Live-Blogging The “American Idol” Finale, Part II: This, Right Here, Is Our Now

hug.jpgWelcome to our second night of live-blogging the American Idol finale, two hours of spectacle leading up to the crowning of a David as the favorite pop singer of this very phone-equipped nation. I’m watching the TV Guide Channel’s preshow, which has Kimberly Caldwell screaming a lot and Justin Guarini laughing dumbly a bunch and Janice Dickinson saying that she’s in the tank for Archie too. (For that the producers denied Danny Noriega a ticket? Hmph.) Also, apparently Simon Cowell told Justin Guarini that it was a draw while I was on the phone?! Looks like someone saw our poll! Coverage begins after the jump…

7:55 p.m. Five minutes to go! Apparently the red carpet was crazy. And the special guests are breaking down: ZZ Top is playing with Cookie, OneRepublic with Archie, and Seal with… someone. (It has to be Brooke White, right?)

7:58 p.m. To properly prepare the New York viewing area for this momentous occasion, WNYW has decided to run the Seinfeld episode where Elaine and Jerry “mull intimacy but without commitment.” And a New York Lottery ad featuring “Daydream,” which awww. (Speaking of Jason: Please let Jeff Buckley not be one of tonight’s digitally exhumed singers. Please.)

8:00 p.m. They’re both in white! David Archuleta is wearing a shirt that says “Bowery & Bleecker” (what, no CBGB shirt?) and David Cook is wearing a white suit.

8:01 p.m. Seacrest is looking sharp. And he is unbelievably pumped to say the “FINAL RESULTS SHOW!!!” Last night, 97.5 million votes were cast, breaking the vote-total record by about 23 million ballots–the final split was 56%-44%. Quite a gap, especially for a primary night.

8:03 p.m. There was one miserable-looking guy in the crowd at David Cook’s hometown rally, while the parade of young girls in David Archuleta’s hometown–“all blondes and all neck,” Ryan pointed out, and I have to agree–are unbelievably pumped.

8:04 p.m. The top 12 are also in all white, and now they’re dancing with the So You Think You Can Dance dancers while trying to sing “Get Ready.”

8:04 pm. Carly is hopelessly out of rhythm. Jason is just trying to focus on not tripping. You’d think the semi-pro dancers would take the pressure off, but I guess that’s not happening. Oh, and Amanda is wearing a scarf to break up her all-white monochrome!

8:06 p.m. David Hernandez and Amanda Overmeyer are a study in contrasts: David looks thrilled to be back on a stage where he can keep his clothes on, while Amanda is looking like she just wants to get through the next 30 seconds.

8:06 p.m. Commercial break No. 1! Well, that was quick.

8:09 p.m. The ad for So You Think You Can Dance is touting its lack of B-list celebs. Janice Dickinson, you are on notice!

8:10 p.m. An awkward pause in the action, and then David Cook kickstarts that awful Nickelback song from Spider-Man. It’s a duet.

8:11 p.m. It’s probably not surprising that Cookie is carrying the crummy nu-grunge performance. But the sound mix is kind of terrible, too–the two mics seem to be cutting each other out.

8:12 p.m. Cook seems super-confident and happy; Archuleta is smiling blandly.

8:12 p.m. Oh no… it’s a tie-in with The Love Guru. No. No.

8:13 p.m. I would rather watch an endless loop of Austin Powers 3 than this. Shoot, I’d rather watch just Beyonce’s “acting” in Austin Powers 3.

8:14 p.m. They’re interviewing the two Davids about the movie. Archie can barely muster out his pre-fab line about what he liked about the movie.

8:14 p.m. The torrent of ’90s references being thrown at David Cook is a little funny, although I would have made a Screaming Trees joke instead of an Alice In Chains one.

8:15 p.m. Oh, this is going beyond the taped bit and into Mike Myers showing up on stage. God, I miss the subtlety of Wayne’s World right now.

8:17 p.m. Are people really going to see this movie? And is Mike Myers still making the “I’m going to make a joke about promoting the movie as promoting the movie” joke? The answers would seem to be no and yes.

8:18 p.m. And now, it’s Seal duetting with Syesha on that song that was in all those TNT promo ads a few years back. And the sound is still absolutely awful.

8:19 p.m. You know what this performance needs? Ice skaters.

8:19 p.m. “Underrehearsed” would be a good description for what’s going on right now, I think.

8:20 p.m. Why would they give Syesha a song that was so out of her vocal range? They don’t need to throw her under the bus anymore.

