Was it really only four months ago that we were wondering just what, exactly, we’d gotten ourselves into–and why Jewel was there? It seems like so much longer.
Our last American Idol liveblog of the year begins after the jump. If Jewel shows up to warble “Intuition” at Blake, we apologize in advance.
7:45 p.m. Oh crap! There’s a red carpet special? And Taylor Hicks has a book coming out?
7:49 p.m. Sanjaya is talking about his hair. This is all very chaotic, and the presence of Paula just made it about 10000% moreso.
7:49 p.m. Paula is so out of it, her dress is crooked. Who is producing this thing? The fourth-string Fox Sports Los Angeles crew?
7:50 p.m. Paula calls it for Jordin! Sanjaya is just standing there awkwardly, hoping for more camera time!
7:51 p.m. The first High School Musical tie-in of the night. Jordin Sparks, this is your future.
7:52 p.m. The commercial-to-awkward-greeting ratio of this red carpet “spectacular,” in minutes: 4:3.
7:53 p.m. So, anyone know if this guy got his afternoon delight in? Here’s hoping he’s enjoying himself, and whatever young man came to his rescue, as we type this.
7:55 p.m. Melinda seems so much more relaxed and smooth now.
7:58 p.m. In New York, there is an ad for a bank airing, and it features Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. We don’t watch too much morning TV, but we have a question: When did Kelly turn into Nicole Richie?
8:00 p.m. It begins. The world is watching! Well, except those who are trying to contain themselves with excitement while awaiting the Lost finale.
8:01 p.m. Jeff Foxworthy ushers in the first of what will be many Fox tie-in cameos of the evening.
8:02 p.m. The final two sing “I Saw Her Standing There,” giving us the first notch on this evening’s Kip Winger Seventeen Meter, where we count the number of times Jordin’s age is referenced tonight.
8:03 p.m. Jordin’s post-Idol album: It won’t be a rock record, but it won’t be a Tiffany record, either. Yeesh.
8:05 p.m. Oh no, Gwen Stefani is going to perform? Oh no! Why? And is she even singing? And why is she dressed up like a can of Almond Roca?
8:07 p.m. The amazing thing about this performance: Even though Gwen’s probably not actually singing live, the mix still sounds like crap. Way to make it believable, guys!
8:08 p.m. After the break: The top 12 and “more than a few surprises”! We’re going to count down the minutes until the first awkward cross-promotion for On The Lot.
8:10 p.m. The commercial break is providing an excellent opportunity for us to listen to the Arctic Monkeys’ completely respectable cover of “You Know That I’m No Good.” Blake, if you’re reading this, click and take notes!
8:12 p.m. Kelly Clarkson! But wait, why is the key for this song pitched down so much?
8:13 p.m. Much like many other Idol performances this season, this got a lot smoother once the chorus kicked in.
8:16 p.m. Jerry Springer is in the house? Just in time for the “Honor The Freaks” ceremony. Ryan should really not be hosting this segment.
8:17 p.m. Oh man, it’s the orgasm chick! But she lost the “Best Presentation” award to the woman who dressed up like Big Bird low those many weeks ago.
8:19 p.m. Who is now… mauling… Ryan… and Steve from Jerry Springer is in the audience… and someone’s cell phone is ringing?
8:20 p.m. Oh dear. Everything is going off the rails here. Steve really needs to get up on stage and sort this out.
8:21 p.m. The top six guys come out and perform a doo-wop song in the same white suits from “Idol Gives Back” week. And Phil sounds okay, and so does Chris Sligh, and Sanjaya sounds not-bad.
8:22 p.m. Brandon Rogers, welcome back.
8:22 p.m. Smokey Robinson is the first “surprise” guest. Thankfully, he is not performing “The Tracks Of My Tears” this time, because really, that was just awkward during the Grammys.
8:24 p.m. Man, Brandon sounds really, really, good (although being after Chris Timberfake helped). Why did he get voted off so early again? He can even dance!
8:30 p.m. Take 6 arranges the vocal harmonies and a pastor/Christian rock songwriter combo pens the coronation song? We’re just saying.
