American Idol: America’s shocking decision?

Last night’s “American Idol” finale proved that while we have endured many crappy performances this season from the likes of KC and the Sunshine band, Lady GaGa, Frida Payne and even Idol judge Paula Abdul, they showed that they always save the best for last. I’d say this was one of the best finales, maybe the best yet. And for me, the outcome didn’t suck either. But more on that in a minute.

Ryan Seacrest announced that almost 100 million votes came in, and a record 624 million votes this season. Then they announced each judge and had little clips of them from this past season, focusing on each of their quirks, which was pretty funny. And I’m still seeing red from Randy’s bow tie. Then Adam Lambert and Kris Allen came out wearing all white…what? And after showing Kris’ fans in his hometown in Conway, Arkansas with host Mikhala Gordon, and Adam’s fans in San Diego with Carly Smithson, it was the first group performance–the final 13 all wearing white (oh now I get it) and singing “So What,” after which exactly one dude in the studio audience stood up and clapped. Does anyone remember Jorge? And poor Scott McIntyre was being pushed and pulled all over the place. Jasmine Murray reminded us of why she was booted off early on in the finals when she soloed….ouch!

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American Idol: I can get used to this

The producers of “American Idol” wanted to shake things up this season, and so far they have done that, at least in some ways. There are now four judges instead of three, and Hollywood week (on TV) was extended one extra week. But the biggest change of all is in the show’s format. Instead of 24 semi-finalists, there are now 36. And in the first three semi-final rounds, only 3 of the 12 are voted into the finals by America. What this does is weed out a lot of the lesser talent very early on, and sets up a very worthy, very talented Top 12. Of course, those voted “off” this week and the next two weeks still have a chance to make the final round as a wild card. But I gotta tell ya, this is a much better way to go.

So last night, since this IS an hour long results show, there was some fluff and padding. It began with video of the twelve who sang the night before in a video montage of their journey so far. Then they did a group number of the positively horrible Jason Mraz song, “I’m Yours.”

Seriously, that was the best they could come up with? Then we saw highlights of Tuesday’s performances.

Finally, Ryan Seacrest started bringing them out to the front of the stage. He asked the judges their opinion of how they did and then told them whether they were moving on or not. First up, Casey Carlson, who was pretty awful and chose an awful song in The Police’s “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic.” Casey, not in the finals. Steven Fowler, also not in the finals. Alexis Grace, yes, in the finals. This girl is cute and has the voice that reflects her Memphis roots, big and soulful. They had Alexis sing, and this is so much better than having an eliminated contestant sing their way out.

Back to business. Ricky Braddy, who was clearly one of the best singers Tuesday night, not in the top 12. Jackie Tohn, also not in the top 12, and that’s good, because she’s been as annoying as the shiny pants she wore Tuesday night. Then it was between Anoop Desai and Michael Sarver. I had thought Anoop might make it, because he has an amazing voice and is likeable. But Michael was more likeable–the hard-working, everyAmerican many of us can relate to. Good for him. So Alexis and Michael so far in the finals, leaving us with five more and one more seat.

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