Okay, now this recap is clocking in a bit late, and for once it's sorta my fault. Normally, I get the things done at 9:01pm, but it has to be vetted by nineteen lawyers the next day to make sure nobody will cry if they read it. But for the big finale, I needed to do something big. So I hung out on the red carpet and made fun of people as they went by. Sometimes to their face, as in the case of Matt Rogers, and sometimes behind their skinny back, as in the case of some chick from E!. Then, after a late night of partying with FOX execs, I had to dust off the cobwebs Thursday morning and crank this bad boy out. So you had to wait a little bit longer than normal for the last recap. The tradeoff is, you're going to get some dynamite Jaded footage from the finale in the next couple of weeks. We're going to parcel it out slowly, because it's simply too much hilarity to digest all in one day.
We start off and Ryan sets the scene for us. We have a red carpet, celebrities and helicopters. No, it's not a prison break! Ha ha ha! Score! It's a huge extravaganza! The finale of American Idol! And we promise no weddings, no babies (it's twins!) and no cliffhangers! Just diamond-studded amazingness for two hours! Okay, maybe 50 minutes tops, but it'll still take two hours to get there!
Hey! Dark suit! We're finally back on suit schedule! We were running out of time there. Then we see some of the big names arriving curbside. Elsewhere, Ryan is flanked by Jennifer Love Hewitt and Christina Christian. I know she isn't busy or anything, but what is Jennifer Love Hewitt doing there? Oh wait, she's in Garfield this summer. And that's a FOX movie. So, better Jennifer Love than Breckin Meyer. Because, seriously, do you know a single person who ever wants to see Breckin Meyer?
Jennifer Love kicks off the festivities by introducing La Toya London. La Toya's totally over being voted off the show. Seriously. Totally over it. Now let's drop it, okay? The song ends and Jenny sends it back to Ryan inside the theatre. And Jenny, please don't "Whooo!" when you're holding a mic. That's for the unwashed folks on the other side of the barrier.
Inside, Ryan joins Diana in the makeup room. Diana, surprisingly, is just happy to be here. I think it's safe to assume she'll be a lot happier to be here if she actually wins. You know who's really happy to be here right now, though? All those people in the Georgia Dome, including Governor Sonny Perdue! At least I think that's who it is. Rather than quiz the guy on whether he believes in evolution or creationism, Kim Caldwell asks him about his bet with the governor of North Carolina. It seems that the gents have put a crate of peaches on line against some blueberries. All of which will be eaten with perfect Southern gentility. I tell you what, only a Southern politician could get away with wearing a pink suit and that tie. He looks like he should be giving a campaign rally speech from the steps of a gazebo. And where's his straw boater? "It takes a real man to wear pink. Isn't that right, Ryan?" Look out Ryan! Kimberly is gunning for your job!
In between breaks - or segments, however you look at it - we get the opinions of various celebrities on this whole thing. Jon Voight and Mo'nique say Fantasia and that's good enough for me. When some little kid in a fuzzy hat agrees, I'm totally onboard.
Ryan then joins Fantasia in another makeup room. I guess they're keeping the girls separate so they don't pull any hair before the show starts. Now let's send it to Clay Aiken in Greensboro! Mayor Becky Smothers - seriously - joins Clay in praising Fantasia. Clay reminds us that North Carolina did this exact same thing last year. Of course they were wildly disappointed when Ruben triumphed. But that won't keep them down!
Back in the white zone, to be used for loading and unloading only, Christina Christian is chatting up Nicole Richie. Shockingly, neither gal offers up their opinion on the Gaza pullout plan. They mostly just talk about TV shows. Over at the stage, George Huff is going to take on "Me and Mrs. Jones," which is really a tremendous, tremendous song. Sets the mood every time. Loosens up those belts, if you know what I mean. Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. Although, really, can you really picture George carrying on a back alley affair, wildcattin' around? He's just so nice!
