'American Idol': On the scene for the finale

Simon-Idol-finaleImage Credit: Kristian Dowling/PictureGroupWell, at least he’s a nice guy. Say what you want about Lee DeWyze winning American Idol (to my ears, Crystal Bowersox outperformed him the entire season), but at least the guy sincerely appreciated the love America showered upon him. Fox ended the finale telecast while Lee was still belting out U2’s “Beautiful Day,” which is too bad because the sweetest (as in, awww, that’s sweet) part of the show occurred right after his victory song. Lee, with mic still in hand, took a moment to personally thank the audience in the Nokia Theatre. “You have no idea how much this means to me,” Lee said. “Everyone, all of you guys up top (on the balcony), I love you! And another round of applause for Simon, too!” Lee could have simply walked off the stage and started what will surely be hours upon hours of media interviews and photo ops, but instead he took an off-camera moment to thank those responsible for his ascent to stardom — a classy move.

About 40 minutes to airtime, I took my seat in the Loge section. (A coworker of mine is convinced that I’ve been mispronouncing the word “loge,” but Dictionary.com, in its infinite wisdom, is backing me up). My seat was decent — not the best in the house, not the worst. However, the Nokia Theatre is such a gargantuan monument that I’m pretty sure Google Maps had just as good a view as me. From my vantage point, it was impossible to tell which celebrities were in attendance, so instead I occupied myself with such vital questions as “How many video screens are there onstage?” The answer: at least 61. And then, in a deliberate attempt to ruin my pre-show tranquility, Cory the I’m Going to Warm Up the Audience the Same Exact Way No Matter Where I Am Comic appeared. “All right, Los Angeles,” Cory started. “This is the biggest show in the world, and you’re here live!” The audience cheered upon learning that they were in fact here and live, although wouldn’t you prefer to be at a finale that was taped? Then you could learn who had won before anyone else in the country. What do you make of that, Cory? “Now, do we have any ladies in the house?” he continued. There’s no reaching this guy.

With 11 minutes left until ignition, I quickly scanned the audience for signs. There was a surprisingly low amount of signs — I counted maybe 20 or so in the orchestra section. Unfortunately, from my seat, I couldn’t make out what most of them said. One sign read: “I wanna be the next American Idol judge.” In my ideal world, Simon’s vacant spot would go to EW’s own Whitney Pastorek, who I’m sure is willing to work for less than $30 million per year. Cory introduced the judges, and Simon naturally received the most enthusiastic reception. Then, out of nowhere, Debbie the Stage Manager started counting down: “5, 4, 3, 2…” Stagehands scrambled around onstage, and the audience couldn’t believe the show was about to start already. But at the end of her countdown, Debbie yelled, “One minute left! I scared you all!” And, true to her word, one minute passed and the season finale of American Idol commenced.

Now, much of what I saw from my center-field seat is what you guys saw on TV, so I won’t bore you with detailed descriptions of the performances themselves. [Read reviews of all 16 performances in our finale-telecast recap here.] Throughout the night, the audience would stay seated for the beginning of a song, and then stand up and cheer as soon as a celebrity musician was revealed. Such was the case when Alice Cooper joined the Top 12 for “School’s Out.” During the break, Crystal put her arm on Alice’s shoulder as they walked off the stage, and the judges darted for the exit. Cory started walking around and talking to the audience, but since the theater was so massive, it was usually impossible to pinpoint Cory’s location. As a result, the commercial breaks felt like being treated to the inner thoughts of some omnipotent man you couldn’t see.

Kris Allen emerged onstage and shook hands with a few of the mosh-pit girls. Debbie’s voice took over the PA system: “Twenty seconds… clear the aisles!” All those who had gone to the restroom during the break quickly sprinted back to their seats. (By the way, each urinal in the Nokia Theatre prominently features a plaque that boasts about that particular urinal’s ability to save 40,000 gallons of water per year. Only in L.A.).

Since Kris Allen forgot to bring along a celebrity friend, the audience remained seated throughout the entirety of his “The Truth” performance. Then Siobhan Magnus and Aaron Kelly tackled the Bee Gees’ “How Deep Is Your Love,” and Barry Gibb and Robin Gibb joined the two Idols onstage. For me, the most fascinating part of this performance was Aaron’s attempt to put his hand on Robin’s shoulder. Aaron went in for the attempt, and his hand rested on Robin’s shoulder for a millisecond before Aaron pulled it away. Robin seemed momentarily befuddled — did a high-school student just attempt to touch me? But then Robin realized what Aaron was trying to accomplish, and the British singer tried to rectify the situation by stretching out his left arm in an attempt to put it around Aaron’s shoulder. But by that point, Aaron had already backed a few feet away from Robin, so sadly, no arm-on-shoulder contact would occur. During the break, Cory handed out his first of many Samsung Strive phones. Throughout the night, Cory would ask each audience member he talked to whether they were rooting for Lee or Crystal, and EVERY SINGLE ONE said Lee. Sigh…

Back from the break, Big Mike and Michael McDonald took it to the streets. I was sitting behind the Nokia’s A.V. desk, and the guy in charge of controlling those 61 video screens was jamming to the performance more than anyone else in the audience. Then Dane Cook (whose popularity continues to confound me) did his “Simon Said” routine, which was bizarrely hijacked — in true Kanye West style — by Ian Benardo, a former Idol tryout who was the butt of one of Simon’s critiques. “Nobody cares, it’s all about Ian Benardo tonight,” the stage-crasher announced. “I’m going to replace you, Simon Cowell.” Fox promptly cut to a commercial, but in the Nokia Theater, Benardo was still going. He flirtatiously took off his jacket and started blowing kisses to the mosh-pit before finally being escorted off the stage.

