American Idol 9 Finals: The Simon Cowell Tribute Special (a/k/a The Finale)


We’re wrapping up a long, sometimes painful, sometimes entertaining season of American Idol.  Tonight, the 9th American Idol will be crowned, and if Dial Idol is right, then VFTW has won.  And so has Lee Dewyze.  Which may be the best result for everyone, even though Crystal Bowersox deserves it more.  Actually, Lee has to win, so I can be wrong three years in a row, right?

Half of Hollywood has been rumored to be performing, so I give up.  Let’s just let it happen.  It’s Simon Cowell’s last show as a regular.  It’s the season 9 finale.  Who will win it all… TONIGHT~!?


I’m going to do this like I did for last season’s finale… one block for each segment, timestamped, so you can feel like you watched it, even though you didn’t.  Or maybe you did.  That works, too… off we go…

8:00 PM: We start at the Chicago auditions (montage-wise), looking back at Lee and Crystal’s start there… “500 million votes this season”… “what started in Chicago, ends tonight”… we switch live to the Nokia Theatre LA Live for those immortal words (from Ryan, between Crystal and Lee onstage)… THIS… is American Idol! (and we cue the music)… Ryan does a quick survey of the Nokia audience, and it sounds like Lee has a bigger fanbase at the theatre… from there, we meet the problem judges… including “on his last night”, Simon Cowell… next, having survived “18 different cuts”… Crystal and Lee (in Catholic school student garb for a segment, I guess)… they thank everyone.  We switch to the Huntington Center in Toledo with the Crystal Party… then to the Village Green in Mt. Prospect (suburban Chicago) with the Lee Party.  HEY!  It’s the Awkward Group Lip-Synch with the Top 12… is that Orianthi on guitar?  OK, it’s the rumored “School’s Out For Summer” segment… out comes a choir in Alice Cooper makeup… which means… yes, he’s here.  And he’s barely audible over the lip-synch mix.  There’s an audio guy who needs to be fired now.  The segment ends in fireworks… and the audio cue to break.  That was… um… something.

8:12 PM: Audio guy is late bringing up the sound… but it’s up in time for (8th Idol) Kris Allen’s performance of his new single, “The Truth”… aaaaaaaand audio forgets to turn down Ryan’s mic as he talks about the previous screwup.  Hey, Idol!  I need a job, you need a competent audio guy.  Let’s talk.  After the song, Ryan reminds us that it’s the end of an era… Simon’s last night… cue the tribute montage.  Paula sighting!  And it’s a roast, not a tribute.  For some reason, we cut from there to Siobhan Magnus and Aaron Kelly dueting.  Ah, it leads into the Bee Gees.  Well, the surviving ones.  And they haven’t aged well.  They’re doing “How Deep Is Your Love”.  And… scene.

8:26 PM: Cold restart — Michael Lynche doing “Takin’ It To The Streets”.  You know what that means… right?  More “current, young, relevant” music.  From Michael McDonald, finishing the song in a duet with Big Mike.  In the last 2 segments, Idol has shown how much it truly understands its voting audience.  And I’m serious. :)  Next… a montage of Simon’s Greatest Insults, by way of a song from Dane Cook, with attempted humor between the verses that contained attempted humor.  Oh, no.  MAKE IT STOP.  It’s the worst of the worst auditioners and “comic” acts making a cameo as – perhaps to keep channels from changing – there is an abrupt cut to commercial.

8:34 PM: Cold restart – the girls of the Top 12 team up on “Beautiful”.  No points to Lacey Brown for an awful cold open.  From there, they go into “Fighter”.  Guess what happens next.  No, really, guess.  Here’s a hint.  X marks the spot. :)  As in Xtina.  Christina Aguilera (and a cast of thousands) join in, and again, we barely hear Christina under the rest of the audio.  Fortunately, she’s allowed to solo on “You Lost Me” (theme for the season?).  A quick plug for her new album, and then we cut to Ricky Gervais (“live” via satellite from somewhere near the studio) for a tongue-in-cheek tribute to his countryman on the end of the judges’ platform.  And… scene.

