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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

American Idol 9, May 25 – It Comes Down to This, Crystal or Lee?


Some people are saying they’re good with no matter who wins the finale of American Idol, Crystal Bowersox or Lee Dewyze. But most people are expecting it will go to Lee Dewyze since he has the momentum going into it. I fall into the category of being good no matter who wins, and I think it’s going to be a close one.

Crystal and Lee enter from deep into the audience, and Crystal drops her microphone and has to go back for it. Lee doesn’t drop his because he has it in his pocket. They tell Ryan Seacrest they’re amazed at how many people are out in the audience. First we’ll have the contestants’ favorite songs from this season, then a song chosen for them by producer Simon Fuller, followed by what will be their release if they win. You know what would be a fun twist on this tired formula? Having the final two each sing a song their competitor did. What if Crystal sang Boxer? What if Lee sang Me and Bobby McGee? Crystal won the coin toss last week and has opted to go second.

Lee’s parents talk about him being a very energetic child. They thought he would be a professional baseball player. He liked baseball and played shortstop; his dad felt he was good at it. He also wanted to be a rock star, saying every kid wants to do that. When he picked up the guitar for the first time he loved doing it. He became an artist once he started writing his own material. He’s redoing The Boxer tonight. Good choice. He’s letting himself go a little more with it now, now that he knows everyone loved his version of this. He ends it with a few tears in his eyes and a “thank you.”

Randy Jackson tells Lee it was a great way to start it off and he thinks it will come down to a duel to the finish. It wasn’t an energetic kind of exciting thing, but was a nice song. He wants him to pick it up, though. Ellen DeGeneres tells Lee she couldn’t be any more proud of him than if she gave birth to him herself. She thinks he did it better than the first time even, and then she thought he was pretty good.

Kara DioGuardi agrees with Randy somewhat; she wants to see Lee push a little harder. However, it’s a meaningful song that tells his story, and for that it was believable, and she loves he was connected to it. Simon Cowell has to be honest, and says this is the big one, and he’d expect a lot more passion and excitement, and this was a kiss on the cheek when he wants one on the the lips … but not from Lee.

Crystal’s dad says she found her mom’s old guitar in the back of a closet, took interest, and taught herself to play. Crystal explains she was snooping for Christmas presents and thought that was her gift. She sneaked around when her mom wasn’t home playing it. Her first gig was a coffee shop in the local mall, playing the same ten songs over and over. Her dad thinks she’s gifted and born to do music. She’s reprising her song from Billboard #1 week, Me and Bobby McGee. And I’m in folk music heaven here tonight so far. Crystal seems to pick up the energy on this one, so the judges ought to be happy with her.

Randy tells Crystal it started a little slow for him, but she picked it up near the middle, and at the end it was back to the Crystal they’ve known and grown to love. He hopes she makes a record like that as he thought “It was dope, Dude.” Ellen has said it before, but she doesn’t care as she’s said a lot of things before. She’s said pass the salt many, many times before, and she doesn’t care. She thinks Crystal is so compelling on the stage. Her and that guitar filling up the entire room like this is stunning.

Kara loved it when Crystal first did this song and loved it tonight. It told so much about her as an artist, and she has fire in her belly tonight. Simon says this brought him back to the time when they absolutely fell in love with her, and the last three or four weeks it hasn’t been great. But this is Crystal, back to her best. “We have a competition tonight, as that was terrific.”

Now we’re on to to Simon Fuller’s picks, and his pick for Lee is Everybody Hurts by R.E.M. This is a good pick, I have to say, before he even starts. Once he opens his mouth to sing, I have to wholeheartedly agree. However, it’s another slower song and the judges might complain he needs to pick it up again. The camera pans out on him singing, and I have to say what big theater that is. That would be intimidating. I’m just saying …

Randy feels this is definitely better, because he could feel Lee’s passion bubbling out. It started out a little pitchy in the first couple of bars, but he pulled it together. He could feel that Lee that he loves by the end. It was a lot better. Ellen felt like Lee went off a few times, but she doesn’t really care about that, as it’s all about the performance for her. A couple times he really got into it, and she thought here we go, but then he pulled back a bit, but she wants to see more of him getting into it.

Kara tells Lee what makes him great as a performer is that he’s emotionally accessible. She can feel every word that he’s saying, like he’s telling a story. It wasn’t a perfect vocal, but she loves that about him. Simon thought it was a brilliant choice of song for him. He went a little off melody at parts, and what he’s feeling from him tonight is that he’s nervous, which is understandable. He has another song left, and he needs to understand the importance of the night and how it can change his life. When he comes out for the last song, Simon wants a 10 of 10, as he knows he’s capable of that.

Simon Fuller chose Black Velvet for Crystal, which could be interesting. I wish he would have had her do a song we haven’t heard before on Idol. I do like it on her, but it doesn’t fit as well as Everybody Hurts fits on Lee. It’s a little too rocking, and not folksy/gospel enough for what she likes to do.


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