Live-Blogging The “American Idol” Finale, Part 2: After All These Messages, We’ll Have Something Resembling A Winner

noah | May 20, 2009 7:56 pm

So, tonight is the end of this season of American Idol, which means that after a boatload of performances by the likes of Keith Urban, Queen Latifah, Rod Stewart, and other people outside the demographic of people who can try out for the show, we’ll find out whether Adam Lambert or Kris Allen will be waking up tomorrow with this year’s title. And don’t forget, as Ryan Seacrest warned last night, the show will be running overtime! (My local newscast is scheduled for 10:07 p.m. ET, which means that we’ll be here until at least 10:43.) Full coverage begins after the jump.7:58 p.m. Again with the White Castle ads! It’s like last night never ended, and “I Got You Babe” is going to start playing sometime soon.8:00 p.m. “These two lives have been changed forever… but only one can win the title,” Ryan intones. Kris and Adam are in matching white outfits, with Adam wearing a jacket that looks like it came with markers back at the store. “Guys, sign this so i NEVER FORGET!”8:02 p.m. 100 million votes came in last night; season total is 624 million. Ryan’s voice cracked Peter Brady-style when he said that number. He’s overcome!8:03 p.m. Oh God, a montage of Judges’ Bloopers And Practical Jokes? This is why the show is cutting into vital reports about grave-robbers and iTunes scammers?8:04 p.m. ENDLESS CLIPS OF KARA BEING FAKE NICE.8:05 p.m And now, Paula stumbling over multi-syllable words! At least these montages are going by a bit quickly.8:06 p.m. Six minutes in, and finally the contestants are being ushered onstage. Still in white. Kris’ family is outfitted in ball gowns.8:06 p.m. The microphones that the contestants have seem to have been turned off in honor of giving one last show of deference to the judges.8:07 p.m. Carly Smithson hosting the San Diego hometown visit! Her hair looks like it’s straight out of 1987, and she loves Adam “to pieces.” How great would a duet between the two of them be?8:08 p.m. First group sing: “So What.” You can tell that they’re all actually singing, since the voices don’t really mesh very well. Lots of lyrics about drinking being excised here. Allison’s outfit–a zippered-up dress over pants–is my favorite, although a lot of it is context.8:11 p.m. And we are at the first commercial break. Oh… it’s time for “Open Happiness”! Or at least 30 seconds of it. So glad Pepsi isn’t sponsoring this, since then I would be on will.i.am overload.8:12 p.m. “Open Happiness” would have made a much better coronation song. Not to mention synergistic. Idol producers, dropping the ball.8:14 p.m. Ryan says the words “a bartender” and you can already hear some faint screams in the crowd for last year’s Idol, David Cook.8:15 p.m. It seems to me like having swaybots for a song about David Cook’s dead brother (that’s why he’s wearing the black armband) is a bit inappropriate, but I guess that’s Idol for you.8:17 p.m. This song is not my cup of tea, but it has a sound that would fit right into rock radio. Why hasn’t it started doing so yet?8:18 p.m. Oh, this might be the beginning of the push. Sale proceeds are going to cancer research.8:19 p.m. “Great performers, but more importantly great guys,” Cook says of the two heirs to his throne. Isn’t it nice that he can say that and mean it?8:19 p.m. Oh, it’s time for the Awards To People Who Were Sorta Funny Enough To Make A Clip Show Early In The Season!8:20 p.m. The awards would seem to be divided by gender? Outstanding Male: Wil Kunick (who I don’t remember), Michael Gurr (ditto… oh, wait, he was one of those people who sounded like he was taking a crap), Elijah Scarlett (another one of those deep-yet-melody-free dudes), Dean-Anthony Bradford (oh yeah, the guy with the carpet coat who would have made it through if he’d dialed it back to 11 from 27), and Nick “Normund Gentle” Mitchell (YAY… and c’mon, he kicked Jasmine Murray’s ass).8:23 p.m. I mean, who else can win? COME ON UP NICK! In a disappointingly unshiny hoodie!8:23 p.m. Nathan Lane gets thanked on the