Back inside, Ryan is going to spend some time with the judges. Because, you know, "Seacrest! In!" See? It is versatile! Randy and Paula are already dressed for the show, so forget any real exclusives. But maybe we'll at least get some insight. Insight like, this is totally the best season ever! Whee! Ryan asks Paula if she'll cry tonight and when she says no, Ryan vows that he'll pick up the slack and cry enough for all of us. Manly!
Back outside, Chrissy is standing next to Ray Romano. "How are you?" "Just fine." I would've handled it differently. Christina took a different tack, of course, but good for her. That's it for now. Back to the stage and Jen Luv is standing next to Jasmine. Now for a little bit of Hawaiian soul, Jasmine is going to take a midnight train to Georgia. Will she have to check all those chains and bracelets, or will they let her onboard with them? I guess we'll never know. "Good job, Jazzy!"
Let's move backstage with Simon. "Simon, put your teeth in!" Ha ha! Ugh. Man, look at the size of that dressing room. That is star power, honey! The fun ends and we go outside to Jenny Hew. Jenny? Go, Jenny! C'mon, Jenny! We're live, Jenny! Eh, let's go down to Christina instead. Sharon Osbourne, making one of her rare public appearances, endorses Idol for us. So maybe the contestants will finally get to sing "Ironman" next season. How awesome would it have been to see John Stevens walk onstage like a robot and yell in a metallic voice, "I.am.Ironman!!!!" Oh man!
Tamyra opens up the second half of the show with the National Anthem, and I start looking for the mayor of Los Angeles to throw out the first pitch. Hey! Barry Zuckercorn is there! Arrested Development, great show, folks. You must watch it. Obey! By the way, are they going to sing "Oh, Britannia" for Simon's sake like when they sing both anthems at a hockey game? Seems like not. Ryan starts off by gloating that Idol received over 65 million votes last night, which I'm pretty sure is more than were tallied in the 2000 presidential contest. Then again, Chicago is the only place you can vote for president more than once, whereas with Idol you can call all night, so don't start fretting for the future of the republic just yet.
Randy says if you ain't here, you ain't no where. Well, I was there last night. So now I count! Paula is excited and Ryan gets Simon with a pretty good zinger - I mean, seriously, use a button, man - and now we're really on a roll. Diana strolls out to sing, but the people really cheer when Fantasia joins her. Foreshadowing, perhaps? And then the past Idols start storming the stage. First up is Kelly, wearing a dashing silver swimsuit under her suit jacket, and then an already sweaty Ruben rumbles out. I think he started sweating just thinking about walking out there. I tell you what, at this rate, Chip Days is going to walk out onstage pretty soon. All the Idols are here! 94 people singing at once!
We come back from a break and Ryan asks the girls if they expected to be here. Hard hitting questions! Ryan is not afraid to put these girls under the harsh light of reality. Fantasia says she just worked hard and here she is. Diana says she's only here because of us and she loves us! Um, you can stop campaigning, darlin'. The votes are in. Now let's go out to Greensboro, North Carolina with Clay Aiken! Wahoo! According to Clay, the scene is "hype." It sounded even whiter when he said it. Somebody in the crowd is holding their hand-crafted sign upside down during their big on-camera moment. Since that was so fun, let's go down to Hotlanta with Kimberley Caldwell. Kimmy, apparently thinking she's interviewing some 17-year-old dirt bike world champ on 54321, yells into the mic and makes everything all extreme and in our face. I guess we're supposed to be impressed that all of Snellville turned out to support Diana tonight, but really, what else do they have to do?
Back in Hollyweird, Ryan smoothly moves us into a recap of Tuesday's show that is rife with boxing analogies. Uh, I guess there's really no reason to go into it here. You know what happened. After yet another break reminds us that Amanda Righetti, now of North Shore, is super hot, it's time for some singing. But not just any singing. Kelly singing! Wearing a dress that I believe is made of blue cotton candy, Kelly sits on a piano and gives us all a torch song moment. Hey, shouldn't that piano have a tip bowl on it? What if Amy Yasbeck wants to request "Feelings"? There could be a fiver in it for the ivory man.
Another pause, and another shot of Seacrest up in the balcony. Nice to see that Bobby Trendy could take some time out of his busy day to join the festivities tonight. And it's doubly nice to see that he's still not afraid to dress like an idiot in public. So Bobby! So Trendy!
