Crystal vs. Lee: The Final Battle – AMERICAN IDOL Season 9
by Jason Matthews
America, as it often does, in its infinite wisdom, is about to make a mistake: They are going to name Lee DeWyze as the next American Idol.
Even more than last week, this week is hugely predictable. Even though Crystal outperformed, outcharmed and outclassed Lee, as she always does, Lee is going to win. Lee was a deer in a world full of headlights, while Crystal was the picture of calm (hippie) professionalism. Lee was uneven, pitchy and amateurish, while Crystal was invested, take-charge and spectacular (Simon was right, making “Black Velvet” interesting to listen to is as hard as fixing the economy). Lee biffed his final number, Crystal brought the house down. The judges seemed eager to tell Lee he was failing, and couldn’t jump high enough to stroke Crystal’s gross dreads. None of it matters. Crystal is about to join the exclusive club of Idol runner-ups who are better than their victors.
The producers started the mistake. Crystal was too far ahead from the beginning, a runaway winner. Worried the season would be boring, the judges started pushing other, lesser Idolists. Anyone remember the shortlived reign of Siobhan? Or the minute-long memory of a Tim Urban dark horse victory parade? But as the season wore on it became clear Lee was the patsy to beat. Suddenly he was pulling the anchor spot, getting a bagpipe backup and lauded with praise from the judges. And Crystal? She got her props, but it was always an afterthought, the presumed finalist. She couldn’t have been taken for granted more. Now look where we are.
In every way, Crystal Bowersox outshines Lee DeWyze. She is a better singer and musician. She is a better role model for aspiring Idolists. She opens far more interesting avenues for next season’s talent pool. She is unique, whip-smart and timeless. She is in the mold of the best and most successful former American Idols (Carrie and Kelly). Most importantly, she will sell more records. But don’t tell that to America, ’cause they want Lee.
Apparently, we haven’t gotten our fix of generic bland alt-rocker boys, ’cause we’re about to crown a third in a row (and our picks are getting more generic, more bland and less alt). And that’s just not OK. For this, and the above reasons, the departure of Simon, the misfire of Ellen DeGeneres, Randy’s continued uselessness, the diminishing of Ryan’s natural wonders owing to forced gusto over lacking Idolists, a scary decline in production quality, time management and contestant choice, for the fact that we’re batting .225 in winners picked (and that’s generous) and the fact the show is just too damn long, I suggest we call it a day on this once transcendent reality show.
Enjoy the finale for the spectacle and travesty that it is. Say your goodbyes to Simon. Gaze lovingly at Ryan Seacrest one more time. Visit Randy’s dog pound. Fake laugh at Ellen’s fake jokes. Be put off by Kara, again. Try to remember that day four hundred years ago when we were all in love with Didi Benami. Relive the mistake that was Andrew Garcia. Laugh at the rest of the talentless kids we put through this year. Marvel at the Idol Elders, all better in a blink than Lee is in a whole evening of effort. And then watch as he is crowned the next American Idol, while Crystal politely congratulates him, the judges force themselves to be happy for him, the Top 12 duly crowd around him, and he brutally murders U2’s “Beautiful Day.”
When that is all said and done, America, I suggest we follow the advice of our country’s greatest TV personality and call a “Seacrest OUT!” on this mistake of a season.
Thank you for sticking with me through the season, PCNers, I hope you enjoyed the reviews.