Idol stage… oh, now I see why he’s wearing the hoodie. Is that the first Idol striptease?8:24 p.m. Ouch, big, bad, note there. I guess this is prep for Tatiana’s appearance?8:25 p.m. Ryan looks like an American Apparel ad with the Normund sweatband and glasses on.8:25 p.m. A break from the awards… for Lil. I almost would rather see Tatiana.8:26 p.m. She’s singing with Queen Latifah, which is resulting in a duet between two people who can’t hold their long notes at all. Remember: It’s a singing competition!8:27 p.m. This song is a horrible choice for these singers! It’s basically Variations On One Note That Neither Singer Can Stay On. Yuck.8:28 p.m. And apparently it’s Queen Latifah’s big comeback single? I’m starting to wonder if people just need to stop trying to make her music career happen at this point. (Although I’m sure the recorded version will sound much better.)8:33 p.m. People Whose Development Deals Need To Be Put Out Of Their Misery: Seth McFarlane.8:33 p.m. An awkward segue right into a very summery, if off-key, performance of “I’m Yours” by Alexis and Anoop. Oh and hey there’s Jason Mraz! Who looks like Matt Giraud with his hat and his affableness.8:35 p.m. Here come the rest of the idols. Mraz and Matt can’t stand next to each other, because then the whole world will be SUCKED INTO A WORMHOLE.8:35 p.m. I am on record as thinking that song is cute, but its power is somewhat robbed by it being a group sing.8:36 p.m. And now it’s time for the Kris Allen retrospective package! Remember when he was modest and all “I’m not the best singer”? Oh, right, he hasn’t changed much as far as modesty goes.8:37 p.m. And now, in the latest installment of Idol Finalists Pimp The New Singles From Middling Artists With Powerful Managers, here’s Kris singing Keith Urban’s “Kiss A Girl.” Although this song is a good fit for his twangy voice.8:38 p.m. I guess Katie and Suri aren’t in the crowd tonight?8:39 p.m. The mixing on this song just went pear-shaped. Good thing to know that some aspects of Idol‘s production this year haven’t gotten all fancied up for the finale.8:40 p.m. This song is much preferable to the hit pop song about kissing a girl from last year. I actually have something of a soft spot for Keith Urban, who I guess is considered “country” because he’s from way down south but who is just a catchy pop-rock artist at heart.8:42 p.m. T-Mobile advertisement about too-high cell phone bills during the AT & T-laden Idol? And a spot that brings back Catherine Zeta-Jones, at that? Will next year see a shift in the official text-messaging partner? This is what passes for a pop music scandal in 2009.8:44 p.m. A pitch-perfect boy-band parody… that’s about 10 years out of date. Also, I miss 2ge+her:

8:44 p.m. And we’re here with another awkward transition back from commercial… and into “Glamorous,” with the ladies even more awkwardly harmonizing. Hey, what recession, right?8:45 p.m. Megan Joy Corkrey is no Fergie, that’s for sure. And Allison does not want to be on that stage.8:46 p.m. Oh no… “Big Girls Don’t Cry (Personal)”? I thought I was rid of this song? And now I have to retract my previous statement and note that Fergie is no Megan Joy. And none of them are Allison.8:46 p.m. I HATE THIS SONG SO MUCH. ONE THOUSAND SUNS.8:47 p.m. And now, “Boom Boom Pow,” featuring a bunch of backup dancers… dressed… like… mazes?8:48 p.m. Awkward cut to the Idol logo. Did someone panic about “two thousand and late” being viewed as a pregnancy reference?8:50 p.m. This song would be OK if it had different vocalists and better lyrics.8:50 p.m. Ryan’s “That is why they are No. 1″: The least convincing explanation for an annoying act’s tireless success ever. However, the “boom boom pow” is going to stay in my head forever. DAMMIT.8:51 p.m And now it’s time to give out the Best Attitude award: Katrina “Bikini Girl” Darrell (shouldn’t Kara get an honorary nomination for this?); Alexis “Reformed But Still Crazy Philly Chick” Cohen; and Tiffany Shedd (I don’t remember her, but she had lots of pearly blue eyeshadow and a cute polka-dot dress).8:53 p.m. Katrina Darrell is back… and