8:47 PM: Another cold restart – Lee Dewyze brings us into “I Can’t Go For That”, and the rest of the Top 12 guys join in.  Then Casey James opens a slice of “Maneater”, joined by the guys quickly. So… do I have to say “here’s Hall & Oates”?  Of course not. They do “You Make My Dreams”, with the guys as the chorus.  Cut to Ryan for a reminder about Idols Live… then to Janell Wheeler in Toledo with Team Crystal.  We can barely hear or see Janell amidst the mayhem… so cut back to LA and Ryan interviewing Papasox.  It’s a one-question interview, before Crystal gets a solo on “Ironic”… leading to a female Canadian who isn’t named Celine.  Alanis Morrissette comes on to do a duet of a cleaned-up version of “You Oughta Know”.  And… scene.

Just under one hour gone, and we’ve seen one contemporary recording artist sing (and if I was right, one playing guitar).  OK, let’s face it, this show isn’t about the results, it’s about two hours and change of putting inflated ad rates into FOX’s pockets, but if Idol claims to be about contemporary music, why not be… oh, I don’t know… contemporary?

9:00 PM: Back with Ryan, introducing the 4th Idol… let’s “Undo It” with the Farmbot (tm VFTW) Carrie Underwood.  Oh, wow, Kara co-wrote that song with Carrie.  I’m sorry.  Hopefully it will succeed anyway.  Cut to Kris Allen “surprising” Lee and Crystal with the new Fords that we all knew they were going to win. :)  They each got their custom-painted Fiestas from that promotion earlier in the season.  Tragically, this leads into another Pointless Ford Video, which gets more Pointless by including scenes from all the other Pointless Ford Videos.  It’s “My Wish” that we drop the Ford Videos in season 10.  Cut back to our finalists, talking to Ryan, with over 9000 hours about one hour to go before it’s over.  Hey, it’s that other guy – Casey James – doing “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”.  Wow, does that mean what’s left of Bret Michaels is performing tonight?  Why, yes, it does.  Actually, Bret sounds good for someone who was damn near dead not too long ago.  And… scene.

9:14 PM: Back to Ryan, letting us know that myspace is going to be an audition site for season 10.  Time to cancel that account. :)  Cut to Chicagoan Lee Dewyze fronting a medley of Chicago hits with the current version of the band (48 hours before Chicago will be rained out of an outdoor concert here in Richmond, because I decided to go – I have a track record of bringing rain to Richmond’s Innsbrook Pavilion over the years, and it appears I will be doing it again). Speaking of Chicago, cut to Matt Rogers in Mt. Prospect, Illinois for… um… something.  And now, “back to Simon’s favorite subject”.  That’d be Simon, and another “tribute” video.  Oh, great… it’s time for General Larry Platt to overextend his 15 minutes of fame, doing “Pants On The Ground”.  Oh no.  No.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  William Hung?  Really?  Talk about lookin’ like a fool.  And… scene.

9:27 PM: Back to Ryan, with another tour reminder – and LiveNation is flogging cut-price tickets.  No comment.  OK, let’s go back to another Simon Cowell tribute video, starring one Paula Abdul.  Paula gets off a good line – “After 8 years of sitting between two guys with bigger boobs than me, it was time to go”.  First real laugh, 90 minutes in.  Oy. :)  Hey, look… she’s here!  I mean, she’s there (not here where I am, but “here” at LA Live)!  Paula banters with the undercard talent before turning her attention to Simon.  As it wasn’t all that funny, no recap for you.  Apparently, we are now up to the real tribute video, with Sinatra’s “My Way” as the backing track.  Yes, it’s the real tribute, as the 7 of the 8 Idols come out (David Cook is missing), in order of coronation, to sing the Official Tribute Song.  They’re joined by several dozen former finalists, while Paula sits on Simon’s lap on the judges’ platform.  Ryan drags Simon on stage (verbally, not literally, as elves can’t actually move humans).  Simon gets the last word, thanking everyone for the “support, the fun, and your sense of humour”.  As to his replacement, he avoids that subject, instead noting that the audience is the real judge, and that we’ve done a great job.  With one more thank you, it’s done.  And… scene.

