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American Idol: Season Finale

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Of course the Idol finale was two hours long. It would take less than a second to announce who won, but that would take the fun out of everything, right?

Per usual with my results night recaps, let me get to the meat of the episode before we discuss the filler. I preferred David Archuleta to David Cook, but to paraphrase an unusually magnanimous Simon, it was a good set of finals, both Davids seemed like nice guys and if the other guy won, it wouldn't be a travesty. I wouldn't go so far as to apologize to David Cook for disrespecting him, the way Simon did, but Cookie had a good win (which according to DialIdol was not a surprise, either.) It helped melt my icy heart that he got choked up when his mom got onstage with him, but I think the very best moment was in the last few seconds of the show when the camera cut to his brother, who mouthed "That's my brother!". Very cute.

At least it wasn't dull for a two hour finale, by which I mean it had some genuinely high moments (Donna Summer), some really godawfully low moments (anything related to that movie starring Mike Myers which I won't even mention because I'm more turned off by it than I was about the Horton Hears a Who in-show promotion) as well as some odd moments. Like why was George Michael the only guest singer to have a whole song to himself? He's not Prince. Then again, the biggest stars the finale drew were Teri Hatcher and Janice Dickinson.

There was so much fluff I'll bore myself if I recap every detail but here were some of the more noteworthy moments:

—The Davids sang Chad Kroeger's song "Hero" and sounded pretty good together, actually. It was strange—but nice— hearing only two voices sing harmony on this show.

—I guess I can't not talk about how irritated I was by the Mike Myers movie promo. First, Ryan and the Davids were forced to pretend Myers' character was a real person, after we were treated to an ad for the film in the show. Then Myers' character made a joke about David A pooping in his diapers which creeped me out. Then Mike Myers, in character, came onstage for more whoring. Please don't see this movie.

—Syesha sang with Heidi Klum's husband. Jason Castro reprised "Hallelujah." But the live singing got going in earnest when the top six girls performed a Donna Summer medley. Yes, even Amanda Overmyer was there and she still looked like she hated every minute of it, especially the choreography. Then Ms. Summer came out and showed them how it was all done, sans earpiece and all. Ryan was so excited that he totally spontaneously started pretending to breakdance with some of the kids from So You Think You Can Dance which starts tomorrow night, by the way, for another two hours.

—Carly Smithson and Michael Johns screamed/belted "The Letter"—it was pretty noisy, but more importantly, they looked like they were having a ton of fun and looked great up there, which is what really counts.

—Jimmy Kimmel came back fro a quick roast of everyone on the show. Sanjaya had his crazy Tom Cruise laugh ready for when he was mentioned. I did like the little montage of Simon's negative comments because there was a wink at the end, because at that point he had only winked twice.

—The top six guys sang "Summer of '69," and some other stuff by Bryan Adams, who joined them onstage, looking a tad grizzled. David Hernandez seemed REALLY into the performance. I missed Danny Noriega. I'm sure he missed us too.

—Commercial #2 in the show: the American Idol experience at Disneyworld. But I have a sneaking suspicion that with a few beers, that's probably a really fun attraction so I can't hate.

—David Cook sang "Sharp Dressed Man" with ZZ Top which to me was uneventful because the guitars stayed in their places. I thought he sounded good but I felt like his voice sounded like an impression of somebody else's instead of his own.

Idol losers from way back when served as the correspondents from Kansas City and Salt Lake City. That chick Mikela is still annoying and maybe has had a nose job and isn't even good enough to be a red carpet reporter for E! ("Wooo!") Matt Rogers still seems like a nice guy.

—Brooke White sang "Teach Your Children Well" with Graham Nash. It was nice and she wore a beautiful dress but she seemed a little freaked out and I was distracted by the unflattering angle of her bare foot stuck prominently in the frame. Ick. Also there were children, possibly poor, being shown onscreen as the two sang.

—I literally wrote down "Who??" when Ryan introduced the group that "needs no introduction" but then I realized that they're the Jonas Brothers, one of those things I'm too old enough to know much about these days. They're cute though.

—The look back at the stinky auditioners was briefer than in previous years, but it's because the producers had to make time for Renaldo, the guy in the white cape and pimp hat to sing that "I Am Your Brother" song, complete with cheerleaders and marching band. It was way too long but just surreal enough that I couldn't totally loathe it, especially when I caught a shot of Simon trying to suppress a smile as Paula and her precarious tits danced across the stage.

—David Archuleta sang along with One Republic to that song we hear all the time "Apologize." It was interesting to compare it to Cook's performance because while ZZ Top pretty much let Cook steer the big red truck, either Archuleta's role was supposed to be much smaller in this performance or that lead singer just didn't want to be upstaged. I have a feeling it's a combination of both.

—Being interviewed in Salt Lake City, David Archuleta's paternal grandfather mentioned how he's so proud of his son and that Archuleta's presence on Idol is an opportunity for the whole family. "You made me look bad in front of my father!" I bet Jeff will yell before putting Archie back in the basement so he can practice for next year.

—Jordin Sparks, that is way too much gold lame for you, girl.

—Commercial #3 (in a sense): Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. did a too-long bit pretending to be the Pips, to promote whatever movie is coming up that the three of them are in. It was Jack Black and Ben Stiller-iffic.

—George Michael performed a new song after the kids did a medley of his tunes. He looked kind of like Bryan Adams, in that there seemed to be a 20 year difference between his face and hair. I was hoping, seriously, that he'd sing with David Hernandez but no, just him. I wonder how many people in the audience knew who he was.

And then we were brought to the end, David C was announced the winner and David A. faded off the stage almost instantly. I felt bad for the kid and I think Paula did too, giving him a few words as David C. sung his song "Time of My Life", which was schlocky but not as awful as it could have been.

I think that the producers maybe feel like they righted a wrong that was committed when Taylor Hicks won: they got a white guy who likes to rock, but this one is more marketable in various ways. Also, I don't disagree that maybe it was one of the strongest seasons, talent-wise, but that plus all the bells and whistles didn't necessarily make it more compelling. Maybe it was that with extra-polished singers come extra-polished personalties. Or maybe the show just has been on for too long.

What would make it better? Don't ask me: I don't have to think about this again until January.

Grade: A-

Stray observations:

-Let me get this straight: Randy was wearing a schoolboy uniform-type jacket in fire engine red with a black and white polka-dotted ascot. Right? Just making sure.

—David Archuleta may have lost but I thought the Risky Business Guitar Hero commercial was cute, although I am aware that this is creepy/lame of me.

—Many thanks to everyone who watched and commented lo these many months: you definitely made my job more fun.

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