It’s the moment, stretched out over two hours, that we’ve all been waiting for! I’m coming to you live from
the Kodak Theatre the Entertainment Weekly Information Center. (Unlike some editors here, I don’t have a TV in my office. Perhaps because I don’t have an office.) Latest results from our EW.com poll show that 61 percent of you are expecting Jordin Sparks to be crowned the next American Idol. The other 39 percent of you are probably expecting Jordin to win, but voted for Blake Lewis anyway (like me). Also worth noting, 30 percent of you consider this season’s "This is My Now" the all-time worst Idol anthem. (Taylor Hicks’ "Do I Make You Proud," however, leads with 37 percent of your ire.)
In case you missed Fox’s Red Carpet Spectacular at 7:30: Simon called the finale a "walk-over" in Jordin’s favor; Randy tried to console Blake by reminding him of Daughtry’s sales (subtle, dawg); Paula finally said Jordin has a slight edge; Teri Hatcher admitted she misses Melinda; and the Hoff is in the house!
One minute to go! We blog after the break…
8:01 pm Jeff Foxworthy!
8:02 pm Paula feels "excellent!" And that’s all Ryan lets her say. Yes!
8:03 pm Jordin and Blake singing "I Saw Her Standing There." Luckily Blake changed from the powder blue ensemble he wore in the pre-show. How high are Jordin’s heels?
8:04 pm Jordin and Blake should not sing together. Jordin should not dance.
8:05 pm Gwen Stefani singing "4 in the Morning." Live from somewhere. How can I have nothing to say about that outfit– other than I like it? Could it be the Corona?
8:08 pm When we return our Top 12 are back "with more than a few surprises."
8:12 pm Kelly Clarkson singing her new single, "Never Again." Did she get rid of the nose ring? Yes! If you ask me, you shouldn’t sing a song in which you’re "ticked" and have the words Sunday school in it.
8:14 pm Oh, it’s not over. Never again should she wear thigh-high boots. Jordin, this is how you do anger.
8:16 pm Clive Davis liked it! So did Jerry Springer! And Foxworthy! Jennifer Hudson, too.
8:19 pm The Golden Idol for Best Presentation goes to… Margaret Fowler. And she just kissed Ryan Seacrest. Why am I jealous of her? Could it be the Corona?
8:20 pm Poetry? I thought the Bachelor finale was Monday?
8:21 pm Our Top Six guys singing some Smokey Robinson. Ooh, Baby Baby, Phil. You don’t suck.
8:23 pm Smokey singing with them. God, I’m uninspired. Oh wait, we’re dancing.
8:28 pm Commercial. To whoever just posted this: "the only thing tight about that performance was Smokey’s face," thank you for saying what I was scared to.
8:30 pm Plugging the Idol band spin-off. Snore.
8:33 pm Ohmygod. (She repeats it three-three times.) Blake is holding his own opposite Doug E. Fresh, who you know meant business after he took off the shades. And missed that one note.
8:36 pm Most Original Vocal goes to… oh, who am I kidding. I do not care. He’s singing "Silent Night."
8:38 pm Plugging the summer American Idol tour. Snore. Top 6 girls singing "I Heard it Through the Grapevine." Haley’s dress is longer than expected.
8:39 pm Gladys Knight looks
better than Smokey great. We’re leaving on a midnight train to Georgia, y’all. Melinda and Kiki are getting their props.
8:42 pm The Hoff did not cry. Yet.
8:47 pm Tony Bennett singing "For Once in My Life." I would so love it if Paula would just walk up on stage and slow dance with him. You know she wants to.
8:49 pm This is the performance of the season. Nothing is a tribute to the man’s class and talent like cutting to Springer and Foxworthy.
8:51 pm If Ryan and Simon win Best Buddies, PLEASE LET SIMON KISS HIM LIKE CHICKEN LADY DID.
8:53 pm Boo. I’m now jealous of Kenneth and Jonathan, who’ve gone to more events than I have.
8:54 pm Melinda singing "Hold Up the Light" with BeBe and CeCe Winans. Incidentally, Will Bottnick, one of the EW librarians, is also singing it.
8:59 pm Using commercial break to Google the bush baby "Simon" in Milwaukee? Finding anything?
9:02 pm Jordin and Blake get brand new Mustangs. Shouldn’t Melinda get one for being a contortionist? Did I see that right in the video?
