American Idol Recap

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Your Next American Idol Is…

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It’s pretty awesome that a bunch of kids who auditioned for a reality show eight months ago got to share the stage with people like Janet Jackson (Miss Jackson if you’re nasty!), Chicago, Joe Cocker, and Hall and Oates tonight. Janet Jackson! I mean!

In addition to all the special guests on the American Idol finale, there was a winner, and his name is Lee DeWyze. Okay, if you didn’t feel happy for the guy as he cried his way through “Beautiful Day”, you have a heart filled with poo. It became pretty obvious from the way Lee nervously handled his microphone in the moments leading up to his coronation that he really wanted this. We still have total confidence that Crystal Bowersox will have a killer career, but there’s only one winner, and – God, all his crying! It was touching. Suck it, paint store!  We did enjoy the rest of the show more than we’ve probably enjoyed most other episodes of Idol, for our rundown of all the special surprises, read on.

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American Idol: Lee And Crystal Face Off

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The final performance show of American Idol was solid, making it even more difficult to foresee who will be the winner of season nine. The sadness of Lee DeWyze’s first two performances were only matched by the sadness of his puppy-dog eyes, while Crystal Bowersox showed a range of emotion, all while negotiating the glossy stairs in heels. It was like a Double Dare physical challenge watching her try not to fall. Still, it would be impossible to try to predict what the voting public will do, the winner is going to be a real toss up.
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American Idol: Rocka-bye Sweet Casey James

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A good forty minutes of American Idol last night was like watching a therapy session for the three finalists. We got to learn about their expectations for themselves, where they get their inner strength and the exotic lands from whence they came. It was nice to see Casey James, Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze reveling in the hometown love (and kudos to Toledo, Ohio for holding “Bowerstock”) but we think it was Crystal and Lee’s tears that cemented their place in the final two. Casey, if only you turned on the waterworks, you could have let down your hair once more for us. The best part about Casey’s elimination? No more creepy Kara DioGuardi ogling. But we can’t say we’re surprised to see him go.

Justin Bieber
was also on hand last night to make innocent, fully-clothed love to the camera and this was the first time we’ve ever heard any song of his in it’s entirety. He’s cute and catchy, but we still think this is the best thing about the Bieber phenomenon. And then a guy named Travis Garland played some song that Perez Hilton saw on the internet once and really liked. Oh, internet, you create monsters sometimes.

So we’re down to the unsurprising final two. Personally, we think Lee’s tears (and therefore his desire to win) were a little more heartfelt last night. Get ready America, Hankies Vs. DreadSox is ON. (Hankies because of all his cry– nevermind.)

[Photo: Getty Images]

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American Idol: Judges’ Choice

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So guys, Lee DeWyze is probably gonna win this, huh? After last night, that’s kinda what we’re thinking now.

The contestants each got to sing a song of their choosing and a song that a judge chose for them on American Idol. This proved two things, the first being that the judges are objective and savvy enough to know what songs work for the contestants. The second is that these contestants aren’t savvy enough to be allowed full creative control of their careers just yet, if their own song choices were any indicator.

Casey James chose “Ok, It’s Alright With Me” which we aren’t familiar with, and the judges picked John Mayer’s “Daughters” for him, which, given Mayer’s sh*tty year, seems like a cruel setup. He was fine, but not great and sadly, we get the sense that Casey knows he’s done for. Simon Cowell said “Daughters”’ “climax is a limp guitar solo” which, once you get past the juvenile sex references, was about right. It was limp. But as always, Casey’s hair was not.

Crystal Bowersox stuck to her roots and sang Melissa Etheridge’s “Come to My Window” and even though she is basically the second coming of Etheridge, it wasn’t really all that great. Ellen DeGeneres chose “Maybe I’m Amazed” for her second song and it was much better, but somehow it feels like Crystal’s talent has leveled off. When Ryan Seacrest asked her how she felt about her performance, she responded “I’m glad I’ve got my mike stand and my friends and my health, and my son is healthy and that’s what it’s about,” which, sure, that’s if you’re looking at the big picture. But that’s not what the show is about. Health schmealth, this thing is about winning.

Lee DeWyze was the night’s clear winner despite Simon Cowell choosing one of the world’s most overdone songs for him. Look, “Hallelujah” is awesome, but it’s also a song that has been ruined by too many covers. Having said that, though, Lee hit it out of the park. He also fared well with his own choice of “Simple Man,” which suited him and his sad, paint store eyes. Kara DioTardyForTheParty said he was the “heart of the season”.  Well, maybe the heart of the last 4 episodes.

Tonight, we’re all coming down with Bieber Fever. And one of the contestants will die from it. Metaphorically speaking. Or whatever. And since the contestants all went through the trouble of visiting their hometowns, check out our gallery of images from their visits!

[Photos: Getty Images]

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American Idol: Bye Bye Big Mike

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Swim away, Willy. Swim away. You’re freeeee!

Even though Casey James had the inferior performance on Tuesday night, it was Michael Lynche who was kicked off American Idol last night for his version of “Will You Be There.” It may have inspired whales, but humans, not so much. But he has a baby! Where’s your heart, America?

The episode also featured guest appearances from Fantasia and her amazing baby voice, Chris Daughtry and his amazingly sculpted eyebrows, and Bon Jovi and their amazingly-still-80′s hair. And Jon Bon Jovi was rocking a shirt that was officially unbuttoned to his navel. Just in case it got hot on stage. Mentor Jamie Foxx was nowhere to be found. We assume that’s because he wanted to perform a monologue from The Soloist but that would have proved too powerful for this audience.

So in the end, our final three is the same as it has been for a couple weeks now: Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze and Casey James.  Will our nation’s lust for men with beautiful hair triumph over dreadlocks and paint chips? (Seriously, that’s the only fun fact about Lee we’ve been privy to. We get it! He knows his way around various shades of off-white.) Two more weeks to go!

