Idol Live Blog: Finale Extravaganza

7:59: Hello, fellow Idol fans! We are here to crown YOUR. NEXT. AMERICAN. IDOL. Who’s excited? Who else wants to see David Hasselhoff cry again? Here we go!

8:00: Full disclosure: I haven’t seen last night’s show yet. But from all reports, Crystal killed it and Lee nearly threw up onstage. Thoughts, b-rollers?

8:01: Wow, Lee still looks uncomfortable! Chill out, dude. The hard part’s over. Unless Mike Myers returns in costume to hawk another movie as heinous as Love Guru. That will be a tragedy for us all.

8:02: Taylor Hicks! Jordin Sparks! Do I call that a celebrity sighting? Is that too harsh to say?

8:03: I know I’ve been Team MamaSox all season, but I don’t quite understand the overwhelming Lee love. He’s humble and all, but only occasionally excellent.

8:04: Um, whazzup with the Catholic school uniforms? I’m dying to know which group performance this foreshadows.

8:05: Ah, we have our answer. The Top 12 returns in full costume for “School’s Out for Summer.” I’ve played this song on Guitar Hero a few times, so I’m mentally playing the solo (like, as in, red, green, blue…)

8:07: Isn’t it a little early in the program for Alice Cooper and an army of zombie schoolchildren? This is more like 9:40 fare, no?

8:08: Alice Cooper sounded live; the Idols, not so much. They should all take a moment to ponder that fact.

8:09: First commercial of the night goes to Ford; second to Coke. Ohmigod, did you guys know they sponsor Idol?!

8:10: I realize that Ryan Seacrest descended the Seacrest Memorial Staircase (Nokia Theatre Edition) for the last time, and I forgot to note the time and date. I feel like I’ve failed you, b-rollers.

8:11: Just a notice, Idol producers: Another autotuned group performance may test my fragile stomach. Tread carefully.

8:12: The first few words of Seacrest’s intro aren’t caught by the microphone, then the first few notes of Kris Allen’s performance (hey, he’s back!) are drowned out by Seacrest, now live, saying, “It wasn’t open?” Well done, Idol tech crew. Well done.

8:15: I like Kris Allen and wish him well. And this song is pretty. Just not so much memorable.

8:16: Ah, the requisite Simon montage. But of course.

8:17: Look at that old footage of Simon rocking another haircut! Who knew that existed?! I feel like we’ve just discovered Sasquatch.

8:18: That was amusing. Although I do slightly feel like Simon deserved more than just a tongue-in-cheek montage.

8:19: Is this performance of “How Deep Is Your Love?” dedicated to Simon? Just asking. The post-montage placement is curious.

8:20: Hey, the BeeGees! This allows me to bring up the fact that one of the Gibb brothers (the thin one wearing sunglasses) apparently went completely insane at an airport recently when someone tried to put him through extra security. I don’t know why, but I find that story completely hysterical – the thought of him screaming, “Don’t you know who I am?!” Uh, no. Not for like 30 years now. Sorry.

8:21: Is it blasphemous to say this kinda sounded better when it was just Siobhan and Aaron? Their harmonies were gorgeous. Then the BeeGees jumped in, and, um…yeah.

8:22: Whoa, David Hasselhoff is in the house! I WANT TEARS AGAIN, HOFF!

8:25: Regis and Kelly are abnormally tan enough that every time I see their TD Bank commercial, I wonder if the skin tone is wonky on my television. Just so you know.

8:26: Time for the Big Mike solo! I’m sure this will be an inspirational ode to women, particularly those who may or may not have just given birth.

8:27: Nope, it’s Michael McDonald! I’d love to know how this duet happened. It’s not bad or anything – it’s actually quite entertaining – but when I think of potential Big Mike duet partners, McDonald doesn’t immediately come screaming to mind.

8:29: Oh, God. Dane Cook. Dislike. On the upside, the Swaybots have perked up, probably because it’s a performer that they’ve actually heard of. They’ve been staring blankly at Michael McDonald and the BeeGees, so this must be fun for them.

8:31: And Dane Cook is upstaged by that crazy kid from Long Island who is incapable of shutting up. Um, Idol producers? What did you THINK was going to happen when you gave the American Idol Nutjob Hall of Fame both a showcase and microphones? HELLO?!  Ugh. I don’t blame Simon for bolting.

8:33: I’m so used to the campiness of Glee that I expected there to be a punchline at the end of that Lea Michele Dove commercial. Alas.

8:34: We return solemnly, as the producers try desperately to wrench back some dignity. The girls are doing a much nicer job of this than I would have thought some of them capable (ahem, Paige and Lacey).

