'American Idol': Rating the Final Performances



The time has come. Who's it gonna be?

Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze spent the past few months in the American Idol spotlight and are now ready to battle it out for the title. Each competitor got three songs last night to show America why they deserve the Idol title. Let's break it down:

"The Boxer," performed by Lee DeWyze

Something about hearing a song that tender get the full AI cheese treatment (listen! to! the chimes! crashing!) didn't sit well with me. Simon and Garfunkel have some of the most wrenching lyrics of all time, and this is the finale... so I shouldn't feel bored, right?

Because I do.

Lee should've started off with something a little more high-energy, like a dirge or a really slow march. Or he could have just looked at us blankly while holding a guitar. Either way!

"Me and Bobby McGee," performed by Crystal Bowersox

Crystal's greatest strength is that she is consistently believable. No matter what song she's singing, she brings a sense of truth and reality to the lyrics. So while this isn't my favorite song of Crystal's (that would be "You Can't Always Get What You Want" from Rolling Stones week), it was still a successful performance.
"Everybody Hurts," performed by Lee DeWyze

"For our paint salesman, it's everybody hurts!" Yes. Because it's obviously so awful to be a paint salesman, Ryan. Newsflash: THE MAJORITY OF STRUGGLING YOUNG ARTISTS HAVE JOBS. Lee sold paint. I tutor teenagers! Will Smith sold bone density machines. Really, it's not all that bad.

As far as Lee's singing goes, it was OK but not great. I didn't feel particularly moved in either direction, which has been my main Lee criticism all season. Perhaps he has trouble connecting with people after his traumatizing experience as a paint store clerk?

"Black Velvet," performed by Crystal Bowersox

Now this is what I'm talking about. Red lights. A black dress. High heels teetering down steep stairs. Mamasox wailing about baby Elvis and Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell.

There were a few awkward movement moments (though none rivaled her pre-show mic drop), but overall this was a fantastic song for Crystal. She sounded phenomenal, and told the story of the song with aplomb. Crystal's always seemed like an old soul, and when she's given a song that lets that gorgeous soul shine through she's untouchable.

"Beautiful Day," performed by Lee DeWyze

Whose idea was this?

No, really. I'm curious. Because re-releasing a U2 song without Bono is the worst idea ever. I'm sorry. I'm really trying to be positive here. It's Lee's last night and he seems like a great guy, but this is just a mess. There's no way that I'm going to be scrolling through my iPod and pick the Lee DeWyze version of this song. In fact, I'm not even going to put it on my iPod, BECAUSE IT'S TOTALLY AWFUL.

(My boyfriend has a theory that Lee's trying to lose the competition because he knows that the runner-up always does better. After this performance... I'm inclined to agree.)

Man, again with the paint shop. Give it a rest, guys. The dude worked with paint. Not the end of the world.

"Up to the Mountain," performed by Crystal Bowersox

This is why Crystal should win.

Because that song meant something. A song performed in the ninth season of an increasingly goofy TV talent show really meant something. And that is no easy feat. She sounded absolutely lovely.

I honestly don't even really know what to say.

What an ending, Mamasox.

So, who should win?

If there's any justice in the world, Crystal will win tonight by a landslide.

If there's no justice, she'll win by a few hundred votes.

Basically: there is no way she doesn't walk away with this thing.