Lee DeWyze or Crystal Bowersox is about to win "American Idol" -- and it's . . . Lee DeWyze! The crowd goes nuts, "Lee Wins" flashes on the screen and he looks overwhelmed.
It's one of "Idol's" best rags-to-riches stories. He started the season with no confidence and ended on top of the world. He's swarmed by the other finalists and keeps saying "Oh my God!"
He totally deserves it. He's been the most consistently strong contestant after he got his confidence (I think the big praise from Usher, then Harry Connick Jr., was key.).
Lee's voice is shaking when he says "This is amazing," and he seems in genuine shock. "Crystal, I love you," he says, and she gives him a huge hug. What a nice, great pair.
Ryan keeps hammering idiotic questions at him, but he just says, "I've never been happier in my life."
Then with like no segue, Ryan tells him to sing "Beautiful Day." It's pretty amazing and a sign of his professionalism that he just nails it.
Lee won, but the real star was Simon Cowell and the amazing tribute the show paid to him on his last night, with Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks and Kris Allen all returning to sing for him. (David Cook apparently had a pre-existing charity concert.)
It was one of the best moments in "Idol's" nine seasons. It was awesome to see all that great talent lined up on the stage singing "Together We Are One" to him. He really had a key role making every one of them, especially Kelly and Carrie, and I love watching them come back.
On the other hand, "Idol" has to stop bringing out old performers who can't sing anymore. It's an embarrassment to their legacies and makes me feel like the record companies have to be paying the show to let them appear. Which means Fox is happy putting out an inferior program littered with in-show commercials.
Tonight, we were forced to endure Daryl Hall and John Oates, Michael McDonald and Chicago -- just sad. They really weren't much better than Larry Platt and William Hung, who were funny with their rendition of "Pants on the Ground," complete with a hip-hop ensemble backup.
On the flip side, Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees still sounded great, and Christina Aguilera, of course, just rocked, as did Alanis Morissette, Janet Jackson and Joe Cocker.
And Bret Michaels coming out to sing "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," and looking healthy -- wow.
Sadly, this is the last time we'll see Simon as a judge on the show. I'll watch next season because it's the tenth season -- but only because of that. With first Paula Abdul and now Simon gone, it's lost most of its charm.
Simon was almost always right, but more importantly, because he cares a great deal about music and thinks being a musician is something important, he pushed contestants to respect the art and give an honest effort to earn his praise.
It's too bad Fox has ruined "American Idol" by ignoring everything he stood for -- there's nothing they won't do to make a buck off the show, they don't hold anything sacred and the suits keep piling on extras that kill the soul of the show.
"Idol" used to be all about finding and letting us listen to talented unknowns as they sang and grew week to week. Now it's all about selling products and boosting ratings and commercial tie-ins and Ryan mouthing off.
No wonder Simon's leaving.
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