8:22 p.m. Next year, the eliminations should be sponsored by any company with a five-blade razor, if only for the express purpose of some super-awkward sponsor tie-in videos.

8:25 p.m. Jason!

8:26 p.m. The producers aren’t taking any lyric-forgetting chances here, with him singing “Hallelujah.” However, Mr. Castro is taking a fashion risk by wearing what seems to be a… a denim shirt.

8:27 p.m. Prediction: Jeff Buckley’s version of this song will be back in the iTunes top 20 within the next 12 hours.

8:27 p.m. He made Melinda Doolittle cry!

8:28 p.m. And now it’s time for the Blooper-reel Ford ad… including one shot of Carly, er, hugging the hood of a Ford.

8:29 p.m. ALL THE DAVIDS ARE GETTING CARS!!! David Archuleta actually took the Lord’s name in vain, he was so excited.

8:29 p.m. The ladies, all in red, are now doing a Donna Summer medley that opens with “She Works Hard For The Money.” Brooke’s tone is very Donna-like; Kristy’s is awful. Amanda, meanwhile, looks like she would like to be anywhere else on earth.

8:30 p.m. I bet you never thought you’d hear a yarled version of “Hot Stuff” tonight. God bless Amanda. Meanwhile, Carly sings the chorus as if her career still depends on it. And then there’s Ramiele, who… well, let’s just say that Alex Lushington was robbed one final time and leave it at that.

8:32 p.m. Donna is now out and performing her new single. I need a better mix to judge, but so far, this is no “This Time I Know It’s For Real.”

8:33 p.m. Yeah, I’m not into this. Please see the below clip as to why:

Stock Aitken and Waterman forever, yo.

8:34 p.m. Wait, how is it “Last Dance” time? It’s only 8:34! Who won? What about the rest of the Ford ads?

8:35 p.m. Syesha: Still bringing the pitchy, even tonight. There’s something to be said for consistency, I guess.

8:39 p.m. Carly and Michael, “shock” eliminees both, singing a … bar-bandy rendition of “The Letter.” Aw, they make a cute Captain and Tennille sort of pair. The Ascot and Tattoo!

8:41 p.m. I kind of love Carly’s minidress, because it looks like it was made from a scrap of studded fabric that at one time served as her tattoo parlor’s curtain.

8:42 p.m. These two are so going to do… something together. Right?

8:43 p.m. Oh God, Jimmy Kimmel?

8:43 p.m. Wow, a “Sanjaya is a has-been” joke and a “Chris Sligh is fat” joke. This whole thing is coming off like a best man’s toast at a wedding of people who aren’t funny at all.

8:45 p.m. And now the guys are doing what I suspect is a Bryan Adams medley. Michael Johns is probably appropriate for singing the lyrics about the summer of ’69, since he’s the oldest. And Jason Castro… no. He should not be anywhere near this song at all. Man, the producers have been up Bryan’s ass this season, right? Remember the whole thing with “Everything I Do (I Do It For You)” during Hollywood Week?

8:47 p.m. The Davids are singing “Heaven,” but sadly, it is not the DJ Sammy version.

8:47 p.m. And now Bryan Adams is performing his new single. I guess it doesn’t count as paid programming if all the promotions are the result of favor-trading, but…

8:50 p.m. “Somebody” doesn’t really have the same oomph when it’s sung by a chorus of guys. In fact, it kind of reminds me of that Saturday Night Live skit where Jason Sudeikis and his pals put a song on the jukebox and reveal their secrets in just enough time to launch into singalongs of every chorus. Creepy!

8:53 p.m. Something tells me this “Joe Torre adjusts to LA” State Farm ad won’t be airing on the YES Network anytime soon.

8:54 p.m. Jordin Sparks talks about “living the Idol dream”… at Walt Disney World. The franchising of this show is officially out of hand.

8:55 p.m. No, Randy Jackson, ZZ Top do not rate devil horns.

8:55 p.m. Especially since it seems like they’ll whore out their hits to any guy who sounds even vaguely Krogerish. (This time it’s “Sharp Dressed Man,” which they’re performing behind D. Cook.) Does no one remember the Billboard Awards from 2006? Well, I guess no one does, since they don’t exist anymore.

8:57 p.m. Cookie is having a good time. But the “underrehearsed” thing is definitely floating to the front of my mind again.

8:59 p.m. David Cook’s high-school music teacher is on! Yay, music teachers.

