So a bajillion people auditioned for the show this year, and apparently a bunch of those auditions happened in Chicago, and it seems that two of those Chicago auditioneers were Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze, and wouldn’t you fucking know it? They’re this season’s two remaining finalists. So I guess the show is trying to tell us that this is fate. Or maybe that the other audition cities were a big waste of time and money. Or that because of that location, this dreary season somehow managed to crap out an actual story arc. I think this is all just another effort to fill time. This is a two-hour finale, after all. And this is American Idol. “See you in another life, brother.”
Crystal and Lee take the stage dressed like British schoolchildren. Are they going to cover AC/DC? Because that would be terribly awesome. Maybe they’re paying tribute to Simon Cowell. This is his last episode, after all. Yeah, in case you haven’t heard, the bitch is quitting. He needs to branch out and do different things in his career, so he’ll be hosting X-Factor on NBC, which is incredibly far-removed from the concept of this show in that it is an amateur singing competition where contestants are…eliminated by a voting process…after…being…um…judged by…Cowell. Okay, then, moving on!
Performance. “School’s Out.” The outfits are thusly explained as the Top 12 take the stage to perform the Alice Cooper classic. There’s Big Mike and Aaron Kelly, whose name I had to look up, and Tim Urban, whose name I did not have to look up because he’s in my bedroom right now, there’s that black girl, and that white chick, and people of this nature. Then Alice Cooper himself comes out to perform, and all of the 17-year-olds watching this show collectively ask, “Who the fuck is this old, homeless dude?”
Performance. Kris Allen performs his latest single, “The Truth,” which is far better than his first single, “Live Like We’re Dying,” neither of which have anything to do with jack in getting us closer to the final results, so skippity-skip, Kris Allen. Next time, try performing without pants.
Flashback. Simon’s Greatest Hits. Did you know that Simon was a dick on this show? No, really! He tells some people that they’re not going to Hollywood. Some girl says he can kiss her ass. An asshole dressed like the Statue of Liberty gets thrown out. William Hung has no professional training. Of singing. Some lady wants Simon to shove crumpets up his…nose. I’m sure she means nose. Simon telling Paula that she’s annoying while Randy actually is annoying. The wrong guy is sooo quitting.
Performance. Siobhan Magnus and Aaron Kelly sing “How Deep is Your Love” and good god, she’s really not fun to see in close-up, is she? Aaron holds his mic likes it’s a dirty penis that he can’t quite put near his mouth and this tickles me to no end. Then the two living Bee Gees come out without introduction, and again, those 17-year-olds are all, “Who’s that fat dude and the other one? Are they John Lennon?!”
Performance. Big Mike sings “Taking It To the Streets” and Michael McDonald comes out and…no thank you. Next!
Performance. Dane Cook comes out to sing a song about Simon’s greatest insults and…no thank you. Next! Oh, wait. The show’s League of Audition Freaks take the stage. There’s the Renaldo Lapuz, still dressed like a ghost-pimp. “Brothers Forever” or whatever the fuck his schtick was from last year. Other annoying creatures appear, like Tatiana del Toro, who, if you don’t remember her, don’t worry about it. And Norman Gentle. And Ian Bernardo, who I think has a social disorder, stealing the mic and babbling like anyone gives a shit and Tatiana trying to grab the microphone from him, and…Christ almighty, is there a sniper in the house?! Please?!
Performance. That Trixie chick whose real name I’ve long forgotten, if I ever even knew it for real, and Didi Benami, I think, then Katie Stevens and Siobhan and the other girls come together to sing the song “Beautiful” from Glee. Then Christina Aguilera randomly shows up and the Idol Girls command us to “GET UP!” And you know what, Idol Girls? You can kiss my Italian ass, because absolutely not. Get up? YOU get up. This show is not the boss of Frankie.
