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American Idol, Reviews, Television

American Idol Season 10 Finale: I Loved It This Big

And tonight, American Idol‘s tenth season draws to a close. It will be remembered for its shocking eliminations (Pia! Casey! James!), its eccentric Top 13, who represented a sweeping number of musical genres, and for its all-country finale, the duel between Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina, ending with the down-home country crooner Scotty coming out on top.

I watched the finale with my friends Kelcie and Dut, both of whom contributed some stellar sound bites to the viewing experience. (I’ve collected some of the best gems and included them in a Witticisms section below, which you won’t regret checking out.) Thankfully, though the finale performance night was stale (enough so that I feel no compulsion to cover its activities at all), tonight’s results show was lively and jam-packed with some pretty solid performances. Because a lot took place, I’ll spend no more than 140 characters, Twitter-style, on each performance, video package, or important event in an effort to preserve some brevity. (It probably won’t work.)

Kick us off, Top 13! (Photos courtesy Rickey.org and MTV.com.)

The Top 13 perform Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”: I am reminded how I have no desire to see some of these people (Ashthon/Karen/Naima/Thia) ever again. Schmaltzy version of a schmaltzy song.

James Durbin screams out “Livin’ After Midnight” and “Breakin’ The Law” with Judas Priest: Whew. That’s the way to celeb duet. James fit right in with these hard rockers, and his screechy voice worked really well with their style.

Jacob Lusk puts his stank all over “I Smile” with special guests Kirk Franklin and Gladys Knight: I was incredibly distracted by Kirk’s insistence on shouting things to the audience over the other two singers. Couldn’t understand anyone.

Casey Abrams inexplicably duets with Jack Black on Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls”: Casey likely deserved a better artist to duet with, but it was quite entertaining nonetheless. Loved the scatting, though the end derailed.

Beyonce medley (“Single Ladies,” “Irreplaceable,” “Get Me Bodied,” “If I Were A Boy,” “Deja Vu,” and “Crazy In Love”) featuring the ladies of the Top 13 and Ms. B herself: Not enough Haley and Pia feature vocals for my money, but an all-around quality medley. B stole the performance with her dramatic appearance.

Haley Reinhart’s duet with Tony Bennett on “Stepping Out With My Baby”: Very sweet duet between these two. Haley toned down her growl and turned up her jazzy pitch control, and Mr. Bennett still sounds excellent.

The video packages that recapped the judges’ idiosyncrasies, Randy “The Veteran” Jackson, Jennifer “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” Lopez, and Steven “The Loose Cannon” Tyler: Randy’s made him look even more irrelevant than ever, and J.Lo’s didn’t make up for her awful critiques. Steven’s? Endearing beyond belief.

The extremely random TLC medley featuring Chilli and T-Boz themselves, as well as Lil Jon (?) and Naima/Thia/Karen/Ashthon: While I was actually excited to see TLC’s surviving members take the stage again, I couldn’t care a smidge about the rest of them.

Scotty McCreery’s duet with Tim McGraw on “Live Like You Were Dying”: Fine vocals from the tightly-clothed Mr. McGraw, though the song was a little out of Scotty’s range after the key change. Loosen up, McGraw!

The video package featuring the “bad auditioners”: Stupid and unnecessary. No further comment.

Marc Antony’s entirely Spanish performance of a Spanish song that I just don’t know, featuring the booty-shaking Jennifer Lopez: Well, I couldn’t understand a word of the vocal line. J.Lo was unnecessary, and Beyonce can booty-shake better. Where was Karen Rodriguez?!

Most shocking elimination video package, featuring James, Casey and Pia: Now, I understand why they got Casey to sing with Jack Black. Dudeson was hysterical. Loved the playfulness. Also, Pia is a Barbie doll.

