Friday, May 26

And the Winner Is....

Us, actually, because despite a few obligatory clips of bad auditions, the 2-hour finale is jam packed with a lot of good stuff!

As the show starts, we jump right into a performance, instead of Ryan's normal intro. Reigning Idol Carrie comes out on stage singing "I Made It Through the Rain," joined by Taylor & Katharine. The other finalists eventually join in, wearing all white, as does a choir (wearing black). It's fun to see everyone again though not a great song.

Now we get the intro stuff. The judges each get video clips; Randy's 'How many ways can you say "Dawg"?' is fairly boring. Paula's is set to "So Emotional" and is kind-of cute. Simon's focuses on his ego, showing lots of gestures & facial expressions while repeating "I give myself a 10." Not bad.

Hometown party clips - the O'Donahue twins are 'reporting' from the crowd in Birmingham, while Tamyra Gray is nearby with some McPhans. Then we start the duets!

Paris is first up with Al Jarreau; they sing "We're In This Love Together." (Mr. Pez: Who's this? Pez: Al Jarreau! Mr. Pez: Does he sing anything I'd recognize? Me: Yeah, this! Or not.)

Next is one of my favorite performances of the night: Chris with Live on "Mystery." Twin bald rawkers; much fun! What a blast for Chris. The crowd really loved this as well.

Next is the first of two comedic skit segments called "Puck 'n' Pickler," where Wolfgang Puck tutors Kellie in the finer foods. First up is escargot, which she tastes but spits out and says she doesn't believe him when he tells her that thousands of people eat this all the time. Moving on....

Kat sings with Meatloaf: "It's All Coming Back to Me Now." This style of song is perfect for her, all theatrical & dramatic. Meat's not doing so well but they manage.

Then begins the first round of "Golden Idol Awards," which seem like a poor excuse to rehash yet again some bad audition clips. We have an outstanding female and male vocalist... the male winner is Crazy Dave, who makes an appearance and jumps around the stage for a bit.

Puck 'n' Pickler, Scene 2: Lobsters! This clip was hilarious; Kellie is really, really scared of the two live lobsters that are brought out and set on their table! I mean, jumping out of her seat screaming and hesitating to approach the table, scared. Like Dave Letterman when Jack Hanna puts an animal on his desk, scared.

Next another highlight: the guys' medley! They're all in black outfits and sing a medley of Takin' Care of Business, Tobacco Road, and Fleetwood Mac's Don't Stop. This was much fun, and you can really tell the guys all like each other a lot. This really makes me look forward to seeing them on tour this summer.

Next we have a montage of clips from the various carmercials... and then Ryan presents Kat and Tay with their very own new Mustang convertibles!! Whee!

The next Golden Idol is for Proudest Family Moment. Nominees are Kat's dad watching her sing, Chris's wife Deanna at his first audition (hee, I remember that, she wouldn't let him go!), and Elliott's mom on his homecoming trip. She wins, of course. Aww, Bucky's twin Rocky is sitting a couple of rows behind her and jumps up immediately to clap! Then she gets to introduce Elliott...

who sings U2's One with Mary J. Blige. He starts off, then she comes out & sings most of the rest by herself; they duet a teeny bit at the end but she really doesn't pay much attention to him. Oh well.

Carrie performs again, singing her new single "Don't Forget to Remember Me." Ironically I just heard this on the radio for the first time this week! It's an ok song, definitely not as good as Jesus, Take the Wheel. But girl can still sing. Oh and they mention her 2 Academy of Country Music awards and that she's sold over 3 million albums (wow!).

Another Golden Idol: The Randy Jackson Award for Public Speaking, which goes to Rhonetta. Moving on...

Taylor gets to sing "In the Ghetto" with Toni Braxton. Who tries to get Tay to dance with her in a way that isn't appropriate at all for this song, but he doesn't go along w/her any more than he has to.

Next the girls get a medley: Man, I Feel Like a Woman, Trouble, I'm a Woman, Natural Woman, and I'm Every Woman (!). It's pretty good; Paris & Lisa remind me what awesome singers they are and I wonder again how Kat outlasted them (well, not really, because I'm sure they split some votes between them).

