Monday, May 25, 2009

American Idol Finale: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Whether you were pulling for Adam Lambert or Kris Allen, or even if you had never before seen a minute of American Idol, last week's Season Finale was arguably an unforgettable show.  The abundant guest performers came from the top ranks of stardom, proving that American Idol is recognized as a legitimate musical platform.  It was as diverse a group as could have been imagined: from Rod Stewart to KISS, Fergie to Queen, Cyndi Lauper to Steve Martin. The music was unbelievable, set against a backdrop of mechanical sets and flaming pyrotechnics, with a few nicely construed comedic breaks thrown in for good measure.  Before the winner was ever announced, we were treated to a world-class rock concert.

The two finalists announce alongside Queen that "they are the champions"

But it wasn't all pretty.  Here are my favorite moments of the finale, along with some I would have preferred to do without.

Good: Carlos Santana's genius guitar-riffing highlighted in the center of a circle of idols he accompanied.
Bad: Rod Stewart, just a little too old.
Ugly: Fergie and Black Eyed Peas' hardcore duet had to be bleeped for language. This is a family show!

Ugly: Adam's wire-cage black angel wings?!?!
Good: Okay, once KISS was dramatically lowered onto the stage behind him, it all made sense.  What a lucky bitch to get a chance to sing with those guys.
Bad (maybe the cool kind of bad): Paul Stanley smashed his diamond(?)-encrusted electric guitar against the stage until it broke in two.
I wonder what sort of daily tongue exercise routine these guys have to maintain

Good: Allison Iraheta singing "Time After Time" with Cyndi Lauper, plucking along on her lap guitar. 
Bad: Wish Allison would have sung more and Ms. Lauper a little less. Allison's voice was perfect on this number.
Ugly: Cyndi Lauper sitting spread eagle in those hideous pants.

Good: Did you even know that Steve Martin was a musician? He accompanied a song he wrote on the banjo!
Bad: The undeserving contestants selected to perform Mr. Martin's brainchild were Michael Sarver and Megan Joy Corkery. 
Ugly: I could have happily lived my life without ever hearing Megan Joy sing again. 

Good: Nick Mitchell's "Golden Idol" acceptance: dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt, he professed his regret for not preparing anything because he had no idea he would be coming on stage. Then suddenly he yelled, "Hit it!" and stripped off the sweatshirt to reveal his signature sparkly shirt, allowing us to bask in the glory that is Norman Gentle one last time. So endearing.

Bad: Bikini Girl's "Golden Idol" acceptance: the fact that they even allowed that girl anywhere near the show again makes my blood boil.  Her disgusting fake-baked body strutted out in a shiny new bikini, with some shiny new implants to fill it out. YUCK! 

Good: They let Bikini Girl (Katrina Darrell) sing, and she was truly awful. And then. And THEN Kara Dioguardi, the judge whose sing-off with this contestant at her despicable audition kicked off the drama, waltzed down the staircase behind Miss Darrell, microphone in hand.  As Randy Jackson might say, Kara's got some pipes, dawg! Bikini Girl kept her composure and tried to keep singing along (interviews confirm that Kara's upstaging appearance was a complete surprise to Darrell).  But wait. There's more! Along with her final note, Kara ripped open the modest black dress she wore to reveal a set of tight abs in a black bikini, all in a healthy shade of pasty white.  The best part is that Kara exposed herself only because Ryan seacrest dared her with a promised donation to her favorite charity.  After her shocking reveal, Kara quickly covered up, looking embarrassed, showing Bikini Girl and the rest of the world that sometimes a little modesty is more sexy than half an ounce of string wrapped around fake, orange softballs. Sweet, sweet satisfaction.

Ugly: Tatiana del Toro's "Golden Idol" acceptance: Ryan Seacrest feigned being out of time and needing break for commercial, informing Tatiana that she wouldn't be able to sing.  The diva ran on stage, grabbed her trophy, and sang her song with two security guards half-heartedly chasing her around.  This actually would have been hilarious if it were real, but clearly it was a cheesy part of the act and she was in on it.

After 2 hours and 7 minutes of suspense (What am I saying? I was so entertained I practically forgot we were waiting for results!), Kris Allen was crowned the winner of American Idol, Season Eight.  He appeared to be the most shocked person in the room, and spent the next two minutes looking down, shaking his head, and even pointing at Adam as if to say, "he deserves this more." This might have been irritating, except I can't think of anyone whose humility has ever seemed more genuine. 
The good news is that both singers are destined to work in the music industry, at least for the near future.  Kris' win was viewed as sort of an "upset," but I wasn't surprised at all.  I wouldn't have been surprised if Adam had won, either, because they were both incredible performers.  But you cannot underestimate the importance of Kris' universal appeal versus Adam's very outlandish flamboyancy. Even I preferred Adam earlier on, but toward the end people start thinking about whose CD they would actually buy (how dated--I should say: whose singles they would actually download), and who they want to hear on the radio, not just who is fun to watch on stage with all of the theatrics of television.  Plus, I believe Danny Gokey had a strong Christian following.  After his departure, where do you think those votes went?

The results may not have provided any big surprise, but the rest of the finale show was full of them, which made it very entertaining.  An apt conclusion to a very fun season full of talent.


Bridget said...

Great recap. I was at someone's house and this was playing (muted) on the TV, so I got to see some of it. I was glad to read your account of what was going on. I might have to catch some of the big moments on YouTube. Thanks for letting me watch the best of AI vicariously through you!

Annie said...

I agreed with everything in your recap. It was an amazing night of music and every time someone bigger and better came on stage I screamed like a girl (okay, I am a girl!) and pointed at the television.

Queen topped it. How cool was that for Adam and Kris to sing with Queen? Amazing!

But I admit, I could have lived the rest of my life without seeing or hearing Rod Stewart. Ew.


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