It was no surprise when Ryan Seacrest revealed that after more than 47 million votes, Chicago "paint salesman" Lee DeWyze and Ohio "Momma" Crystal Bowersox were the final two left to duke it out for the title of season 9's "American Idol."
Casey James had to know his time was up after the harsh comments he received from the judges after Tuesday night’s performances. After singing the obscure (to us, at least) "OK, It’s Alright," Casey was hit with "it didn’t work" from Randy Jackson. Ellen DeGeneres said, "I wish you had brought it." Kara DioGuardi commented that "it was the first listen for a lot of people." Simon’s words of wisdom: "The problem is, it’s the most important night of your life . . . [your performance] will leave no lasting effect and it was a dud song choice. If that was a dinner, it would be the salad."
Randy and Kara threw Casey a curve ball by selecting John Mayer’s "Daughters" for him. In a sexist comment, Kara told him to play to his audience which she defined as "women and girls." While they gave him favorable comments, "it fit like a glove" and "it showed your artistic side," the blunt Simon Cowell told him he needed a "much bigger vocal moment," and blamed Kara and Randy for their poor song choice. It was a lazy arrangement with a limp guitar solo that just didn’t have the WOW factor.
With Crystal and Lee receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from the judges, the writing was on the wall. Crystal chose to sing "Come To My Window" because it is about passion and love. While her performance seemed a bit strained, the judges skirted around the issue while extolling her vocals. Simon told her she has never compromised herself as an artist. "You came out and decided to do what you do. It’s a very honest performance. I think you made the right choice." In reaction to Crystal’s performance of "Maybe I’m Amazed," Randy said, “great song, great vocals…America, we’ve got somebody who’s in it to win it."
Lee is now in the catbird seat, as evidenced by the reactions and comments of the judges. After his performance of "Hallelujah," Randy said it was Lee’s biggest moment. Kara said "you are what this show is all about. You owned the entire night." Simon said "with that performance, you proved you are a fantastic singer, a great person, and I really hope you make it next week." (kind of a moot point).
Simon had a huge grin on his face as he reacted to Lee’s performance of his personal choice of "Hallelujah." It has been rumored that Simon chose that song for Lee because he’d purchased the rights to the song several years ago and stood to personally profit from the performance. Simon “loves the song” but “he does not own the rights” to it, according to his publicist.
Our collective allegiances are as follows -- the adults predict a Lee DeWyze win (although we wouldn't be too upset if Crystal won). Tween Nicky T. has defected to team Crystal, but thinks Lee will win. Three-year old Alex says that Lee is the winner.
The finale at the Nokia Theater next week will be Simon Cowell’s last appearance on the show he helped launch to worldwide prominence. Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood will perform at the finale. It’s been reported that the coin-toss was won by Crystal who said to Lee, "If I go second, promise not to hate me?" And then Crystal made it official: "I’ll do second." It appears that Crystal is in it to win it after all.
TALK: Click on "Add a comment" at the bottom of this post, or e-mail me and I'll post it for you.