy begins his critique with the standard OMGyou’rethemosttalented17yearoldEVAH!!!111!! He then says, “That was flawless, that was unbelievable, I think better than the original.” Paula says, “You are soaring, soaring.” (No, you are, Pauler) Simon simply says, “Now THAT was good.”
Ryan introduces the winners of the songwriters competition, Jeff Peabody and Scott Krippayne. And, as it turns out, they are hardly amateurs. The song is called, “This is My Now.”
Diva alert! Jennifer Hudson in the house!
Blake Lewis – “This is My Now” – Gah. What kind of turgid, senseless nonsense is this? There was lots of talk about the songwriter contest fixing what ailed the carpy coronation songs. I didn’t believe the songs would be better. But I didn’t think they’d be exponentially worse either. Blake looks pained as he sings lyrics like, “There was a time, I packed my dreams away…living in a shell, hiding from myself…I am made of more than my yesterdays.” Dancing with the Devil, indeed. I’m missing “My Destiny” right about now. Seriously. On the chorus, he tries to inject a little pep into the tuneless melody, but it’s useless. The background vocals (no gospel choir this year) drown him out and he goes flat. Probably matching how he’s feeling inside. His awkward dancing as he attempts to perform the song makes it obvious that it’s so, so wrong for him. Look! There goes his soul! It’s leaving his body! Eep.
Randy says, “This isn’t the kind of song that suits your voice…you did a pretty good job with it, it was alright, you don’t have to feel that bad about it.” A ringing endorsement. Paula thinks he did a great job on the song. The Happy Pills just kicked in. Simon says, “I thought it was all a little odd…how do you feel? (Blake just shrugs, a little helplessly) I mean all that jumping around in the middle…you looked a bit frustrated. It’s not a bad song, it’s just not the type of song you’d normally sing…I think we have to judge you tonight primarily on your first two performances.” Ryan says, “You did the best you could. That song was tough for you?” “Yes, yes, ” Blake smiles and nods. “He’s biting his tongue right now, ” says Ryan. Oh, I’m sure he is.
Jordin Sparks – “This is my Now” – Jordin, who’s young enough to still believe in fairy princesses and unicorns is able to sing this song, not only with a straight face (which Blake could barely muster) but with complete and total conviction. The camera pans the Top 10 in the audience and they look a little dumbstruck. Maybe they are thanking their individual Gods that they didn’t have to sing this crap. For good measure, Jordin’s voice cracks with emotion on the last line of the song. I can see her right now performing this song tomorrow night as the confetti rains down from the sky. Blake, not so much. Randy pulls out the “singing competition” card, “…It is a singing competition bar none, it’s the greatest singing competition ever in the history of television, YOU were the best singer tonight, you deserve it all baby, that was fire right here…you are what it’s about” I hate when the judges remind us that it’s a singing competition, because it clearly isn’t. They’d choose an entirely different Top 24 if it was. Simon finishes up, “Jordin, I’m going to be honest with you, last week I didn’t think you were good enough to make the finals, and I want to say to you publically now, I was wrong, because this is, in case we forget sometimes, this is a singing competition, and you just wiped the floor with Blake on that song.” Way to effing contradict yourself, there, Simon. First, make a big deal of Blake’s performance skills, but then turn around and say it doesn’t matter. The judges are a bunch of lying liars.
There’s a few minutes to kill before Ryan introduces Daughtry. He asks the judges what they think. Randy thinks Jordin won the night, because, you know, it’s a singing competition. Paula refuses to commit She chirps, “They’re all winners!” which sounds like typical rainbowsandpuppies Paula, until she says, “The next thing that you’re gonna see tells you the story why.” Then you realize that Paula has a point. Simon says, “I would say the best individual performance of the night was Blake on the first song, but based on overall singing, Jordin.”
The night ends with Daughtry performing the boot song, “Home” in front of clips (I mean really in front of, I wanted them to get out of the way so I could see) of this year’s Idol “journey.” Lots of crying and hugging. Daughtry sounds great. It shouldn’t be, but their performance is the highlight of the show.
“Be careful what you wish for, ’cause you might just get it all, ” Chris sings. Right about now, I imagine he’s glad he didn’t.