8:36: Okay, Christina Aguilera has to pop up sometime soon, right? They can’t just be doing a Xtina medley for the hell of it.

8:37: Here she is, promptly blowing everyone else off the stage. Lest we forget, this girl can freaking sing. In a world of Britneys and Ke$has, that’s easily forgotten.

8:40: I sorta love how Christina was like, “I shall sing with the Idol girls for about fourteen seconds, and then I shall segue into a solo of my new song. That is all.” Hey, whatever works.

8:41: b-roll rommie Jen: “She has a good voice, I just don’t like the song. It was boring.” Totally agree.

8:42: Ricky Gervais! He’s the first person to genuinely crack Simon up, so that’s something. For those not paying attention: Ricky Gervais > Dane Cook. And if that wasn’t already obvious, you should be quite ashamed of yourself.

8:46: So You Think You Can Dance comes back tomorrow?! I had no idea. I am excited, if apparently oblivious.

8:47: None of these boys look terribly comfortable singing AND dancing at the same time. It’s kind of fun to watch, gotta say.

8:48: I’m delighted by the following conversation in Casa b-roll – Monisha: “Are Hall and Oates going to come out? Are they still alive?” Me, thoughtfully: “I don’t know.”

8:49: Follow-up: Yes, Hall and Oates are, in fact, still alive. And they are now singing the only song of theirs that I really like (“You Make My Dreams Come True”), which in my humble opinion will now always belong to Joseph Gordon-Levitt and (500) Days of Summer.

8:52: Watch this clip from (500) Days of Summer and tell me it’s not more entertaining than that last performance. Just sayin’.

8:53: A ridiculously manipulative move from Ryan there, bringing Crystal’s dad into the fray. Not that he’s usually above that sort of thing.

8:54: Love Crystal with Alanis Morrisette, although it would be nice if they interacted a little more directly rather than wandering past each other. And they are CLEARLY changing the words around to suit the family crowd.

8:55: Wow, my whole adolescence just came screaming back to me. I need a moment.

9:01: It’s Carrie Underwood! And she’s waring a sparkly bolero that I’m sure Kara is coveting right now.

9:02: Does this song sound a little – okay, a lot – like Kelly Clarkson’s “Miss Independent,” or am I crazy? I’m not accusing her of plagiarism, I just think that Carrie was probably freaked out by Billboard naming Kelly the most successful Idol ever. That must’ve stung.

9:04: Kara co-wrote that? Hmm. I shall avoid further comment.

9:05: Kris, if they’ve ever watched American Idol, they know they’re about to get a car right now. Just FYI. Also, I feel like you can kind of see the wheels turning internally as Lee and Crystal quietly wish they’d designed something a little more tasteful.

9:06: Yes, if anything deserved a montage, it was certainly this year’s series of Ford commercials. Sigh.

9:07: It’s now occurring to me that it may be awhile before Casey graces our television sets again. That’s depressing.

9:08: Bret Michaels! Okay, now this is a genuine MOMENT. I mean, this guy nearly died twice in the past month. Holy wow, dude.

9:09: Casey looks genuinely delighted to be playing with Bret Michaels. That’s kinda sweet. I simply have no snark available for this moment.

9:10: The appearance of Bret Michaels has led Casa b-roll into a discussion about Celebrity Apprentice. In case you’re wondering, I do not watch that show because Donald Trump makes me physically ill.

9:15: This music does not seem like Lee’s wheelhouse. And the lead singer of Chicago does not quite have the same falsetto of his youth, sadly.

9:16: By the way, when did this turn into a Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame show? I don’t mean that in a good way. Nearly every performer has caused some sort of variation of, “Wait, they’re still playing/together/alive?” comment amongst the b-roll crew.

9:18: If this montage leads to a revisiting of Simon and Paula’s kiss from a while back, I may lose my dinner.

9:19: Oh God, there it is. Why, God?! WHY?!

9:20: There’s a reason these judges aren’t actors. That was pretty painful.

9:21: Am I delighted by this “Pants on the Ground” performance? Why yes, yes I am. And I love that this guy has gotten himself an entourage of backup dancers. Grandpa’s got some moves, no?!

9:22: Okay, William Hung is kinda killing the mood now. Too much, Idol team. Too much.

9:27: Live Nation is offering discounted tickets to the Idol summer tour? Gee, why ever would this tour be underselling?

9:29: This is a surprisingly sweet remembrance from Paula. And it’s also quite sweet of Simon to immediately stand up and salute her. I was never Paula’s biggest fan, but this is a classy move.

