In case you somehow managed to get to this writeup and still don't know who won and STILL want it to be a surprise I won't reveal it until the bottom of the piece. But I don't think I'm spoiling anything to say that this was Adam's night. The finale was so big, so flashy, so loud and ridiculous that, as much as I like Kris, he faded into the background compared to Adam. I personally enjoyed the big glittery finale. It was ridiculous, like the Oscars or a beauty pageant (hopefully not as political as a pageant though). I mean, we had fireworks at least three separate times. We had KISS descending from the ceiling and we had Rod Stewart emerging out of the floor. Ryan Seacrest talked boobies. It was crazy.
So we opened with Kris and Adam dressed in white like the angels they are. We watched a little retrospective on the judges' idiosyncrasies, like Randy's "for me"'s, Kara condescendingly calling everyone "honey" or "sweetie," the breadth of the vocabulary used by Paula's writers, and Simon saying "What? I can't hear you" (but I was disappointed that they didn't include the "Hello?" that one episode where Ryan prematurely threw the show to commercial). Randy, by the way, was dressed like the Nutty Professor meets Oscar Wilde but I liked it.
Ryan showed the crowds gathered in California and Arkansas for Adam and Kris—Carly Smithson was the "correspondent" in San Diego and Mikalah Gordon was in Arkansas. Both of them looked totally different from when they were on the show, Mikalah especially looking skinner, tanner and less-beschnozed.
The top thirteen sang Pink's "So What" which was a stupid song choice. There's nothing rock about this group and when they sang "And you're a tool so/so what/I am a rock star/I got my rock moves" the "rock moves" involved jumping very heavily up and down. Moreover this group has always been weak when singing together. Alexis wore boots that looked like they were made out of oven mitts and Jasmine sounded rough.
Next David Cook performed the song "Permanent" in honor of his dead brother, so I can't make a mean comment about his hair, but it was a sad, honest song, and I couldn't help but appreciate David as a singer and as a professional tonight. Proceeds of the iTunes download of the song will benefit "ABC Squared." David was also a class act about Kris and Adam, when Ryan did the Miss America-esque passing of the torch thing.
Ryan introduced the "Golden Idol" or "Gee you're a joke" awards, which this year was more entertaining than usual since we had such a solid pack of also-rans. Nick Mitchell/Norman Gentle won "Outstanding Male" and the dude got actual audience applause. Nick accepted in a sweatsuit. I saw this coming a mile away (because I'm a genius): he stripped down to Norman Gentle and did his Dream Girls routine, which wasn't too funny until he ended it with "Norman Gentle '09 peace out" and handed the microphone to someone in the audience. I would pay see Norman Gentle perform, sure, ideally not very much and at a place where I can get cheap drinks and he can come up to my table and sit in my lap and make fun of me.
Lil Rounds sang "Cue the Rain" with Queen Latifah, who was wearing Kate Gosselin's hairdo as well as a catsuit that I am still undecided on. I have no idea how this song was supposed to sound so I couldn't tell how they did. Queen looked like Lil's drag mommy, though, literally a much bigger and glammed-up version of an already glammed-up Lil who looked great but I think should stick to her own short hair.
Alexis and Anoop started singing "I'm Yours" with Jason Mraz and everyone else joined them onstage. This was when I realized that this finale was extra-kind to former contestants. I imagine it's probably to promote the Idol tour. It was a good move not to have Kris duet with Jason or else they'd cancel each other out.
We got a little retrospective on Kris, who I never realized said in his first audition that "There are people who are probably better than me," which drove the judges wild but I liked it. He was up to play "Kiss a Girl" (as opposed to Adam, who sang "Run Screaming from a Girl"…zing!) with Keith Urban. I thought this was a weird matchup originally since I don't consider Kris a country artist and I don't consider Keith Urban to be more than the guy who is married to Nicole Kidman but I actually really enjoyed the duet, which seemed to be about not having sex anytime soon. It was a sweet, poppy song and Kris looked like he was having fun onstage and looked comfortable.
The girls sang Fergie's "Glamorous" and Megan literally looked like a prostitute. Flossy flossy, whatever that means. They didn't' sound too great, but it's a stupid song anyway. Allison introduced Fergie whose body looked amazing but she didn't look so great close-up in HD (girl, comb your HAIR. You're going to be on TV!) Then the Black-Eyed Peas sang "Boom Boom Pow," part of which was censored because the song, like most of the Black-Eyed Peas', was full of shit. You could tell that this show was really fun to be at but this portion of it fell a little dead for me. The Peas politely mentioned that they have an album coming out, by the way.
Bikini Girl got the next Idol Loser award, and Kara still looked bad being catty about her audition, in retrospect. So what happened was that Bikini Girl trotted onstage, in her tiny bikini, to accept the award and kissed Ryan and bragged that "he kissed back this time." Ryan then made a joke about her new fake titties (both Randy and Simon seemed incredulous about them), and she pranced and posed to this comment like a little whore. He gave her the mic and she started singing "Vision of Love" and the audience started to boo, which was delightful. Then, from behind her Kara came out to "show her how it's done." Kara did outsing (or oversing) Bikini Girl, to a standing ovation, and then at the end she ripped open her dress to reveal that SHE was wearing a bikini. Kara's body is nice but it looks cold to the touch. I don't know if this was all scripted—part of me thinks that it wasn't, because it would have been too good acting on Bikini Girl's part to pretend to be as pissed and attempt to outsing Kara now and then as she did. And Kara clearly still hates Bikini Girl and vice versa. On the other hand, I think everything, including my mother's love, is faked for the cameras, so who knows. It was good TV (and we finally saw an Idol judge sing).