[Photo: Getty Images]

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American Idol: Terrible Songs From The American Cinema

Yeeeeeesh. To hear the “Songs From Film” performed on American Idol last night, you’d think that the majority of movies contain really terrible music. And the songs that aren’t automatically terrible, like “Mrs. Robinson,” were somehow made terrible by the especially goat-like voice singing it. (Sorry, Casey James .)

For the second time in as many seasons, Jamie Foxx was on board to mentor and really, he did as well as a singer who relies on Autotune could. We got individual songs from all the contestants which, let’s be frank, were all crap, but we also got two duets (Lee and Crystal singing “Falling Slowly” and Mike and Casey singing “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman”) that made up for them. For their solos, Lee DeWyze sang “A Kiss From A Rose,” Michael Lynche chose the Michael Jackson song from Free Willy, not to be confused with the SWV song from Free Willy (why did a whale movie have such a hit soundtrack?), Casey sang the aforementioned “Mrs. Robinson”, and Crystal Bowersox covered “I’m Alright” from Caddyshack, which wins points for originality if not for execution (it wasn’t bad, it was just…weird). It was a more entertaining show when we just ignored the singing and mentoring and watched Simon Cowell try to comprehend the state of American cinema and figure out why a movie like Free Willy exists.

Our prediction is that Casey gets eliminated this week. Jon Bon Jovi is performing tomorrow night, so no matter who goes home, we’re hoping he sings them off with “Blaze Of Glory”.

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American Idol: When He Was 17…

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On second thought, maybe Harry Connick, Jr. is better in really small doses. His montage of hilarity last night got pretty irritating pretty fast. Still, the man can sing and his and Lady Gaga’s appearances were definitely some of the more talent-showcasing guest performances of the season. We aren’t familiar with Gaga’s latest song, “Alejandro” and it’s not her best, but as always, she’s a good show. Although – is that much butt cheek typically allowed in the 9 o’clock hour? Of course the real story here is not the filler performances, it’s the fact that Casey James did not get eliminated for his poor performance, seventeen-year-old Aaron Kelly did.
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American Idol: When Harry Met Seacrest

It was pretty cool to have Harry Connick, Jr. not only mentor the performers on American Idol‘s Frank Sinatra night, but to play in the band too. Harry, or should we say, “Hammy”, because he was so full of yuks all night, wrote the arrangements for the contestants which is certainly above and beyond what most mentors do. (A fact not lost on him when he said “You think Shania Twain was up in here doing this?”) Harry reminded us of an embarrassing, goofy uncle (who is also a piano virtuoso and really hot) so we kinda liked his dorky presence.

We really could never have predicted how much we’ve come to admire Aaron Kelly. Week after week we predict his demise, and week after week, he’s improved drastically. Kelly was solid this week singing “Fly Me To The Moon”, but because he had to contend with Michael Lynche and Lee DeWyze‘s even more solid performances, he wasn’t the best of the night. Crystal Bowersox provided what we thought were some smooth jazz vocals (in a good way), but the judges only liked her a smidge more than they liked Casey James, who sang “Blue Skies” and was pitchy, warbly and weirdly shaved. In other news though, the name Casey Blue Skies is a modern take on a mob classic, we think, so he can use that is he ever needs to rub anyone out. (Ew. That’s a syllable away from DioGuardi-dirty-old-woman territory.) Simon Cowell was even cruel enough to tell Casey in advance that he should prepare to take another gig next week. (It was a callback to a story Casey told, but was still unnecessarily cruel…but true? We’ll see tonight!)

Since Crystal is no longer the lone standout, at least not for these past few weeks, this show is getting interesting. Also interesting: Nancy Sinatra‘s hair, glasses and athletic jacket are a testament to the fact that you really can’t take the Jersey out of the girl.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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American Idol: Singing Glass Blower Seeks Job

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The country-tinged week of American Idol was a learning experience for us. Since our musical tastes typically run screaming from bands like Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts, we learned that we’re in the minority. These groups are, to quote Randy Jackson, “hot.” They’re all over the Billboard Hot 100 and iTunes charts, and yet this was our first time hearing them. (And since we’re unfamiliar with them anyway, we’re just gonna put it out there that the lead singer for Rascal Flatts looks like what would happen if Ellen DeGeneres mated with Randy Quaid, right?) The country theme was sort of incongruous with the vampire theme of the Ford music video they shot, but hey, at least we didn’t have to endure a group Shania Twain medley. Instead we got ten minutes of Shrek Forever After commercial. On the one hand, ugh, but on the other, God, Puss in Boots with a Spanish accent never gets old for us.
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American Idol: Talk Dirty To Me

What were the odds that Shania Twain night would provide some of the best performances of the season on American Idol, and one of the least thrilling Crystal Bowersox performances? That’s not to say the Crystal was bad, just that everyone else was finally up to her level, so we’re actually a little worried for her this week.

Considering we’re really only familiar with the “Man, I Feel Like A Woman”/”That Don’t Impress Me Much” portion of the Shania songbook, we didn’t really she actually has written some tolerable songs as well, which Big Mike, Casey James and Aaron Kelly all nailed. Lee DeWyze turned in a really nice performance of “Still the One” too, it was just the girls’ performances that left us colder than the rest; Crystal went too country with “No One Needs To Know” and Siobhan Magnus was a punk-country-high-note hybrid for “Any Man Of Mine”.

It’s getting down to the portion of the show where we’re really going to be sad to see these final contestants get kicked off. However, we can’t be too sentimental about the episode – there was a lot of dirty talk going on. Sorry to work blue here, but we found enough sexytime talk to compile into a montage. Who says this show is only about the singing?