The Top 12 girls and Christina Aguilera unleashed “Beautiful” and “Fighter,” while Xtina also performed “You Lost Me” and received an extended standing ovation. As for the Top 12 guys, they joined Daryl Hall and John Oates for a medley of, well, Hall & Oates songs. Crystal and Alanis Morissette rocked out to “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know” despite some awkward choreography that had each singer walking to opposite sides of the stage. As we headed into a break, Crystal cutely waved goodbye to Morissette, as if the Idol runner-up was worried that this would be the last time she hung out with Morissette. Don’t worry, Crystal, I’m sure you two will meet up again someday. After all, this isn’t Aaron Kelly and Robin Gibb we’re talking about.

The crowd went gaga for Carrie Underwood’s “Undo It,” while Lee and Crystal acted “surprised” about winning their custom-designed Ford Fiestas. Casey James started singing Poison’s “Every Rose Has Its Thorn” while Bret Michaels slowly — and I mean slowly — crept out onstage to the sound of wild cheering. It was a dramatic entrance, as the front of the theater stood up first because they could see that it was in fact Michaels, whereas the back of the theater waited until the singer was in clear view. During the break, Michaels, who suffered a brain hemorrhage last month and a “warning stroke” last week, stayed around to shake some hands in the pit.

Lee and Chicago — a band I bet Lee’s younger supporters have never heard of — unleashed a trio of songs. I felt bad for the security usher standing at the bottom of my aisle. He was clearly a Chicago fan, but his job dictated that he stood with his back to the show. Still, I caught him glancing over his shoulder for a split second as he sang along to “If You Leave Me Now.” And then Larry Platt’s “Pants on the Ground,” which had already enjoyed its 15 minutes of fame, was inexplicably resurrected. Accompanying Platt were William Hung and a crew of dancers who, in a move of shocking creativity, dropped their pants on the ground. During the break, Cory picked out a 6-year-old girl named May and walked her up to the judges’ table to meet and hug Ellen and Kara. (“Awwwww,” the audience responded). Cory rewarded May’s cuteness with the gift of an iPod Touch, which I’m guessing will ultimately become the property of her mother or father.

After a video clip featuring Paula Abdul sharing her memories of Simon, the former Idol judge appeared onstage to give a rambling speech about Mr. Cowell. Eventually, every previous Idol winner (except David Cook) and an assortment of Idol finalists sang “Together We Are One.” During the song, Paula, in stealth cat mode, tip-toed over to the judges’ table and found herself sitting on Simon’s lap. Ryan Seacrest then asked Simon to come up onstage, and when Simon got there, Seacrest gave the judge what looked like a kiss on the cheek. (Fox didn’t show this public display of affection). A guy a few rows behind me yelled, “Don’t leave, Simon!” Other Simon chants could be heard around the theater as the judge discussed his appreciation for Idol and its fans.

At the break, Simon hugged Seacrest and Paula. Then Simon and Paula exited stage left as the former put his arm around the latter. Cory talked to a young boy named Bree. Whenever Cory chats with a kid in the audience, he asks the kid what he or she does for a living. “So, Bree, do you have a job?” Bree’s response: “Yes, I’m an actor.” Again, only in L.A.

Janet Jackson sang “Nothing” and “Nasty,” complete with laser beams and even more disrobing dancers. The little girl in front of me reached into the air in an attempt to grab the laser beams. A final video clip recapped Lee and Crystal’s journey from auditions to the finale — the clip was set to Sufjan Stevens’ lovely “Chicago,” a song that would have been a perfect fit for Lee this season. Crystal, Lee, and Joe Cocker sang “With a Little Help from My Friends,” and during the break, the judges left while Seacrest had his tie and suit readjusted by an assistant. Debbie positioned Lee and Crystal in the center of the stage, while the rest of the Top 12 lined up stage right.

Back from the break, it was time to learn which singer had been crowned champion by 14 and 40-year-old girls America. “Lee DeWyze!” Seacrest exclaimed, and the audience shrieked with enough positive energy to launch a space shuttle. Crystal walked over to the Top 12, which embraced her. And then the Top 12 moseyed on over to Lee, who had to jump into his rendition of “Beautiful Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay” while an avalanche of confetti threatened to crush him. After thanking the audience for its support, Lee headed toward a TV camera to record his immediate post-winning-American-Idol reaction. I waited around in my chair, hoping to witness one final image to bring this season to its proper close. And there it was: Simon, Kara, Ellen, and Randy enjoying one last group hug. It lasted a good five seconds, or just long enough for Simon to remark, “I cannot believe Lee beat Crystal… I’m outta here.”

PopWatchers, can you believe Lee beat Crystal? Is it now impossible for a woman to win? And will Idol be able to survive without Simon Cowell? Or is the show already making the noise of a cat that’s been thrown off the Empire State Building? [RELATED: The 20 Best Idol Performances of All Time; Adam Lambert rep: Report about canceled 'American Idol' finale gig was 'completely fabricated'; Crystal Bowersox after 'American Idol' finale: 'I wouldn't have tried out if I didn't think I had a shot at winning']

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  • Donna

    Well…The season’s finally over. That’s about all I can say. So ho-hum and dreary. Crystal was clearly the better singer and deserved the win, but to be honest, I just wasn’t that invested this year so I’m okay with Lee taking the crown. Who cares? Loved seeing Chicago and the Bee Gees (though it is sad that Maurice is gone). I don’t know…I’m rambling because again, this season just wasn’t much to sing about!

