Well the finale was…interesting.
It’s funny, Simon spent a large percentage of the season complaining that some of the contestants…Melinda and, especially, Jordin…were singing songs that were old and/or old-fashioned and then the finale was packed to the gills with veteran performers.
Don’t get me wrong, I love Gladys Knight, Tony Bennett, Bette Milder, and Smokey Robinson…they’re legendary performers all but they’re hardly on the radar of the demographic that American Idol intends to try to sell records to. (That said, Smokey showed the top 6 guys how it was done and Gladys did the same for the top 6 girls.)
Doug E. Fresh? Dude, I’m glad that Blake got to go hog wild beatboxing (he looked to be totally into it) and with Doug E. Fresh no less (nothing says modern music like a beatboxing battle with Doug E. Fresh!)
And what possessed Joe Perry to play with Sanjaya on another craptastic performance of “You Really Got Me”?
The gospel number with Melinda and BeBe and CeCe Winans was rousing and the African Children’s Choir was adorable again.
Gwen Stefani made yet another half-hearted AI appearance but Green Day’s performance of “Working Class Hero” (with a snippet of John Lennon’s vocal at the end) was very cool
It was cool that all of the former Idol winners showed up to perform (except for Fantasia, who had the excuse of performing on Broadway…to glowing reviews apparently… in The Color Purple)…and to acquit themselves well (Kelly’s new single was interesting and Ruben and Jordin made a fine duet…Ruben was one of the few guys on the show this season that Jordin didn’t tower over :-)
I could have done without Clive Davis gassing on…and the Golden Idol thing was lame (save the freak show contestants for prelims and leave it at that.)
They finally got those clearances for the Beatles songs as they opened with Blake and Jordin doing an awkward “I Saw Her Standing There” (get it? …”well she was just 17”…) and then the show finished with the big Kelly-to-Taylor-to- Carrie-to-Ruben-to-the-Season-6-Top-12 Sgt. Pepper medley (I thought they might be leading to that long-rumored Paul McCartney appearance but that didn’t happen.)
And after more than 2 hours (including about 137 commercials) : The envelope please…yadda, yadda, yadda…74 zillion votes…yadda, yadda, yadda…and the winner is Jordin Sparks! Hugs all around…come on, Jordin, sing the tepid winner’s tune so we can go home (they held a songwriting contest and this song was the best they could find? It’s better than “Do I Make You Proud”, “I Believe”, or “Inside Your Heaven” in what way?)
All in all, this was not American Idol’s finest season and the finale, like the rest of the season, followed the pattern of pushing aside the current contestants in favor of letting big name guest-stars monopolize the spotlight. Hopefully next season they’ll retool…better casting, more emphasis on the contestants, less camera-hogging nonsense from the host and the judges…and come back better than ever. We shall see come January.