not wearing pants! And holy God has she been abusing the tanning salon.8:54 p.m. She’s being invited to sing again. Girls are booing! Hooray!8:54 p.m. Oh, and here’s a Kara run-in! This may be the first time this season I’ve been glad that she opened her mouth.8:55 p.m. And now she shows that she can wear a bikini, too! You know, this would be a great opportunity for her to thank everyone for a great year and tell them that she’s going to miss them in the future.8:57 p.m. State Farm presents a music video of the Jackson 5’s “I’ll Be There.” This > Anything that happened in the last 13 minutes.9:00 p.m. Allison and Cyndi Lauper in The Battle Of The Crazy Dye Jobs. Cyndi has her stripey dye job back, which I always used to wonder about the logistics of when I was a kid. They’re singing “Time After Time,” and Allison sounds great.9:01 p.m. Allison just smiled at Cyndi in an “Oh my God I can’t believe this is actually my life, this is awesome” way. Love her.9:02 p.m. Oh, they sound so good together. I am loving this so much. They’re just vamping and freaking out, and staying in harmony! Yay.9:03 p.m. At the end, Allison just breaks into a huge grin and gives Cyndi a hug. So much love on this stage right now.9:04 p.m. In the Battle Of Finalist Family Fashion, the Lamberts beat out the Allens, whose look is a bit prommy for my taste.9:05 p.m. Danny Gokey singing “Hello,” basically telling the world he’s not as creative as David Cook.9:07 p.m. And now Lionel Richie comes out for his contractually obligated current-single promotion.9:08 p.m. “Just Chill,” really? Is this going to be an ad for one of those lime beers?9:09 p.m. Not even the dorkiness of Gokey can make “All Night Long” less good to these ears. Oh, hush.9:10 p.m. Kind of sad that the music from Brazil has become almost as cliched as “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” as far as Songs Repurposed By Movies go.9:13 p.m. You know who the ad for Shrek: The Musical is reminding me about? Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis. He is totally missing from the Nokia’s stage.9:15 p.m. Adam’s walk down memory lane, where he’s talking about how he twists songs to fit his own aesthetic. I do wonder how the one-two punch of him and Cook (and, to a lesser extent, Kris) will affect next year’s contestant pool, if future finalists will have to have some sort of arranging power in order to even make it through to Hollywood.9:16 p.m OH MY GOD HE’S SINGING BETH. WHILE DRESSED AS A BIRDCAGE.9:17 p.m Didn’t Gene Simmons talk about doing a reality show to find the new members of Kiss? Well, mission accomplished, I guess.9:18 p.m. So much pyro! Paul Stanley looks like he’s about to fall off his platforms… if his voice doesn’t give out during “Detroit Rock City” first.9:19 p.m. I think at this point it’s contractually obligated that if Kiss show up on a stage, they have to play at least one verse of “Rock And Roll All Nite.” Whatever, it’s still good.9:19 p.m. This… this is Adam’s element. If he does come in second, watch for him to be on the Rock Of Ages stage within a month of the Tonys.9:20 p.m. Adam Lambert, platforms, and pyro. Not that he needs the other two, but they just feel so right.9:21 p.m. My guess is that he wore flats during the entire competition since he wanted to be able to fit in the same frame as Ryan during the post-performance critiques. But really, Adam! We have the same taste in shoes, call me!9:23 p.m. How are there still 44 minutes of show left?9:23 p.m. 44-plus, really. Ugh.9:25 p.m. Nokia still filled with smoke from all the pyro. And now it’s time for Carlos Santana, performing Songs You May Know Because Of The Guitar Hero Games And Also The Ubiquity Of That Matchbox Twenty Guy!9:27 p.m. Matt is on vocals. And here’s “Smooth,” which I have to confess, I have completely broken down and become OK with. This helped a lot, I have to say.9:28 p.m. The downside of this performance is that it’s making me think about the Mets’ anemic offense.9:28 p.m. Camryn Manheim in the audience? Is she on a new Fox show? Janice Dickinson, too, making the lippy kissy face.9:29 