After a five-month season leading up to a seemingly preordained Top Two, American Idol reached its orgiastic two-hour finale on Wednesday (May 21) night. As the show began, only one thing was certain... David's got it in the bag. Follow along to the stunning conclusion...
7:58 p.m. ET. Ample supply of caffeine? Check. Seven seasons of accumulated knowledge of American Idol? Check. Red Sox game in the background (and ready supply of " Bartolo Colon is soooo fat..." jokes)? Check. Ingrained sense of cynicism and wonderment? Check. It's time for...
7:59 p.m. The American Idol Finale!
8:01 p.m. We're one minute into the show and nobody has made a boxing reference. How long can that possibly last?
8:01 p.m. After Tuesday night's show, 97.5 million votes came in, smashing the show's previous record by more than 20 million. One David, we're told, received 56 percent of the vote. The other received 44 percent. Hillary Clinton would advise the second David to stay in the race to the very end, but if we're being honest, that's a rout.
8:02 p.m. OMG! Mikalah Gordon? Oh the nostalgia. Squeezed in a gold dress and squeezed more awkwardly into Kansas City, it's good to have The Nanny Junior back.
8:03 p.m. OMFG! It's Matt Rogers in Utah. He played in the Rose Bowl, y'all!!!
8:04 p.m. Trendspotting alert: Rogers and Gordon were the 11th place finishers in the show's third and fourth seasons. Can we expect appearances from Kevin Covais, Stephanie Edwards and Charles Grigsby later in the episode?
8:05 p.m. The So You Think You Can Dance hoofers come out and rock the stage before being replaced by the much less graceful Idol Top 12 singing "Get Ready." David Archuleta appears to have been too busy learning his songs this week to worry about the choreography. America's Nanny Brooke White, on the other hand, proves that with three weeks to learn her steps, she can be an enthusiastic participant.
8:10 p.m. The Davids were worthy finalists, but they wouldn't be asked to sing together under normal circumstances, as their duet on "Hero" proves. This is much more of a Cookie Monster song. Li'l' Archie's just hanging out and being a good sport. He'll get a personalized song later, I'd guess.
8:13 p.m. Coming soon to a theater near you, Michael Myers' new exercise in ethnic caricature, The Love Guru. The Finalists got to see The Love Guru and, guess what, they loved it! The joke is that they've had lots of mentors on American Idol this season, so this is just another one. Meanwhile, all of America is having the same thought: The Guru Pitka may be lame, but he couldn't be worse than Randy.
8:15 p.m. Awkward humor ensues as Michael Myers reprises his character to advise David Cook to shave and David Archuleta that he'll soon be facing puberty. The Davids play along ineffectively, especially when Cookie has to force out laughter at Myers attacking him with a razor. His feigned enthusiasm reads as "This is funny and I'm wanting to kill you now!"
8:17 p.m. The commercial continues as Myer comes out on stage. He's still in costume, but he isn't even bothering with his accent. Obviously he hasn't been paid enough to care.
8:18 p.m. This season's third place finisher, Syesha Mercado arrives to sing "Waiting for You" with special guest Seal. They're quite excellent.
8:20 p.m. Marry me, Cat Deeley! Ooops. Did I say that out loud?
8:21 p.m. Oh look. An official commercial for The Love Guru.
8:25 p.m. We're traveling back through this season's Idol timeline with Jason Castro reprising his version of Jeff Buckley's version of "Hallelujah." They weren't able to get Leonard Cohen join Clifford the Muppet for what would have been the funniest Idol duet ever.
8:27 p.m. Set to "Let the Good Times Roll," the night's Ford commercial is outtakes from all of the season's earlier Ford commercials. Ford saves money and makes money at the same time.
8:29 p.m. The two Davids will each receive Fords. I won't say what kind, because Ford hasn't paid me.
8:30 p.m. The Idol Women weren't good enough to make the Top Two, but they're showcased in a Group Sing tribute to Donna Summer. I'd forgotten how surreal it used to be to watch Amanda Overmyer suffer through these ensemble performances. She's just not a team player. Let it never be said that this was not the most attractive group of female contestants in Idol history. Ms. Summer closes the number with what I'm told is her new single.
8:35 p.m. Syesha gets to take Donna's bejeweled mic to sing along. And can we make a list of places Amanda Overmyer looks like she'd rather be? Let's start with Fallujah and go from there.
8:39 p.m. Referencing their surprising early departures, Carly Smithson and Michael Johns have been paired together for a rendition of "The Letter." It should never be forgotten that Clifford the Muppet and America's Nanny outlasted these two. Some people may see this as the show's effort to ghettoize its foreign contestants, but I think it's just that they're two singers capable of performing in a duet.
