So, I've made a decision. I am going to fully embrace the finale of American Idol. I initially thought I couldn't care less who won because this season was so tedious I didn't feel anything good could come from it.
The more I thought about it, though, I realized that even if you go all the way back to Hollywood week a case could be made that the right two people made it to the Nokia Theater. Forget the heart-rending cut of Angela Martin (actually, NEVER forget the cut of Angela Martin -- they still need to pay for that one). Never mind that Haeley Vaughn, Tim Urban and Jermaine Sellers had no business getting out of Hollywood week alive (I still contend they intended to put Jermaine Purifory through instead, but a producer screwed up and didn't want to admit the mistake). Let's even put behind us the ridiculous early eliminations of Lily Scott and (in my opinion only I know) Didi Benami.
Almost from the first time she opened her mouth, most of us knew Crystal Bowersox was destined to still be around on May 26 (at least those of us that knew the finale was scheduled for May 26). She was akin to Adam Lambert in that from day one she was ready for prime time. I think in seasons 7 or 8, she finishes third at best, but this isn't season 7 or 8. So, nothing to complain about here.
As for Lee DeWyze, the journey wasn't as inevitable. I went back to my blog post about the Chicago auditions and saw that the only two people I mentioned by name were Angela Martin (grrrrr) and Katelyn Epperly. So either the producers didn't think much of his audition or I didn't. Also, the Chicago auditions were about the worst of the season. I apparently still wasn't sold after Hollywood either. Here's what I wrote about him, while giving him only a 60% chance of making it to the top 12: He's not bad, but I didn't think his rendition of You Found Me was as good as the judges and producers obviously did. But at every stage of the competition once the show went live, he has been near the top. In fact, by the time the semifinals ended I ranked him first among the guys.
So, let's give it up for America ultimately getting it right -- even if they got almost every other thing wrong. To help those of us that vote (now that Casey is gone there are ten extra votes that can be given to the most worthy competitor), I'm including some original (or simply non-Idol) performances by each of them. If we are really looking for someone we will buy records from, the best way to determine who should win is to check out what kind of artists they see themselves as.
Holy Toledo -- Crystal Bowersox
This is the song they played on Idol during her hometown visit. I couldn't really get a good impression of it from that clip, so I went to youtube and listened. I like it. I could totally see this song ending up on my iPod (if I am ever able to replace my stolen iPod).
Predicament -- Lee DeWyze
Maybe it's just me, but this is the best I've ever heard Lee sound. His voice seems very radio friendly to me. I'm going to have to call round one a draw.
So I'm Told (Live) -- Lee DeWyze
At the beginning, the audience is way loud but once they get into the song you can hear him fine. I don't think I love this song but he sounds pretty good. He doesn't command the small stage in the bar any better than he does the stage at the Kodak Theater however.
Piece of My Heart (Live) -- Crystal Bowersox
I couldn't find video of her doing any of her original songs live (there were audio clips with still shots) and I wanted something live to compare to Lee. I don't know how she does this, but without moving any more than Lee does, she has a way bigger and better stage presence. Round two to Crystal. Recognize the mic stand?
Farmer's Daughter -- Crystal Bowersox
This isn't my very favorite song, but damn she sounds great. I can absolutely see spending money on her music.
The Beautiful People -- Lee DeWyze
This is apparently a Marilyn Manson cover, but since I've never listened to a single second of Marilyn Manson it's completely new to me. I love it, love it, love it! By just the slimmest margin, round three to Lee.
So what do you all think of their music? Does it change your mind about who should win? Does it make the season worthwhile?
Oh, two disclaimers: A) I planned on this contest being a draw from the beginning; and 2) I mostly only wrote this blog post because I wanted to try embedding video on my blog. Cool, huh?