Jordin Sparks looked exactly as I pictured her in the moment of her Idol victory. Her win was certainly no surprise after Tuesday’s show, where Blake proved to be no match for Jordin’s prowess for power-emoting treacly lyrics. Personally? I think it’s as it should be. Jordin is the perfect winner. Too bad the show ran so long we could not get some extended moments of Jordin revelling in her triumph with her fellow Idols. The confetti machine appeared to be on the fritz, too. Damn.
Biggest complaint about last night’s mostly entertaining finale? More Idols, please. Really, did we need to hear Gwen Stefani
pimp lip sync sing her new single from an undisclosed location? I would have rather had another medley from the kids. Last year’s finale was so good, because it was filled with appearances from the performers who make Idol what it is–the KIDS. In fact, Prince was the only guest last year to appear WITHOUT also performing with the Top 12. This year, there were five solo performances from guest stars.
Having said that, I enjoyed performances from Tony Bennett and Green Day anyway. The aforementioned Gwen, and Bette Midler–not so much. Smokey Robinson, Gladys Knight and Joe Perry of Aerosmith were not only entertaining, but they all played nicely with the kids.
“It’s the night we’ve all been waiting for. Who will take the title? The beatboxer from Seattle, or the sweetheart from Arizona. The world is watching…This is American Idol! For the last time this year…sniff.
Ryan tells us that there are 160 million people watching around the globe. At this point, the finale has taken on the patina of a major awards show like the Grammys or the Emmys.
Randy Jackson says it’s going to be a “hot” night. Paula Abdul is feeling “excellent.” Ryan points out that Simon Cowell already looks bored. He does. I get the feeling Simon wishes he could quit now, rather than in 3 years when his contract ends.
The show begins, of course, with the first of many product placements. Ryan explains that Ashton Michael and Badgley Mischka designed the outfits worn by Blake and Jordin as a segue-way to introduce their duet, The Beatles’, “I Saw Her Standing There.” Hmmm, I wonder why they picked this song? I vaguely remember hearing a rumor that Jordin might be 17….
Yeah. Nevertheless, the number is adorable. Those two are cuter than a basketful of puppies, I tell ya.
There are various “celebrity” sightings in the audience tonight, and to be honest, I hardly recognize anybody.
Gwen Stefani is introduced from a live satellite feed of her tour. I don’t get this. Was this supposed to happen during Idol Gives Back, and now this is some kind of “make good” with her people? Somebody who can’t even show up to the studio, let alone perform with the Idols on stage should not be on the finale. Don’t care. More Idols, please.
Speaking of which, Kelly Clarkson is up next to sing HER new single. As it should be. I like “Never Again” a lot more live than I do the record. She’s made some unfortunate fashion choices tonight. A mini-skirt and thigh-high boots? Kelly yer a cutie, but that ain’t your look. She manages to look sufficiently pissed off as she sings her pissed-off girl anthem. It’s like Alanis without the blow jobs.
Yay. The Golden Idols are back. Just kidding. I may be in the minority, but I have no desire to see the mocked and maligned from the auditions invited to the finale for more of the same. The mock awards segments sprinkled throughout the show serve as a way to present clips from the auditions and drag some of these poor hapless losers on stage for more humiliation. No thanks.
The first “category” the “Best Presentation” pits that bizarre cat guy, X-centric, the weird chick with the cowboy hat, Isadora Furman, and yellow bird lady, Margaret Fowler. Bird Lady wins. As Nigel Lythgoe himself helps her up to the stage, the band plays the Sesame Street theme. She plants a big wet one on Ryan, dropping him to the floor. Really, that should have been the end of the segment. It woulda been perfect. She goes on to yammer crazily and then read an even crazier poem. Where’s that big ole hook when you need it?
Ok, this is what I’m talking about peeps. The top 6 guys take the stage to sing the Miracles, “Ooh Baby Baby”, arranged specially for the show by David Thomas of Take 6. Who said the boys can’t sing? Bitch please. They sound fantastic. They all sound awesome, but special shout outs to Chris Sligh and Brandon Rogers who should have lasted longer in the competition. Very nice falsetto from Phil Stacey and Chris Richardson. Phil introduces Smokey Robinson. Falsetto? Oh yeah, it still sounds might fine. The Temptations-like choreography cracked me up.