8:43 p.m. Jimmy Kimmel's back for some reason, making predictable jokes about Sanjaya (he's amused), karaoke (nobody laughs) and Paula's clairvoyance (she giggles and jiggles). He introduces a not-funny-enough musical montage of Simon's insults.
8:45 p.m. The Top Six guys treat us to a medley by Canadian Idol Bryan Adams. Fortunately, Bryan Adams didn't have anything else to do tonight, so he shows up. Between this and being referenced in a How I Met Your Mother joke, this is the first time Bryan Adams has been references twice in one week since the 21st Century began.
8:54 p.m. Jordin Sparks wants us to live her American Idol dream as some Disney theme park. The attraction will include having an underperforming debut album and being put on vocal rest.
8:55 p.m. David Cook and ZZ Top joining forces on "Sharp Dressed Man"? That's just awesome. That reminds me... Why didn't Billy Gibbons make it back onto Bones this season as Angela's dad? This is the most fun Cook has had all season.
8:58 p.m. Mikalah's back in Kansas City. They're very excited. That's because they haven't been watching the Red Sox open up a 5-2 lead on the Royals. It's clear that Mikalah's been working out, but has he also been taking elocution lessons?
8:59 p.m. While I'd have rather seen Brooke sing with either Carly Simon or Carole King, Graham Nash is pretty great too. The problem? Brooke's good at counter-melody, but she isn't so great at harmonizing.
9:06 p.m. WHEEEEEEEE!!!! It's the Jonas Brothers.
9:09 p.m. Oh goodie. A montage of the season's worst contestants. Renaldo Lapuz is, as one might expect, the highlight.
9:11 p.m. Making a bold grab for an addition 15 minutes of fame, Renaldo appears joined (and distracted) by the USC's Spirit of Troy marching band and the USC Song Girls. Fight on, Renaldo!
9:18 p.m. Poor One Republic, having to follow up Renaldo Lapuz. That's not fair. Also not fair? David Cook got to perform with ZZ Top and Li'l' Archie only gets One Republic?
9:21 p.m. Matt Rogers played in the Rose Bowl. Now he's interviewing David Archuleta's grandfathers who are, not surprisingly, proud in both English and Spanish. Matt tries to foment an international crisis, but falls short.
9:23 p.m. Jordin Spark seems to be able to sing again.
9:31 p.m. Zombie Gladys Knight is stuck performing, by the magic of computers, with Ben Stiller, Jack Black and Robert Downey Jr. The unlikely trio will be co-starring in Tropic Thunder later this summer. Tropic Thunder, like The Love Guru, is being released by Paramount, in case you were curious who's paying for this two-hour infomercial tonight.
9:34 p.m. What did Gladys Knight do to deserve that shoddy treatment? And where's Zombie Elvis? Zombie Elvis need more brains...
9:35 p.m. Carrie Underwood has rarely been hotter than she looks tonight and I'm not just saying that because the cameraman is trying desperately to get a shot under her short white skirt. OK. Maybe I am.
9:43 p.m. "Well, I guess it would be nice if I could touch your body," Kristy Lee Cook coos, starting the Group Sing to George Michael's "Faith." The men transition into "Father Figure." Everybody joins forces on "Freedom."
9:47 p.m. Ladies and Gentlemen... Mr. George Michael. Paula is moved by his rendition of "Praying for Time." How did George Michael go from cool to punchline and back to cool again? I can't help but feel like George Michael Bluth had something to do with it.
9:53 p.m. Ryan promises this will be our last commercial break before the official coronation.
9:57 p.m. Randy says this was a great Season Seven and that the Davids are both winners. He doesn't clarify which of them would do a better job singing the phone book. Paula thinks it's odd we call this a finale, since this isn't the end for them. Simon clarifies that Tuesday was not as clear-cut as he announced it was last night. He even takes a second to apologize to David Cook for his lack of respect. It's pretty clear that somebody tipped Simon off to what DialIdol has been reporting all day.
9:58 p.m. "For the first time ever, I don't really care who wins," Simon says.
9:59 p.m. Some accountant presents the winner's name to Ryan in an envelope. Oooh. The tension is bearable.
10 p.m. Your American Idol Season Seven winner is... DAVID COOK.
10:01 p.m. After the judges' pronouncements last night, who'd have guessed that David Cook wouldn't just win, but he'd win by a 12 million vote margin? A Cookie Monster win makes total sense to me, but a rout? That's unexpected.
10:01 p.m. David Cook, who announced earlier in the season that he loves words, is at a loss for them. Words, I mean. He blames his brother and calls the rest of the Top 12 to join him for his final song, which is everything you could possible hope for and dread in an Idol coronation ballad.
10:05 p.m. It's been a pleasure sharing this season with y'all. Let's do it again in five months, eh?
So what'd you think of the finale? Did the right David win? And does anybody have any theories on how it ended up being a rout?