xml:space="preserve">

Janell reports from her vacation -- again -- on the final performance episode of this season of American Idol. Take it away, Janell:

Finale time! It must almost be summer! I will once again (and for perhaps the last time) overshare in this recap. I'm on vacation again, in another hotel room with a good old cathode ray tube TV and no DVR. My kids are taking a bath in the next room and will shortly come out to interrupt me, so I may miss something. But I'll pre-summarize: Scotty and Lauren sang. And I mean that as in, "They can sang," 'cause they're country, not like, "They sang a song." Does that make sense?  In a print ad for The Voice, Cee Lo Green was making the distinction between sing and sang (he can sang, fyi). Should I cross-promote another singing show? I guess I just did.

Advertisement

So, the judges come out. Steven Tyler is wearing a collage of brown, Jennifer Lopez is sparkling in emerald green, and I didn't get a good glimpse of Randy Jackson but it's a brownish suede jacket, not a cardigan. They don't seem extra-fancy for the finale, but Ryan 
Seacrest is wearing a tuxedo. Oh hey, did you know they're in the Nokia theater? It holds 7,000 people. Ryan describes the contest as "boy next door versus the Southern belle." Why can't Lauren be the girl next door?

Oh, controversy! Ryan says that earlier in the day Lauren was having voice troubles. He asks her about it, and she gently defers, saying she's fine. But he pushes it, brings out a doctor who explains that she sprained a vocal cord during rehearsal because she was trying so darn hard to sing her best. Dr. Man says that they gave her a lot of medicine. Maybe this will be interesting.

In Round 1, they'll sing their favorite song of the competition. In Round 2, their personal idol will select a song for them. In Round 3, it will be their hypothetical first single. Ready? Okay.

Scotty reprises "Gone." He starts out in the audience, and then walks up to a stage behind the judges with the long-haired rebel violin man (who has gotten a lot of airtime this season with all the country songs). Scotty manages to look athletic leaning on one leg, and he's really belting it out. It's a good performance, I get lots of energy from him. He finishes not with a rock star jump but with a baseball swing. Then Ryan jumps up and gives the phone numbers without comments from the judges.

Lauren is reprising "Flat on the Floor," a song that allows her to strut a lot. Hello, violin boy! Or man! Whatever. He needs a Facebook fan page. Oh, I should be listening to Lauren. During one part her voice sounds a little huskier, but generally she's just gangbusters. J.Lo stands up for her, then Randy stands, and then the camera cuts away before we know if Steven caved into the peer pressure.

Scotty's idol George Strait has chosen his own song, "Check Yes or No," for Round 2. No intro footage at all, they are really moving this show along so there's time for the Glee finale afterwards. Scotty is standing at the microphone stand with a guitar, and there's
shaggy-haired violin man again. I vote for him. This is a sweet song about elementary school love, and Scotty does lots of eyebrow dancing. Oh, a double-arm raise! That was some serious working of the audience. I bet there's a lot more to this song, but it's over.

Carrie Underwood chose "Maybe it was Memphis" by Pam Tillis for Lauren. Violin man/boy again. I hope they pay him handsomely, for he is handsome. Oh, Lauren is wearing a pretty ballerina-type dress, by which I mean it's almost like a tutu, so much tulle puffing out the
skirt. Plus the cowboy boots, because, remember, she's country. I wish she had some more dance moves aside from a casual leg kick. She's got a good voice twang and sounds strong.

Scotty joins Lauren and Ryan onstage now and the judges finally get to comment. Randy informs us, "America, these are the two that you chose." If you were just tuning in. Randy liked everything, but gives a slight edge to Scotty in the first round and to Lauren in the
second. Jennifer says the same thing. Steven gives both rounds to Lauren, "only 'cause she's prettier than [Scotty is]." Scotty agrees that Lauren is prettier. Randy interrupts to claim that they're both in it to win it, because what good is a catch phrase if you can't work it into every on-camera moment?

Now the show is right on schedule, and there's time to debut the song that the People of America helped write. I remember this contest! I remember imploring the People of America not to write anything, but apparently they didn't listen. So that guy Taio Cruz is onstage with a neon marching band, lasers, and a lot of autotune. The vocals cut out a few times, but basically Taio is gonna be positive. He's gonna be so positive, over and over, that he's never not gonna be positive, because there's just no time, what with all the being positive going on. Remember in the past seasons when the finalists had to sing the original song, and they kept trying to tell us what a great song it was? "No, not like the song from last year," they'd promise, "and definitely not like the song before that, this is a really great
original song." And it was always a lie. So I was expecting Scotty and Lauren to sing this song next, and I could not picture it because neither of them quite fits into the neon drum/laser/autotune genre, you know? But it would have been awesome to see.

Instead, Jimmy Iovine chooses the song for the last round, the alleged first single. Scotty's song is called "I Love You This Big." Is this an unreleased new song? I can't find it on Google, so maybe it is. Violin man steps out again. Scotty's wearing a suit. It's a slow-tempo song, and his "journey" is flashed on the screen behind him. It's kind of understated, a basic country song. His mom cries in the audience. Randy says, "Wow, man." He also says, I kid you not, "You are here. It is game time. Dude." Perhaps with a little more inflection. I think I'm done with Randy for a while. Jennifer says Scotty is a great storyteller, and Steven says he nailed it again. Ryan mocks Scotty for being so calm and chill. Yeah, Scotty does have a calm face.

Lauren will be singing "Like My Mother Does," which has been released before by Kristy Lee Cook. Violin man has been given the rest of the night off. Lauren is wearing a long white dress, and it's a slower song with a loud belted chorus (her voice gets a little scratchy).
Then Lauren moves towards the stairs. Ryan is there to give her a hand so she doesn't trip on her long dress, and she goes to her mom in the audience and hugs her while singing. That's impressive. Then she goes back up the stairs unassisted, like she just took over the world. She ends soft and high, and I don't even think she's crying (this tv is a bit static-y, though), just really happy. Randy says it was an amazing song, with a Mariah Carey soft whisper voice at the end. He says Lauren Alaina has arrived, and he stands up for her. I guess the last song of the finale is a good time to arrive. Jennifer says that Lauren
may have just won with that song. Steven says she's always been his American Idol. These judges have stuck by her the whole time, haven't they?

Ryan brings Scotty out again, and I think he whispers to Lauren that she just won, because she's shaking her head no. Randy says Lauren won the round, J.Lo agrees, and Steven says Lauren gets it hands down. Has this show always been a Lauren love-fest, and I've been blind? I thought it was a Scotty love-fest! But suddenly the boy next door isn't good enough, now they want a sweet emotional flower to win, I guess (and they did milk it, bringing a doctor out to tell us how she's working with vocal strain). Scotty's last song was a little repetitive and not as emotional, so I guess Lauren had the better night. But over the season, hasn't Scotty been more professional? Is this when stage presence gets a backlash? Like Season 1, when Justin was the hot sexy thing but then people tired of him so he lost? I'm rambling. Never mind, they were both great.

Guess what? David Cook is going to sing "Don't You Forget About Me" to close the show! How much do I love this? It reminds me how much I prefer this music to any country music (sorry, that's my personal preference). Plus, the song is awesome, and David Cook is awesome, so it ends on a happy note for me. Yay! The results show will bring "tons of surprises" so I hope you're ready, America.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement