This is it, kids. Five months of excitement, musicality and Simon distilled down to two hours of pageantry and excess and ridiculousness culminating in the DVR-thwarting coronation of the next "American Idol."
Will it be Kris? Will it be Adam? Or will it be a surprising out-of-left-field dark horse? My guess? Either Kris or Adam.
Since I tend to go minute-by-minute with my "American Idol" results recaps anyway, I'll live-blog this puppy. Follow through for 125 minutes of surprise guests, product plugs and merriment. Sound off. Comment. Or just hit reload and read along...
[Full recap, with results, after the break...]
8:00 p.m. ET These two lives have been changed forever... But only one can win the title," Ryan Seacrest introduces, before revealing Adam Lambert and Kris Allen in their traditional and ceremonial "Idol" Finale Whites.
8:03 p.m. I am not lucky enough to be there. Nor are you if you're reading this recap. Seacrest is mocking you. And since just under 100 million votes were counted last night, 624 million for the season, that means that Ryan is mocking a lot of you.
8:04 p.m. We celebrate Randy Jackson's twisted syntax and grammar, but why can we not also celebrate his red bow-tie and red glasses. We celebrate Kara's repetition of terms of endearment. We celebrate Paula's vocabulary and her... Well, nothing else. And, finally, we celebrate Simon's deafness.
8:05 p.m. The editors have given us a great deal to celebrate tonight already. Perhaps now a montage of Ryan's homophobic banter?
8:06 p.m. Kris admits last night was emotional. I like how Adam has mixed up the uniform with black boots.
8:07 p.m. Michaela Gordon is alive and reporting from Conway, Arkansas. There's something different about Michaela and I think we all know what it is. I'm referring to her elocution lessons.
8:08 p.m. In San Diego, we have Carly Smithson, also a San Diego transplant. What, Matt Rogers wasn't invited back as a correspondent this year? Oh well. He was in the Rose Bowl.
8:09 p.m. Like coffee being reserved for closers, the white uniforms should be reserved only for Top Two singers. Instead, the Top 13 goes down to sing "So What" and they all look like pimped out angels. Oh, poor Alexis Grace. The judges blew it on you dear.
8:10 p.m. There's a reason why Jasmine Murray went home first. Just in case anybody'd forgotten.
8:16 p.m. Bathed in a sickly green light, David Cook is the night's first guest performer, singing "Permanent." Do we assume the black band on his arm is for his brother? That's very sad. He's also very good. I'd have watched an Adam Lambert/David Cook finale.
8:18 p.m. Ryan brings up David's personal tragedy and David says that the performance will go up on iTunes after the episode, with all proceeds going to ABC-Squared. My heart goes out to the guy.
8:19 p.m. I hate, I hate, I hate the Golden Idol Awards. Do we not mock the deluded and mentally incompetent enough during the original auditions?
8:20 p.m. The not-funny ironic nominees for Best Male are Wil Kunick, Michael Gurr, Elijah Scarlett, Dean Anthony-Bradford and, oddly, Norman Gentle. I'm assuming this is the first time we've mocked a Top 36-level contestant in this way. The winner is Nick Mitchell, who must be so... um... "proud." Is the joke here on Nick or on the Judges? Or on all of us?
8:24 p.m. After saying that he didn't know this was coming, Nick thanks Steve Martin, Martin Short, Whoopi Goldberg and Nathan Lane. Then he strips off his casual outfit, becomes Norman and does his thing. So it turns out that the joke is on us. He closes with, "Norman Gentle '09, Peace Out" Does this mean we can expect a Tatiana Del Toro return? Or will we get Bikini Girl?
8:25 p.m. Joined by Queen Latifah, Lil Rounds takes the stage to sing "Cue the Rain." Long live the Queen, y'all. This is one of those performances that makes you go, "Hey, where was that personality all season long?" The song starts off too low for Lil, but she's more energized here than for the last three or four or five weeks of her lackluster "Idol" run.
8:34 p.m. Assume I said clever things about Jason Mraz and the Kris Allen clip package and that I lost them due to technical issues. Because I did.
8:38 p.m. Kris Allen's first Star Spotlight is with either Karl Urban or Keith Urban. One was the perfect Bones in Star Trek and one is married to Nicole Kidman. It's a very soothing duet. No sparks, but no humiliation for Kris in the comparison.
8:46 p.m. Is Megan Joy's hot-pink suit the greatest thing in "American Idol" Finale history or the silliest fashion disaster in world history? Your choice. Fergie's dress is very tight.
8:48 p.m. Fergie is joined by that hologram from the election coverage who also played a mutant in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and the slightly scary guy who hangs out with them. Oh. It's not a skirt Fergie's wearing. It's something very, very different and rubbery. In all honesty, the Black Eyed Peas performance is a lot of fun and I can see why it'd be cool to be there.
8:52 p.m. Back to Golden Idol, it's time for Best Attitude. The first nominee is Katrina "Bikini Girl" Darrell, which isn't fair, since Katrina's attitude was far better than Kara's in the same incident. Alexis Cohen's placement is more appropriate, though she was joking this year. And then there's some in-bred girl from who I don't even remember. Go Bikini Girl!!!
8:53 p.m. It's Bikini Girl. Randy, in particular, is a big fan of her new breasts. "I was going to ask you what's new, but I think I know," Ryan cracks. To be fair, I saw Katrina at the "Idol" Top 13 party and her surgery has settled in well. Her voice, however, hasn't improved.