    • Laina

      I love the show, and I think it is important to remember what Simon said, it is the fans that are the final judges of the winner. It is clear that we appreciated Lee’s sincerity, humbleness, and how thankful he was for the opportunity. Not to mention, the strong appreciation of his fan’s. Crystal is excellent, and she knows that. That is good, but she clearly was open about her focus for being on the show. I was not impressed with her answer to Seacrest’s question: “explain to us what your journey on this show has been like.” Her reply: “my jorney began before I was ever on this show.” That wasn’t the question, Crystal. I voted for Lee. Maybe it was the impression that she gave to people that she was not crowned the winner?

      • Max

        I think it is incredibly stupid to base your vote on ONE question and answer. Crystal is a professional and she acted like one. She’s not the type to squeel and giggle over cute boys and I understand how this can be interpreted as aloofness. However, you (and a lot of others) need to realize that their are different kinds of people in the world with different personalities and try to be a bit less shallow.
        You say you voted for Lee because he was sincere, humble and thankful. That’s nice but since this is a singing competition (well, it USED to be), that’s a really retarded reason to vote for someone.

      • A

        I thought we did away with the so called “R” word.

        Real classy

      • Mike T

        Max it has stopped being a “singing” competition since the days of Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. If that is so Adam would have won last year and Archie the year before him and Melinda Doolittle before that and Daughtry before that. People can use any reason they wish for why they voted for the one they did. It won’t change the outcome. Crystal will be ok, just like Adam is and Daughtry. They didn’t need the win. Lee needed that win like Kris last year. Let’s all focus on the now and forget the past. What we say now won’t matter, it is what we do now that will. Buy Crystal’s album when it comes out, that is how she will be the winner.

      • jay

        wow..once again its a talent show,i really didnt care about the question,crystal has more talent and is the better singer..period…

      • em

        Idol was never only a singing competition, so I’m not surprised Crystal lost. If that were the case, Nikki would have never bested Tamyra in season 1. Even judges base decisions on something other than talent (remember when Simon said Kristin McNamara was not pretty enough?) As for the question, I don’t think it made anyone vote against Crystal – people tend to like seeing growth or an underdog come out of nowhere.

      • AA

        I’m sure no actual retards are reading this, so i think we are safe

      • June Roberts

        I think you are right, it was the impression she left that killed her. Who wants to see her week after week in those dreadful dreadlocks. YUK

      • Maine Fan

        I would.

      • Anna

        She lost me during Hollywood week as her attitide didn’t sit well with me. Some things may have been taken out of context; maybe not. It’s not just about the best vocal; but the overall way you feel about the finalists. If we went ONLY by vocal we might have had different winners in the past. We’ve had “rocker chicks” before, I preferred Carly and/or Amanda to Crystal.

      • Shari

        Laina, Em, June, Anna — I’ve heard just about all of the personal attacks I can stand, on that little girl. Your’s are but a few of the many being thrown out there. Allow me to point out a few things that you all might find interesting (or maybe not). In all these weeks, has anybody ever seen a “mother”? Crystals father is always there, but no mother! Is she deceased or just gone? I noticed, there was never any mention of a mother by anyone. It could be that Crystal was not as fortunate as all of us. Perhaps there was not that loving mother to teach this little girl how to take care of herself, how to dress, fix her hair and most important of all – to love and let her know how important and wonderful she was. Maybe it would help if we all sent our love and best wishes to this little girl instead of calling her terrible names and saying disgusting things about her. What on earth has she done to you!?

      • Linda

        That was ridiculous what you said about “no retard is reading this” Do you think it is ok to use the N-word when no one is looking? Can’t you find a better way to express yourself than using words that hurt people? The new R-Word is Respect for everyone!!

      • Mysti

        The “fans” are not the final judges of the winner…it’s the fans that bother to vote, which are females, and females that would rather a cute boy win than the most talented singer. This show is a huge joke until they fix the voting/judging mess that decides the “winner”.

      • Davie

        Dis is Davie,and I am spesial, and not retauded, and im reeding this so yay me!!

      • Trash

        You mean the word retarded?

      • Skrymik

        Hahahah, the one and ONLY reason Lee won is because he appealed to the female teeny-bopper population which is 95% of the population that actually watches and gets involved in voting for this show. They weren’t voting based on vocal ability, they hardly know what vocal ability IS. Lee is their heart throb, and any adults who voted in the first seasons were too bored with this one to care or possibly compete with that mass of young girls in love with Lee.

      • @Donna

        It isn’t the Miss USA pageant, you idiot. If people really voted based on that inconsequential answer, I’m sincerely concerned for their sanity.

      • @A and Linda

        Unlike you, I haven’t given up on the “R” word–retarded, retarded, retarded. There, I said it.

      • Gail

        The fact you voted for looks and sincerity is the reason our country is in such big trouble, we rarely pick the person who is best for the job, we pick whom we like. It was a frgging singing contest and Lee has very limited vocals. Geez!!! But I do agree he seems like a nice guy.

      • Um

        All of you people that talk about Crystal’s “attitude” or Lee’s “attitude”, or how they “come off”…understand this….these contestants are prompted on what to say and what not to say. These questions and answers are REHEARSED before the show and are pre-fabricated. Also, what you see in video clips, etc of Lee and Crystal are EDITED by 19 Entertainment (Idol). What you see is what they want you to see…..not necessarily how Lee and Crystal TRULY are.

