Recap Grand Finale

After what seems like ages of American Idol Season 7, we finally come to the end.

For some reason there was an unprecedented number of votes for the grand finale performance. Sure we expect the previous record to be broken, but by more than 20 million?? 97.5+ million votes folks!

This final episode was filled with a number of performances, featuring the likes of the Top 12, Donna Summer, Jimmy Kimmel, Gladys Knight, Carrie Underwood, among others. One of the biggest highlights for me was the return of the white suit guy who sang the "I am your brother" song.

This recap will mainly be of a pictorial nature. I think this years finale was much better than last years. One reason is that last year there was no doubt who the winner was, while this year it was always dubious. Also, the line-up of performances for the occasion was generally more interesting, though it was mixed with the boring and nice.

First main item was a group performance by the reunited top 12 with contestants from So You Think You Can Dance. (Wow! Did anyone else totally forget about Amanda?)

The two Davids perform together. The clown on the right is supposed to be the Love Guru

Syesha with some guy. Castro doing Hallelujah.

The two Davids being told they have each been given a Ford Hybrid

The top 6 girls do some Donna Summer stuff. Then Donna herself joins them on stage.

Carly Smithson and Michael Johns do a duet. Carly sounded really good, and Michael wasn't half bad.

Top 6 boys performing, doing a nice job. Brian Adams comes out to join them.

Brooke White and some guy (Grand Ash?) doing a duet

Remember this character? They brought him back! Paula and Randy joined him on stage along with the nice girls.

Jordin Sparks
(left) and Carrie Underwood (right), two previous American Idol winners. Jordin was ok. The only highlight of Carrie's performance was her legs!

George Michael. This guy put me to sleep.
I actually missed the announcing of the winner because of him.

Just before the results are divulged, Ryan asks the judges for their finals words. Simon apologises to David (Cook?) because he bordered on being disrespectful to him. He admitted it wasn't so clear cut when he watched over the show the night before. He also said he didn't really care which one won as they're both good.

Finally we get to what the show is really supposed to be about -the revealing of the winner. Ryan declares Cook the new American Idol, winning by over 12 millions votes. So my calling the result from last night turned out to be just wrong. I guess with my calling it coupled with Simon's declaring it a knock-out, the public decided to vote extra hard for Cook and it paid off. I should also note, that this could be the only result that can be vouched for.

Naturally Cook is overwhelmed by emotion and breaks out into tears. After he composes himself, he sings the final song as the show ends.

In one sense it seems the season has been going on forever. Yet at the same time, it seemed to have gone by so fast. I had an abundance of theories to post, but things kept going by so fast. Well I'll see what I can do. Perhaps I can still post some. I'm sure you'd be interested to know why this will probably be the last ever American Idol season.

Recap Grand Finale Performance

First of all, let me apologise for not bringing you the recap for the Top 3 week. I was sent to a far away place and was not able to watch the show.

After many weeks of American Idol, we have finally arrived at the grand finale. It is down to David Cook vs. David Archuleta, which isn't really surprising. Not since the days of Clay Aiken have we had a finale with two males. Also not since then, have we had such a talented pair in the finals.

The final performance show opened with some guy introducing the two contestants in the manner of a boxing match.

Some clips from Clive Davis and Andrew Lloyd Webber are shown where they are coaching the 2 contestants.

There'll be 3 rounds, where each contestant will deliver their final set of competition performances.

For the 1st round, the songs have been chosen by Clive Davis

Up first is David Cook. As usual, I thought he was good, not bad at all. Randy exclaimed that it was a great way to start the show. He said it was a very nice song choice. He loved the scoop with the note at the end and thought it was "hot"! Paula said we have found David Cook. She commented that he was "in great voice tonight". Simon articulated his observation that at start of show, David looked very tense, very emotional, and taking all that together, said it was phenomenal.

David Archuleta sang Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, a song that now belongs to Clay Aiken. While it was good, it highlighted for me the difference between Clay and Archuleta. I don't think David was as good as Clay. Randy felt this was one the best performances of the season. He went on to say it was "flawless" and "unbelievably molten hot. Crazy vocals." Paula claimed it gave her chills up and down her arms. She thought it was a beautiful beautiful stunning performance. Simon remarked that last week he was ok, but tonight, arguably the best he's done so far, and taking everything into account, gave round 1 to Archuleta.

