Idol Rich: And the Winner Is...

This is, essentially, a "closure" post.

I think we all have to come terms with the fact that Fort Worth/Cool's Casey James was let go in favor of the inferior Lee DeWyze.

Whether or not I think CJ should be the American Idol, I've blogged the finale because he and a couple of other North Texans were on it... and because I just can't help myself.

It was that much of a slow-moving clusterfuck. 

My first thought of the show was, "Hey there's an Oompa Loompa! Wait, no, that's just Ryan Seacrest who apparently got a little crazy with the spray tan."

There he stood, face not matching his hands, saying, "Only two percent separated the finalists come votin' tally" or some such, while Crystal and Lee dwarfed him in their private school uniforms. 

Then the reason for the uniforms became clear. Orianthi busted out the opening riffs of "School's Out" and the Final 12 pranced out on stage. Everyone seemed into the performance (in spite of the schlock factor), grateful to be performing for the packed house.

Everyone but Lee, that is -- which I think pretty much sums up his demeanor for the entire season. Then a kids choir in blackened eyes appeared just before Casey James had the honor of introducing Alice "WTF" Cooper and his goth marching baton. The song ended none-too-soon in a weird choreographed group pose and, thankfully, Siobhan Magnus had on a skort because the camera was so totally up in her lady biz.

I'm not one to bullshit, people. All of this happened in the first five minutes of the show. And I laughed through the entire thing, which, I'm pretty certain, was not the desired effect.

Reigning Idol (as if) Kris Allen regaled us with "The Truth" and if I had to bet, I'd say everyone noticed how much his bassist looked like Constantine Maroulis and then took the opportunity to make a snack/bathroom run. Mmm, Cheez-Its. 

Siobhan and Aaron "Li'l Tiny" Kelly led off "How Deep Is Your Love" before the BeeGees took the stage. Damn, I love the BeeGees. They don't seem to still have it, but who gives a shit? Their soft rock is clearly timeless, because in the audience, David Hasselhoff stood and clapped and his hair stayed totally motionless... kinda like the vaguely aged faces of the Brothers Gibb.

I thought I'd switched over to that Air Supply soft rock compilation infommercial (don't act like you haven't watched it) because the sweet sounds of the '70s continued when Big Mike Lynche rolled out "Takin' It to the Streets" with Michael McDonald. (I know, right?! Like Paul Rudd, I was just thankful it wasn't "Yah Mo B There." I expected Leo Sayer or Rupert Holmes was around the corner.)

The lady finalists (including Lacey Brown, the Texan) performed some sort of strange leather-clad feminine hygiene commercial version of "Beautiful" before launching into "Fighter" and intro'ing Christina Aguilera who performed "You Lost Me" under and over a fabulous light set-up.

The gentlemen finalists came out to work a Hall & Oates medley and once again, Casey James never missed a single note. That guy is always on and always looks totally involved. And then the yacht started rockin' because Hall & Oates appeared -- Daryl in his leather and shades and John in his... lumberjack plaid? At one point, everyone was singing their backup parts, except Lee.

Good ol' Lee. Always present and focused.

Crystal performed a sorta creepy, angry medley-duet featuring little to no eye contact with Alanis Morissette, who appeared to be a patron of RyCrest's favorite spray tan salon.

Later, Carrie Underwood stomped a lot during her song but sounded fine. I'll be honest, there was a moth in the house and my cat was attempting to scale a lamp to get to it -- I was distracted.

Then -- THEN -- our boy Casey James strummed his acoustic guitar and sang the opening verse of "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" before slinging the hollow-body off and swinging the electric around from his back while Celebrity Apprentice Bret Michaels -- brain hemorrhage and stroke survivor, he's the phoenix of rock stars, ladies and gentlemen! -- walked on to finish the power ballad beside him. CJ FTW, MFers! 

Aaaaaaaaand back to the Seventies with Chicago (or some semblance of original members, nephews and strangers) and Lee, the most unenthused American Idol contestant to gaze into a camera. It was then that my cat puked. I'm pretty sure it was unrelated, but I can't be certain.