After the break, Ryan promotes The Band Show one more time. The show seems to be an effort to save Fox from the ratings cellar in the months prior to Idol. Good luck with that…
Next, Blake Lewis duets with Doug E. Fresh with Barry B doing the DJ thing. Ahhhh! This was a total gas. Blake and Doug E do the rap/beatbox face off deal and it’s really wild, fun and a total blast from the past. Blake gets to show off his impressive beatboxing skillz, while Doug E. performs in front of a huge audience, probably for the first time ever. I don’t think Idol will see anything like that ever again.
More Golden Idols–“Most Original Singer” Watch as Sholandric Stallworth is invited back to embarrass himself again. You have to wonder why these peeps come back for more.
Here are your Top 6 girls! They enter the stage in white 60’s style dresses singing “Heard it Through the Grapevine.” Melinda Doolittle introduces “Miss Gladys Knight.” Like Smokey Robinson, she still sounds good. She gets all fierce and ends up with hair in her eyes. Melinda and Lakisha Jones do a fine duet with Gladys on “Midnight Train to Georgia.” Lakisha sounds great. Unfortunately, this is the closest she’s going to get to her own duet like the 4th place finishers got in finales past. TPTB suck.
The Master, Tony Bennett performs next. This is probably a do-over for him. He got sick and wasn’t able to sing on the results show of his mentoring week, so I’m not really ticked he’s here performing without the Idols. Ryan introduces him. For Pete’s sake, it’s Constantine Maroulis’s smarmy mug again. How is it that he’s gotten so much camera time this week? Tony is 80 years old and he still has it. He sings, “For Once in My Life” and shows the kids how to REALLY sing a Stevie Wonder song. Whoa! Check out Tony hitting those glory notes! Paula begins to swoon. Simon looks happy to be listening to music he doesn’t find confusing.
It’s Golden Idol time again. This category is “Best Buddies.” Best Buddies? Who could possibly fit that category? Why, it’s the pretense to bring back Seattle’s own Jonathan and Kenneth. The next two nominees are 1. An excuse to see Antonella Barba in a bikini one last time, and 2. More homoerotic goodness from Simon Cowell and Ryan Seacrest. Ha ha, great line when Ryan tells Simon, “You don’t have an Emmy and you don’t have one of these either.
Jonathan and Kenneth take the stage, clearly thrilled to have their 15 minutes of fame extended. In fact, Jonathan is so happy for the attention, that he thanks Simon for humiliating him in front of millions of people when he called him a bush baby on national TV. So, one good turn deserves another, and there ain’t nothin’ like rubbing in the humiliation a little further. The Idol peeps decide to show the vast American viewing audience exactly what a bush baby looks like as they flash a picture on the screen. Holy crap. The TPTB have sponsored a bush baby in Kenneth’s name at the Milwaukee County Zoo. Wow, so that whole deal went right over their heads, no? God likes good people, indeed.
Next, Melinda Doolittle takes the stage with gospel duo Be Be and Ce Ce Winans. She used to sing backup for them. Melinda matches the Winan’s note for note on the rousing tune, “Hold Up the Light.” This is just fabulous. The Winans and Melinda raise the roof and tear it up right here. As I listen, I’m thinking Melinda would have blown Jordin’s butt off the stage if she’d made it into the Top 2. It wouldn’t have been a contest. Sorry Jordin fans…
The Ford commercial edits together outtakes from this seasons spots as the Idols sing “Time after Time.” Afterward, Ryan gives Blake and Jordin keys to their brand new Mustangs. I want one of those. A vintage 65 convertible, to be exact.
For what feels like the 5 billionth time, Carrie Underwood is back, yet again, on the show to sing YET AGAIN, “I’ll Stand By You.” She’s wearing jeans and this…weird top that’s like a prom dress with the front chopped out. Memo to Carrie: Time to eat a sandwich.
OMG. I thought we dodged the bullet when Clive Davis didn’t appear as usual on the Top 3 show. Gah. Instead, they’ve decided to wheel him out of the crypt for the Finale. Oh goody, he’s got a very special announcement.