For Round 2, a new song is selected from the song writer's competition. The contestants get to choose from top 10 entries.

Cook's 2nd performance was quite decent. It could actually be a catchy song. Randy said the song was just ok, but what made it work was his voice. Paula believed it a great way to take a song and make us fall in love with it. Simon said, using the boxing analogy, it was a lightweight. He lamented that it is supposed to be a winning song, and that didn't feel like a winning moment. For that he gave 6.5/10.

Archuleta's follow up was ok. His song choice was different by the way, and I would think more suitable for the finale. Randy wasn't too crazy about the song, but felt he's so in the zone, he could sing the phonebook, it would still be good. Paula said it was another heart felt performance, like he's on fire tonight, and called it "pure magic". Simon loved the egotistical lyric (of course) and thought it was definitely a better song for the occasion than Cook's. He also gave round 2 to the younger David.

In Round 3 the contestants could choose any song they wanted. Cook chose a song he hasn't done yet. Archuleta, chose Imagine, one he did before since it's one of his favourites.

Cook - Listening to it, I felt it probably was not the best song choice. It was good singing, but too close to boring. Randy thought it was very nice sensitive side to David, and said it was a very nice job. Paula remarked that he was delivering unbelievable songs with integrity and originality and then proceeded to give him a standing ovation. Simon started by acknowledging in public that Cook is one of the nicest most sincere contestants we've had. He said it was a beautiful song, but completely and utterly the wrong song choice. He suggested Billy Jean or Hello as better alternates. I have to agree with him. Cook needed to do a number that America had heard and loved from him before.

Archuleta - Well pretty much everyone loved it when he had first done Imagine, and no doubt it still came across as good tonight. Randy exclaimed that this is what the show is about and declared David the best singer of season 7. Paula said it left her speechless, and thought he was stunning tonight. Simon said we witnessed one of the great finals. He believed David A came out to win tonight and what we witnessed was a knock-out!

So it is quite obvious who the judges think will and should win. Objectively speaking, Archuleta was the stronger contestant tonight. Cook just did some wrong songs. Anyway, I suppose it doesn't really matter who wins. They both are clearly very talented and should have great success post idol. But Archuleta is the new American Idol!

The show closed with a live performance by Ruben Studdard, doing the song they have been playing all season when a contestant goes home.

Recap Top 4 Results Show

It's another routine results show. This time it is to determine who will be in the top 3. However, I think we all know already. This is one results show where it would have been best to just wrap it up in ten minutes.

As per tradition, there was the opening group song. Then there were the recap highlights of the previous night. Naturally, they focused on Jason's fiasco forgetting lyrics and just being plain awful.

The empty seats were shown and Ryan announces that it will be filled with the top 3. The four contestants are then shown off stage.

Ryan calls David Archuleta first. It seems obvious that the person called first and even second must be safe, so no surprise when Ryan tells David he can take a seat.

Idols take a trip to some Beatles Cirque du Soleil thing.

David Cook called next and is of course safe.

Syesha and Jason are then asked to come onto the stage. But it's too early to get the final result, so we take a break.

The ford video follows.

Next on the agenda is the phone calls segment. some weirdo wants a date with David Cook when he performs in Pittsburgh sometime in July which coincides with her birthday. A woman asked why Simon hasn't been knighted by the queen. Clearly Simon paid the woman to call. Another one of Simon's little helpers called in to suggest he could play James Bond.

We are then "treated" to a performance by Maroon 5. To be quite frank, it was a waste of time. They brought this group on before in a previous season, so it's strange that they still brought them back.

As if we weren't tortured enough having to listen to the previous performer, Bo Bice takes the stage. Listening to him, I was like, What the hell? Pure crap! Do people actually pay to hear this sort of thing? I hope not.

Finally time for results. Ryan gives a Rundown of Jason's and Syesha's performances. Jason said he did pack his bags. Anyway, Ryan announces that Syesha is in the top 3. So long Jason. It's about time! For once the producers were forced to go along with the public vote. It should be like this every week so the producers can quit their little games.

(Before singing his departure song, Ryan commented that he looked relieved. Jason admitted that that was true as they would be singing 3 songs next week, and he probably would have freaked out, since he can't even handle two.)

Recap Top 4

This is top 4 week of American Idol, and theme appears to be Rock n' Roll.

