It's time for the two-hour (and seven minute!) "American Idol" Season 10 finale. That means 125 minutes of performances, guest appearances, costume changes and summer movie commercials leading up to the triumph coronation of Scotty McCreery (or, conceivably Lauren Alaina). Since this was alread
y going to be a minute-by-minute recap, I might as well go whole-hog and live-blog the whole thing.
Click through for all of the action...
7:55 p.m. ET. In case you missed Tuesday's show, here's my recap. On a fairly dismal show, Lauren Alaina's "Like My Mother Does" was an emotional highlight. I still expect Scotty McCreery to win, allowing him to release "I Love You This Big (That's What She Said)" as his first single. Also, 15 minutes til the puck drops in the Bruins game, just in case you want to fully simulate my "American Idol" finale viewing experience. You'll need two TVs and a lot of caffeine.
8:00 p.m. It's "Let's give America seizures" night on "American Idol," courtesy of a frantic pre-credit sequence reminding us that 100,000+ people entered the Octagon, but after tonight, only one will leave. "So, who do you love?" Ryan Seacrest asks from deep in the crowd at the Nokia Theater. By the way, the previous sentence was funnier when I kept my "Octomom" typo.
8:02 p.m. Big News: Over 122 million votes were cast last night. Over the course of the season, we got nearly 750,000,000 votes cast. That's a lot. It's possible that Lauren Alaina fans outnumber Scotty McCreery fans in the audience.
8:03 p.m. Our judges. Randy Jackson is dressed like a displaced Kentucky colonel. Jennifer Lopez is gorgeous. And Steven Tyler just loves Lauren Alaina.
8:04 p.m. Following "Idol" tradition, our Finalists hit the stage dressed in white. We have cameras in Chattanooga and also in Raleigh. But which location features Matt Rogers as a correspondent? Neither? You're dead to me, "Idol."
8:05 p.m. Our full Top 13 is amassed for a white-clad rendition of Lady Gaga's "Born this Way." Because if it was good enough for "Glee" three weeks ago...
8:05 p.m. OK, lecherous viewers: Haley Reinhart's white short-shorts or Pia Toscano's partially see-through short-skirt?
8:07 p.m. Harold Perrineau is in the "Idol" audience. And you just know he's sitting there yelling, "WALT!!!"
8:10 p.m. America, you've done something horrible and you need to be punished. That's the only excuse I can think of for Jim Carrey's "Mr. Popper's Penguins."
8:11 p.m. Our first returning favorite is James Durbin, rocking out with Judas Priest to "Breaking the Law." Ummm.. Did James acquire his costume from Al Pacino's rejected "Cruising" wardrobe?
8:13 p.m. Heavy Metal Gay Fantasia aside, this is a fun performance. Lots of quality guitar shredding and James and Rob Halford are clearly enjoying this moment in the spotlight.
8:15 p.m. "That was literally hot," Ryan Seacrest observes. Dude. Don't tempt me.
8:15 p.m. We're paying tribute to our judges, starting with a clip package of Randy Jackson's finest moments. Thankfully, it includes a lengthy montage of people who have been in it to win it this season. Lord, this is just like having a front row seat to a Randy Jackson concert. "We've gotta get you a new writer," Seacrest aptly points out.
8:17 p.m. Kirk Franklin and Jacob Lusk are dueting on "I Smile." Remember, America: If you don't like this duet, it's because you don't like smiles. As if there isn't enough starpower on the stage? Let's welcome Gladys Knight.
8:19 p.m. Is Jacob dressed like Pee-Wee Herman for this performance? And why am I watching Kirk Frankin flex his rear? Joking aside, this is a second straight superior big-stage performance. "Idol" finales may be bloated, but they put on a good show.
8:22 p.m. This "Idol" finale is gonna really come together when Thia Meggia duets with the Teletubbies.
8:25 p.m. Tremendous top-shelf goal for the Bruins, making the hockey game 1-1.
8:26 p.m. Casey Abrams and... Jack Black? Sing "Fat Bottomed Girls." Sigh. Let us never forget that "American Idol" is also a commercial opportunity and Jack Black has a movie coming out. Check out Drew McWeeny's review of "Kung Fu Panda 2." They're joined in-performance by four dancing hotties in tight shorts who have very well-toned bottoms. Part of me wishes Casey had been able to sing with one of his musical idols. Part of me figures this is strangely appropriate.
8:29 p.m. Vamp, Seacrest! Vamp!