8:59 p.m. And now it’s time for… wait, someone who played with David Crosby and Stephen Stills? Uh, not Neil Young, right? Oh, no, it’s Graham Nash, Brooke White, and an awkward count-in from the band. Did they decide to let the intern direct tonight’s show?

9:02 p.m. This is very sweet. And it’s clear that Brooke knew “Teach Your Children,” because she sailed through the whole thing.

9:03 p.m. This Coldplay song: Totally OK, especially when it kicks into that U2/Arcade Fire chorus.

9:03 p.m. Oh my god, it’s David Cook in a Guitar Hero ad that pays homage to Risky Business. Well, you have to know that Archie would probably never get that particular endorsement. Please don’t tell me that this means another season of The Next Great American Band is in the offing, though?

9:06 p.m. The girls are freaking out because… it is… JONAS BROTHERS TIME!

9:07 p.m. Joe Jonas is wearing… a puffy T-shirt? And yes, here is where I note that David Archuleta is nowhere close to being a Jonas yet. He needs more time in shiny suits and, you know, talking to girls and stuff.

9:09 p.m. Ah, it’s time for the annual “bring out your freaks” montage. Some people on this couch aren’t likin’ this.

9:10 p.m. 45 seconds for the girl who was painted gold. 45 seconds for the guy who couldn’t enunciate. Ah, and now it’s time for a tribute to Renaldo Lapuz and “I Am Your Brother.” I guess more Mike Myers would be worse.

9:12 p.m. Oh, no, they brought him to the show to sing live! He’s going to be doing this for the next 48 minutes!

9:12 p.m. No, really. This is going to be the rest of the show. An extended marching-band routine and then the So You Think You Can Dance dancers will come out and then they’ll add the digital Pips and the digital Gladys Knight and the digital Beatles and I’m going to miss my midnight showing of Indiana Jones because the winners won’t be announced until this cacophony is over and oh my God it’s already been two minutes, you guys.

9:14 p.m. He’s played off. My tickets are safe!

9:15 p.m. Speaking of summer blockbusters, how much is Get Smart going to suck? It’s a shame, too, because I really want to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson drop the People’s Elbow on a comedy that’s actually worthy of his talent. And eyebrows.

9:16 p.m. WE’RE BROTHERS ‘TIL THE END OF TIIIIIME… oh, this is going to be stuck in my head all night. Quick, someone find me a YouTube of the Hawaii Five-O theme, a.k.a. the ultimate earworm eraser! The future of this liveblog depends on you!

9:17 p.m. And now it’s time for OneRepublic to perform “Against All Odds ’07.” Hey, remember when everyone thought they were going to have a second single? Ah, January.

9:19 p.m. And here’s Archie, and the Piped-In Screams Of Producer Manipulation.

9:20 p.m. This song really isn’t the same without those Timbaland “eh… eh, eh”s.

9:20 p.m. To be fair to David A., this song does play to his strengths. Particularly the fact that he doesn’t have to remember all that many words, which must be some comfort to him.

9:22 p.m. David’s grandfather just said that he’s proud of his grandson and his son. Uh, OK.

9:23 p.m. Jordin Sparks comes out to perform her new single wearing what looks like an Isaac Mizrahi for Target dress. (I don’t mean that in a bad way! I like his dresses.) This track is probably not going to reach the airplay heights of “Tattoo,” since it’s a bland cross between a coronation song and Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time.” And Jordin seems rushed. I do like that she’s broken free and made her nose ring more prominent, though.

9:26 p.m. Way, way too long. I miss Fantasia.

9:26 p.m. Blake Lewis, the devoted older brother/crush type, is singing along. So many Jordin journals are filled with lyrics about him.

9:27 p.m. How many comedies this summer are operating under the premise “Saturday Night Live guy adapts accent, expects roffles?” I count two advertised on this show so far.

9:30 p.m. Free idea: Dunkin’ Donuts and They Might Be Giants should co-sponsor a songwriting contest that’s decided by their good old Dial-A-Song concept, i.e., the track with the most calls wins.

9:31 p.m. Only 29 minutes to go! And it’s just in time for… the Gladys Knight/fake Pips performance. The fake Pips being Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr., who are promoting that movie where Downey’s in blackface– a “creative decision” that he wisely decided to not reprise here.

9:32 p.m. Actually, Downey’s probably doing the Pip routine the best. Jack and Ben are predictably overhammy. Boy, do I miss the Jack Black of “Jeepers Creepers Semistar.”

