We've had a guy/girl final, a guy/guy final, a girl/girl final and then another guy/girl final. So whatever happens tonight, it's happened in the past, so don't get too bent out of shape about it. I know I won't.
Well, here we are again. I'm about to recap my fifth consecutive finale performance. Does that mean I'm a real steady Eddie, just holding tight in a job I'm good at? Or does it mean that I'm a pathetic loser who hasn't figured out how to use America's biggest pop culture phenomenon as a springboard to more high profile work? I dunno. Who can say? Ask me the same question next year at this time. If I'm doing a sixth consecutive finale week recap, then I'm probably a loser.
But Taylor and Katharine aren't losers! No sir, not at all! They are genuine American heroes! We should invent new currency and put them on it. Katharine can be on the 67-cent piece, and Taylor can be on the $8 bill. A bold move like that is sure to keep our consumerist, fame-obsessed economy humming for years!
Ryan Seacrest, recreating the cover of his favorite DVD, Amadeus, starts off the show in incredibly dramatic fashion. Then, being a total pro, he seamlessly segues to an incredibly upbeat fashion. That's why he's him and I'm me. Hey! There's Mandy Moore! And up in one of the Senatean pods from Star Wars is Ben Stiller with a woman in a chador. It's nice how Idol brings people from all walks of life together. Or maybe Ben is simply promoting his new movie, Meet The Zabaris.
Ryan thanks the 3,000 very excited people for showing up, including one guy who walked straight off of his road paving job and into the theatre. "No time to change my orange jumpsuit! I gotta get to my seat!" Ryan then introduces the judges, and it's nice to see Simon wearing the actual suit from The Avengers. I know that's a real British collectible.
Ryan is the word I used to start three straight paragraphs now. I just wanted to see if I could keep the streak alive. And I could. So now we know. Then we see a reprise of how Taylor and Katharine got to this point. And there's Taylor's first-ever whoo! A modest, low-key job, not yet imbued with confidence that comes from months of posing for photographs.
First up tonight is Kathy. Hold on. We need an aggressive man hug between Ryan and Chris Daughtry first. And there we go. So here's Kathy. The weird thing about Kathy is...I'm still not sure if she's any good or not. And I only have an hour left to decide. I mean, usually by this point, we're totally set on the two remaining singers. But Katharine has had a few good performances interspersed with a few bombs, a couple of times where she forgot her lyrics and only one truly great effort. So...I dunno if she's out of her league or not. I do know that's she going to have to be outstanding tonight if she wants to win.
Perhaps knowing that, Katharine is going to start off with a song she already performed and is already comfortable with. Well, I guess sometimes when you have a 3-2 count with 2 outs, you have to choke up and just try to make contact. Don't swing for the fences. But the thing is...she's not going to show us anything we haven't seen already. She's not going to convince people who haven't voted for her yet to pull the trigger. I dunno. Randy pretty much sums up my sentiment, although he did like the performance itself. Paula said more of the same. And Simon said even more of the same, although he said it in more of a direct, British style.
When Ryan asks Kathy why she decided to do that song once more, she replies that she enjoyed performing on the ground. Okay then. By the way, if you're wondering how much one thousand roses cost, well, you get a discount for such a big order. But the total was somewhere around $1900. I still have the receipt if you want to see it. Why the splurge? I just wanted Kathy to know I'm there for her. And if she keeps trying, maybe one day she can finally land my reciprocated love.
Now it's Taylor's turn. To celebrate the enormous occasion, he decided to wear a blazer that looks like an eggplant with mold. Fun choice. And since he's living for the city, he's going to start off the song standing amongst the population. Okay, this is a good song. Taylor can sing it. Just...please don't dance. All right, some moderate walking. A little bouncing. Nothing too bad so far. Snakeskin boots down the stairs and up onto the riser. This could be trouble. No, he's holding himself back a little still. Good, good. And we're done. Not bad. Not bad at all. Randy tells Taylor he loves how he's always Taylor. And it is a hot one. Paula tells Taylor that they match tonight. Maybe she's wearing a fuzzy purple skirt and we just can't see it. Simon loved the performance, hated the eggplant. America's favorite fraternity party singer has taken the lead in round one. And just when I was ready to start liking him, he yells Soul Patrol. Sigh. Well, it was nice while it lasted.