8:29 p.m. The Ladies of "American Idol" take the stage in red to sing "Single Ladies." The winner of this Group Sing? Haley's garter, clearly. The loser? Naima Adedapo's shiny biker shorts.
8:33 p.m. Ah, Ashthon. I'd forgotten about you and your superfluous "h." Now, I'll always remember you for the awkwardness of your attempts to sit down on the steps in that short red skirt.
8:33 p.m. Hey, Pia. You know what you're singing now? It's an UP-TEMPO SONG. If you'd sung a song like this earlier, you most certainly would have lasted an extra few weeks.
8:34 p.m. But this is all a lead-up to Beyonce, who's all, "You think you chumps know how to wear a short skirt?!?" I know it's kinda obvious to say, but Beyonce is bananas.
8:38 p.m. A problem: When you waste that Beyonce performance 35 minutes into the show, there's really nowhere you can go as a telecast. Maybe they'll bring her back? Twice?
8:39 p.m. Now it's time to salute Steven Tyler. Montage of the Aerosmith frontman licking his lips lasciviously over teenage competitors? Nope. Just a lot of bleeped swearing.
8:41 p.m. Haley Reinhart and... Tony Bennett? Oh no. She's going to give Tony a heart attack. They're doing "Stepping Out." It's a great song for Haley. Sigh. She should have been in the finale. Awww... They're dancing. This is mad-sweet. It's like if this were Haley's wedding and she were dancing with her grandfather. Tony Bennett is an awesome 85, isn't he? And Haley is so clearly appreciative of this moment.
8:44 p.m. Tribute to Jennifer Lopez. It turns out that she was popular with male contestants this season. There's little doubt that Ms. Lopez has contributed an ample supply of "attractiveness" to this season.
8:47 p.m. Lil John. Most of TLC. And the "Idol" Ladies. This is a strange combination. Is anybody going to let Karen Rodriguez sing in Spanish tonight, or did she not do well enough to earn a showcase duet in this finale? [Damn. First period over in the Bruins game. That means I have to pay full attention to "Idol" for at least 15 minutes.]
8:50 p.m. "Nice abs," Ryan says of whichever member of TLC does, indeed, have nice abs.
8:50 p.m. It's Scotty McCreery's moment singing "Live Like You Were Dying" with Tug McGraw's son Tim. This is an interesting study in effortless manliness (Tim) and effortless teenage boyliness (Scott). That leather jacket isn't butching Scotty up nearly enough.
8:54 p.m. "Oh my gosh! Wait until you see what's coming next! SURPRISE!" Seacrest gushes before sending us to commercial. He could use a leather jacket.
8:58 p.m. Ugh. A tribute to the freaks. Bad voices and bad physical comedy aplenty. I wish this didn't need to be a part of the finale every year. For every good moment -- Kara taking Bikini Girl down, for example -- there's... this. Farewell, Big Joe.
9:01 p.m. This must have been in J-Lo's "Idol" contract. The person hand-picked to follow our tribute to the "Idol" freaks is... "Big Night" star Marc Anthony.
9:03 p.m. And joining Marc Anthony... It's Marc Anthony's Wife! Ha. You know, not many people can out-sexy Beyonce, but J-Lo is at least capable of making a competition of it. And she isn't even here to sing with her hubby. She's in full-on Fly Girl mode, leading a dancing crew and encouraging the crowd to give it up for her man. That was a fine number.
9:05 p.m. "Now we know what they do at home," Seacrest says, before adding, "Nice suit, Marc."
9:06 p.m. A tribute to the season's shocking eliminations. Casey and James arguing over whose elimination was the most shocking is actually genuinely funny. I wonder if they asked Pia Toscano to participate.
9:07 p.m. Pia! With a crown and a pink sash reading "Most Shocking." Ha.
9:08 p.m. The "Idol" Men take the stage doing a Prince song, which can only mean one thing... Wait. Then Paul McDonald transitions into Tom Jones. Please tell me that a Prince/Tom Jones duet is coming up?
9:10 p.m. The "Idol" Ladies were far better as an ensemble. The guys have too many weird and incompatible voice. I'm going back to watching hockey until the big guest star comes out.
9:12 p.m. Please. Bring out a star to put these guys out of their mercy.
9:12 p.m. Whew. Hi, Tom Jones. I like Tom Jones' goatee. It's a nice variation on the Tom Jones formula. Ditto with the tan and the botox. And you know who else likes Tom Jones? Jack Black. Big fan.
9:15 p.m. Load "Transformers 3" commercial. I hope Naima Adedapo and Optimus Prime do a duet next.