8:31 p.m. If only Rahzel could have made it. Although “The Show” is totally awesome in its own right.
8:33 p.m. The audience is so confused by this beatboxing, which is why this is probably going to be the best pure TV moment we’ll see all night.
8:34 p.m. Another “spotlight the freaks” segment, this time featuring the “Unchained Melody” singer with the death-stare and the falsetto from Serial Murdererland.
8:37 p.m. Hey, if you’re going to have someone sing “Silent Night” in June, you should at least feed them the first line or two, right? It’s only fair.
8:38 p.m. Did Melinda not sing in that first segment so she could introduce Gladys Knight?
8:41 p.m. Melinda, Lakisha, and Gladys. This is kind of great. No, wait–it’s just great. Melinda looks so happy!
8:42 p.m. Okay, that may have been the best moment of the night. Unless Green Day somehow manages to squeeze a little bit of “Basket Case” into its performance.
8:45 p.m. Hey, how come no one sang “Brazil” during Latin Week? It would have been better than any of the Santana songs, you have to admit.
8:47 p.m. LOL @ Constantine Maroulis giving Tony Bennett nod-props as a way to mug for the camera without looking like, you know, he’s mugging at the camera.
8:48 p.m. You all remember that Sanjaya auditioned with “For Once In My Life,” right? Just warning you.
8:49 p.m. Tony Bennett, please do not collapse mid-big-note. Seriously, we are on the edge of the couch in fright here.
8:51 p.m. Antonella returns–in a segment that makes her and her friend look like total bitches!
8:52 p.m. Ah, there’s nothing like a good “Ryan is gay” joke to make us all remember why we’re here tonight.
8:53 p.m. The “bush baby” guy and his friend in the bad Hawaiian shirt are back–and they credit Simon with their tenure on the D-list. It’s good to finally meet people with perspective, isn’t it?
8:54 p.m. Once again, it is time to get up for God. Again. Whether you want to or not. Even though this show is, you know, all about putting “idols” on pedestals.
8:57 p.m. This is like that part of the night at the karaoke bar where you let the really good singer indulge herself because she’s performed well in the past. Ho hum. Anyone want to get us a drink?
9:01 p.m. Let’s look back … on a season of awkward corporate tie-ins!
9:02 p.m. Blake and Jordin get cars. It’s like Oprah, but with less, you know, reading.
9:03 p.m. Carrie Underwood reprises “I’ll Stand By You.” Gina, in the wings, is wondering why she didn’t get to use this arrangement of the song.
9:04 p.m. Come on, Carrie, let’s segue into “Before He Cheats”! Especially because you’re going just a little sharp.
9:06 p.m. Clive Davis comes out to Santana’s “Smooth”–an appropriate way to introduce his state-of-the-brand speech. And he uses it to tweak both Katharine and Taylor because of their disappointing sales tallies. But will he take on Kelly?
9:07 p.m. Album sales are about “new, hit songs”? In 2007? Really? We thought they were about 12-year-olds singing along to older hits.
9:09 p.m. Clive Davis flubs the title of Carrie Underwood’s first single while presenting her with her six-times-platinum plaque.
9:11 p.m. There are still 49-plus minutes to go. What else can they cram in? A slower version of that Steve Carell-shaves-his-nose shot?
9:15 p.m. An “Idol Gives Back” comeback, featuring the African Childrens’ Choir. And, thankfully, no Josh Groban.
9:17 p.m. A videotaped tribute to “visionaries” … that segues from Gandhi to Sanjaya.
9:18 p.m. Ashley Ferl!
9:19 p.m. We’re stuck with this guy for at least the next 10 years, aren’t we.
9:20 p.m. Dude is out of breath, too.
9:20 p.m. Still, this is definitely better than having to listen to Katharine sing that shoe-fetish song.
9:21 p.m. Green Day: The new go-to band for charity covers. Has it really only been 14 years since Dookie?
9:24 p.m. Um. Anybody know what’s happening on Lost?
9:26 p.m. Hey, if you want a ringtone of Haley puffing through “Turn The Beat Around,” you only have half an hour, East/Central viewers! Just think: It’ll make you answer your phone really quickly.