9:44 PM: Cold open, with the non-finalist members of the Top 12 singing an intro to “Nothing”, which means we have a Janet Jackson sighting.  For some reason, she’s wearing a headset mic and using a handheld mic.   I haven’t heard this song before, and to be honest, it sounds like something her late brother would have sung.  Odd.  Ah, NOW the headset mic makes sense, as we segue into “Nasty”.  Miss Jackson gets a standing ovation.  Which Ryan cuts off to talk about Crystal and Lee.  Look, more Chicago audition footage, featuring the phrase that has led VFTW to drink excessively (“a single mom and a paint salesman”).  This is the “Finalists’ Journey” video.  You’ve seen all of it, if you’ve been watching all season.  And it leads into a short duet for Our Finalists.  They’ll get by “With A Little Help From My Friends”… and from Joe Cocker.  And… scene (with the audio outcue botched, again, by the audio op – seriously, guys, call me!).

It’s almost 10:00pm.  And it looks like the show might just come in at the 2 hour 7 minute timing that FOX cleared.  That last song looked like the the last word before Seacrest declares a winner.  Let’s see… shall we?

10:01 PM: Oh, look, Seacrest said “single mom and paint salesman” again.  We bring out the certified public accountant from Telescope to certify that the results are certified.  Dim the lights… here we go… after the nationwide vote… and after Seacrest stretches it out painfully…

Lee Dewyze is the 9th American Idol.  And I’m 0-for-the-last-3.

And, of course, Seacrest drives the point home by saying “Of course, that means Crystal is the runner-up”.  Classy elf. 

Lee sputters through a short acceptance speech (as he appears to be in shock) and an interview with Seacrest.  Lee will sing us out with his first single, U2’s “Beautiful Day”.

Wow, it’s ending on time.  Thank goodness Adam Lambert threw a diva fit and got booted from the show, otherwise we might have gone to 10:30pm. 

I think the result works.  Crystal deserved it – but Lee needs the handholding from 19 more. 

Season 10 auditions start in just a few weeks.  They return in January with a new judge to replace Simon, and hopefully a massively-revamped audition/judging format.  Thanks for following along with me this season.  We’ll reconvene when Season 10’s top 24 is announced.  See you then.  Of course, I’ll blog about other stuff.  Sometimes. 🙂


Author: Rob Hoffmann

Occasional blogger, slightly less occasional improv player/ref/tech, full-time computer techie, radio producer (basketball, mostly), generally nice person (if you ask me).

5 thoughts on “American Idol 9 Finals: The Simon Cowell Tribute Special (a/k/a The Finale)”

  1. Even though I really liked Lee better than Crystal I thought Crystal deserved to win more based on her tuesday night performance. But who I’m really going to miss is Simon! I love that man!

    1. I saw that article (and a few others)… well, Idol got what it deserved letting that bunch of untalented wannabes hit the stage.

      As to Simon… he was the only really honest judge on the show. They need to find someone as blunt and as knowledgeable — and THAT is going to be a difficult task.

  2. For the most part, I thought it was a great show. I could have done without those loosers who flopped across the stage, And Janet Jackson couldn’t have been weirder. I guess those guys on stage with here were probably the same ones that were supposed to go on the road with Michael. And she looked and was dressed awful.
    I really enjoyed the group tribe to Simon Cowell by all the IDOL and runners up, but WHERE WAS DAVID COOK ???? He’s one of my favorites so I was disappointed. Oh yeah, I’m happy see Lee win but I think Chrystal was very gracious.
    If anyone has any thought about D. Cook, feel free to reply to my e-mail address. Thanks

    1. For the record… David Cook was booked in a charity event in Kansas City. It was for cancer research, and since his brother died of cancer, I can’t argue his choice.

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