I’m going to paraphrase Clive’s “report card for the American Idol album franchise” here:
Daughtry rules, Katharine McPhee and Taylor Hicks drool. Maybe Katharine and Taylor’s new singles will help them sell a few more records… Nah they won’t. Why did I even mention them? Back to my golden boy Daughtry. He has sold so many records, I keep a shrine to him by my bedside. Album sales are all about new hit songs. Little girls can’t write hit songs. Little girls who try to write songs will no longer be Daddy’s favorite. Daddy’s new favorite just went sextuple platinum and SHE sings the songs we give her like a good little
slave girl. The end.
Ok, Clive goes on, for like. 5 minutes. He presents Carrie Underwood with her 6x platinum record (way to go, Carrie). He gives her such a verbal tongue bath, even she is visibly embarrassed. She makes sure to thank the Idol franchise and all the fans, and then quickly says, “Let’s get back to this year’s winner.”
Man, I hope Kelly Clarkson kicks Clive’s ass.
The African Children’s Choir is next. They are adorable. Actually, it’s a bit of an insult to call them merely adorable, because they are extremely talented singers and performers. I have no idea what they sang, what language it was in, or what it was about, but it was sensational. These kids deserve the spotlight.
Fourth place finisher LaKisha Jones doesn’t get the spotlight tonight, but Sanjaya Malakar does. Go figure. But then, what place a contestant finishes in this contest does not matter at all at this point.
Sanjaya is introduced with what’s supposed to be a tongue and cheek film clip that mixes Sanjaya up with Einstein, Babe Ruth and Ghandi. Maybe I B dumb, but I don’t get it. Sanjy reprises “You’ve Really Got Me” but this time with a wind machine blowing his lustrous locks and Joe Perry of Aeorosmith on guitar.
Joe Perry is pretty fabulous. Sanjaya is not as fabulous, but he is amusing. Crying girl is planted in the audience again tonight. She’s still crying. Big bird lady is right behind her rocking out. Joe Perry plays a blistering guitar solo. Crying girl is hysterical. Sanjaya’s totally got the 70’s style androgynous rocker moves going on. Ryan calls it “rock history.” Uhm, no. Now, I know what to expect on tour.
Green Day came by the studio earlier in the day to tape a performance of John Lennon’s “Working Class Hero.” They are here to promote Instant Karma:The Campaign to save Dafur. It’s a good thing. Their performance is powerful, definitely a highlight of the show. Chills people, I got chills. “Working Class Hero” denounces all the greedy, stupid bastards of capitalism.
“Keep you doped with religion and sex and TV, And you think you’re so clever and classless and free, But you’re still f*cking peasants as far as I can see.”
Next, it’s the man who needs NO introduction. Really, he doesn’t people, so chill out. Taylor Hicks takes the stage to perform his new single “Heaven Knows.” It’s an upbeat throwback to 60’s soul music. I think it’s a good song. It’s pretty damn awesome on his live tour, which I’ve seen twice. Really…Taylor Hicks in concert is great. Even if ya aren’t crazy about the record, check out his tour. He puts on a great show. Tonight, the music feels a little canned, but Taylor aims to please, and he does. I hope the song gets some traction on the radio. Unfortunately, Taylor’s old-school style does not seem to be translating to the current radio market.
This is a sweet surprise–Jordin Sparks’s duet partner is Ruben Studdard. Considering that Jordin is an admitted AI junkie, paring her with a former winner is a great idea. Ruben has been out of the spotlight the past few years, and his sophomore album made only a brief appearance on the charts. It’s nice to see him back and looking good. They sing the Marvin Gaye Tammi Terrell Motown classic “You’re All I Need to Get By.” It’s practically a carbon copy of the original, but it comes off as more of a homage than a copy cat. Good stuff.
Bette Midler takes the stage next. What’s the point? I heard a rumor that she took another headliners place. Apparently TPTB scrambled and found Bette to fill in. Who knows. Bette is a terrific entertainer. Not so much tonight. Her voice cracks and she sounds flat. Ryan introduces her from the judges table where Simon and Paula are conspicuously absent. Do we really need to hear the 20 year old theme to the movie “Beaches?” I think not. OMG. Bette has made Jerry Springer all verklempt. Hilarious.
