American Idol
Grand Finale

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Finding the Exits

Oh, and then by all fucking means let's have Tony Bennett onstage. It's only fair. It only makes sense that you get the whole fucking bolus of barf down at once. One final insult.

Or whatever, I don't know Haley's business, he's famous and rightfully so, and she probably likes this kind of music; she'll probably put on that voice those girls put on for this kind of thing, and it'll just be everything awful at once and I'll lose my mind, so no. But she's happy and, again, that's what's important. It's just not how I want to remember her.

BLEEP-BLOOP

They do the tribute now to J. Lo, which there are some slim pickings here because they've been shouting her down this entire year, so it's mostly nerds hitting on her, boys hitting on her making her feel old, smacking gum, Steven Tyler desperately jealous of any attention she gets, Jackson getting passive-aggressive on her all through auditions, Stefano, her scary husband's scary dead face, Jennifer attempting to be classier than her surroundings; the Kiss; Steven Tyler trying to turn the Kiss into being about him, of course; and then her and Ryan being like, "We are the only two people that actually understand any of what's happening" and being entirely unable to be happy about that.

Then Ryan introduces TLC, but instead of TLC -- which is missing its L anyways -- it's Lil Jon screaming his stupid ass off like always and dressed almost like a person, but then TC come out and clearly are excited to be there singing "No Scrubs." Because why on earth would that seem like a grim nightmare to be doing that. They go to "Waterfalls," a song that is already a grim nightmare, and then the ladies of the Top 13 come out and grin and giggle their way through all of it: The AIDS, gang violence, the crack cocaine, whatever else horrible happens in that song. Like they were even alive that year.

We used to make up extra verses of that song about the most terrible shit we could think of -- pets left in hot cars, accidental theme park deaths, one night stands with brutal serial killers, that disease where you think strings are coming out of you -- and you know, I don't think I've thought about that in like fifteen years. Then it gets kind of grue because Ryan compliments C on her abs while ignoring T's newfound girth.

I bet they have grandkids, I bet if you looked it up they have grandkids.

SCOTTY SHOWS OFF FOR TIM MCGRAW

It's pretty tragic, this overexcited puppy love behavior of Scott for his man, but only because they're meant to be singing together and being cute, and instead it's like Scott's really hoping Tim McGraw's the boyfriend of his mom that will stick.

But then, you have to know that Tim McGraw has seen it all -- probably most guys act like this around him, actually -- so he's relatively unfazed. I find Tim McGraw a lot nicer to listen to with the sound off. Although it is true that his face is aging faster than his wildly sick body, which is why he keeps the hat pulled down so far, which is like the number one thing that is sad about country singers, when they start with the hat thing.

Q: Jesus, how long is this song?
A: How long do you want it to be?

PRECISELY THAT LONG

Ryan: "Coming up next... OMG you are going to love it, girl!"

I completely trust Ryan's judgment about all things, as you know, but when he flips into 100% WeHo like that without warning, and then smiles so hard like it didn't just happen and he's erasing it with his smile, that's when you know we are in for a fucking treat.

Steven Tyler mugs for the camera and plays with his belt a whole lot while Ryan is introducing the Crazy Idol Jokes from auditions. The worst part of every single finale, but something so ingrained in the DNA of the show that it will never die. A girl is crazy; a girl several injures herself -- hilarious -- and then a double-shot of that camera guy getting brained by the acrobat.

Retards, fags, nutcases. All, somehow, outclassing Steven Tyler.

We are better than this.

SOMETIMES GOODBYE FEELS EASIER THAN OTHER TIMES

Marc Anthony -- did we know he was a singer? I just thought he was like the host of something unearthly and that was his job, mostly. In any case, if you're not familiar with whatever it is that he does, let me tell you that it is weird. There are Vegas dancers, and a drummer lady, and he's singing quite powerfully, and then the band kicks in, and the ladies dancing is about half of the show, and he keeps going and going. It's nice. I mean, it's not really my thing, but it sounds nice and he is a good performer. I'm struck dumb with how to proceed further, but I wanted to note that it, in fact, happened.

Oh, J. Lo! She stalks out onto the stage in a collection of strings hanging from all over her and the reddest lips, and does an aggressive dance at her husband for awhile, and then shakes her booty like you're going insane. I suppose this is what it's like for them, at home. Shiny suits and tons of textured curls.

If I were either of them I would make sure that it was like this all the time. You're in the kitchen making a sandwich, and out comes J. Lo in a wild dress doing an amazing dance. You're in the shower kind of humming to yourself and there's Marc Anthony just wailing on it outside. Salsa 24/7. Every Sabado more gigante than the last.

Ryan: "Now we know what they do at home!"

Oh, Wonderwall. We still got it.

IN THE PINK

Durbin and Casey talk about what it was like getting eliminated. Casey's pretty cute about how he got thrown twice. Stefano says he was shocked at Durbin's elimination, and they have a cute fight about it in dueling talking-heads.

Casey: "Um, I was supposed to win this show, so that's pretty bizarre."
Durbin: "I think DAUGHTRY is real."
Casey: "I was told I was in it to win it."
Durbin: "We are both equally crybabies."
Pia: "Hey, what are you guys talking about?"

Shit gets real funny at this point. She's even wearing a sash and crown that says MOST SHOCKING. So they act like they weren't just fighting about it, because clearly Pia should have lasted longer -- and given what happened this year, I guess that is true, but the show took a couple turns at a couple points, where it wasn't that show, and now it is again -- and then they make fun of her behind her back. I don't know, it's the best sequence so far.

WHAT'S OLD, MCDONALD?

There's something of a Boys medley -- Old McDonald on "She's a Lady," Durbin on "What's New Pussycat?" -- and it's ever so terribly relevant. Durbin beeps Casey on the nose, that's pretty amazing. They sound nice, for the first time I can think of, even with Paul death-rattling his way through a line or two. Then it gets all dumb with Scotty as the centerpiece of this kind of dorky dinner of boys, and then even worse with Jacob Lusk arching his back and slinking around like a housecat, fluttering his eyelids and begging for it. I will say that he looks well-preserved. I cannot say the same of Old McDonald, who is still just a collection of clattering mossy bones, but Lusk looks absolutely as good as he can.

The medley continues, with Scott and Casey kind of getting flirty and then Jacob inserting himself into every frame and thinking that any of them are his friends, and then it gets kind of drunky on "Why Delilah." You know how boys like to sing Irish songs or "Sweet Caroline" because they saw it in a movie and it gives them brotherhood feelings? Kinda hard to watch? That thing. Endearing.

Casey crawls around on the stage and sings directly into the fisheye lens, which is unnerving, and then Tom Jones comes out with his leathery self, looking like the nicest grampa, and the boys -- including Jack Black down on the floor, let's not forget him -- get really into doing a dance about Tom Jones.

All of this makes, I'm surprised to say it, a little more sense in context. They

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American Idol

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