The Top 2 Take Risks And Surprise

Just kidding about the title, of course. I just finished an extremely rapid viewing of the top 2 performance show which included liberal use of the fastforward button. (Although, thanks to a new and improved judging format wherein the judges do not judge, much less fastforwarding than it could have been.) What little I did hear from Randy and J. Lo and Steven Tyler was entirely useless and the trio did their best to be irrelevant and misguided even in silence. It’s a good thing J. Lo is so pretty.

Overall, I liked the finale about as much as I enjoy most finales. It was miles ahead of last season’s godawful finale if only for the lack of Lee’s “Beautiful Day” tacked on to the end like a hideous pus-filled blister. (I’d also like to point out that Crystal reached banshee-levels of ear-shattering shrieking at points as well. It was really not a good night for television or music or common decency.) There were no big moments, but rarely are performances during the finale big moments. Fantasia had “I Believe” and one could argue a case for both Kris and Adam, but finales aren’t historically filled with rousing performances. The top two are running around doing just about everything under the sun that there’s not enough time for them to really prepare something amazing. Repeats of performances are never as good as the originals. Coronation songs are always terrible. (In some cases, they at least have the decency to be terribly hilarious.) With that in mind, the night brought relatively few cringe-worthy moments and was mostly entertaining for one reason or another.

Scotty clearly has this competition in the bag. There is no way he isn’t winning. He’s got a ridiculously huge fanbase and there’s nothing Lauren could’ve done tonight to change that outcome. He’s definitely a deserving winner in this sense. He’s done enough to get the votes. I think he’s had too few strong performances and generally lacked any creativity, musically or otherwise, but he’s sung well and perfectly catered to his fans. I can’t hate someone for playing the Idol game as well as he has. I actually took his performance of “Gone” more seriously than last time, though barely. (If you’ll recall, last time he long-jumped his way to the judges’ table in Tim Urban-fashion.) It was fun, if hokey. (Or more aptly it was fun because it was hokey.) The George Strait song brought out the best of the awkward guitar-playing stance and the eyebrow maneuvering. Really, I’m just glad that he decided to honor tradition by ensuring that our eventual-winner would be a white guy playing a guitar. Truly respectful of the sanctity of the Idol institution, that Scotty is. His coronation song was a truly terrible affair complete with either a completely bonkers melody or a hearty helping of flat notes. Given that the song’s hook and title is, “I love you *extends arms out* thiiiiis big,” I’m inclined to give Scotty the benefit of the doubt. I was upset that we weren’t getting a typical crappy coronation song this year, but I think Scotty’s fits the bill. (Which is a good thing because I was in the middle of composing my own coronation song if the show didn’t deliver one for a second year in a row and now I don’t have to unleash it upon the world. Though, I might still unleash it upon the world. I’ll have to figure that out.)

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I’d prefer a Lauren Alaina win. I thought she won the night, though not by as much as I would’ve predicted a week ago. Where Scotty seemed to be cruising through the night, Lauren, for better or worse, appeared to be in an all out war every time she hit that stage. Trying hard and showing some fire is a good thing, visibly struggling is not and Lauren flirted with that line all night. “Flat On The Floor” was appropriately enthusiastic, but riddled with various vocal mishaps: botched high notes, swallowed phrases, audible breathing problems and general vocal sloppiness. Her voice fared much better on the Carrie Underwood-picked song, but everything took a back seat to that dress she was wearing. I mean, the dress even distracted me from the gigantic, gaudy flower ring she was wearing. This was definitely my favorite vocal of the night and, y’know, once in a while everyone needs to dress up like a character in Cinderella 2: The Silver Combat Boots Edition. Lauren’s coronation song was most definitely chosen by every Idol blogger who felt like they hadn’t yet filled their quota of Lauren Alaina mom jokes for the season. It also added to the shockingly high number of mentions of Kristy Lee Cook in the Idolsphere this season. (Seriously, check out WhatNotToSing, she’s all over that place.) Lauren’s song felt less like a coronation song and more just like a regular boring ballad that any number of misguided Idol hopefuls might pick to audition with. It was bland and dull, but there were tears and there was smoke and there was Ryan Seacrest escorting Lauren around the stage and of course, there was Lauren’s mom! It was an appropriate mix of sappy, musically abhorrent and yet, somehow, genuinely emotional to be considered the end of an Idol season. (In my mind, American Idol ended with the performance show this week. Tonight’s finale is simply one of the best 2-hour variety shows around with some amateur contestants that I have vague attachments to.)

Tonight we get to witness Scotty McCreery fill the Kris-ty Lee Cook prophecy and keep the “contestant who is second alphabetically by first name” win streak alive at 10 for 10.

Also, fiddle player man? He should get mentioned in this blog. Because he was featured just about as prominently as the top 2.


1 Response to “The Top 2 Take Risks And Surprise”

  1. 1 Meyling May 25, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Haha. I have to disagree with you that last year’s finale was worse. While Lee looked like a scared little puppy, I really did enjoy Crystal. If any finale came close to as bad as this one was, it was probably S6. But I’d still rather watch that one because at least that one had variety. I also absolutely hated Lauren’s last performance. Okay, I guess she sounded good. But I could not stand the whole, walking into the audience to hug her mom, thing. Save it for after you win. (Except she won’t win, so I guess this was her only opportunity)

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