p.m. Time for the last Ford music video, which, as I learned from USA Today, was shot during Top Three week, hence the weirdness of Adam and Kris singing side-by-side, mug shot style.9:30 p.m. Free cars for everyone!9:30 p.m. Kris saying to Adam “Let’s go for a ride, dude”: And lo, a thousand fan fiction scenarios were born.9:32 p.m. I figured Megan was paired with Steve Martin for the comedic possibilities, but… well, not yet. Her and Sarver are dueting on this bluegrassy thing, and they actually sound sorta nice.9:33 p.m. Er. Sounded.9:34 p.m. A world premiere… trailer? For G-Force, a 3-D movie about… “an elite team of animal spies”?9:34 p.m. This is a situation very similar to the most recent season of 24, only with a pet shop. And Zach Galifanakis. And I hope less torture?9:36 p.m. This cast list does look very 30 Rock-ish.9:39 p.m. More Sarver on lead vocals? Did we need this?9:39 p.m. Oh, man, all the men singing “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” Don’t quote me on this, but it looks like Adam is cracking up.9:40 p.m. Rod Stewart is croaking out “Maggie May.” And wearing a jacket not unlike the one Carpet Guy wore at his audition. I guess when you’re famous you can get away with stuff like that.9:43 p.m. Rod’s, um, degraded vocal condition would have worked a lot better with “Ooh La La,” no?9:44 p.m. And now, Outstanding Female, a.k.a. The Excuse To Get Tatiana Back Out On Stage! The nominees: a bunch of people who I vaguely sorta remember and Tatiana.9:46 p.m. I totally forgot about her audition dress! The crinolines she stapled to it!9:47 p.m. I can’t tell if this “security trying to take Tatiana off stage” is a joke or what?9:49 p.m. The thing about Idol is that it doesn’t have the proper directors running the show to make Awkward Funny pay off.9:52 p.m. Aw, Kris and Adam duet on “We Are The Champions.” Yay, post-partisanship!9:53 p.m. Oh hey it’s Queen. Now that they’ve got rid of Paul Rodgers, I guess they have a new singer in their sights?9:54 p.m. Seriously, “Adam Lambert Sings The Songs Of Queen With The Rest Of The Original Band” would sell out all over the place. Cross-generational potential by a mile!9:56 p.m. Something I never understood about this AT & T ad: Why would you need music interrupted for a text message?9:57 p.m. So Funny People is like Punch Line without a female protagonist, and with Wilco. Huh.10:00 p.m. THEY’RE BOTH ON STAGE! And Simon is congratulating them both on being nice. Ha ha.10:00 p.m. The guy holding the envelope has a totally British name: “Edward Boddington.” Because British accents mean business, you all.10:01 p.m. Kris wins!10:02 p.m. Not going to lie: I feel maybe a twinge of disappointment right now.10:02 p.m. Oh hey, now the show has a trophy. Um, yay?10:03 p.m. Kris looks somewhat disenchanted about winning. Adam is totally gracious.10:05 p.m. Confetti falling. This song still sucks. I will avoid making the snide comment about this result bearing out the notion that actually, there are still boundaries out there.10:06 p.m. Kris’ wife, in yellow, on the stage. And that’s it… wait, it ended on (relative) time? It’s a miracle!10:07 p.m. I mean, Kris didn’t look very happy to have won, no? It’s a given that Adam is going to be fine, but that was even more of an anticlimax than Kara’s song could have promised.10:19 p.m. And so ends another season of American Idol, one where the Dark Horse Candidate–another guitar-strumming hopeful with an adorably abashed grin–triumphed over the person who was touted as the front-runner from the start. I’m happy for Kris and I certainly think his sound was more modern than pretty much any candidate in the finals save maybe Anoop Desai, but between Bill O’Reilly, Pastor Rolex, and other unsavory people trying to turn this battle between friends into some sort of Red Vs. Blue State Referendum, I can’t help but have a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth. Can we at least blame 19 Entertainment for starting down the Culture Warpath, and letting the most unsavory elements of the country run down it long enough for it to be a plausible theory?