Damn, this thing is going to run over tonight.
Ryan introduces a tribute to the Beatles’ “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” Blink. Unpopular opinion ahead: “Sgt. Pepper” came out of a very specific time and place. It was revolutionary in it’s era, but it sounds dated today, in my opinion. Sgt Peppers performed Brady Bunch-style by a slew of Idols is just…well, I don’t think it works. It would have been much better to perform some of the more timeless Beatles classics that translate well to any era. Even a “Rubber Soul” medley would have faired better. But uhhm, no one would have gotten that, I guess.
Still, it is very cool to see all the Idols together on one stage as they introduce each other. Joe Perry is back to play guitar. Kelly Clarkson, in another unfortunate fashion choice, channels her best Janis Joplin for “Sgt Pepper.” Taylor Hicks takes a crack at the difficult “Day in the Life.” It’s a weird song out of context, but Taylor gives it the old college try. Carrie Underwood sings “She’s Leaving Home” and sounds a bit breathless and shouty. Ruben Studdard sings “Lucy in the Skies with Diamonds” as if he has no idea what he’s singing. Yeah, I’m not really digging this.
The last song is “With a Little Help From My Friends” and the Top12 get solos–a last hurrah for them. There should have been more. At the very end all the Idols take the stage with the Top 12. It’s quite the tableau.
This thing is REALLY running over. I feel bad for the peeps who are recording this to watch later. Sucks to be them.
Back from the break, and it’s finally time to
crown Jordin. Err, I mean announce the winner. Blake kisses Jordin’s hand and whispers something to her. Ryan tells us that over the course of the season, there have been 609 million votes. Last night set a new record of 74 million votes. Ryan introduces Edward Boddington (a name straight out of central casting) from Telescope, the vote accounting company. He hands a gold envelope to Ryan.
Ryan asks the judges if they have any final thoughts before he announces the winner. Randy says, “I gotta say Jordin, baby.” Paula babbles, “I’m just proud of both of them, they both have come a long way. It’s hard doing what they do. STOP IT SIMON. ” Ryan tries to move on, and Paula says, “I’m not done, I’m not done.” Sigh, we’re already WAY over Paula. “Congratulations to both of you. Jordin, you are a star through and through. Blake, you are another star of musicality. You are both winners.” Didn’t she say almost the exact same thing last night? Simon finally says, simply, “It was a good night last night. But if I’m gonna call it, based on the last song, (never mind that Simon said Blake should be judged on his first two songs only) congratulations, Jordin.”
“You guys ready?” asks Ryan, “Good luck Jordin. Good luck Blake.”
“Dim the lights.” says Ryan, “Here we go.” Jordin and Blake smile at each other. Blake whispers something in her ear. Ryan says, “After a world record vote of 74 million…” Blake steps back and he and Jordin laugh. “The winner, of American Idol…” Blake looks at Jordin. “…2007 is, ” Ryan stops for the big dramatic pause as he opens the envelope. Jordin looks at Ryan warily while Blake grins ear to ear. “JORDIN SPARKS!” yells Ryan.
The crowd erupts. Jordin covers her face with her hands. She and Blake hug. He almost lifts her off the ground. Seriously. Blake points to Jordin. She waves to the audience with both hands. Ryan thanks Blake. Blake points to his friends and family before he leaves the stage.
“Your new American Idol, ” says Ryan. Jordin is nearly speechless, but she manages to thank her family. In the audience, Smokey Robinson hugs Jordin’s father. Jordin tries not to cry. Ryan thanks the viewing audience, judges and Rickey Minor and the band. Ryan tells Jordin, “You should be emotional right now, it’s OK.” Jordin continues to try to compose herself.
Ryan turns to the audience, “We’ll be back in January to do it all over again. But now, I give the microphone to THE American Idol, Jordin Sparks.”
Jordin sings the coronation song as her parents look on, her mom weeping. The other Idols are gathered at the foot of the stairs. They’re probably thinking, “Thank God I don’t have to sing this crap.” Paula is crying. YAY. As the pyrotechnics break out, Jordin finally breaks down. The confetti begins falling from the ceiling as the rest of the Idols come up on stage for a great big group hug.
And, it’s over.