Performance. The Idol Boys sing a little Hall & Oates. Except Andrew Garcia, who sounds like he’s having nut surgery. Tim continues to drive me to distraction. Can we, as a nation, please stop supporting his work and leave him no alternative than to seek a career in porn? Maybe start a Facebook petition? Thanks, dolls. Then the real Hall & Oates come out, looking like something Buffy killed once, but bless ’em, they still sound good.
Performance. Crystal Bowersox sings a duet with Alanis Morrissette who still has that queer drowning quality to her voice, but “You Oughta Know” is such a good song that I don’t especially care, although I do wish Kelly Clarkson would cover it, because these “I used to date you and now I wish you were dead” songs are very much in her wheelhouse.
Performance. Carrie Underwood…pass.
Product Placement. Dweezil and Crystal get their Free Ford Vehicles and act surprised, even though the final two always get Free Ford Vehicles.
Performance. Casey James sings Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” and Celebrity Apprentice sympathy-vote-winner Bret Michaels, who could probably die at any second, what with his cerebral hemorrhaging and his stroke and the hole in his heart and the Rock of Love syphilis, comes out to join in, and he’s probably so sick of singing this thing for twenty-two years that that alone could do kill him.
Performance. Dweezil sings a medley of Chicago hits with the eponymous band itself, except that Pete Cetera is nowhere to be seen, and the thirty-something guy trying to be Pete Cetera is no Pete Cetera, making the whole affair sound wedding band-ish, so…ick. Also, Idol, how about showcasing a current artist or two at some point? That would be nice.
Flashback. Simon is in love with himself. Making love to the mirror. Telling Paula her dress is slutty. Being accosted by a drag queen. Being hit on by a fat girl. Kissing Paula. Flirting with Ellen. Pinching and rubbing and massaging his big man-tits. And…waking up in bed with Randy? I don’t remember that at all. I guess Seacrest was out of town that weekend.
Performance. General Larry Platt sings “Pants on the Ground,” backed by a bunch of super-hot (well, except for that one) dancers with saggy jeans and their boxers showing. Then they drop their pants, which: yay! But William Hung arrives on the scene and this is where the fun stops. And, almost a decade later, it should be noted that William Hung still has no formal training. Of singing.
Flashback. Paula met Simon a long time ago and everybody was younger then, because it was ten years ago. Ryan, I think, was actually 9 years old. Simon getting pissed off and pissing people off. All the judges cracking up over bad auditioneers. Paula being proud of being his friend. Aw….
Tribute. Paula Abdul herself takes the stage and gets a standing ovation. Because where else would such an insane thing happen? She says many silly and funny, but touching and kind words to Simon and she seems to have her act together, but then she loses her focus and babbles for far too long. Then we video-flashback to Early Days. Clarkson. Dunkleman. Hung. Matt Rogers. Simon predicting that Carrie Underwood would sell millions of records to rednecks with no taste. Simon in Africa. Getting hugged by a man in a bunny suit (which was not in Africa). Simon in cartoon form on The Simpsons. Many things like that. Simon says, “I had the best ten years of my life. So I genuinely mean this. Thank you. And I’m gonna miss you.”
More Tribute. Kelly Clarkson takes the stage, singing some “Together We Are One” graduation-sounding goodbye song. Then Ruben Studdard….holy shit, Fantasia Barrino! Carrie Underwood. Jordin Sparks! Yowza! What goes on here? Taylor Hicks?! Kris Allen…then fucking everybody (except David Cook: obligated elsewhere). David Archuleta! Blake Lewis! Melinda Doolittle! Jason Castro! Mikalah Gordon! Allison Iraheta! Justin Guarini! Kimberly Calwell! Ace Young! Diana DeGarmo! Constantine Maroulis. Bo Bice! Chris Richardson! Michael Johns! Matt Giraud! Brooke White! Elliot Yamin! Anoop!! Plus, this season’s horde. And I only had to look a few of ’em up. There are some that never get in decent camera range, so sorry for y’all, and there’s one chick that…no fucking idea who she is. But this is like, wow, Idol-nerd Alert!!