What I was certain about at that point, was that this show was never going to end. "If Lee left me now, he'd take away nu-uh-thing. Oooooooooo-oh, Leeeeee, please go." I think that's how it went.

Paula Abdul showed up looking exceptionally pretty and seeming oddly lucid. I'm pretty sure the baby with Simon's haircut backstage was a joke. At least, I hope so, because a baby with that hair would be so screwed come preschool -- and just think of the chest hair. She made veiled references to the show's future, bombed some jokes and had a few awkward transitions, but Simon came out of it relatively unscathed.

The song for Simon featuring all the past Idols (except David Cook and plus a couple handfuls of other former contestants, including our own be-dreaded Jason Castro) came off like the most awkward high school pop group/show choir/dinner theater performance you've ever seen.

At that point, the finale was officially less about who would win this season and more about who loves Simon Cowell the mosties. It was all a bit indulgent, but hell, the guy's been doing it a decade. Just seems a shame they couldn't do a mini-special when contestants weren't awaiting a verdict.

Except I was thinking if Lee was going to win, I'd just rather end the show on a Simon lovefest: you know, montages of Simon's v-necks, animated cartoons of Simon, clips of Simon starting sentences with "because" (like he does), and what have you, just as long as I didn't have to see Lee again.

The 12 Finalists were joined by Miss Jackson, if you're nasty, who performed "Nothing" solo and sounded shockingly like her late brother at times. Ballad finished, off came the crazy coat thing, up started "Nasty," and Janet busted some moves amidst lasers and in Louboutins. BTW, JJ was wearing, like, the mintillionth uni-leo-jumpsuit on the show. I'm calling the trend Jazzercize-chic, or maybe, Jazzerchic. 

Final-Finalists Crystal and Lee sang "With A Little Help From My Friends" with a little help from Joe Cocker (HA!) and, let's be frank, it was really more like a duet. Crystal held hers and Lee's up there with Cocker. Lee, at one point, stood with his tongue slightly hanging out of his mouth (probably a side effect from all the exposure to paint chips during his paint-selling days that RyCrest loves to mention), while Crystal wailed and pulled off a "do you need anybody?" that could put most to shame. She also hauled off with a rockstar kick that rivaled those of Nancy Wilson and -- consummate entertainer that she is -- rallied the crowd to give it up for Cocker at the song's close. 

But despite all of Crystal's amazing performances Tuesday and last night and throughout the season, Lee DeWyze won... by a whopping two percent.

I'm pretty sure that having U2's "Beautiful Day" as his debut single helped him out in the votes last night. And I'm very sure that I would've listened to Crystal's Patty Griffin single a hundred times more. But, as irritated as I am with Lee, I agree with former contestants Celena Rae and Arlington's Todrick Hall on Fox 4's after-show, that it's better for unique singer-songwriters like Crystal, and even CJ, not to win.

Crystal and Casey will clearly have opportunities of their own, on their own terms. Good luck to them. Lee, however, will be molded and primped and the record company will have a field day trying to relieve him of his dead-eyed gaze. 

And just as I was about to turn off the box, homeboys CJ and TUrban popped up on screen with Fiona, Fox 4 and the world's most irritating red carpet interviewer. They were forced to give 360-views of their outfits as she screeched, "TWIRL! TWIRL! TWIRL!" and the brief look on Casey's face made it seem like Fort Worth might soon receive a ransom note for him written in her scrawled hand. He did get a word in to say that performing with Bret Michaels was a true honor because he grew up listening to his music and noted that it was especially meaningful to perform after Michaels' recent medical emergencies and recovery, as Casey had experienced his own close call (referenced in his homecoming video package last week).

My recording ended with TUrban pointing into the camera, and I hoped they made it away from Frenzied Fiona with stylish clothing and hair in tact.

Godspeed, Texas gentlemen. 

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Merritt Martin
Contact: Merritt Martin