- Lee, singing Simon & Garfunkel's "The Boxer": When he first sang this song a month ago, I called it clumsy. He had a couple of pitch issues here, but it was decent. The mix was off, though, as the music drowned him out a bit. It was pretty low-key for a finale week performance. I wasn't that jazzed about the finale coming in tonight and this didn't do anything to pump me up.
- Crystal, singing Janis Joplin's "Me and Bobby McGee": As pirate Craig T. Nelson (Crystal's dad) talked her in, Crystal did a redux of a song that I raved about the first time. No reason to really change my mind as she was great here. No big points for difficulty; this song is in her wheel house. She is way better than Lee, but he's going to win because he's the kind of person who wins American Idol, like that guy whose name I can't remember that does those Ford commercials.
- Lee, singing R.E.M.'s "Everybody Hurts": Oh, boy, can't wait for this. The last time I was so unexcited for something was when I went to see Robin Hood on Sunday to kill time (I've been trying to find a way to work that in). Robin Hood is awful; I almost walked out after 45 minutes, but I had nothing better to do. That was my second semicolon in two paragraphs. I should have walked out on this performance, too. Pitchy and lame. This is a fitting ending to a pitchy and lame season. And, yes, everybody hurts when they hear Lee sing that song.
- Crystal, singing Alannah Myles' "Black Velvet": I'm not saying that this is a good song choice to kiss up to my boss like Simon did, I'm saying it because this is the kind of song that Crystal should sing. Really, really nice arrangement. Edgy. She needs to get a little better with her stage movements (she kept looking down before she descended the stairs), but it didn't hurt her singing. This may have been the best single performance of the season. A perfect example of making the song her own. This would be the kind of performance that should win the competition, if she even had a chance against the teenage girls that will be voting for Lee.
- Lee, singing U2's "Beautiful Day": Who else is excited for Lee to release this cover as a single? I don't see any hands raised besides my own. The kid just really has no passion whatsoever. He mechanically sings the intro and then when the big hook comes in, he just stands there and doesn't change his inflection at all. Plus, he butchered the bridge. I think mechanical is the best word for this. He read a book on how an Idol contestant is supposed to act and painted by the numbers. Fewer pitch problems, more boring problems. He attacked that song with the fervor of a forty-year-old pornstar attacking their fifteenth scene of the day. Yeah, I reached for that one; just can't get the energy up for this. Now I'm just finding reasons to use semicolons. Thanks, Lee.
- I'd like to note that tonight will not be the last time that Simon judges the show. Next year, he'll turn it on for half an episode and think to himself, "This sucks without me."
- Crystal, singing Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)": I'll take this chance to say that I'm happy, either way, that they didn't have a crappy original song to sing. One would think that it's a better idea for a contestant to release a song that nobody's ever heard of rather than one that was a mega-hit two minutes ago. Crystal is great. She's one of the three positive things that have come out of this season, along with Harry Connick as an awesome judge and my pleasure in ripping the crap out of a mediocre (at best) season of a dying show. Not only was that a great performance, but you had two of the best lines of the season when Ellen said, "If you made a salad, I'd eat it," and Crystal wished Simon luck with his future endeavors. Gotta love Crystal. Too bad she's going to lose. I'm trying to prepare myself so I'm not dissapointed; call it a futile attempt at a reverse-jinx.
Tomorrow, the annual running diary of the season finale from my DVR so I can fast-forward through the inevitable crap. It's almost over; Lee is getting ready for the crown.