Now Katharine is going to do another song she's already done. In this case, one she did just last week. Wow. Talk about playing it safe. She must really be nervous about tackling a new tune. I mean, I know this song went well for her last week, but...it was last week! I dunno. Maybe some people will enjoy this airing of The Very Best of Katharine McPhee DVD. But I think she's taking a big risk here. She basically needs to top her best performance ever, one that's still in everybody's minds. Katharine, all the prevent defense does is prevent you from winning. Man, I have a ton of sports metaphors I can trot out at any time. I'm going to make a good dad. A good, uninvolved, platitude-spewing dad. "Daddy, I fell off my bike! I lost my toof an I'm beeding! Owie!" "Well, that's why you don't pull the goalie in the first period, kid."
So there she is, once again sitting on the floor, folding her sweaters for storage now that winter's over. Hey, if she's going to repeat performances, why shouldn't I repeat jokes? Why do I gotta be the one to work hard? Hmm. I guess she didn't like her earpiece replaying last week's song in her head. You know, I'm really looking forward to Katharine's first solo concert tour. Katharine McPhee: Sittin' For The Songs. The concert will consist of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow", that drum song and nothing else. We'll all be home by 8:30! Randy says he was also nervous when he heard Kathy was repeating a song, but he thinks she did a great job with it. Paula tells Kathy little girls want to be like her. I think kids in this country are already too sedentary, but whatever. Simon thinks she topped her previous best performance with a new best performance.
Taylor is also going to repeat a song from earlier. Okay, so this should be a good one. It's kinda slow, which will prevent any herky jerkiness. And it did. So...uh...I guess I don't have too much to say about that one. It shall be a short paragraph. It shall be about Levon. Randy, keeping it incredibly, excessively real, tells Taylor it was pitchy. Boo! How DARE you say anything bad about anybody ever, Randy! Paula, trying to defend Taylor, says pitchiness is the essence of Taylor. Um...I'm no music expert, but isn't that a bad thing? Simon, after telling Paula she makes no sense, tells Taylor that Katharine just tied it up. A few moments later, Taylor goes whoo! Maybe it's just a reflex at this point.
Here we go. Last song. Last chance for me to make up my mind on Katharine. This is the longest I've ever gone without forming a very solid, unchangeable opinion about anybody. So she can be proud of that, I guess. Geez, what is Kathy trying to say here? I just can't crack the code! I can't find the hidden meaning! I can only guess, but I think it has something to do with...winning Idol and how that changes one's life. For the better, of course. Oh, and here comes the choir. I'm sure they love being trotted out of storage after a year of doing nothing between finales. And, uh, I would say a song like this is a little more suited for Kathy. It's going to fit Taylor about as well as Kathy's dress would. Tori Spelling is related to the McPhees? Wow! Randy, real as ever, loved Kathy's look and voice, but hated the song. Paula loved it. Simon preferred previous efforts. Too bad the show doesn't go on another week. Then Katharine could perform this song one more time and Simon might like it. Before we go, Randy slams the song one more time. So rush right out and buy it, everyone!
Last! Competitve! Performance! Of the! Year! Are! You! Ready! For! This?! Do I make you proud? Another deeply metaphorical tune. Thanks to you people, Taylor is standing tall. Doesn't that make you all so very proud? Look, I'm not going to start another rant here. I'm going to keep it quick. But let me say this. The thing that everybody seems to like about Taylor is that he's brought back soul classics. That's what he does. That's what he's good at. So if his debut album put a modern twist on that old soul sound, that would be huge. It would sound great, it would sell great. And modern soul can be done, as Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings prove. But instead, they jam Taylor's foot into a prepackaged shoe. They don't measure his foot first. They don't check to see if he needs extra arch support. They just decide, "Here's the shoe we're making and whoever wins it going to wear it no matter what." I just don't get it. If they wrote a new soul song around Taylor's strengths, it would be outstanding. And I like I said, these kind of songs fit Kathy. But it's not why people have been voting for Taylor. Not because he makes us proud. Hmm. Looks like I did start another rant there. I didn't keep it too quick at all. Still, it's a very good point. Thank me.
Afraid that he might never get to shout Soul Patrol on television ever again, Taylor hammers it out like fifteen times. And Gunnery Sergeant Elliott Yamin eats it up. Randy tells Taylor he's oh so Taylor, no matter how lame the song is. Paula says the same thing. Simon rounds it out by declaring that Taylor just won. Well, that takes care of tomorrow's show, I guess.
Now that the fun's over, let me get to a couple of administrative things before we go. I'm not working this week after Wednesday. I've done too much typing this year. But I'll be writing a recap of Wednesday's festivities next week, followed by one final, putting a bow on everything email column. And then, my friends, you'll be on your own for six months.