The very excellent, very long night begins with a shouty, flirty duet rendition of "I Saw Her Standing There" that manages not to be completely cheesy, but does have some pitch issues (courtesy Jordin) in addition to its medium cheesiness (Blake). Then, Ryan's "good friend" GWEN STEFANI, looking pants in a weird Astro Boy bubble tutu dress and singing the rambling "4 In The Morning" -- one of the better songs from the new album -- with her eyes crossed. No Akon to be seen. Then: KELLY CLARKSON! Singing "Never Again"! Looking gorgeous! In fine voice! Warning Blake through a complicated system of blinks and hand signals to get the fuck out of there before it's too late! And the goddamn Golden Idols: X-Centric the Furry and Orgasm Girl lose the Crazy Motherfucking Irritant award to Big Bird Margaret. Then all Top Six boys do a Smokey Robinson medley with SMOKEY ROBINSON. What that means is: you trade Brandon Davis and Chris R for Sanjaya and Sligh and it's a fair deal, but then they throw Smokey Robinson at you, which queers the deal because he's a great musician but a lot to deal with, visually.
BARRY B and the aging DOUG E. FRESH join Blake onstage for some intensely awesome old-school freestyling that probably killed half the audience (Ryan's like, "Remember Justin and Kelly?"); Blake reveals that he has like fifteen powers of awesome beatboxing we didn't even know about, and it's powerful. Then more stupid Golden Idols that don't matter. I'm so glad I'm not Moses or I'd have to choke a bitch. Then the girls sing their medley with GLADYS KNIGHT! Who looks THIRTY! Then TONY BENNETT, the Bush Baby, and other things that got fast-forwarded. BEBE and CENE WINANS sing a lovely trio with Doolittle, who used to be their backup. That's the coolest thing, isn't it? They also look really great. I knew there would be special guests, but I didn't know they would all look fabulous. Such as CARRIE UNDERWOOD, in a cute dress over pants, who sings a fiddlicious country-tinged "I'll Stand By You" that isn't merely serviceable but actually way better than the original. Damn well done, Underwood. Clive Davis enters to "So Smooth," which is hilarious, and he rambles about Idols past, which: bleep-bloop, and Carrie gives an awesome speech about her wild success. A huge contingent of awesome bald African kids sing a very cool, very energetic African kid song. Sanjaya is compared to both Einstein and Abraham Lincoln, then performs "You Really Got Me" with Joe Perry in a wind tunnel; it's even more amazing than you can imagine.
GREEN DAY sings boring-ass "Working Class Hero" on behalf of Darfur, okay, in almost absolute darkness so that you might not recognize their whoredom, but you can't disguise Billie Joe's teeth with mere darkness, so the jig is up. TAYLOR HICKS shows up, still looking hot until he starts with that bullshit, and then I don't know, it's not really that bad. His toile paisley jacket is really amazing and his dancing is minorly gay when it's not spastic…it's Taylor, what can you do. Stand way back and let him go and hope he doesn't bite his tongue off. Jordin sings "You're All I Need To Get By" (Marvin Gaye) with ROOOOBEN, who's dressed like the entire cast of Idlewild. Jordin's wearing Badgley Mischka the whole time and it turns out the girl's got legs, which we didn't know. BETTE EFFIN' MIDLER sings "The Wind Beneath My Friggin' Wings" in a leather skirt and is one Parliament and a late night out from turning into Marianne Faithfull once and for all; it's cheesy and very very American Idol and unending. Randy and Paula, at this point, start making out down in the audience, while Bette Midler sings poorly and interjects God into every other line of the song, for some reason.
Kelly looks great despite her ill-advised top, rocking the hell out on "Sergeant Pepper's" with a gaunt man playing a golden guitar; Taylor's hotness seems to be sticking on his next number, "A Day In The Life," although he does color it all up with Taylor by the end; the third part of this weird little homage to the show itself is Carrie singing "She's Leaving Home," pronouncing "handkerchief" to rhyme with "Commander In Chief" because of the rhyme scheme, awesome; Ruben sings a pretty awesome arrangement of "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" with the Top Twelve as backup. Is this going to end? No. Next the Top Twelve, Sligh first up, sings "A Little Help From My Friendth." The "friends" in this instance being Lakisha's breasts, and Syndrome's weird little faces; Blake is dressed like the Sergeant himself.
Then Jordin, obviously, cries and wins and cries and sings that awful song, and cries, and we're done. I'm mostly going to miss Simon for the rest of the year. We're free! Damn it! Congratulations to Jordin, and to the show for having a finale that, even without Prince, managed to be awesome.
Ryan's wearing his usual black suit and tie and looking like one million pre-tax dollars. Blake and Jordin make bored, goofy faces as Ryan wonders aloud who will take the title, the "beatboxer from Seattle," or the "sweetheart from Arizona"? The world is watching, he says ominously: "This is American Idol." There are awkward daps for the band leader and a complete disinterest in the crowd as he hits the stage. It's all very cinematic; I highly recommend HD. Oops, spoke too soon: Teri Hatcher. Why do they insist on bringing her here all the time? It makes me nervous. Even scarier is Ryan's declaration that this season has already comprised forty-nine hours of television. Forty-nine hours! If they McDowell'd you in a room and clipped your eyeballs open for forty-nine hours with this crap, how bored would you be? Dead. Dead amount of bored.
Jordin gets some cheers from Foxworthy and a very unhappy Jerry Springer. All night long, you don't see one without the other; it's telling. America, see what happens when you stop paying attention? The cheers are louder for Blake, but it's a West Coast audience so that doesn't mean anything. Ryan gives propers to "the people who discovered them in the first place," the judges. Randy's wearing a strange, ugly jacket that makes him look like the leader of a small African nation in some terrible '70s movie. Paula's hair is smaller, her nose is adorable, and she's looking fine. Time enough for the ugly crying. Simon's wearing: a black jacket, shirt open to here, a proud expanse of rich white flesh, a smarmy stare, and a sexy wink at Ryan. Those two. How weird is it when the slashers win and the people give in? Remember that one Dawson's Creek where the whole teaser was Dawson and Pacey declaring their horndog teenage love for each other? Shivery.
Dude, Randy thinks it's gonna be a hot one night. I'm going to open this bag of M&Ms right now and line up all the green ones, and every time Randy says something relevant, I'm going to eat one. Better than gastric bypass, boy. Randy yells at Ryan to call it right now and Ryan explains that if he does that, it will mean big trouble, because we need to sit through fifty-one hours of this crap before that happens -- and then we won't get to see it, because FOX is run by incontinent old men that still don't get time-shifting. Paula says something or another is "excellent" and Ryan's like, "Simon, you already look bored." You and me both, baby doll. Simon says it's because he's listening to Ryan; Ryan has his usual grace about it all, bonding with Paula over how awesome finales are, and how conversely unawesome Simon can be. Blake is cute all over.