        For example, they showed Lee mixing paint in the paint store that he worked in, but they never showed Crystal maintainint her insulin pump for her diabetes. Of course that would have garnered votes for her. You allow yourselves to be manipulated by what the network WANTS you to see

    • ids10

      Why would somebody who “doesn’t care” spend the time watching the show….amazing!

      • marc-ly

        AI’s problem is Kara’s infuluence over contestant selection. For some reason, AI has gotten away from singers and more into supposed artists. Just because you choose to play (ie, hide behind)a guitar doesn’t make the singing better. After watching Xtina last night and the previous winners, I realized that they could all sing. The worst actual singers were clearly Lee and Kris. You cannot in 90 seconds, tell a story. You have to excite, and hit some notes. Hopefully next year, AI will get back to actual, honest to goodness, singers. The entire top 12 was absent this. And kill or at least limit the instruments. The judges seem to be mesmerized by people standing still, ehibiting no stage presence, strumming and kinda singing.

      • Donna

        You missed my point. I said I didn’t care who won–not that I didn’t care about the show! I’m a fan of AI so I watched this season and was unimpressed and DIDN’T CARE who the hell won.

      • dasia

        Give Lee some credit! He had a great voice and sang songs that people enjoyed listening too.They were both great, and America clearly would rather buy records from Lee. Give credit to him… everyone sounds like bitter, miserable people. Why do people feel the need to argue with the results? He is a nice guy, has a good voice, and caught a break- and good for him, I am happy for him and his family. They seem like great people.

      • TR

        I like Lee a lot, I like his singing and I’m not a tween or even a girl.

        Maybe his win was just a reaction to the Judges constant hyping of Crystal and it seeming every blog had already crowned her. I think her fans got lax in their efforts and are now lashing out. It’s petty and it’s sad.

        Really, it’s just a TV show ;)

    • KNeff

      wow…lots of bitter pills being taken after the results.
      shameful really, all of the nasty that’s being spewed out

      • Mike T

        I agree. I wish it would stop. If people are so disgrunted with the results then YOU should have voted! If you did then you did what you could. The outcome is here, being nasty won’t change that. Lee hasn’t done a damn thing to deserve all this nastiness. Apparently someone liked him enough for him to win. Let’s focus on what we can do NOW for who we like. Support your artist with your money, not put down with your mouth via the computer.

      • Kat R

        To Mike’s point, apparently A LOT of people liked Lee enough to vote for him. Afterall, didn’t you hear how much louder the audience was when they cheered for Lee? They’re both awesome and will do just fine. If they’re each meant to make it they will. Personally, I preferred Lee because I like his type of music better. Everyone has their own reason for liking a particular artist better than others. Lee deserved to win just as much as Crystal, but someone has to come in second. I can’t believe the rude and petty comments posted here by individuals who are salty because they’re pick didn’t come in first. Crazy!

      • MC

        what’s crazy is that lee actually won. i’ve said it numerous times and i’ll say it again: this is three years in a row, THREE YEARS, where the winner has been a non-threatening, white soft rocker, and quite frankly, it’s getting old america. Crystal clearly outperformed Lee on tuesday, much the way Adam outperformed Kris last year, but as others have said earlier, this competition has clearly devolved from one of finding the most talented singers and performers to being nothing more than a popularity contest for teen girls and their mothers to fawn over the cutest and least threatening male “singers”. I for one will probably leave with simon, and yes, i do have a nielsen box so my ratings do count. now, i haven’t said anything bad about lee, just that he was clearly outperformed by crystal, not just on tuesday night, but throughout the whole season. unfortunately america has been blinded by this popularity contest and AGAIN went with the non-threatening AC rocker type and clearly did not pick the most deserving.

      • anonymous

        I partially agree with you MC. I liked David Cook – and he was still a ‘new’ kind of AI winner in the 7th season. Kris Allen surprised me but I personally didn’t mind – he’s still talented and they’re both doing well now. Now that we’ve had the THIRD idol winner in a row to fit their style, it casts a smidge of doubt on the previous two victories, since it makes you wonder when the type began to overshadow the performance. Highly annoying.

      • Jay

        I continue to find it quite arrogant that people present their opinions as if they’re facts.

      • B

        I happen to believe Lee will be the better entertainer. I enjoyed watching and listening to him.
        I think he Crystal and Casey will all have great careers.
        What I don’t like it that the writer and several commenters, can’t believe someone disagrees with them. Go Lee!!!

      • bekpot

        I have to agree with you Mike T. All these disgruntled people making such negative comments about Lee. I know I voted..many times!! Did you vote? C’mon! Lee doesn’t deserve your hatred. He seems like a very genuine guy, who (I think) has an amazing voice (when he lets go) and is so amazingly sincere..he took my breathe away. Crystal was fantasic. No doubt she will go on to do many good things! But, I have to say..I am very happy for Lee!!

      • TR

        @Jay- I agree completely.

        I felt there were stronger weeks for Cystal and weeks she wasn’t as good. I felt there were weeks Lee could have done better and weeks I really liked his performance best of the night. Both got “pimped” by the judges when they were good.

        Neither was perfect and even EW’s little “scoring” them each week was just opinion and not technical.