9:31: Okay, this just kinda veered into drunken wedding toast territory. Now it’s getting awkward.

9:32: Uncomfortable laughter at “As only I can tell you, it will go on.” And suddenly we go into the 45th “Goodbye, Simon” montage (with a Sinatra song and all). Does anyone else think this montage was cued by the producers screaming, “For God’s sake, wrap up the Paula segment!”

9:35: Oh, that’s sweet that Kelly came back for Simon’s last show. And Ruben! And Fantasia! All the old Idols! In order and all! Sorry, this is total overload for me. Except where is David Cook? That leaves a gaping hole in the proceedings.

9:37: This is a quite lovely tribute to Simon, but sadly it’s overshadowed by Paula and Kara blocking all the former contestants from view while they crowd around him. Of course, because it is all about you, ladies.

9:38: That’s incredibly nice of these people to salute Simon. He is the reason they all have careers, after all.

9:40: Some very classy words from Simon. Of course, if America votes for Lee over Crystal, then our status as the top judge should really be thrown into doubt. And by “America,” I think he means “the masses of teenage girls who text.”

9:43: Only about 20 minutes left until someone is crowned! I remember when these finale shows used to give me chills and get me nervous. Either I’m more mature or the show has gone precipitously downhill. Probably both.

9:44: I used to watch Hell’s Kitchen, but it became redundant watching a British chef scream at people who couldn’t make a decent risotto. Particularly since the Top Chef contestants can actually, you know, cook and all.

9:45: Hi, Janet Jackson. That’s an, uh, interesting gown choice. It’s kind of Druidian princess meets sparkly gladiator. What has Lady GaGa wrought on the world, anyway?

9:46: The head mic leads me to believe that she’s about to rip off this dress and go into a funky dance routine in the near future. I really hope the Idol contestants are forced to be her backup dancers. That would be entertaining beyond belief.

9:49: Hey, a dance interlude! Who saw this coming?

9:50: Wow, just in case you thought Janet’s last outfit was bizarre… That wardrobe malfunction is not seeming so shocking anymore, is it?

9:52: “Tonight is about Crystal and Lee!” You could’ve fooled me, Ry. As Monisha just said, “Paige has been on the show more tonight.” (Important note: Monisha is the same person who went, “Oh, God! PAIGE?!” like she was revisiting a bad memory when the show opened with the Top 12).

9:54: God, I love this song (and, more importantly, this version). Joe Cocker is a freaking genius. Remember his version of “The Letter,” which Michael and Carly rocked a few years back?

9:55: And Joe Cocker’s here! I swear I wrote that before I knew he was there, though I probably should’ve guessed. I mean, duh.

9:57: Okay, now we’re recycling commercials? Really, AT&T and Ford? I’m a little punchy after two solid hours, I’ll grant you that, but I don’t think it’s out of line to ask that you run more than one commercial at a time.

9:59: Not to pick on Kelly Ripa again – oh, what the hell – but every time I see one of those Electrolux commercial, my first thought is always, “Right, she’s totally doing all of her own cooking and cleaning.” I’m not saying she should – if I had her kind of money, I sure as hell wouldn’t cook my own meals or do my own laundry. But I also probably wouldn’t try to sell appliances, either.

10:01: Here we go! I predict a Lee win. His base just seems too overwhelming. But my heart is with Crystal, and I know she’ll be fine either way. Clearly, I’m prepping myself for disappointment.

10:02: And Lee is already crying. Is Hasselhoff?

10:03: The winner is…Lee! Yeah, I’m not at all surprised. And he’s damned representative of this season, no? Pretty good, but comparatively underwhelming.

10:04: Crystal very sweetly applauds Lee. She should be very proud of herself (and a little bit relieved, gotta say).

10:05: Really, he’s gotta sing now? This ain’t gonna end well.

10:06: I heard that he kinda tanked this song yesterday, but it sounds like Lee’s just letting go and having fun with it now. Smart move. I guess that’s what happens when you don’t have to sing “No Boundaries.”

10:07: Too much confetti, folks – we can no longer see Lee from a distance of further than three feet.

Thus ends season 9. I have to say, I’m disappointed with the outcome, but I know that our beloved MamaSox will be fine. And for all the bitching about Idol’s downfall – much of it from me – this show never ceases to be entertaining. And when the show returns next season, Simon-less but with a new crop of contestants waiting for their dreams to be realized/crushed, I’ll be there. As always.

And so we wrap up our Idol live blog. Thanks for taking the ride with me, b-rollers. Good night.

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