Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

American Idol: Season Finale: Part I

Illustration for article titled American Idol: Season Finale: Part I

It's a shame that the folks at Idol were so stuck on the stupid boxing schtick for part one of its season finale, because it was actually a pretty decent show, performance-wise. We still had to put up with commentary from a boxing coach, a so-overdone-it's-not-funny "let's get ready to rumble" intro and even the guys dressed up in boxing robes and gloves. I felt embarrassed to be watching it.

Let's see how the guys did in the three rounds. (Oh, I get it now!!)

Round 1:

The songs were chosen by Clive Davis, which makes sense to me. The guys were coached by Andrew Lloyd Weber. That didn't make as much sense to me, unless it was just for the breathlessness and corny puns. (I bet it was for the breathlessness and corny puns.) Clive chose "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" by U2 for David Cooke. I thought David did an okay job, not really adding too much other than his weird inflection ("I Stale Haven't Found…"). It was a bread-and-butter kind of song for him, with a softer opening and a powerful blast at the end so he did a fine job, not great.

Clive chose "Don't Let the Sun Go Down On Me" by Elton John for David Archuleta, which was a great choice for him—big and dramatic and positive message-ey but with just enough blues to keep it from being a total musical number. Tonight made me think that maybe David A. had been holding back in competition prior to this, because I felt like he was letting go in his singing and general performance way more than before. I'm not saying I would go to this concert but I could absolutely sense him filling up seats for a concert. In Vegas, opening for Josh Groban. It's just easier to picture the David A. fanbase than it is David Cook's. David did turn on the waterworks just for safety's sake, however, and Ryan said, so naturally, "You're almost in tears of excitement right now!" Simon gave the round to David A.

Round 2:

The guys each picked their favorites of the finalists from the songwriting competition. David Cook sang a tune called "Dream Big" that I could totally imagine running at the credits from a movie about teenagers dreaming big. I actually thought it was a good song for him—it forced him to be uptempo and more youthful than usual (his hair looked the best it has all competition.) Simon correctly though said it didn't seem like a "winning moment."

David Archuleta picked a song called "In This Moment" which was more traditionally Idol final-riffic, IE a big ballad,. It wasn't totally pukeworthy, mostly because the song sounds like Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud." But once again, it showed off David A's pipes and you have to admit it, the kid can really sing, even if he was wearing a jacket decorated with anchors. After crying after his first song, David returned to looking terrified and miserable after he was finished singing. Simon declared him the winner of this round as well.

Round 3:

Contestant's choice: David Cook picked "The World I Know" by Collective Soul. I don't think it was a wise choice for him—he seemed to realize partially through the song that it was dragging tremendously. Plus, the song somehow made him seem old. Then it was his turn to cry.

David A. went back to "Imagine," beginning once again with the verse "Imagine no possessions…" I agree with David Cook that it would be more interesting to hear something new, but li'l David was just being savvy, sending the voters off with an image of himself that he wanted them to remember. He branded himself. Randy declared him the best singer of the competition and Simon declared that DA had delivered the KO.

It was a good night of singing from both guys, and I think interesting in that we hadn't seen these two go head to head. I'll continue to bet that the kid from Utah wins it all.

Grade: A-

Stray observations:

—I couldn't tell, was it the NOKIA theater? Or some other one? They didn't mention it enough.

—Paula is an expert at working the titles of the songs the constants sang into her comments for them.

—Randy was wearing way too much makeup tonight; he looked almost eggplant-colored.

—I am concerned about Ruben Studdard's health.