      • brenda

        The show used to tout being about singing but it has become a show whose focus is now on finding the best new entertainer. They want the one that has the full package and that can be marketed successfully. Crystal’s voice is amazing but I don’t think she ever got to showcase her true talent. She was limited to putting a really great touch on already famous songs and that made her seen somewhat ‘yesterday’…janis joplin, tracy chapman, mellisa ethridge all AMAZING singers but are not in the top 10 today…neither is their type of music. They have a select and loyal audience who love them but they aren’t getting air on the most listened to stations.

        I think when Crystal releases he CD with songs she has written and performed she will become a mega star. I loved Lee…loved his story and watching him grow. Crystal was AMAZING from GO. The changes we saw in her were mostly cosmetic…great makeup…good cloths and better health..but her voice and stage presence was there from the beginning. People tend to identify with the underdog and want to see them come out on top.

      • Dee

        This thread is NOT nasty at all!!! You guys should read the stories about Kris winning over Adam last year!! The entire world exploded and THAT was the biggest upset in the history of American Idol. Show is over baby!

    • darclyte

      Maybe next year they’ll have the current contestants duet with former winners/contestants? That would have been a great ongoing tribute to Simon this year, and made for some good performances.

    • Judy Dinch

      CHICAGO AND THE BEEGEES ARE PIECES OF CRAP NO WONDER NO ONE IS WATCHING THIS SHOW ANYMORE. THEY ONLY GET ARTISTS TO PREFORM THAT ENTERTAIN PEOPLE 60 AND ABOVE. YUK.

      • Daniel

        Speak for yourself, jerk.

      • BruceMpls

        Yeah, you’re right. I heard Christina Aguilera has now rescheduled her concerts and will only be going to retirement homes from now on.

      • Nettie

        I’m 37 and you can give me the Bee Gees and Chicago over any of the Lady GagGags and Black Eyed Peas any time. Get a grip.

      • Margie

        For your information the older performers are more sincere then the younger ones. I am 59 and I enjoy all kinds of music and singers, no matter what the age.

      • Ryan Ann

        I love the BeeGees and Chicago! Their music has lasted longer and is so much more entertaining than anything today. Both are icons!!

      • luke

        If you are going to use all caps – like you are a shouting fool – at least check your spelling so you don’t look like a shouting – and illiterate fool

      • jslost

        Please do not feed the Troll known as cap typer Judy Dinch. (I’ve run into it’s views before, “troll” or just “off balance”…take your pick.)

      • Donna

        60 and above??!!! That’s not me. And you certainly have no taste in music.

      • TR

        Why would somebody name themselves after dame Judy Dench and then complain about people in their 60s?

      • COLLEEN

        BITE YOUR FREAKING TONGUE! THE BEE GEES WERE GREAT IN THE 80’S AND I AM NOT 60!!! AT LEAST THEIR MUSIC DOESN’T PROVOKE VIOLENCE WITH PROFANITY LIKE MOST MUSIC TODAY!!

      • T

        Sounds like Judy is a dinch

      • Dave

        @ COLLEEN: Yeah, they WERE great in the 80’s. But they have kinda lost it. This was the case with most of the older performers..

      • ObserverUSA

        Chill Judy. YOU will be 60 and over someday. Then kids will be ridiculing YOU.

      • Pat

        I am 68 years old. I love the BeeGees and Chicago,but I also love the Black Eyes Peas and most of the hip hop music that is out today. What difference does age make anyway?

      • Janet

        Preform….hmmmm.

      • Tony

        You must be a young person who doesn’t understand a thing about music or art. Because if you did you would realize the extreme talents and creativity of ‘Chicago’ and the brothers Gibb. This also goes for the people who criticized Sinatra week. Singing the tunes of this era and singing them well separates real singers from wanna-bes.

    • Joan OBrien

      Lee DeWyze is the wise choice for the New American Idol! Congrats Lee! :O)

    • Amanda

      I am so tired of everyone saying that only 14 and 40 year olds voted for Lee. I’m 26 and just didn’t care for the tone of Crystal’s voice. I am not denying that the girl could sing, but the tone of her voice just didn’t appeal to me and I could not picture her as a mainstream recording artist. I voted for Lee because I think he had a better chance of success on Top 40 radio and I prefered his musical style over Crystal’s. It’s not always all about teeny-boppers and their mothers.

    • mmm

      I agree..ho hum season and yes a girl can win–find another Carrie Underwood with wide appeal and great vocals–she sounds even better live–see her in concert! The best vocalist!!

    • Charlie

      I watched it only to see Xtina!!!! The rest of the finale sucked!!!

  • melissa

    Sigh. Not happy about the results, but great recap as usual!

    • heather

      Agree. Second year in a row that, in my opinion, America got it wrong. Crystal was the clear winner this year as Adam was the winner last year. Hopefully, Crystal will follow Adam to get her album cut and out there early. I’ll be first in line to buy it. Lee was good too, but, I think that Crystal was more consistent throughout the competition. Lee needs to let himself go. Crystal already does that. Good Job Crystal!

      • carolyn

        I totally agree. Adam definitely was better than Kris last year and ditto -Crystal WAY better than Lee… but like Adam, Jennifer Hudson, Chris Daughtry, and others that didn’t win.. they went on to have better careers than the ones that did! This is true for all of the seasons except for Carrie Underwood and Kellie Clarkson- winning doesn’t necessarily help their careers… its all about the talent- and some that didn’t win were more talented that the ones who did… I prefer Dancing With the Stars where judges opinions count for 50% of the vote… so its not just a popularity contest…

      • Jared

        It is your opinion. I cannot believe how many people still whine over Adam’s loss. He has a some talent, but he is way over the top and not everyone enjoys all the screaming.

