Idol Chatter

Don’t get me wrong, I loves me some Lee DeWyze. Who can resist those sparkly blue eyes, the “Aw Shucks!” attitude, and the gently-touched-by-gravel voice? I was pulling for him every week, hoping that he would have his “moment,” knowing that the Crystal Bowersox Janis-Joplinesque juggernaut would be hard to beat. And lo and behold, he got stronger every week and he had his moments – “Hallelujah,” “The Boxer” – and just like the pugilist in that Simon and Garfunkle song, he fought his way to the top two.
But after Tuesday’s pitchy performance of U2’s “Beautiful Day” (Yes, Fox executives, I recall Kurt Nilsen’s pitch-perfect rendition on “World Idol”), I figured Mama Sox had this one all wrapped up with a single blonde dreadlock and I resigned myself to just watching the finale for the farewells to Simon Cowell for his nine years of service as America’s favorite judge. So when Bowersox was named runner up on last night’s show, I felt the need to grab some puffy paint and glitter and make an AI-style audience sign reading “SeriousLee?”.

The two hours crept along like an infomercial for the “American Idol” summer tour and featured a number of legends–the Bee Gees, Joe Crocker and Hall and Oates, current stars–Christina Aguilera, Alanis Morrisette, and Janet Jackson (who was terrific), and roasts of Cowell.
Not until Paula Abdul showed up on stage, however, did I really start paying attention. Although her comedy was a bit forced, her tribute to Cowell was extremely touching, especially the moment when Abdul acknowledged that the show was bigger than its judges, noting that “Idol” will go on without Cowell, as it did when she left.
When all the previous American Idol winners, save David Cook who was at a charity event, took the stage to serenade Simon I got a bit misty eyed thinking about how a real era in pop culture has come to an end. Will Idol continue without Cowell? Of course, there are contracts involved. Will it be the same? No. No disrespect to Paula, but Cowell’s personality is one of the engines that drives the show.
After all the accolades and near tears, it was time for the inevitable. Only 2% separated the first and second place winners crowed Ryan Seacrest. I almost didn’t watch the final moments figuring that Crystal had won, so when Lee’s name was announced, I was almost as gobsmacked as he was.
Seriously America? Were we not watching the same performances on Tuesday night, wherein Lee went back to his timid rabbit look and Crystal belted out tunes like her life depended on it? Seriously?
The truth is that both DeWyze and Bowersox will get signed and will release albums and we will still be talking about them in mere months when they each drop their singles and battle for most copies moved in the first week. In fact, they will probably do just as well on the charts as their immediate first and second place predecessors, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert.
Or maybe Michael Lynche will pull a Chris Daughtry and outsell them both.

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