9:19 p.m. Ugh. A Nostalgic Ford Commercial tribute to Ford Commercials.
9:20 p.m. Ford gave money to teachers who influenced our Finalists including Scotty's adorable chorus teacher Ms. Clayton. "You guys have hot teachers," Seacrest says. Both educators get new Fords. Yeah, there's something a bit iffy going on with Scotty and Ms. Clayton. But who can blame him? She's purdy.
9:22 p.m. Wait. You're getting a new car! And you're getting a new car! And Scotty and Lauren are both getting new cars!
9:23 p.m. Lady Gaga's back for her second "Idol" performance of the season. Tonight, she's dressed as a geisha pick-axe. [Darnit. I missed Tampa Bay's second goal. Go Bruins.]
9:24 p.m. Lady Gaga disrobes. Now she's a geisha-bellydancer-nun-pick-axe. I hope that description gives you a good mental picture of this ensemble. She's also perched atop the Matterhorn if that helps. I'm not quite sure of the narrative of the performance, but it seems to end with Lady Gaga having very satisfactory sex with a randy mountain goat. Now sure. Was the mountain goat Mark Kanemura from "SYTYCD"?
9:31 p.m. Lauren Alaina finally gets her showcase. And she's paired with Carrie Underwood! They're dueting on that Angry Girlfriend song that Carrie pulls off pretty well and that Lauren isn't even slightly believable on.
9:34 p.m. Wanna know what the rest of the Top 13 thinks about Scotty and Lauren? "They're children," James observes. "Wasn't 'American Juniors' canceled a while ago?" Stefano Langone asks. "Thanks a lot, America. Making us feel stupid," Casey cracks. It's funny, because it's true.
9:36 p.m. YAY! BEYONCE'S BACK. BOO. BEYONCE'S CHANGED. YAY, HER NEW OUTFIT IS STILL SKIMPY! Why hasn't Beyonce made a movie since "Dreamgirls"? She wasn't all that great in "Dreamgirls," but if you wanna talk about screen presence, she's got it. This new single appears to be half math lesson and half superfluous plea for somebody to make love to her. [Thanks, Commenters, for reminding me about "Obsessed." Yay, "Obsessed."]
9:40 p.m. That was also good. Can we have one more Beyonce performance to close the show?
9:46 p.m. A performance from "Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark." Quick! Turn your TV to "Idol" in case somebody dies. This song isn't bad at all. It would be better if Haley Reinhart were ensnared in the giant spiderweb that's behind Bono, The Edge and That Guy Who Plays Spider-Man.
9:49 p.m. Ha. The number ends with Fake Spider-Man and Jennifer Lopez reenacting the famous upside-down kiss from the first "Spider-Man" film. Kirsten Dunst is too busy winning acting prizes at Cannes to have been here. Also? Nobody died. The lesson? Getting rid of Julie Taymor saves lives.
9:54 p.m. "We've got a special treat in just a second," Ryan teases. Have the previous treats not been special?
9:55 p.m. This surprise is Steven Tyler on the piano playing "Dream On." He looks so lonely shouldn't he have some friends to join him? We were promised a full Aerosmith performance. We were lied to.
9:55 p.m. The idiots in the Samsung commercial screaming and beating up the phone because they think it's a tarantula are history's worst monsters. I will never buy a Samsung phone because they transform into tarantulas.
10:01 p.m. Wait. There's a PURPOSE to this? Scotty is calm. Lauren is hyperventilating.
10:02 p.m. A British man hands Seacrest the envelope.
10:03 p.m. After the nationwide vote, the winner is... SCOTTY MCCREERY. Duh-doy.
10:04 p.m. Raleigh is very pleased for Scotty, but if Matt Rogers isn't there, I can't appreciate it. He was in a Rose Bowl, you know.
10:04 p.m. Scotty thanks The Lord. Ryan thanks Randy, Jennifer and Steven.
10:04 p.m. Scotty's got too many hugs to distribute to make it through "I Love You This Big (That's What She Said)."
10:05 p.m. After hugging half of the audience, Scotty comes back on stage and hugs each of his fellow Finalists. Gotta give it to Scotty: This Hug-o-rama is a unique approach to winning "Idol."
10:06 p.m. Scotty ends the performance on the floor trying to catch confetti in his mouth before standing and getting a kiss-attack from Lauren Alaina. "Thank you so much," he yells as the 19 Entertainment logo comes up.
So? What'd you think of the two-hour finale? And of our "American Idol" winner?
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