Next, Allison dueted with Cyndi Lauper on "Time After Time." I love Cyndi Lauper so much and she looks great and they sounded lovely together, especially around the end when the song was rearranged a tiny bit. Yay. Then, Ryan spoke with Kris' parents. His mom was wearing a very daring dress for the mother of a 24 year old guy. Less exciting than Mrs. Allen's dress was Danny Gokey's duet with Lionel Richie. You know, it was dentist-office fare, plus Lionel seemed to give much less of a shit about the performance than several of the other guest stars tonight. It was very cute though to see Ruben Studdard in the audience singing along to "All Night Long" (and no, they didn't do the African-singing bridge).
Adam came dressed for his solo like he was in the Broadway version of "Mad Max," wearing the bejeweled skeleton of a set of shoulder pads. He sang a song called "Beth" which I'd never heard before which I would have thought was a Rufus Wainwright song based on the lyrics: "Beth I know you're lonely/And I hope you'll be alright/'Cause me and the boys will be playing all night". But turns out it's a KISS song, which is who Adam performed with. He was extra glittered up in order to fit in, with crystals on his face and 6-inch platform boots which, unlike Paul Stanley, he did NOT fall over in (I saw that, Paul! You're old!) They did "Detroit Rock City" and "Rock n Roll All Night" and Gene Simmons stuck his tongue out like eight times. After all the fireworks and flames and guitar smashing I felt resigned to the performance, like, " OK, this is so ridiculous, but yes, I am having fun now, you forced me." It was like the end of the (stage version) of Mamma Mia.
Then Carlos Santana played "Black Magic Woman" with Matt Giraud singing, which was rather quiet and dull compared to KISS. Then the other kids joined him to perform "Smooth," and it was no better or worse than any of the other group performances. Right after we saw the last Ford video, which was a clip show of all the other Ford videos, featuring Adam and Kris singing "I Will Remember You." The guys each were given a Ford Fusion Hybrid.
So believe it or not, Steve Martin did indeed play banjo on American Idol. He looked thoroughly bemused to be onstage. Michael Sarver and Megan Joy sang a song, with him accompanying, that I thought was painfully folksy and dopey. "What is this Prairie Home Companion shit?" I wondered and then felt bad when I learned that Steve wrote it, and it was titled "Pretty Flowers." I would have rather just had Steve play the banjo himself, arrow through the head optional. He did make a funny, though: when Ryan asked him who he thinks will win, Steve said, "It's a long shot but I hope I will."
Then I saw a commercial for a movie featuring sarcastic guinea pigs all with famous people's voices. But this one is in digital 3-D!
The guys lined up in their suits like a bunch of Robert Palmers to do "If You Think I'm Sexy," a song I like despite myself. There was something so unsexy about the group as a whole that the performance was rather endearing to me. Rod Stewart then performed "Maggie May," sounding a little weak. Here is a fun AV Club fact: Nathan Rabin named one of his cats after that song.
The last Golden Idol of course went to Tatiana del Toro. I couldn't tell at the time whether what happened next was real or fake but when I type it out it sounds too fake to be unscripted. The audience cheered for her when her name was announced and Ryan asked her to stay in her seat, since he didn't have time for her. She ran up onstage though and grabbed the mic and started singing, with the producers trying to chase her down.
Let me just give you some free advice based on one of the commercials I saw next. Don't ever eat more than one Fiber One bar a day. You will be tempted to, as the commercial implies, but you really, really should not.
Adam and Kris then dueted "We are the Champions" and you know I love me some Kris but he totally faded next to Adam. But who cares: Queen came out to play with them! Both Adam and Kris seemed amazed to be onstage next to Brian May. The other contestants, plus a bunch of other random people (I think possibly So You Think You Can Dance contestants) came out. With the in-tandem hands-in-the-air-waving, it was cheesier than the KISS performance and thus a little less enjoyable but Adam and Kris seemed to be having the time of their lives.
By the way, if you don't already, you should absolutely check out So You Think You Can Dance, especially if you like non-patronizing judges.
So after the Queen performance I considered it to be Adam's show, pretty much. Simon congratulated the guys on being both brilliant and incredibly nice and I realized that I was excited! For Idol! It's such a weird feeling. After some blah-blah from the vote-counting guy, we learned that the dark horse did indeed come from behind to win it all. Kris seemed almost like he was embarrassed to win, saying in so many words "Adam deserves this." He was then presented with an obligatory phallic trophy.
Unfortunately Kris had to sing "No Boundaries" again, and he was joined by all the other contestants as he performed. Even if the biggest singer didn't win, everyone seemed, in the audience and onstage, to like Kris a lot. Finally, Kris could acknowledge his wife again and she popped out in the sea of Idol black in her yellow dress and they hugged each other tight and it was nice.
As I write this people are already on Twitter and Facebok saying what a sad day this is for America. I'm going to plug my ears and pretend this talk doesn't exist, perhaps because I don't live in a part of the country where many people would even consider hanging out at home and pressing redial to pay to demonstrate how much they don't want a gay as an American Idol. Plus, if the country hated Adam so much he wouldn't have made it this far. Maybe I'm putting my head in the sand, but guess what, fools: Idol is over, and I don't have to think about it again until January! Thanks for watching with me, everyone! This season entertained me more than I expected, and so did you commenters. This job wouldn't be nearly as fun without you.