8:55 p.m. Katrina starts singing "Vision of Love" when, mid-verse, she's joined by Kara. It's a little unclear if Bikini Girl knew this was going to happen. It would have been even funnier if Kara were also in a bikini.
8:55 p.m. SHE IS!!! ["It's all for charity," Kara insists. And what of the other low-cut tops all season? Also charity? No. Just ratings.]
9:00 p.m. Allison Iraheta gets to duet with Cyndi Lauper on "Time After Time." This is much less funny than Cyndi's recent "30 Rock" cameo. Then again, she's less drunk.
9:05 p.m. Okey-Dokey-Gokey! He's singing "Hello," which can only mean one thing...
9:06 p.m. Lionel Richie cameo! Is Lionel wearing Adam's long-coat from last night's show?
9:09 p.m. Yes, I'm singing along to "All Night Long." As Kara would say, "It's just for charity."
9:10 p.m. So far, we haven't had a single cameo from a movie star with a summer blockbuster to plug. I'm amazed at the restraint.
9:15 p.m. Ryan raves about Kara's stomach. Kara pretends to be modest, but she wants him to compare her to Bikini Girl.
9:16 p.m. Adam Lambert's "American Idol" Journey is a good time to check in on the Cavs and Magic. Gee. This series is already basically over.
9:16 p.m. Who will Adam's Celebrity Friend be?
9:17 p.m. Singing "Beth," Adam is dressed as... I dunno... An American Gladiator?
9:18 p.m. Ladies and gentlemen... KISS!!! I wanted Axl. But I guess that was unrealistic. We're left with the undeniable fact that Kiss would be a better band fronted by Adam Lambert, at least at this point.
9:20 p.m. Adam is absolutely tremendous, but Paul Stanley is no longer strong enough to break a guitar on stage.
9:24 p.m. FOX is running commercials for "Glee," fudging the audience figures a bit.
9:25 p.m. How do you top Adam Lambert and Kiss?
9:26 p.m. With Carlos Santana. Will Jorge Nunez join Santana for "Black Magic Woman"? No. It's Matt Giraud. This was the best they could find for his Star Buddy? And he doesn't even get the spotlight alone for very long. The rest of the Top 13 join him for "Smooth."
9:29 p.m. The last Ford commercial, bringing back the whole Top 13, is set to "I Will Remember." It's a clip package from the season's videos. And guess what? Adam and Kris are getting new Ford Hybrids. Why were they on the FOX lot anyway?
9:31 p.m. Too. Much. Awesome. Michael Sarver and Megan Joy are joined by... Steve Martin on the banjo. This is tremendously funny. Is it supposed to be serious? Maybe. But Michael and Megan aren't good enough to duet, so I'm loving the banjo. And the song, "Pretty Flowers," was an original Martin composition. So while Martin is an actor, he's on "Idol" tonight for his music.
9:33 p.m. Ryan asks Martin who he thinks will win tonight. "I know it's a long-shot, but I'm hoping I do."
9:39 p.m. The guys join forces for a chorus of "If You Want My Body." But who's listening to the music when we can be watching Scotty MacIntyre dancing?
9:40 p.m. Rod Stewart is old. And he can't sing anymore. Did he have a clause in his contract that nobody could sing with him because it would make him sound worse?
9:44 p.m. The camera keeps finding Carrie Underwood.
9:45 p.m. It's the evening's final Golden Idol is for the ladies (Tatiana time!). The nominees are: Chelsea Marquardt. Irene somebody. Dana Moreno. Tatiana, complete with a montage of her... ummm... uniqueness.
9:47 p.m. Tatiana wins. She looks surprised. She's an even worse actress than Bikini Girl. There's a whole bit about how Ryan has to cut to commercial and Tatiana keeps singing and refuses to leave the show and security keeps trying to usher her out.
9:52 p.m. Top Two Duet. I could listen to Adam do Queen for minutes on end. "We Are the Champions" was totally just set up for him to look good. Kris does the quiet parts anybody could have sung and then Adam gets to wail, as the smoke pours over the stage. They're joined by astrophysicist and Queen guitarist Brian May.
9:59 p.m. Yes. I'm looking forward to tomorrow night's "So You Think You Can Dance" premiere. So sue me. I've missed Cat.
10 p.m. Oh yeah. Right. We're naming a winner. "I don't normally mean this..." Simon says, before calling them both brilliant and nice, telling them that "The future's all yours."
10:01 p.m. The envelope is on stage. And a new world record set.
10:01 p.m. "The winner of 'American Idol' 2009 is... KRIS ALLEN!!!"
10:02 p.m. The media will play this as an upset. There will be conspiracy theories about politics and sexual orientation and other nonsense. They'll all be wrong. America liked Kris. Do I think Adam should have won? Yes. But I don't think this was some statement by America. I'll probably have to do a blog post on it, I guess.
10:03 p.m. Kris is gracious, saying "It feels good, man... But Adam deserves this..." He receives a new microphone statue.
10:04 p.m. Allison hugs Adam as Kris tries to make his way through the coronation song. His wife appears to already be able to sing along.
10:05 p.m. Kris gets fireworks, confetti and a hug from Jorge Nunez. Truly, there are no boundaries.
What do you think, America? Did America make the right choice?