More Tribute. Paula leads Simon up to the stage to say a few words to the audience and viewers. Here are most of those words. “Ya know, I didn’t think I was gonna be this emotional, but I genuinely am. I just wanna say…what Paula said is true. The show goes forward. It will be different. But I just wanna thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support, the fun, and your sense of humor. Seeing these contestant backs, that’s what made the show. And when everyone asks who’s gonna replace me, who’s gonna be the next judge, the truth is you guys are the judge of this show and you’ve done an incredible job over the years. I’m gonna honestly, honestly miss you. Thank you very much indeed. It’s been a blast.” Aw, Simon…
Performance. Oy…another close-up of Siobhan. Katie Stevens, who I can still do without. Andrew Garcia, why are you still on my TV? This season’s Top 12 gather for a Janet Jackson medley until Janet herself steps out and shuts them the fuck up. She sounds more and more like that dead brother of hers. Yuck, all around. And she’s lip-syncing. It’s a pre-recorded ‘live’ track, but still: fake. On a ballad? I can’t respect that. Skippity-skip. “Nasty Boys.” Great song. More lip-syncing. Have we learned nothing from the tragedy of Milli Vanilli? Oh, Janet, the shame….
Performance. Crystal and Dweezil sing a duet, covering “With a Little Help from My Friends” which sounds fine until Joe Cocker and, lord, has anyone ever explained his…um…demeanor? I mean, what the fuck with the spasms and twitching? Hold on…I’m looking this up… Okay, I got nothing. Apparently, this is just something he does. No medical condition. So I’m allowed to be uncomfortable and…skippity-skip.
Results. The winner is…not Crystal Bowersox!! Ha! I knew it. I thought she’d go sooner, but yeah…uh-huh. That is the way this show works. Clay Aiken. Katharine McPhee. Adam Lambert. The “favorite” always come in second. Maybe that’s why they skipped the all-star song ten minutes ago. Dweezil winning? I register no surprise.
Dweezil weeps like he’s in prison and the Aryan’s are paying him a late night visit of love. Tears abound. Then they make him sing his little U2 song and he cries all the way through it. Look, whatever. He totally deserves to win. He did the work. And this? This right here makes for better TV. So congratulations, Lee “Dweezil” DeWyze. I’ll probably not buy your album, but you’re a sweet and talented fellow.
And now this sweet and talented (and profanity-spewing) fellow has a few words to say. I’ve been writing these recaps since wayyyy back on March 21, 2006, in the days of Mandisa and Paris Bennett (when, apparently, Chris Daughtry was my candidate for Idol porn — I’m nothing if not consistent). I started recapping this show for a laugh. And attention. I like getting attention. I never thought it would turn into a five-season gig, and that with only a handful of exceptions, I would recap every episode of American Idol that aired since that first day. It has been an awesome time, finding new ways to tell you how people suck and are dressed funny; making fun of celebrity mentors and calling this show out on all of its wonderful and tacky bullshit. But, like Simon, I’ve decided to step down from my lofty perch to focus on other things. So this here? It’s my last Idol recap. Maybe not ever. I’ll still be watching, so if there’s a juicy Idol Gives Back or if RuPaul mentors an episode, I’ll be back. But for now, I’m movin’ on.
As always, I want to thank Dave for giving me this platform from which I could rant like a maniac, and for his ongoing support and encouragement. And I want to thank all of you folks who kept coming back week after week, listening to me say “fuck” ten times a recap as I did everything in my power not to fly to Los Angeles and kick this show in the balls. Some of you even recommended me to your friends. For that, I’m especially touched and grateful. Special thanks to my own Christopher. I don’t think I stole too many of his jokes this year, but he was kind enough to watch every episode with me, despite wanting to do many other things, like jump off the roof, rather than deal with this yucky season. And the biggest thanks of all goes to American Idol itself, for being the engrossing, fabulous, shit-storm of a train wreck that it is. Without you, dear show, none of this would have been possible!
Alrighty, then. I’m outta here.