9:34 p.m. I also miss the Ben Stiller of The Ben Stiller Show, but that’s probably something that goes without saying.

9:34 p.m. Oh, great, now the revenues from the video are for charity so I have to feel bad about thinking it was awful.

9:35 p.m. Carrie Underwood, in a ponytail, comes out blazing and pitchy for “Before He Cheats II,” a.k.a. “Last Name.”

9:36 p.m. So Carrie is wearing this outfit that’s like … shorts and a jacket, only attached to the sleeves is this kind of shawl/jump rope contraption. I guess that’s because she brings her own fun? But this song is all about getting drunk and going home with someone, which you’d think would make this outfit a bit… tricky.

9:38 p.m. Ashley Tisdale and her new nose are in the audience, and I am so happy that she’s not on that stage singing her “He Said She Said” song.

9:41 p.m. Now it’s a David Archuleta Guitar Hero ad. With, yes, him in the Risky Business boxers. No. Just…. no. Thankfully, this one seemed much shorter than the Cook ad.

9:43 p.m. The last top 12 medley ever… starts with Kristy Lee Pander-Girl Cook fucking up “Faith.” Carly recovers, but then they force Ramiele down our throats again.

9:44 p.m. Yeah, Amanda is not a good pick for this song either.

9:44 p.m. Oh man, and now it’s the guys singing “Father Figure.” Don’t mess this up you guys. I have to live through the next 16 minutes.

9:45 p.m. Michael first; OK, he can do it. Hahaha, they gave David Hernandez the line about being naked! And Chikezie growls his line. I would love to hear him sing this whole song.

9:45 p.m. OK, so I got chills when David Cook did the “end of… tiiime” bit.

9:46 p.m. This is all making me really miss Chikezie a lot, you guys.

9:47 p.m. Chikezie with the vamps! Where is his album, I ask you? When does ?uestlove snap him up?

9:48 p.m. Aw, “Praying For Time.” I kind of figured this would be the song he’d sing after the whole “Idol Gives Back” thing. Is anyone getting a recent-Morrissey vibe off this?

9:50 p.m. Paula is crying. God, I love this song. I wonder if anyone would be willing to get me tickets to one of his shows… hint, hint.

9:51 p.m. “Praying For Time”: Now more than ever?

9:52 p.m. Yeah, I think so.

9:53 p.m. Oh, he apologized for having a cold!! Poor George!!

9:55 p.m. Do you guys think that Ashton Kutcher has a Flickr page?

9:57 p.m. We’re back! Jordin Sparks’ reign of terror is about to end!

9:57 p.m. Randy: “You’re both winners.”

9:57 p.m. Paula: “It’s the beginning of the start of the destinies of your careers.” Then she babbled something about losing being OK. Densities?

9:58 p.m. Simon: “On the night, it was a terrific show…” and he apologized for treating David Cook the way he did last night! Could this be a hint? And now he’s saying that he doesn’t care who wins?

9:59 p.m. The votes are certified, and bona fide, to borrow a phrase from an old co-worker.

9:59 p.m. The lights go down.

10:00 p.m. The David who wins is… David Cook!

10:00 p.m. By 12 million votes! Wow. I guess all that bus-throwing reverse psychology worked.

10:01 p.m. David Cook is crying. Meanwhile, David Archuleta has run off to the other side of the stage.

10:01 p.m. And that’s it. David Cook is blaming his brother, there’s no sing-off I guess? Oh, here’s… “Time Of My Life”? I guess this is what Paula meant by the songs from last night not being the winning songs.

10:03 p.m. So, how many months do you think we’re going to have before Games puts out a special American Idol issue?

10:04 p.m. Wait, does David Archuleta look… relieved? Actually, that wouldn’t surprise me in the least, given that he’s now pretty much off the hook for all those interviews.

10:05 p.m. It’s over! Does this mean that American Idol now has–gasp–credibility? Nah, we’ll probably be complaining about Cookie’s first single very, very soon.

10:08 p.m. Paula was just quoted on the local news as saying that this was the “best finale.” Her prognosticating abilities are getting better by the minute!

10:11 p.m. Well, that’s it, another year of American Idol in the books. I’m pretty happy with the results, although i suspect the hue and cry from the Archie fans elsewhere on the Internet will be loud and coming my way very soon. In the meantime, a friend of mine is trying to figure out which Chiefs game during the 2009 season will feature a David Cook national anthem.

10:13 p.m. Oh and I guess George Michael really is the biggest star in the world? To be honest, I’m pretty much 100% OK with that.