First contestant to take the stage is David Cook. Very strange performance. This should be his niche, but he sounds barely just ok. Very poor! Perhaps it was the song choice. But it never really did get started. Randy thought it was an ok choice, solid performance, but it was just ok, not amazing. He clearly wasn't impressed. Paula said it left her with a big appetite. She also said some other stuff that I didn't really understand. Simon thought it was good, a little bit copy cat, as David didn't change it up like he's known to, but should be good enough to get through to the next round.

Syesha sang Tina Turner's Proud Mary- I'm not sure I liked it, but it came across better than Cook's piece. Certainly some outstanding parts. Randy was exuberant, saying syesha is in the zone! "Nice job". Paula commented that she looks like a star. Simon said it was just a bad shrieky version or bad impersonation of Tina Turner. Surely an off the wall comment, since Syesha wasn't trying to impersonate Tina.

Jason chose to do Bob Marley's I Shot The Sheriff. This peaked my interest, as it is not customary to hear a Bob Marley song on American Idol. I was eager to see what the lad would do with the selection. Turns out he massacred it. Total crap! What a dishonour to Bob Marley! Randy lamented that it was a really karaoke Bob with nothing special about it. Paula said she never seen him perform more to the audience than this so commended him for that. She wasn't crazy about the performance though. Simon started his feedback with, "Jason stand back" and then told him that it was utterly attrocious, and like a first round audition massacre. Well those were some truly brutal comments. Poor kid.

David Archuleta doing Standy By Me. I must say it was very good. Best so far of the night. Randy was happy that he could see that there's at least one contestant left who when he hits the stage is trying to win the whole thing. All in all, Randy was extremely impressed with Archuleta's vocals, loved it and thought it was hot! aula likes that he takes advice and goes with it, as he apparently continued to try keeping his eyes open, based on feedback from Andrew Lloyd Webber recently. Simon is funny. He said Archuleta could have whistled the song and it would have sounded better than last one. However he thought it sounded like he was struggling a little in the end, to which the audience roared with boos. He did say though that in the grand scheme of things, this was the best performance of the night so far.

Cook did a Bob O'Reilly song for his second round. Ok, this one was pretty good. Much better.
Randy remarked that this was more like the David Cook he's grown to love. Paula just wanted more. Simon welcomed back David Cook.

Syesha gave a very good vocal for her other song. Randy said the first he loved, but this not as much. He didn't like the arrangement with the music or vocals. For him, it felt disconnected. Paula, and I give her ratings for this, gave Syesha a standing ovation, even with Randy's ridiculous comments. Paula liked how she orchestrated the vocals and added that it was magnificent. At this point Syesha broke out into tears, no doubt overwhelmed by such a splendid feedback. Simon said, he had to be fair and agreed with Paula. He thought Randy got that completely utterly wrong.

Jason did a Bob Dylan song to try to redeem himself. Not too long into the song, I was like what the hell? forgetting words?? Man, he forgot a whole slew of words. I feel real sorry for this chap. The producers are cruel to have kept him in this long. Randy said jason's not in the zone.paula said it is what it is. Though his performance didn't blow her away, he blows her away. Simon essentially told Jason, to pack his suitcase.

Archuleta did Elvis' Love Me Tender to close the show. I would say a good vocal, but I didn't like what he did with the song. Randy liked how he was tender and caressed each word. He said he got it going on. Paula said it was one of her favourite performances from him. She went on to say it was fantastic and very beautiful. Simon remarked that he didn't beat the competition tonight, he crushed it!

Well, for sure Jason was the worst, and if there is any integrity left in the show, he will surely be going home next. What is interesting here, is that this week we have someone who is by far, clearly the worst, that even the judges would not hesitate to agree on. This means the producers know that we all expect Jason to leave next. Will they compromise themselves once more just to keep the show unpredictable??? That's the big question!

Recap Top 5 Results Show

Each week a new season record in votes seems to be set. This time over 45 million were cast!

The show kicks off with the traditional group song where they do a tribute to Neil Diamond. Jason sucked.

Gina Glocksen and Constantine in audience. They're doing some show together.

Ryan proceeds to give a two and a half minute look at last night. Conspicuously absent from this recap is Paula's humongous blunder. Nevertheless, just after, Ryan does put in a word about Paula to dispel rumours. He affirmed that they love Paula and she's part of the family. I just wish Ryan would have made it clear exactly what rumours he was trying to dispel.

