Tonight, Casey is back to singing at the Circle Inn for $50 a night. Payback is a cruel bitch.
Ryan starts the night announcing the "battle" between Lee and Crystal. I dunno, Ryan. This season, it's more like a schoolyard scuffle. A kerfuffle, if you will. So tonight, each of the Remedidols will be singing three songs: one redux, one Simon Fuller choice, and the coronation song.
The coronation song has mercifully been altered. It's no longer some variation on "The Dream of My Heart Will Make You Proud As Together We Can Reach The Stars." Now, it's a cover song. And the circle of karaoke life that is American Idol is now complete.
It's also Simon's last night. And by his limp, distracted feedback, it's like he's already checked out. Much like most viewers in the middle of this middling season of Forget-Me-Idols. So, onto the performances:
Lee DeWyze: Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”
Hmm. This wasn't as good or as memorable as the first time Lee sang this. It's mildly OK. Low energy level. Simon says, "I would expect more passion and excitement." Simon, if you're looking for passion and excitement, watch GLEE. Because here, these aren't the droids you're looking for.
Crystal Bowersox: Janis Joplin’s “Me and Bobby McGee”
Crystal killed this last time. It's mostly OK this time around, but a bit shrill in spots. What is happening tonight? The Judges all like it, and Simon says she's "back on her best." He's speaking British again.
Lee DeWyze: R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts”
This is a very strange choice for Lee. Michael Stipe's nasally whine is incompatible with Dweezil's rough timbor. It's almost OK as its own interpretation, but Lee would have better served covering an old Joe Cocker joint, making it completely modern. The Judges all but say "it sorta sucked a little, but our standards are low this year so s'allright."
Crystal Bowersox: Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet”
This song belongs in a special category. The category of "I'm so sick of this song so please burn the master tapes." You too, "Old Time Rock n Roll," you are in my cross-hairs. Crystal sings it OK enough, but it seems rushed and the arrangement is disjointed. The original was a sexy-swampy serenade to Elvis. This one devolves into Mamasox on a bender, shouting a la Siobhan Magnus. The Judges all like it, and Simon even thinks she "nailed it."
Lee DeWyze: U2′s “Beautiful Day”
"If Lee wins it all, this will be his single." A cover of U2's "Beautiful Day"? Um, OK. Once again, it's nothing very special. More of a "So-So Day." Lee just doesn't have the vocal range of Bono. I also think Lee's nerves are getting to him. If only he would vomit live on stage. It would be the moment of the season. The Judges were like, "wasn't good, but you got better during the season while everyone else sucked more, so good on you." Simon also brings out the "you're a nice guy" card, which is Cowellese for "you gonna lose." Although, that Jedi mind trick didn't work on Kris Allen. Because he either had more talent or a shitload of Midi-chlorians.
Crystal Bowersox: Patty Griffin’s “Up to the Mountain”
Best performance of the night. This is a great Crystal moment, and should seal the deal for her as the winner this year. The Judges all like it, and Simon calls it... well, "the best performance of the night."
Retrospective on the season, backed by Will Young singing. Podunk girl who never rose an air-o-plane. Big Mike making a muscle (ugh). Casey stripping for Kara. Buffalo-Bill-like entity drawing lipstick hearts on a mirror. Pants on the ground. The robbed-from-top-24 Lilly Scott. Andrew Garcia singing "Straight Up" and unwittingly dooming himself. Seventies dude singing in his bathrobe. Tim Urban's on stage slip-and-slide moment. Group hug. It's like the remembrace-touch in LOST's sideways universe, only a thousand times less moving.
So who's gonna win? I'd say it's Mamasox's to lose, but a Dweezil upset wouldn't be unprecedented (see: Kris Allen). In truth, we the viewers win. As we are finally free of this lackluster season.