      • helenkrump

        Kris Allen is ever bit as talented as Adam Lambert–jesus give it a rest people. Kris writes, inventively arranges music, and has a voice that not only sounds pleasant, but one that speaks to me. Lee, who wasn’t my choice, has some good original material that can be listened to on youtube, and he has a decent recording voice–most of the people who place in the top 3 (last year I would include the top 5) during just about any season of Idol are talented.

      • Emma

        I agree with you, except about Kris. Kris was incredibly talented – he rearranged every song he did on the stage, and just because he didn’t shriek every note he sang doesn’t mean that he wasn’t talented. Lee should not have been in the competition, he has had songs in the Billboard charts, he had an unfair advantage. If he didn’t get anywhere after that, what makes you think that he’ll get anywhere after Idol. Crystal deserved to win, but I still think it should have been Didi Benami in the finals with her.

      • superstace

        I think that yes last year Adam should’ve won, but he didnt and he is still doing great, so didn’t he win anyway at the end of the day? SO many of these people are being mean and critical, get over it! You cannot honestly say Lee is bad!! Ofcourse u can’t, but Crystal didn’t get 1st place so take it out on everyone here…so petty. Here’s somethin to think about; If the only winner is the last one standing, why would The Final 10 also get to go tour for a whole year…hmmm, maybe to give them more practice(if needed)and if it is meant to be for each individual, it will happen after the idol tour…I’m just not understanding the hostility some people have about it..Goes to show, yes PEOPLE ARE MEAN!!! ALL are entitled to our opinions ofcourse, if we all liked the same type of music the world would be PRETTY boring…ease up a lil, eh LEE also did very well. I personally loved the final 10 group, it was such a mix of character, and style, but THEY ALL got along fine..

      • TR

        As an Adam fan I’ll say I felt his making it up to 2nd was a “win” for him. I really wasn’t sure someone like that would even be accepted to the Top 12 by America let alone make it to the finals. And I happened to like Kris too

        I still don’t get the obsession with the title- I love Daughtry and by their albums without ever bothering with what place he came in.

        If you like somebody- support them. Hatred for anyone is not supporting your favorite.

      • Dave

        This is about Lee and Crystal not about Kris. Stop talking about Kris or Adam here!

      • jake

        Shut up already people!! It’s just her opinion for goodness sake. I find it amusing though that she mentioned both Lee AND Kris yet it’s the Kris fans that came swarming over feeling the need to defend it. You don’t need to respond to everyone comment when they’re just giving an opinion they are entitled to and nothing else.

    • BruceMpls

      When it comes to this show, teenage girls rule. This year and last, they voted for the cute guy regardless of their talent. With no limits on voting (within the 2 – 4 hour time allowed), those girls put in tons and tons of votes. No way for Crystal to win. Too bad they couldn’t figure a way to allow only one vote per person, I think you would see different results.

      • MNCyn

        Or 10. Or even 100. But not thousands and thousands. I think Idol could take a lesson from DWTS ~ and I’m pretty sure that’s been said before 10 or 100 times.

      • karol callahan

        If it was all about the looks, Casy would be the winner.

      • TR

        The way for Crystal to win would be for her fans to put in tons and tons of votes in the same four hours ;)

        As Karol said, Casey got plenty of looks and really Adam did too from the young girls.

  • Rascal020978

    While I confess to being a Crystal fan all season, I have no hard feelings against Lee specifically. However, I do beleive that the AI producers need to take a good, long look at their show over the next few months and take the opportunity of Simon’s departure to make some drastic changes … although I expect the fear of declining ratings occassioned by Simon’s exit will prevent any major changes from being implemented.

    Hope I’m wrong.

    • Niix Starkyller

      I share your thoughts on Crystal and Lee. Bummer, but no hard feelings.

    • Bettyski

      They need to make some serious changes. The unlimited voting being the first, the judges and their roles second, songs for the contestants to sing third IMHO.

    • anonymous

      I have no hard feelings against Lee. I have many hard feelings against the worst of his fanbase, who are trying their best to relive their glory days by regressing to thirteen-year-old neanderthals.

      • TR

        I feel the same towards the worst of Crytal’s base who are regressing into bratty kids.

      • Tim’s Toots

        Such idiots, the lot of you! The only reason any of you would have to put down either artist is to be spiteful. It won’t change the outcome so stop it! Support your chosen artist when their album comes out, that is how you can get your so-called revenge!

    • Sam

      Totally agree that they need to change the “voting process” in this show. Lee’s a nice guy but not the best singer. Changes so need to be made if this show wants to survive. This year will be my last if they don’t change the format and ridiculous voting procedures.

      • helenkrump

        The show is called “American Idol” not America’s Best Singer. I have no problem with limiting the number of votes that an individual can make, but I suspect that even if that rule were in place last year (where the vote totals weren’t even close) that Kris Allen still would have won; this year, who knows, Seacrest said that only 2% separated the vote last week, so it might have been tight, but the demographic of the show skews female, and Lee, though not my type, apparently was a ladykiller, LOL.

  • stevek

    What won was the population count of Chicago, versus the population count of Toledo… What crappola!

    • Bonnie

      If that were true, explain how Carrie Underwood won coming from a rural OK town…

      • bunnyslippers

        She’s pretty.

    • Mike T

      SteveK are you for real? There is a whole nation out there besides those two cities that voted. You are really “out” there to suggest what you did.