Time for a medley tribute to this season's guest judges. Nicer than a thank you card, wouldn't you say? Matt Rogers charges up on stage while yelling, "I love you, Simon!" and I start looking for him to accidentally smash a monitor with his head. The boys start us off with Motown. That relatively smoothly - meaning there was no record scratch - segues into the musical magic of Gloria Estefan, and we all start thinking about Estefan week. Oof. You know, somehow these coordinated outfits are putting me in the mood for banana ice cream. Hey, remember Ashford & Simpson? And yes, it is acceptable to signify the solidity of a rock by punching the air twice.
Another frictionless segues and finally John Stevens gets to participate in Big Band night, at least for a few seconds. I'm really surprised they picked him to headline that section. And by that, I mean not surprised at all. Diana then launches into "I'm Still Standing," later joined by Matt Rogers, who is definitely not still standing. La Toya and Jennifer start singing about how they made it through the rain, and I start wondering if I can make it through this medley without making a run to the loo. I made it through! Looks like we made it! Somehow, I have an even greater sense of accomplishment right now than the Idols do. Andy Richter! Amy Yasbeck! The Aussie Idol! This is a star-studded spectacular. Following the medley, Ryan, fully slipping into Dick Clark's used skin, introduces American Idol Bloopers and Practical Jokes. And it is, in fact, highly amusing that the makeup chick thinks Barry Manilow is black. Hey, Barry, listen, I went through the same lack of recognition on the red carpet last night, and yeah, it burns. But you get over it.
Back from ANOTHER break and two shiny youngsters near Seacrest just can't resist waving to America. Nice self-control, Skippy and Sherry. Now Ruben will sing. You know, because everybody has to sing tonight. Wait! Did he actually just say, "I'll do what it takes, I love you like I used to love cake"????? Did I imagine that? And what do you mean, used to love cake? And is cake slang for something these days? Of course, I can't concentrate on those pressing questions because I'm too busy trying to figure out who that is on Ruben's shirt. I have it narrowed down to Martin Lawrence and Billy Dee Williams. But it could end up being Jimmy Walker. Meanwhile, what is this song even about? It sounds like a love song about a guy who's mildly inconvenienced by the loss of his cell phone and his car breaking down. I mean, "Had to use a pay phone!" is really the big, romantic line to double up on in a song? "HAD TO USE A PAY PHONE! PAY PHONE!" What is going on here?!??!? But seriously, ladies, could you possibly bring yourself to love a man who has to take the bus? What if he gave you the keys to his place so you could use the hot tub? No? Okay, well, what if he gave you $4 million? How about then? As near as I can tell, these are the questions Ruben's song needs answers to.
I'm still pondering the romantic and theoretical aspects of Ruben's song when Diana takes the stage to sing for us again. Just for us! How precious! Is she crying? The song just started! So, it seems that Diana really believes she can overcome any obstacle and stream. We'll see if she changes her tune in about 20 minutes. If she loses, maybe her first single will be called "Guess I Was Wrong." "Oh, I used to think if you believed, you could do. But I guess I was wrong. Guess I was wrong! I found out the hard way, baby, that the world sucks sometimes." By the way, those poor gospel folk in the back are going to have to go through this routine once, and maybe twice more tonight. It's like the rehearsal that they just can't nail. After the song, Diana's mom claps and her huge corsage claps along.
After the excitement calms down, Ryan calls "Bobo" out to the stage. He thinks it's still cute, I guess. Then he rubs her stomach for good luck. For her shot, Fantasia is going to sing another positive thinking number, which is a rarity for Idol. Why not just throw in a line of "I hope I win or I'll jump off the stage," just for reality's sake? By the way, if you're ever in the Greensboro/Tri-City area, you should know that 102 JAMZ loves Fantasia. And 97.3 WROK, all classic rock, all the times, absolutely abhors Fantasia. So tune your dial accordingly. Going into the break, Ryan wonders to America, who will win and get the coveted deal and who will have to settle for the consolation prize. Of.a record deal. Uh.hmm. Well, you get the idea.Bobo.
