The only building in the last couple of weeks that has had more celebrities than the Kodak Theatre for the American Idol 10 finale was the United Center hosting Oprah Winfrey’s star-studded farewell. Yet even still, it didn’t seem to have the star power of last season’s finale with Alice Cooper and Bret Michaels. Wednesday night’s hoopla had so many guests singing special songs that near the end it even got to be too much.
It was fun to see all the surprises as the guest stars were paraded out for the finale, but the American Idol producers need to remember why everyone tunes in. It’s finale night; fans want to see who the winner is. True, this finale seemed to hold a little less punch with a somewhat lackluster final two, yet still many fans tune in to see the other eleven finalists who had been voted out previously.
James Durbin sang with Judas Priest. It was a good pairing, as he seems to have been born twenty-five years too late, with his penchant for ’80s style arena rock. The only other male finalists who earned duets other than finalist Scotty McCreery, were Jacob Lusk who sang with Kurt Franklin and Gladys Knight, and Casey Abrams who sang “Fat-Bottomed Girls” with Jack Black. They were very evenly matched, not just in voice, but personality as well. Scotty sang a duet with Tim McGraw that sounded like they’d been singing together for years.
The male finalists weren’t done, though. They also took on a medley that at first seemed quite eclectic, only for Tom Jones to come out onstage. It turned out to be a medley of songs he had sung that included a Prince cover and “Green, Green Grass of Home.” Hearing James Durbin sing Judas Priest earlier, no one would have expected to hear him sing “What’s New Pussycat” later in the show.
The only female to garner a celebrity duet, other than finalist Lauren Alaina was Haley Reinhart, and that speaks to the powerful male talent that existed in this year’s finalists. Not that the women weren’t good, as they were. Yet the men were just that much more memorable. Haley was paired up with Tony Bennett who both sounded and looked great for eighty-five years old, yet Haley seemed to steal the glory away from him. The female finalists, minus Lauren, sang a BeyoncÃ© medley, then were joined by her onstage.
Jennifer Lopez’s husband, Marc Anthony, put on a performance too. It was like a bonus since he didn’t have any of the contestants singing with him, until Jennifer joined him onstage. She never opened her mouth to sing though. The whole time she only danced. They fit another special guest in as well; Sheila E was on drums.
Another good friend of the show, Lady Gaga, sang her new hit “Edge of Glory.” No Idols or spouses appeared with her, so it was a complete bonus performance. She was dressed outlandishly, as usual, with a huge headdress on, then fell off the edge of the “mountain” with a male dancer at the end. She had apparently found her glory.
The bonus performances weren’t done yet. BeyoncÃ© came back to sing yet another song, her new single “One Plus One.” Bono and the Edge performed a song from Spiderman on Broadway. As promised all year-long, Steven Tyler finally got up on stage to perform as well and sang “Dream On.” He was alone, with no Aerosmith backing him or James Durbin accompanying him. It was great to hear James with Judas Priest, but would have been so much more meaningful if he sang with Steven, especially since that had been a song he auditioned with.
Somehow it just seems the focus was lost. The show isn’t about the celebrity guests. The show is about finding the next great singing talent, someone so great the public can idolize their every move. Normally during this night, one or two of the guests are people remembered from the auditions who didn’t make it, usually from the “bad” auditions. That was missed. One short montage was shown, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Even during the performance finale, the show took time out from the final two performances to have Taio Cruz perform. Between that and the results finale, it seemed like the producers were worried their Idols weren’t enough to hold the interest of the audience. This is after starting the season with so much talent, fans were saying it was the most talented group ever. Now they were left with a lackluster final two and feeling they needed to fill up the time somehow to keep the interest.
Eventually at the end of the two hours, the show got back to the final two and the results. Scotty McCreery was named the American Idol 10 winner over Lauren Alaina. It was a fitting result after the group of thirteen finalists, to have Scotty standing at the end. Sure, many fans would have preferred James Durbin, Casey Abrams, or Haley Reinhart, but what those three brought was something different, and what James, Casey, and Scotty, as well as Paul McDonald and Stefano Langone brought, was great musicianship.
Lauren Alaina is a great singer, but she wasn’t too much different than the other female country singers out there, and she showed that as she sang with Carrie Underwood. She was really good, but American Idol has had a young country female Idol. They haven’t had a young guy with a beautifully rich country voice who was a great musician on top of being a good singer, and who could make Randy Jackson feel like he was at a Scotty McCreery concert every night.
When it came down to it, even Randy would say that Scotty was “in it to win it” more throughout the season than Lauren. It’s just a shame that the American Idol producers didn’t trust the audience enough to know that seeing all the favorites that were voted out would be enough for the finale. Many would have rather seen Casey, James, and Haley sing twice rather than more Lady Gaga, BeyoncÃ©, Bono, and Marc Anthony. They were nice bonuses, but not what the season was all about.
For more on American Idol 10, see SirLinksalot.
American Idol 10 pictures used with permission of Fox.