    • Hank

      What about Kris Allen from a small town in Alabama?

      • veronica

        Uh…that would be Arkansas.

      • feliciam

        Kris Allen wasn’t from Alabama! He was from Arkansas.. and to all you that are saying that Lee got all his votes from the teeny boppers, not true!! I absolutely love Lee although he wasn’t my first choice (Aaron Kelly was) I still loved his performances all season.. Don’t get me wrong, I love Crystal too, but I think Lee is the right choice.

  • The Fonz

    Good finale, bad results. Siobhan stole the show.

    • Jeanne

      No–Casey did and he should have been this year’s Idol

      • Cheri

        Casey was a stiff on stage and whined a bit when he guitar was not in front of him. Nice too look at but thats not the reason for a win.Siobann should have been 3rd.

    • Bettyski

      Amazingly once the pressure was off of him, Casey sounded great. I always thought Siobhan was wonderful, but her duet with Aaron and the BeeGees was great. Katie sounded great on the Christina Aguilara songs too.

      • TR

        Quite a few of them were much better now. Even Paige sounded good.

  • Aaron

    Wow, maybe it was your seat, but this is the worst “What you didn’t see” ever! “The little girl in front of me reached into the air in an attempt to grab the laser beams.” Riveting. Recap: Fail!

  • Bob

    Well the teeny boppers got their wish. Their votes allowed Lee to win. No way he is a better singer than Crystal. The show has turned into a popularity contest for teenagers. Idol has lost its objectivity and losing Simon will just add to the problem.

    • Kat R

      If that’s the case, then what’s so bad about it? Don’t teenagers represent a huge pocket of the music buying public?

      • V

        But they don’t actually have much disposable income to BUY said music…

      • chistosa

        @V Are you kidding? I teach teens and they are always buying music, concert tickets, make-up, IPods, newer cell phones, clothes, cars. I don’t know where they get it but the teens I teach have more disposable money than I do.

    • sunshine

      Seriously! Simon said that he thought Lee would win!Not all who voted were teeny boppers! Personally may the best one win says it all!!!

    • superstace

      No maybe your personal opinion is that Crystal is better than Lee, but they have dif styles, My fav’s from the final 10 happened to be Lee and Crystal, they are both very talented, bless them for suckin it up and pushin themselves harder every week. All the finalists are great singers in their own genre..

    • lila

      what do the tweens see in Lee? He has no charisma, always looks like a deer in the headlights and somewhat vacant

  • Helen

    Very disappointing result. If it’s 14 and 40 year old women who vote, I most likely won’t invest time in the show ever again. Crystal was clearly the real talent.

    • ids10

      Helen, didn’t you say that last year as well? Just can’t help it can we!

    • Bonnie

      Does it matter? I think Idol has made it irrelevant who WINS because those with true talent and the mental capacity to keep it together, do succeed whether or not they win. I’m not really invested in who wins anymore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun to watch.

      • TR

        I actually feel the same way- ever since Daughtry was on. I liked him and am glad I watched the show to “find” him.

        If I hadn’t watched the series, I wouldn’t discover singers I connect with.

  • N

    I love listening to either of the top 2 (and that duet!). I think Lee needed the win more than Crystal did, so I’m OK with the results. Crystal is a strong woman and is going to be great with or without the American Idol pop vote.

    • jay

      i really dont care what lee needed..the right person did not win and that is wrong

      • Kat R

        Then perhaps you should’ve casted more votes.

      • Fran

        Puhleaseeee you people, stop whining about the results. The top 5 were all wonderful singers…and entertainers, any one of them deserved to win, and all of them will get a recording deal. So they are ALL winners!!!

      • TR

        Your wrong jay, the “right” person won. Lee got the most votes ergo he is the winner. That’s how it goes.

        Neither need the win, both need the exposure the show has brought them. That’s my opinion.

    • Lady

      I actually think it may be a blessing in disguise that Crystal didn’t win (even though she deserved it) because now she can do her own music and she isn’t bound by 19’s contracts.

      • Jeanne

        19 also offers contracts to the runner-up, Adam’s fantastic record is under his contract with 19.

    • Sandy

      I completely agree!! I hope they record that duet! They were both awesome. Crystal didn’t need to be the Idol to make it. The story of Lee going from a paint store to AI winner is a great american story. I didn’t vote because I didn’t really care wich one won. I’ll buy both CD’s.

      • chris

        yeah, he never would’ve gotten a break…… wait, except that it’s being widely reported that he actually had to have his previous record contract nullified to be on the the show.

  • David D

    Lee missed his cues in the Cocker song, didn’t he? Twice?

    • RH

      Boy, did he ever! Looked like he quickly apologized to Cocker after the song.

    • TR

      It has to be difficult memorizing all those songs- he also had to do a bunch of Chicago songs where Crystal only had two with Alanis where they walked around.

      • Stever_B

        What are you, Lee’s frigging agent? Every three posts, you’ve got to insert something defending Lee or “explaining” something Lee did or didn’t do. Give it a rest!

      • Dave

        LOL!!!!

  • Berly

    America clearly has no ear for TRUE talent!!! What a DISASTER!!! Crystal IS my American Idol!!!

    • Crystalrocks

      Crystal was clearly more talented and will do just fine! She is this years Adam Lambert. I feel she will be more successful than Lee and will probably get just as much publicity as Lee coming out of the Show.

      • Donald_Twump

        More like this year’s Justin Guarini! :P jk, I agree with you.