9:30 p.m. Thirty-plus minutes to go! And it’s Taylor Hicks! Your mother is probably getting ready to call you and ask if you’re watching this show right now.
9:31 p.m. Saying this will reveal too much about where we’ve spent our recent weekends, but whatever: Taylor sort of needs to interact with his band in order for his charisma to really work.
9:33 p.m. Taylor : harmonica :: Blake : beatboxing?
9:34 p.m. Oh, Ruben’s tie matches Jordin’s dress! That is so cute.
9:35 p.m. This isn’t a duet as much as it is a battle of dueling soloists.
9:40 p.m. So what can possibly happen in the next 22-or-so minutes that will make people talk about this tomorrow? The African Children’s Choir, the Melinda-Gladys-Lakisha duet, and the kind of amazing harmonic convergence of the guys were all pretty good moments–but everyone’s gonna wind up going batshit over Sanjaya, even though all that wind being pumped in his face couldn’t help him catch his breath, right?
9:41 p.m. Or can we talk about the fact that Jordin was sandwiched in between the “lesser Idols”–Ruben and Taylor?
9:42 p.m. Bette Midler has completely forgotten the melody to “Wind Beneath My Wings.” Either that, or her Caesars Palace routine involves her metamorphosing into a frog as its opener. Sheesh.
9:44 p.m. Randy and Paula are slow-dancing! This whole evening has turned into an eighth grade dance circa 1991, only with much, much worse pitch control.
9:45 p.m. It takes a lot to make Jerry Springer cry.
9:46 p.m. 14 minutes!!!
9:47 p.m. It’s time to say it: We are officially sick of this Carrot Top-looking snowboarder whoeverthefuckheis dude. Yay, you can fly around the world. Don’t break your neck or anything while you hang ten or whatever you do, all right?
9:50 p.m. The Sgt. Pepper “tribute” begins. You know, if you’re going to put Kelly Clarkson with Joe Perry, at least have her sing something from Rocks!
9:52 p.m. Taylor Hicks: This is why his appeal is niche.
9:53 p.m. Carrie Underwood is sliding off-key–but at least she didn’t fall off her heels, which was a possibility during her stroll onstage.
9:55 p.m. Ruben gets about as psychedelic as “Idol” is going to get. At this point, we almost want the movie adaptation versions of all these songs to start being mixed into our speakers.
9:57 p.m. Haley continues to go the “legs, not vocals” route. It’s quite impressive, even though the voting is finished.
9:58 p.m. If Blake comes in second, never fear: He can join My Chemical Romance as soon as the show is over.
9:59 p.m. An IM from a sibling: “Do you think that’s what it felt like to sit through our high school chorus concerts?”
10:01 p.m. We’re officially in overtime!
10:02 p.m. Get your confetti and Coca Cola-branded carbonated beverages ready!
10:02 p.m. 74 million votes … and the No. 1 record in the country can’t even sell 700,000 copies in a week.
10:03 p.m. Paula is gonna throw a punch! Especially because she’s being interrupted! And everybody’s a winner!
10:03 p.m. All the judges calling it for Jordin.
10:04 p.m. And the winner is … Jordin! In the most unsurprising result all season, really. Wait, this means we have to hear that craptastic song again, right?
10:05 p.m. Jordin’s acceptance speech: Appropriately pageanty. And Paula is crying! And so are we because this song is even worse than “Wind Beneath My Wings.”
10:06 p.m. Is she going to be able to finish the song without crying? The odds at this point are even.
10:07 p.m. Ah, it’s so great when pyro doubles as the “Applause” sign. At least it’s a way to take the focus off her pitch…
10:09 p.m. Kimberley Locke is asking us if we know where our children are, which means it’s curtains for us. There’s a very chirpy Fox anchor touting the “first interview” with… well, with who exactly, we’re not sure, but it’s going to have to come after the news of some creep who’s trying to snatch children right off the streets! Yes, we need to put on the Lost finale tout de suite. Good night, everybody–we’ll have a postmortem on the last two hours sometime tomorrow, whenever we get “This Is My Now” extracted from our brains.