Time for some results. Jason is called first and is declared safe. Safe?? Why??

Archuleta is next called. After Ryan engages him in some small talk, the kid is sent to safety. David looks genuinely shocked that he is safe. What's wrong with this guy?

Then to fill some time while helping to boost Nigel's other show, a preview is shown of So You Think You Can Dance.

David Cook's turn to hear what Ryan has in store for him comes. Safe. Of course. This means that it has come down to Syesha and Brooke.

After a break, Natasha Bedingfield graces the stage and does a number. It was ok, but not an impressive song. Natasha started to leave the stage once finished with Ryan's questions, but turns back and runs over to meet david archuleta. She was polite and greeted the other contestants too.

We now come to the caller segment. The highlight of this section is no doubt the last caller. Some woman calls in and asks simon which is more memorable, his kiss with Paula, or his first ever kiss with her, when he was 9. Simon seems genuinely surprised that it really is his first crush on the phone. He remembers her name. He asks if she's still cute. Ryan asked her if simon is a good kisser, she hesitates, which causes a huge bout of laughter from Paula and audience, as that speaks for itself. Paula asks her if she's over the rabies...she said yes, and she's had a lot of counselling. A genuinely hilarious exchange.

Ford video

Neil Diamond is then invited to sing a song. The first several moments of the song sounded like talking. Actually, most of it sound so. Ryan asked Neil if the judges were fair with contestants last night. Neil hesitates a bit, and says they were a little harsh, but generally right.

Now back to Syesha and Brooke. Ryan doesn't drag it out. Contestant leaving us tonight is Brooke (said very quietly and gently), who then promptly starts to ball. But she knew it was her. Truth be told, she should have been eliminated some weeks back. I guess this paves the way for Jason to exit.

Brooke does her final number, but first apologises for how awful it would sound. Awful it was, even forgetting lyrics twice, but we understand.

Recap Top 5

Welcome to top 5 week!

With just 5 contestants left, there is sufficient time for each to do 2 songs. The theme is Neil Diamond songs.

Varying from the norm, the judges won't comment at the end of each performance, at least for the first round. After the second song they'll be invited to comment on both performances.

First up for the night was Jason. Neil Diamond thought he'd bring them both off very well. I thought he was forgettable and essentially unimpressive, but it was one of his better performances.

David Cook followed shortly after. Neil said he got goose bumps listening to him. He also liked that he selected two songs that are less well known. Has no doubt that he will do good. Well I think this is one of Cook's worst acts. Not good at all.

Brooke White -Neil was pleasantly surprised with Brooke making one of the songs her own. It was ok, better than last week. No halting after starting.

Archuleta -Neil hoped that he'd take some suggestions to heart, and expected him to do great. I personally thought Archuleta was pretty good.

Syesha -Neil thought she did a wonderful job in the rehearsals. He was very pleased. I would say she did excellent! Very nice pure voice.

Ryan then brought out all the contestants and asked the judges for quick comments on each.

Randy thought Jason was just ok but better than last week. Cook he said was very good and in the zone. Brooke -better than last week, still a little karaoke. Archuleta - the bomb. Syesha -in the zone, strong but not amazing.

Paula -LOL! -She was so obviously unprepared to give feedback at this stage. Starting with Jason, she said of his first song that she loved hearing his lower register which we normally don't get to hear. Then she started commenting on his "second" song, saying that his usual charm wasn't there. She even went on to say how the two songs together gave her the impression that he wasn't fighting hard enough to get into the top 4. (Listening carefully, you could hear laughter in the background). Randy had to break it to her that Jason only did one song. What an emabarrassment! She then claimed one set of notes was meant for David Cook, who she said was fantastic. But based on her original comments, I don't see how she managed to get fantastic out of any of that.

Simon said Jason was forgettable. Cook above average. Brooke a nightmare. Archuleta amateurish, and Syesha old fashioned.

2nd round

Jason - Unfortunately it didn't really start. But this is what we've come to expect from the chap.
Randy said it was just ok, definitely not the best. Paula was disappointed. She said it was safe, and that he needs to get outside his comfort zone. Simon thought he wasn't recognisable at the moment. He went on to say there was no attempt to make the arrangement his own and both performances were forgettable.

