Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Another Idol Is Crowned

Article first published as American Idol Finale on Technorati.

On Wednesday night, Ryan Seacrest finally got to tell America who their next Nashville Star is….oh, sorry, I meant who their next American Idol is!  The winner was crowned after nearly two hours of pop performances, judges patting themselves on the back, and some nostalgic looks back on the high’s and low’s of the season.  This year’s Idol winner didn’t get there easily; apparently we pop-obsessed Americans logged nearly three quarters of a billion votes over the course of the season, with more than 120 million last night alone.  Imagine what we could accomplish as a nation if we could inspire that level of voting enthusiasm for ACTUAL elections!  That’s a topic for another blog I suppose.  Here’s how the big finale event went down, in case you missed it, or just want to relive it.

The Idols kicked things off with a rousing rendition of Gaga’s “Born This Way,” followed by James doing Judas Priest…..with Judas Priest.  Pretty cool.  Who says Idol isn’t for rockers?  James sounded really strong and the band rocked out, but I could have done without the S&M / Biker Bar Halloween Costume he was wearing.

Next, they honored the judges starting with Randy.  Or rather, with a montage of Randy’s really questionable fashion choices all season, with a soundtrack of “In It To Win It” in the background.  I like Randy – he’s really fun, and I’m glad he put the “Dawgs” away for most of the season, but he needs a new mantra for next year.  Please.  I guess they’ll roast the other judges later in the show, because they broke away to Jacob Lusk, singing at the top of his game with Gladys Knight and Kurt Franklin.  He sounded much better than I ever remember him during the season.  After a short break, Casey Abrams arose from the Idol graveyard to sing “Fat Bottom Girls” with none other than Jack Black. This WAS a night of surprises!  That was a truly inspired and brilliant pairing.

Next, the Ladies of Idol Season 10 performed a Beyonce medley that was markedly better than the final group performances of years gone by.  Maybe this really was the best Idol season ever.  The medley ended with an additional group member, Beyonce. Yes, actual Beyonce.  See, more surprises. 

Then, we were back to the judges.  This time, it was a look back at some of Steven Tyler’s best moments.  He really brought the crazy this season, right?  Wow – watching all of his antics again was great fun.  I really hope he comes back next year.  That was followed by Haley, performing with the legendary, and apparently still living, Tony Bennett.  Now, come on, where else can you get Tony Bennett, Beyonce, Jack Black and Judas Priest all in the same hour of television?  This performance was followed by a rundown of JLo’s most memorable moments of the season, most of which seemed to involve her hair, and the millions of adoring fans and scattering of contestants who had crushes on her.  You know, I’ve been a bit harsh on the judges this year, mostly because they acted so much more like a pep squad than like critics, but they have great chemistry and I genuinely hope all three are back together next year.  The only staffing change I’m pushing for is for Randy to get a new wardrobe stylist. 

JLo’s mini-roast was followed up by a performance by TLC, accompanied by the Idolettes, with a cameo by Lil’ John.  Finally, one of the finalists was then given a chance to sing.  Scotty sang “Live Like You Were Dying” with Tim McGraw.  It was a top shelf pairing, maybe not as inspired as Casey and Jack Black, but a solid rendition of a wonderful song.  I have to say that Scotty really held his own up there against the Nashville Uber-star.  Impressive stuff.

Marc Anthony performed, with a little help from his wife, Ms Lopez, kind of like a modern day Sonny and Cher, except that JLo didn’t say (nor sing) a thing.  She just shook her moneymaker around and looked pretty.  My husband along with millions of other American men, was desperately pining for some sort of wardrobe malfunction, but alas, it was not to be.

Finally, it was the guys’ turn to perform en masse.  They took on Tom Jones, with surprising aplomb.  Even Scotty joined in the fun…as did Tom Jones.  Actual Tom Jones.  Apparently, it’s actually Sir Tom Jones now.  I really like that Idol is trying to expand its demographic reach deep into the realm of Baby Boomers by incorporating Septuagenarian’s like Jones and Bennett.  That’s bold.

In a true study of contracts, and an unintended pun on titles, Sir Tom Jones was followed by Lady Gaga, who was dressed like a character in a future Star Wars installment.   Then, Lauren finally got her moment in the sun, singing Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats”, with none other than Carrie Underwood.  The young hopeful held her own pretty well against the former Idol winner and Country superstar, but it was clear that her vocal cords were not in fact, fully recovered.  Thankfully, they held up well enough on Tuesday night, when it really mattered.      

The evening rounded out with an encore performance by Beyonce, doing her best diva impression on her newest song.  That was followed up by an appearance by Spiderman, accompanied by Bono and the Edge.  Finally, we got Steven Tyler doing “Dream On.” I’m absolutely certain that I saw his outfit in a Chico’s catalog this week, but he really rocked the song out.  It was a treat.  Too bad we didn’t get to hear Randy play bass this year, since the other judges all had their moments in the sun.  I’m sure he’s not upset about that at all – he doesn’t really like to self-promote much (stifling a laugh).  This show had more performances than the actual Grammy’s!  Oh yeah, and they announced the winner.  I’ve never seen two more scared kids in my life.  To nobody’s surprise, Season Ten’s Idol is Scotty McCreery.  He looked genuinely overcome with joy and surprise, and Lauren was as graceful a runner-up as there ever was. No worries Lauren fans, she’ll surely be a staple on country stations for years to come.

So now it’s over.  Season Ten has come to an end and we have crowned yet another Male Idol.  I’m already excited about January…and Idol Season XI!

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