Another Golden Idol: Best Impersonation. Nominees are the Cher guy, the Michael Jackson guy, and the Clay guy. The Clay guy (Michael Sandecki) wins and they show a way-too-long clip of him auditioning & then running down the hallway to the Chariots of Fire theme to go to the bathroom & then back to the audition. Eventually they get back to real time and turns out not only is he there to accept his award, Ryan asks him to sing! So, in his finest (and geekiest) button-down pinstripe shirt, spiky hair and glasses, he makes a go at Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me. It's painful, but then the stage door opens behind him and someone walks out but they're still in the shadow... soon I'm guessing it might be Clay and yes, he starts singing and it is! (His new Beatles-esque 'do made him a bit hard to recognize at first! He's also in a very nice, dark suit - looking very much more polished and professional than 3 years ago when he resembled Michael!) As soon as Michael senses someone near him he turns and just about has a conniption fit when he sees it's his idol Clay, in the flesh! "Excited" does not begin to describe his reaction; he is blown away. Though he somehow manages to keep singing, but I don't think he was supposed to; eventually Ryan pulls him aside and sits him down on a stool and somone turns his mic off so Clay can finish the song alone. Clay is very gracious, shakes his hand & such, humoring him during the sing-along (much like he does with child singers he brings up on stage to sing with him during his concerts, though most of them sing worlds better than Sandecki). Anyway the whole bit was highly entertaining, whether you're a Clay fan or not.

The last medley is a Burt Bacharach tribute. Burt's definitely looking old enough to receive a "tribute," as he comes out to play piano for them. The guys are in black suits (niiiiice!!) and the gals in fancy red dresses. First up are Taylor & Kat; then Ace & Melissa (The Look of Love); Kellie (I'll Never Fall in Love Again); Bucky (Raindrops are Falling on my Head - this was awesome, he sat on the edge of the stage & sang it nice & subdued); Mandisa; Lisa (Alfie?); Elliott (House is Not a Home - also awesome, best rendition of this I've heard since Tamyra's!); Kevin (What's New Pussycat!); Chris (Arthur's Theme); Paris (Close to You); and finally Dionne Warwick, singing Walk on By & then leading the whole group in That's What Friends are For.

The last Golden Idol is for Best Male Bonding. Nominees are Chris & Ace (they show the clip of their big hug after making it through "The Chair" - in slo-mo!), Ryan & Taylor (clip of them laying down on the stage to give Taylor's numbers), and The Brokenote Cowboys! The Cowboys win and are there to perform - which is cool, since 2 of them are pretty good singers and Garet is just flat-out adorable, in small doses anyway. They sing "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" & Matthew Buckstein gets to play guitar for them.

Whew! We've got less than 15 minutes to go and Ryan says that's it for the guest artists, it's time to get down to the results. Then the camera pans over to center stage and it opens... and out comes PRINCE!!! Wow. This is apparently the "big secret" to which Kat referred; some were speculating Celine Dion would be on but IMO this is even bigger. Prince. On American Idol. (Unless I forgot to switch back from Lost and this is an alternate universe or something!) Wow. So, he & his 2 scantily-clad backup singers/dancers perform 2 songs. I don't know them so must be fairly recent; still enjoyable. Wow.

*Now* we're done with guest performances!! Taylor and Kat get one last duet on "I Had the Time of My Life," which is both very appropriate lyrically and a surprisingly good song choice for them vocally. Nice.

Ok. Time for the winner... there were 63.4 million votes... and, no surprise, "You're American Idol is... Taylor Hicks!" So happy for him! No tears (though we get some sparkling, moist eyes), but he's still visibly moved. Katharine knew what was coming and is very gracious, as he was to her as well. He sang his coronation song "Do I Make You Proud," and didn't get confetti & balloons but did get a mirror ball and some fireworks. He took time in the last chorus to thank the fans, fellow contestants, band, & show, then finishing singing the last phrase right on time.

Congrats, Taylor! It will be interesting to see what kind of record he does, & how much he (gets to) contribute personally (writing & playing). A decent season all-in-all, and a great tour to anticipate.

Not sure yet if I'll be "recapping" the summer music shows (So You Think You Can Dance, RockStar, The One... is that all? That's enough!!) but I'm sure I'll be commenting now & again. And I might even blog about (*gasp*) something else for a change! Until then- take care!


lily said...

If you go to see the AI tour, I hope you write up a recap, Pez. Your thorough recaps always manage to remind me of little things in the shows that I had forgotten. I'd enjoy reading a tour 'cap, especially since there's a good chance I won't make it to see any tour show myself.

Kat said...

I certainly will! Haven't got the ticket yet but am planning to attend at the Indiana State Fair on August 17th. I'd love to go to several but with the prices will settle for one. Should be good show! Thanks for the kind words.

J.D. said...

I'm going to try to, though it will be difficult.

I love Kellie Pickler!