David Cook - It was a bit boring but better than first song, much better. Amazing how he can go from one extreme to the other. Randy's response was that he's a huge david cook fan right now. For him, David rocked the house. Paula was proud of him, liked that he picked 2 less familiar songs and pulled them off. She remarked that she felt as if she was looking at the next american idol Simon said his first song was ok and the second brilliant. He commented that he actually made the song feel like it was written this year.

Brooke -Not bad. Not bad at all. Randy exclaimed "that's the brooke I like"! He liked her behind the piano, showing all the flaws etc. To sum up, he her told nice job Paula liked that she showed her vulnerability and connects with the audience. Simon really really hated the first song. For the second, he said this is the Brooke we like, and that it was a million times better than first. "Well done".

Archuleta singing America-pretty good! Randy said that for a young man, he was definitely in the zone and another good performance. Paula thought it was the perfect song for him to sing. She wants to see him have fun though. Simon remarked that it was a smart choice of song. "It ticked all the boxes", he said.

Syesha -I don't think her second song, Thank the Lord for the Nighttime, was really a good song choice. Randy said it was "in the zone". Paula said a lot of crap, but the bottomline is that she liked Syesha's two songs. Simon said she is a very good actress/singer. However, he believes she may be in trouble tonight because her second song wasn't really memorable like most of the other contestants.

Well once again our bottom 2 are Jason and Brooke. It's all up to the producers now. It's time for Jason to go. Please. Let it be.

Recap Top 6 Results Show

This week there were over 38 million votes, no doubt the highest for the season. Of course they are mostly useless, since we know the show must be rigged.

In introducing Simon, Ryan kisses Simon's head and naturally, everyone is surprised, and Simon seemed quite taken aback.

The group song, All I ask of You was then performed with Andrew Lloyd Webber himself on piano.

After highlights of the previous night, Ryan has a little interview with Webber on stage. Webber said he felt it for Brooke because in the dress rehearsal she was flawless. Asked about whether the contestants took his advice, he made a remark to the effect that Jason didn't. He went on to express his bewilderment on Jason's song choice, calling it "most curious". He also said he didnt want to have to agree with Simon. Ryan asked Andrew what name he would choose for a love song for Simon and Paula. Andrew suggested Time to Say Goodbye or How Can I say I miss you if you won't go away.

After the break, we come back to the Ford video where they were singing that song Danny Noriega sang before getting eliminated Tainted Love.

We then have a little clip from Bush and his wife relating to Idol Gives Back, to fill the time.

Finally we get to what we're about. Only bottom 2 to be shown tonight.

We start with the Davids. Ryan asks Cook about how come he sang the song straight. He said the unpredictable thing to do was to not change it up. Both are declared safe. Was there really any doubt about this outcome?

We are then given a rundown of contestants from past seasons who are into broadway now. The list includes Tamyra, Digarmo, Fantasia, Lakisha and Clay Aiken.

A guest performer, Leona Lewis, is then invited to sing on stage. Apparently Simon was the one who discovered her and she is now on top of the charts. She sings a song called Bleeding Love. Well she can sing, but I wasn't impressed with the song.

Now we come to Syesha and Brooke. We know one must be in the bottom 2, since Ryan never makes it known who the bottom are until he does all recaps of each contestant. When Brooke is announced as safe, she apologies to Syesha, but Syesha tells her not to. Of course we know Brooke should rightfully take a bottom 2 seat. Either the producers decided to save her again, or she managed to capture a ton of sympathy votes. Either option is possible. So the first bottom dweller for the night is Syesha.

The final two are Jason and Carly. Ryan recalls how pleased Simon was with the Carly's performance, and if you listened carefully you'd have heard Simon say in response to that, "probably the kiss of death". Jason is safe. Pure crap!

Ryan asks the judges what they think of these results. Simon suggests Brooke is safe because she made herself human and implied that people understand that we all make mistakes. For Jason, he said he wasn't good, but was charming.

Carly sings, followed by Syesha.

After the break, Ryan reveals that Carly is the one to go home. While Carly might have deserved to go in earlier weeks, this was not the week for her. She did much better than Brooke and Jason. But it could be that the song she sang wouldn't really go down so well with many Christians. Or it could really have been Simon's kiss of death. I personally think too many people felt sorry for Brooke, and wasted their votes to save her instead of giving Carly her due.