9:04 pm Carrie Underwood is hurting my ears singing "I’ll Stand By You."
9:06 pm Brittany Murphy and Teri Hatcher liked it. (She did finish strong-ish.) Clive Davis is making Taylor Hicks feel this big talking about Chris Daughtry’s sales.
9:10 pm Sorry, I was confused. We were praising Carrie Underwood, who has sold 6 million albums in the U.S. alone. Springer and Foxworthy again!
9:11 pm "Let’s get back to the show and the winner!" Carrie and I just made up.
9:14 pm Um, PopWatcher Chad, what’s this about: "Tony Bennett was classy and amazing about 80 years ago." Them fightin’ words.
9:15 pm The African Children’s Choir. If we cut to Springer and Foxworthy after this…
9:17 pm Okay, we didn’t. Worse, we cut to Sanjaya singing "You Really Got Me." WITH JOE PERRY ON GUITAR!? Confession: I gasped, thinking Ryan had said Steve Perry. Can you imagine?
9:20 pm The wind machine. The crying girl sitting one row infront of Chicken Lady. Will has heartburn. I’m wishing this moment of "rock history" could have included a close-up of Joe Perry and his chest. Is that too much to ask?
9:23 pm Green Day doing John Lennon’s "Working Class Hero." Do you think they’ll have mentors on the band Idol? That could be cool. Anyone else hoping Duran Duran calls Blake tomorrow morning? (10:36 pm edit Felt the need to clarify, this isn’t sarcasm. I’d love to hear the sound they’d come up with.)
9:27 pm Anyone else forget what show we’re watching? Thirty-three more minutes, folks.
9:30 pm You know, I’ve never watched So You Think You Can Dance. Should I be? Love that they go straight to Taylor Hicks from that ad. He sounds fine. And he’s workin’ the room. And yet, I have no desire to buy his album.
9:32 pm Will thought that was Calista Flockhart infront of Ace. We had to rewind. She’s too A-list for this finale.
9:34 pm Running and playing the harmonica at the same time must be incredibly hard. Soul Patrol!
9:35 pm Ruben really can sing. Although, I was hoping Jordin would do "MMMBop" with Hanson. They have a new album coming out, you know. (11:16 pm edit Again, not sarcasm.)
9:36 pm That was Jordin’s best dance performance of the season. The commercials are coming quicker now, right? The ad rate must increase for the last half hour.
9:42 pm Bette Midler singing "Wind Beneath My Wings." In a leather miniskirt. So far, this performance is not making me want to rush to see her in Vegas when she replaces Celine. Oh wait, she just twisted to flair her skirt. I’m there.
9:44 pm Paula, I said dance with Tony Bennett– not Randy.
9:45 pm Jerry Springer, ladies and gentleman! Tears in the eyes. His, not mine.
9:46 pm "Spider-pig, Spider-pig. Does whatever Spider-pig can." I’ve never seen an episode of The Simpsons. (Yeah, I know.) But I’m seeing the movie because of that ad. Money well spent, 20th Century Fox.
9:50 pm Kelly and Joe Perry doing "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band." Might be time to get new backup singers, American Idol.
9:52 pm Taylor is back. Will liked him when he was mellow. I was digging him until the end turn.
9:54 pm Carrie Underwood singing "She’s Leaving Home." Can we just cut to Paul McCartney already? This is a good look for Carrie. Simple, sexy black dress that she probably had to wrestle from Haley.
9:56 pm Ruben doing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." Top 12 singing "With a Little Help From My Friends." In Kiki’s case, her girls! Hello! They are in fine form tonight.
10:03 pm "It is time America." Not quite. First, final thoughts from the judges. Dim the lights. Here we go. After a world record vote of 74 million votes, the winner is… Jordin Sparks. Interesting, no tears.
10:06 pm Paula’s crying. I’m crying, too… because I have to hear "This is My Now" again.
10:07 pm Seriously, you guys, why didn’t Jennifer Hudson sing? She was lookin’ (and soundin’) fine in the pre-show.
10:09 pm Most anticlimactic show ever? Let the debate begin below. You know EW.com will have more American Idol coverage than you can handle, so keep checking back later tonight and into tomorrow. It’s been a pleasure spending the night with you. And for the record, I haven’t even finished that Corona. Yet.