[Howard Cosell voice]
This is it, ladies and gentlemen. Crystal Bowersox versus Lee DeWyze for the American Idol Heavyweight Title. My name is Kevin Gamin and I welcome you to The Medi-Nerd website and blog. This is a magical night for all involved, especially for the two remaining contestants, but, most of all, for Simon Cowell, who is preparing to complete his amazing run as judge on this program. I can’t tell you the excitement which permeates the Nokia stage, mainly because I, myself, am not truly there. I will say, however, that Crystal has won the coin toss and will begin tonight’s festivities. Each contestant will perform three songs, three final opportunities to make their case to be the next American Idol. Who will win? I cannot say. I will say, though, that I am honored and privilaged to bring this night to you.
[/Howard Cosell voice]
Lee DeWyze, performing “The Boxer” – OK, I was mad about this song choice as there is NOTHING inspirational about this song. Lee sounds a little sharp on the performance during the first verse. I’m not sold on this choice for the final night, but he’s not dying on the stage, so I guess the judges will gush over his performance. The China cymbal crash they’re using for effect pales in comparison to the original composition and just sounds silly, though. I’m not convinced this is the way to start the show.
Crystal Bowersox, performing “Me and Bobby McGee” – Wow, Crystal sounds sharp, too. I think the nerves are hitting both contestants so far tonight. I’m also not sure about this song choice, either, unless Crystal really starts belting it out during the second half. This isn’t a kill shot so far. It is the second half of the song, though, where things pick up, but, still, I’m left lacking. This was good, not great, and GREAT is what is DEMANDED at this point.
Lee DeWyze, performing “Everybody Hurts” – Why on EARTH would you pick this song for Finals???? This is a depressing song and, no matter how much you “emote”, you’re just not going to get the effect you want. Lee just let Crystal take the lead without singing her second song. This is a Semifinals mistake which keeps you from getting to the Top 12. I’m not even waiting for the song to end, I’m proclaiming this performance a failure.
Crystal Bowersox, performing “Black Velvet” – I like this song and think it can fit Crystal’s style, but this feels a little too manic for me. The song does have a laid back Southern feel to it which I’m missing in this performance. I do feel better about the performance halfway through, but the trend tonight seems to be weak starts, ramping up to full speed midway through the song. I’m just not feeling this particular performance, though. I have yet to experience something special from what I’m hearing. Strong ending to the performance, though, so I think Crystal maintains her lead on Lee through two songs.
Lee DeWyze, performing “Beautiful Day” – Um, shouldn’t your first single be an original song? Oh, well, Idol never was one for originality. Heck, they even dumped the songwriting contest because the songs sucked so much. Lee’s taken the key of this song down and, for me, that takes energy from the performance. Lee, do you think Bono would approve of this performance? You’re not doing bad, mind you, but, yet again, I have yet to be inspired by your performances tonight. Unlike earlier, this feels a little flat for me, both in pitch and emotion. I’m just waiting for the song to end. Lee’s only going to win if enough teenybopper girls vote for him cuz he’s cute, which is probably what will happen because this show is NEVER about being a singing competition.
Crystal Bowersox, performing “Up to the Mountain” – I don’t know this song, but this, again, seems right in Crystal’s wheelhouse, and, so far, she’s the best job of the night. Really like the backup singers on this song, too. Nice dynamic contract midway through the song. Crystal really channels the Eva Cassidy and Janis Joplin styles well. I think Crystal just sealed the deal. Not that Lee isn’t a great performer, but, BASED ON TONIGHT, Crystal is the better performer.
The simple fact is that Crystal improved with each performance tonight, culminating in one of the best performances of the season. Lee, while not performing terribly, did not bring the emotion he needed to win tonight and basically flatlined his way throughout the show. From a performance standpoint, Crystal is clearly the winner. As I stated earlier, however, there’s a large teenage girl voting base which will push for Lee no matter what because he’s “cute” and “hot”. That worries me.
2010 American Idol champion – Crystal Bowersox