Tom Jones medley (Prince’s “Kiss,” “She’s A Lady,” “What’s New, Pussycat,” “Green, Green Grass of Home,” “Love Me Tonight,” and “Delilah”) featuring the men of the Top 13 and Mr. Jones himself: Where was that Stefano all season? Dude killed it. This was better than the girls medley, though the girls got a more relevant artist.

Ford Music Video featuring Scotty and Lauren singing… : Oh, wait. I don’t remember or care. Neither does anyone else.

Lady Gaga, singing “The Edge of Glory”: A subdued Gaga performance with strong vocals, though I could have done without her dry-humping the dancer on a mountain. End was pretty BA.

Lauren Alaina and Carrie Underwood duetting on “Before He Cheats”: These two sounded stellar, particularly when Lauren harmonized with Carrie on the chorus. Lauren’s career aspirations are crystal clear.

Video package featuring the other contestants discussing Lauren and Scotty: Casey could probably consider a career in comedy if music doesn’t work out for him, as could Stefano. Making fun of teens is fun for all!

Beyonce’s debut performance of “1+1”: Best vocal of the night. Loved the song, loved the staging, loved Beyonce’s soulful/stark/classy rendition. I’d buy that song right quick.

Reeve Carney’s (of Spiderman Musical fame) performance of “Rise Above” featuring Bono and The Edge: A tornado watch alert cut off all but the final 30 seconds of this performance for me, but it still looked kinda train wreck-y. Sorry, Bono.

Steven Tyler’s truncated piano version of “Dream On:” Danny Gokey should be hanging his head in shame. The resident crazy judge proves that he’s still got it, delivering an awesome rendition.

And the telecast ended with Scotty McCreery being crowned the tenth American Idol champion, and like winners past, he is again saddled with an atrocious coronation song, this time unfortunately titled “Love You This Big.” Yech. His encore performance was pretty endearing, actually, complete with an immediate descent into the audience to hug all his family members (and hilariously leaving Jack Black hanging; see picture below), followed by a return to stage, where he proceeded to hug all the contestants and judges.

He probably only sang about 50 percent of the song at most, but who cares? The kid deserves his moment in the sun, though it seemed that he really wanted to share it with Ms. Lauren Alaina. The pair kissed multiple times and Scotty also made mysterious reference to “staying with Lauren” even after his win. My metaphorical eyebrows raise, though I won’t deny that those two make a pretty cute couple. Congrats, Scotty and future Mrs. Scotty!

And now, the promised Witticisms section. Here are some choice quotes from Kelcie and Dut during tonight’s telecast:

“Haley’s legs are like woven mocha gold.” Dut, on Ms. Reinhart’s delicious gams.
Go bang Faith Hill.” Dut, on the unnecessary presence of Tim McGraw, and what he should instead be doing with his time.
“Dude, they’re Latina. They can do whatever they want.” Kelcie, on the proclivities of J.Lo and Mr. J.Lo, amidst the Spanish and butt-shaking.
“He looks like a black man. Stop going into the tanning salon, man.” Dut, on the startling dark tone of Tom Jones’s skin.
“Lauren’s mom has straight Botox face.” Dut, on the plastic quality of Mrs. Alaina’s (the mother referenced in Lauren’s “stellar” debut single, “Like My Mother Does”) frozen face.
“‘The Edge of Glory?’ More like ‘The Edge of Intercourse.'” Kelcie, on where Lady Gaga’s performance seemed likely to end up.
“She kinda looks like Red Sonja.” Dut, on the striking resemblance between Brigitte Nielsen and Lady Gaga, at least in his semi-twisted mind.

My friends, ladies and gentlemen.

Well, that’s it for me tonight, though I do have a season retrospective in the works for tomorrow or Friday, featuring the 10 best performances (and 5 worst!) of Idol‘s tenth season, including some other random superlative awards. Stay tuned, Idol addicts: I’m not quite done yet.

About Cory Hershberger

Neurotic/eclectic critic obsessed with pop culture who enjoys good food, good company, and, most of all, good books.


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