It’s finale night on American Idol, and while Blake Lewis’ name receives louder cheers than Jordin Sparks’, it still doesn’t seem to be the usual fervor we reach with a finale. As the judges are being introduced, for some reason Paula Abdul is making a backwards L with her right hand. Is she telling Ryan Seacrest he’s a backwards loser? Randy Jackson is saying he thinks it will be a hot night and asks Ryan to call it early, but he’s not so sure the producers would appreciate that. When Ryan tells Simon Cowell he already looks bored, Simon says it’s because he’s listening to Ryan, but maybe he’s picking up some of the crowd’s mood.
The final 2, Blake and Jordin, come out singing right away. You would think the song they would be singing would be representative of the situation, night, etc., but instead they sing I Saw Her Standing There by The Beatles. Previously, the show couldn’t get clearance on Beatles tunes, and the rumor was that some of them have finally been cleared. Is it all over this song? Blake and Jordin meet up for harmony on the chorus, and someone id definitely off, while it has to be Jordin putting in too much vibrato. In the end, he spins her in to him while she kisses him on the cheek, leaving lipstick behind.
One of this season’s guest mentors returns, although it’s via her own concert through the magic of television. Gwen Stefani sings her new single 4 In the Morning, in tight pants and a top with a huge bow in the back. Now, Im from the 80s, the years of the big bow, and my signature was always a bow in my hair, and while on my wedding day I had a big white bow in my hair and another big one on the butt of my wedding dress, even for me this bow on her butt is ridiculously big. As she finishes her ballad she says, “Bye, thank you,” and is apparently tired of us already.
Ryan tells us it’s been five years since the next guest has stood on this stage and took the title, and we know it’s our very first American Idol Kelly Clarkson. After two Grammy awards, seven #1s, and 14 million in CD sales, she’s singing her new single Never Again, and Ryan points out she’s a little ticked in the song. He’s right; she does emote this one very well. She looks gorgeous and in that chameleon way she always does. Somehow every time I see her perform or make an appearance somewhere, she always has a completely different look, and tonight she has her hair pulled back and is wearing a short dress with thigh high boots.. It should be noted to the very young Jordin that this is the right way to do vibrato and power without screaming.
It’s time for a feature that was begun during last year’s finale, the Golden Idol Awards. The first category is Best Presentation, and the nominees are X-Cenric, the guy from the auditions that said he was a full grown panther, leading into a really long intro, only to find out he couldn’t s ing, Isadora Furman, thinking that saying you sound like Janis Joplin is a good thing, which it would be if she had the same soul behind it, and Margaret Fowler, the woman who dressed like Big Bird. She wins, and as she comes upstairs to accept her award, it’s Nigel Lythgoe helping her up the stairs. She gives Ryan a kiss so big he ends up on the floor and definitely looks afraid of her afterward. As she’s talking about how her life has changed, her phone rings, and Ryan answers it, telling the person she is busy on national TV right now. She yells out a thank you to her fans, and reads off a poem she wrote while saying she is in the same league as LaKisha, Melinda, and Jordin.
With a medley arranged for them by David Thomas of Take 6, the top six guys appear, dressed in all white, on stage and start out singing Ooh Baby Baby, by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, and these guys really do have the best voices. Once they separate out, it’s surprising how much Blake Lewis pales individually. The harmony here is reminiscent, though, of Hollywood week when Blake combined with Chris Sligh, and two others. Smokey Robinson himself is then introduced and sings Being With You, using the top 6 guys as backup, familiar territory for Brandon Rogers. Smokey and the guy then combine on Tears of a Clown.
The rumors that Blake was going to sing with Katharine McPhee are apparently wrong, as he appears onstage with Doug E. Fresh, and the two combine for a creative beat boxing duet. Ryan explains the reason as being because some people complained that he didn’t get to beat box the night before. Isn’t that what he does during certain parts of You Give Love a Bad Name, though?
Another Golden Idol is presented, this time for Most Original Vocal Award. The nominees are Nicholas Zitzmann who had explained to the camera how he created his sound and had swayed along back and forth while he sang Unchained Melody, Sandie Chavez singing with her hand cupped over her ear as if we’d understand what she was singing, and Sholandric Stalworth singing If Ever You’re In My Arms Again. Maybe he damaged Simon’s ears, and that’s why he kept thinking LaKisha Jones was shouting. Sholandric wins and immediately complains there’s no name on his trophy. He takes the stage to sing Silent Night, and is able to project to the back of the Kodak Theatre.