Later, Ryan tells us that Idol is a celebration of perfect performances. Which explains Billy Hung and Keith. You know how frantic things are backstage during a live Idol show? During the change, they didn't have time to finish Diana's dress. They just had to send her out there with that lizard tail hanging off the back. That's live TV! Now, just in case you haven't had enough singing yet, Diana and Fantasia are going to rock a duet for us. If it's half as good as the duet of "Portland, Oregon" I'll be happy. Diana starts off the song by walking down the aisle and pleading with the crowd. "C'mon, y'all! Let's go! I'm over here if you can't see me! C'mon, y'all! Hey, y'all, how you doin'? Let's party!" I don't think those lines were in the original lyrics. Perhaps Diana thinks she can still wrangle a few more votes out of us. Or maybe being in showbiz just comes so naturally after all these years.
Ryan throws it to the judges for some last second comments. Man, doesn't it seem like Diana just loves Fantasia so very much? Such a terrific person! Hey! Where'd Ryan's putt putt podium come from? Did it just emerge from the stage? Fantasia, the judges said a bunch of good things about you last night. Certainly you're used to it by now. Diana DeGarmo. The crowd cheers at the mere mention of her name. She looks into the balcony and offers up kisses. Mwah! Mwah! Mwah! Now see, that wasn't fake or unnatural or condescending at all. Why can't you people leave Diana alone? So here it is. The big moment. I'm nearly coming out of my pants. Oh gosh! And.it's Fantasia! To celebrate, Fantasia attacks Diana, who I'm imagining just wants to get off the stage right now.
For her acceptance speech, Fantasia cries out that she broke her shoe. And that's why we love her! Trying to cap off the touching moment, Ryan beckons Fantasia's family to the stage. Uh.I guess he should've cleared that with security first. Because they're not going anywhere. A touching moment on live television. And perhaps my favorite moment in Idol history. Or, l'histoire Idol, as the French say. Hey, have you ever seen how the runner up for Miss America smiles as she assures us she's just fine? No? Well, look at Diana right now. It's kinda like that.
Okay, now Fantasia is going to perform her new song for us, and you'd better listen up, because you might not get to hear it on the radio 10,000 times this summer. Whoa! The stage is on fire! Everybody out! No, wait, I think that's supposed to happen. Still, those gospel singers better not get those robes too close to the sparks. They could go up like a dried-out Christmas tree. The other finalists join Fantasia onstage as three tons of confetti rains down on the scene. All of America is touched by the moment. All of America, that is, except for the guy who has to sweep up the theatre later tonight. "C'mon. Did they need so much paper? It's not like the Pope was here."
By the way, this Idol isn't just going to roll over and die, no, no, no. It's already time to start thinking about Season Four. If you're going to be in the musically historical cities of St. Louis, Cleveland, Orlando, Washington, New Orleans or Anchorage, you can try out for American Idol 4! And no, you cannot sing "When the Saints Go Marching In" for your New Orleans audition. And no, Ryan will not flash you for beads.
And hey, lest you think those six cities have nothing to do with music, I'll have you know that those towns have produced Chingy (STL), The James Gang (CLE), O Town (ORL), Bad Brains (WAS), Some Jazz Guy (NO) and both Folk Jewel and Pop Jewel (ANC). So there. Ryan finally closes out the season by giving thanks to us for making this so much fun. And thanks to the single piece of confetti for making him look so ridiculous to end the season. "American Idol! Out!" So cool.
But I'm still here signing yearbooks and saying goodbye. "Have a great summer! Don't ever change!" So, many of you are now hearing a giant sucking sound from the void entering your life as the recaps end. But you can still get some Jaded magic this summer! Keep coming back to the site for that JPL clip we're all dying to see (Calm down, people!), super hilarious footage featuring your boy at the finale and a bi-weekly email column assuming I keep getting good material. By the way, emails with photos get answered faster, ladies! And maybe I'll figure out a way to crank out some more video tidbits. So don't give up on me yet!