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American Idol: Final Performance Show

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I had a weird feeling today. It was actual anticipation, if not excitement, for tonight's final performance show. All throughout the season it was interesting, if not always pleasurable, to see what Adam would do with his time onstage. Eventually I felt the same way about Kris as he pulled away from the pack, so seeing them go head-to-head would be fun. Plus, the two guys are so different yet are both likeable. It feels odd to enjoy a competition, to not want the guy who I don't want to win (in this case, Adam) to rot in hell.

Since the guys each had three songs tonight, Ryan was full of punny boxing references, including an over-the-top intro, calling tonight "the acoustic rocker vs. the glam rocker," and "the guy next door vs. the guyliner." When Adam and Kris entered the stage, though, I thought "One jacket, two ways." It was interesting,  as we looked back over the last few months, how the judges had such dramatic things to say about Adam throughout the season and not much about Kris. That's probably why I'm rooting for him.


Kris won the coin toss and opted to go after Adam, which was a wise idea: less chance of getting upstaged. The first song was gentlemen's choice, and Adam decided to reprise "Mad World." I thought the descent from the staircase, the smoke machine, the fancy overcoat and the dramatic lighting were way over the top, but I do love "Mad World" and Adam singing it gave me goose bumps. The judges loved it but happily Simon said it reminded him of something from "Phantom of the Opera". The other judges couldn't BELIEVE that Simon thought it was over-theatrical, because they are stupid.

Kris went with "Ain't No Sunshine" which I think was a great choice for him. At the grand piano he really noodled a lot with the song, riffing a ton, maybe a little much for my taste, but this is Kris going head-to-head with Adam so he had to pull out some stops, I guess. The judges loved it, with Simon saying that Kris had proven himself in the competition after he wasn't sure he believed Kris should be in the top two (didn't he pretty much say otherwise last week?) Simon called the first round for Kris.

The next songs were chosen by Idol producer Simon Fuller, who picked "A Change is Gonna Come" for Adam. I really liked how he started out, but once Adam got to his big Michael Jordan note (because he hangs his tongue out, get it? Never mind, it's too late in the season for me to do this), he started sounding like he was imitating a female gospel singer. I think it was a good vocal performance but for me it demonstrated what I hate the most about Adam. Also, his outfit didn't really work with the song—it was so shiny, it looked like he was trying to sell cars in Back to the Future II. The judges fell all over themselves for it and Simon declared Adam back in the game.

Fuller picked "What's Goin' On" for Kris and I thought, "Hmm, two socially conscious songs, that's interesting" but then I got annoyed by it when the judges and Ryan kept reminding us about just how socially conscious tonight's songs were, I guess so we brothers and sisters can finally get along, thanks to Idol. Anyway, Kris played acoustic guitar for this one, surrounded by bongo players. It was kind of weird to see him in the spotlight singing Marvin Gaye flanked by African American musicians. Anyway, Kris sang it well but I actually agreed with Randy that the song (musically) was a little light for this part of the competition. Simon went a step further and said that not only was it too laid-back, it sounded like three friends in their bedroom strumming along to Marvin Gaye. Simon thus declared that round "a million percent" in favor of Adam.


For the last round, Adam and Kris each had to sing the horrible song "No Boundaries" co-written by Kara DioGuardi. I am used to the awful Idol finale songs but for being such a fancy songwriter, Kara was a big disappointment. As Simon put it, "It's the mountains and the hurricanes" (which, oddly, Kara said "I know!" to). I thought at first that maybe this song would work for Adam, since it's inspirational/theatrical, but the song has no strong melody and no rock in it, which are Adam's specialties. It was clearly not his type of song and he looked a little chagrined, as did Randy, after he sang. Randy was the only person who judged anyone during this round and admitted that it wasn't one of his favorites. Adam was a nice guy and told Kara he thought the song was beautiful. Simon and Paula played it safe and just told Adam what a star he was.

I thought this was bogus until I realized that out of kindness they'd do the same for Kris. Kris performed a less bombastic version of the song but he was also out of his comfort zone. Even Kara said that the song was too high and she didn't want him to be judged on that performance. "I hope people vote based on the season," she said, which must have meant "I'm sorry I wrote you such a shitty song and you were forced to sing it on live TV."


After the performances, Adam and Kris put their arms around each other and said "This guy!" I think their little bromance is maybe my favorite part of the competition. Last Thursday I wondered whether this was a red state/blue state sort of competition, whether it would be a shitstorm whether Adam won or lost. But based on my keen observations, the Internet decided against pitting Adam against Kris and decided to create Kradam, an Idol love for the ages, and so rife for disgusting slash fiction. I may not like Adam's singing and I will probably never buy a Kris song, but I am a big, big fan of Kradam.

Carrie Underwood sang "Home Sweet Home," to close us out, and not that well, may I add.


Tomorrow night’s episode is going to be two hours long, only it will actually be longer than that. Why don’t they just call it a two and a half hour program, you say? Shut up and don’t ask stupid questions.

Grade: B+

Stray observations:

—Holy holy holy lord, god of power god of might what was up with Paula’s bronzer?


—Scott is not really blind. He can shoot a basketball! Faker.

—I liked Randy’s outfit. Yeah! For me, that was the best mix of patterns all night. Good lookin’ out, dawg.


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