      • Beckie

        I completely agree. Crystal’s success will far surpass that of Lee’s. It makes me sad that she didn’t get the honor of winning, but what’s done is done–now we move on to the real talent. There are no votes anymore…just record sales.

      • Gibbyswife

        I agree with you Beckie, Crystal will go a long way. The record sales is going to be interesting.
        Did the winner get money also, I can’t remember.
        This AI was a bit “blah”, somethings changed and I can’t figure out what it is. I did enjoy Harry Connick mentoring them.
        It is true about the voters mostly being young female teenyboppers, they voted for the guys and their looks, not their voice.

  • grace

    I am so glad Lee is the American Idol – I picked him from the start –
    Good Luck – Lee

    • marylou

      I totally agree! I am neither 14 nor 40, and I have loved Lee from the start. It has been fun to see him elolve, and he will do well…as will Crystal. My favorite download of the season is the duet they sang a few weeks ago.

      • ids10

        Mine too!!!

      • Mike T

        My daugther loves Lee. I loved Crystal. Our household couldn’t have gotten it wrong either way. I agree that duet was by far the best for me. My daughter did wonder why Lee didn’t pick as his song choice “Treat Her Like A Lady”. I wondered too, wasn’t that his “moment” that changed his life? (In the words of Simon)

      • jay

        please evolve he did but still far far short of crystals overall talent

      • superstace

        hmm, I loved both Lee and Crystal, although because I am a woman, I liked Lee, which in the end is why I never vote…You know the singers left at the end truly are talented and will do well after Idol, if they want it, which Crystal, she’s so comfortable in her shoes, she will be fine, Lee I thought was equally well, but how do u judge 2 different types of vocal..They are both great within their styles. The show started as American Idol, and I think thats why it is so popular, because America knows its up to them. Although I completly agree with someone who wrote about the guys winnning cuz of all the young girls voting..I believe that def happens, without question. How many teenage boys do u know to watch Idol..there will never be a way around that, I liked them both! I think a lot of people are..well, really snappy aboout their fave and it shouldve been this, shouldve been that, but it is what it is; A show focused towards teenage girls, although many ages watch, how many vote..I’m 30, I’ve been watchin about 4 yrs and I’ve never voted no matter how much I liked someone. GO LEE! GO CRYSTAL! :)

  • Mel

    Crystal will have a much bigger career than Lee, and that’s what it’s all about. It was one cheesy show last night but it seemed to be more about making a cheesy tribute to someone leaving than to make an entertaining competition final. Best moment was Bret Michaels appearance, but even he had to ride Casey James with a pair of spurs to get him to perform.

    Carrie Underwood continues to show why she’s made it big. Crystal was on par with Underwood. Siobhan actually sounded pretty good when she dialed it back. She should get a gig on broadway or a guest appearance on Glee.

    What was really sad this year was watching Glee right after AI, and seeing the contrast between real talent on Glee and stretching it talent on AI. AI needs to step up their game.

    • Niix Starkyller

      Glee also has multiple takes and autotuning, and a cast (mostly) seasoned by prior singing experience. Love the show, but not comparable to a live performance event by (largely) inexperienced people.

      • andrea

        the one girl Amber Riley (the African American girl) auditioned for idol and they turned her down look at her now.

      • TR

        American Idol sings live- the Glee cast gets to re-tape and fix everything. A couple like Lea were on Broadway but not everyone might be good live like she is. In fact you only reinforce Idol’s personality over “talent” with Glee (also known as the place Ellen wanted to send everyone who gets cut each week). Tim Urban could sound great on Glee and he’s very personable…

    • chistosa

      Crystal will have a different kind of career than Lee. I’m not sure I would say it will be a much bigger career.

    • sunshine

      We will see, Lee is Good!

    • Merin

      I’d like to ride Casey James with a pair of spurs;)

  • Janis

    Crystal was clearly tthe better singer and should have taken the crown. But I think Lee won because Chicago has more people than Toledo!

    • Alison

      …You do understand that people from all parts of the US can vote, right?

    • TR

      Kat McPhee was a better singer than Taylor Hicks- and neither did much afterwards :p

      It takes the right song choice and being true to yourself and your audience. We’ll see if these two can do it.

    • teny10

      Remember last year? Los Angeles versus Little Rock. You can put more than 1,000 Little Rocks into one massive LA and who won?

      • Susie

        That’s because Kris’ home state CHEATED!!!! It was all over the newspapers!!!

  • tom

    Great recap. Yes Crystal is a better singer but her character will not attract and hold a large audiance. Lee is a good choice!!!

    • Cattan

      Hmmm….Crystal will only attract people who buy music from such “minor” musicians as Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Tracy Chapman, Janis Joplin….They aren’t flash in the pan tween sensations, they make it and sell for a lifetime because they are great. And their audience is huge and loyal, and they become legends. Crystal’s bound for that route. Sadly, most cute teen heart-throbs just last a short time until the next one comes along, and Lee’s not that young….but he’s come a long way, and I’m sure he’ll improve. I wish him well.

      • pat

        what’s wrong with 60. If you’re lucky, you may get there too!
        Love Lee

      • Emma

        So in other worse, good, non-commercial music is only “minor music” to you? The likes of Janis Joplin and Melissa Etheridge are way more talented than Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, and will last much longer and sell better than the tween idols too.

      • TR

        Bob Dylan has a very limited vocal range and mumbles a lot. Lee has as good a chance of success as any ;)

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