American Idol: another surprise and a big finale

Last night’s season finale of “American Idol” had a bit of everything. It even had another somewhat surprising ending, at least from where I sit. Ryan Seacrest promised that there would be a few tributes to outbound Simon Cowell during the night, and there were. But here is how the rest of the show went down, and we’ll sum it up as quickly as we can:

The Season 9 Top 12 sang Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and once we saw the school kids dressed like Alice Cooper we knew the man himself would make an appearance and he did. But he didn’t sound very good.

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American Idol: no screaming here

It’s getting down to the wire on “American Idol,” to the point where it gets to be a bit unpredictable who might be sent home. I admitted yesterday that I had no idea who would be getting cut last night, and I was mildly surprised by the outcome. However, I did think this person was the worst of Tuesday night.

The show began with the first of many performances, as country superstars Rascal Flatts performed their new single, “Unstoppable.” I’ve never really understood why this band is so huge, and that was confirmed again last night….I don’t get the appeal. The song was pretty bad, too. But okay.

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American Idol: uh-oh

I didn’t think I’d be writing about something like this in Season 9, but here it is. No one on last night’s “American Idol” gave a performance worthy of getting booted off the show. In fact, now more than ever, you could point to the judges’ save of big Michael Lynche a few weeks ago as being premature, because they surely are going to want that save back tonight. Why? Because everyone brought it last night, to the point that the judges and host Ryan Seacrest wondered out loud how anyone could be eliminated. But it has to happen. So let’s look at the way it all played out, and this week’s mentor was country superstar Shania Twain. You may remember Shania was one of the judges for this season’s initial auditions. Now she had the pleasure of watching the contestants perform her songs. Would they butcher those songs or make her proud? Let’s read on….

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American Idol: gives back one contestant

They’ve done this before, right? On “Idol Gives Back” night, they say they are going to eliminate a contestant and then they say they can’t on a charity night, and eliminate two contestants the following week. But not last night. Last night after a heartwarming (and I’m sorry, most of the time, DRAGGING) 2.5 hour show, Ryan Seacrest announced that one of the contestants was going home…..in effect, they were “giving one contestant back,” right? At least that’s how I was looking at it.

Anyway, before we get to the results, here is a blazing fast summary of guest appearances and funny moments…

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American Idol: Chastize me over Elvis Presley’s grave

As guest blogger, I will open in the only way I should: by offering my sincerest apologies for not getting the blog for last night’s “American Idol” completed in a more timely fashion. I’ve been battling an allergy attack since yesterday (the result, I feel certain, of all the dust I kicked up in my office while scouring the joint for tax receipts), and, quite frankly, I feel like crap. But I know Mike’s got a lot going on these days, what with his big move and all, so I was always going to do this for him. I just had to build up my strength, which I have now done, so with my cup of hot lemon tea with honey sitting by the keyboard, let’s get to talking about who got the boot.

Things kicked off last night with a medley of Elvis Presley songs – “Burning Love,” “Teddy Bear,” “Return to Sender,” and “Viva Last Vegas” – which neither did damage to the reputation of the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll nor did it any favors. The best part about “Burning Love” was the cute moment where we saw Katie working her knees for all they were worth, and Lee’s vocals on “Teddy Bear” sounded like those of a lounge singer, but I actually kind of dug it. Otherwise, though, I was pretty underwhelmed by the performances, and when “Viva Las Vegas” kicked off, all I could think of was how much better the Dead Kennedys did the song.

From there, the program went green for a minute or so as we were treated to a Ford-sponsored commercial with several of the contestants performing a version of…wait for it…the Polyphonic Spree’s “Light and Day / Reach for the Sun.” How completely and utterly surreal, but it sounded a damned sight better than any of those Elvis covers.

Moving on to the first of the night’s departures, Cap’n Seacrest narrowed down the playing field to three contestants:

* Casey, whose version of “Lawdy Miss Claudy” Mike described as “not bad at all vocally, but just a so-so rating on the entertainment meter.”
* Aaron, who offered a take on “Blue Suede Shoes,” which Mike called “cheesy but not horrible.”
* Andrew, who Mike buried in the Not So Good column last night, saying, “It wasn’t awful, but not at all star quality and easily the worst of the night.”

So long, Andrew…and, really, was there ever any doubt that you’d be one of the two players leaving the game tonight? But, hey, at least we got your version of James Morrison’s “You Give Me Something” as a farewell, which served to remind us that, all things considered, America probably made the right decision.

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