May 20 Review | Season 7 Index


American Idol Season 7 (2008)


May 21 - The time of his life (Season finale)

Welcome to the American Idol season finale, otherwise known as, "How We Can Cram As Many Performers Who Desperately Need Exposure Into One Show As Possible To Pad Two Hours" Night.

The Davids are in all white, facing each other like they're about to bust out laughing while Ryan rambles on and tells us that this is what two ordinary guys look like.  Um, yeah.  He then says that this is the final results show.  Forever?  Really?  Please?

We're told that 97.5 million votes were cast, split 56% and 44%.  Is that the first time they've told us the exact percentage like that?  What he doesn't mention is that only around 27 million or so watched the show, which isn't exactly the biggest viewing audience they've had for a finale.  Oops.

Obnoxious Michaela Gordon is hosting the Kansas City (David C's hometown) report.  Obnoxious Matt Rogers is hosting the Salt Lake City (David A's hometown) report.  Thankfully, we don't get to see very much of either of them for the rest of the show.

The Top 12 come out with the so-called "stars" of So You Think You Can Dance.  They're all in white, too.  The finalists sing a frantic version of "Get Ready" and do cheesy dance moves.  Amanda and Jason look totally uncomfortable.  I just close my eyes and listen to the killer bass lines until the inevitable pointy pose at the end.  [Shoutout to MJ's American Idol Blog for the "pointy pose" phrase.]

David Cook comes out in rocker leather and he and David Archuleta sing Chad Kroeger's "Hero" from Spiderman.  This is an amazingly stupid idea, as Cook has to tone himself down when Archuleta is singing, and Archuleta looks like he'd rather be singing about puppy dogs than superheroes.  Yes, I would like to watch you two fly away now.

In a moment of much-needed levity, Mike Meyers, hawking his new movie The Love Guru, plays spiritual guru to the Davids in a prerecorded spot.  He tells David Cook that his facial hair is too 90s and he must shave.  He tells David Archuleta that he will grow up to have hair in weird places, but David has no idea what he's talking about, so that's okay.  Watching the Davids try to keep a straight face is a hoot, as is David Cook's giggling fit at the end.  Myers then comes to the stage in character, flirts with the judges and Ryan, and then flees.  Whew.

Syesha sings "Waiting for You" with Seal.  I would rather hear either one or the other sing this, because the arrangement is too low for Syesha, and their voices just don't go together.  Plus Seal loses his pitch a few times, which is totally weird.  Okay.  Next, please.

Jason Castro reprises "Hallelujah" for us.  It's heartfelt and emotional and about ten times better than the first time he did it - and the first time was terrific.  This is quite possibly the absolute best he's done on this show.  Wow.  The first shining moment tonight.  Thanks!

We see another Ford commercial with the top 12 singing "Let the Good Times Roll." Ryan then gives the two Davids their own Ford Escape Hybrids.  He has to ask Archuleta if he has his license, of course.

The top six women sing a Donna Summer medley.  Poor Amanda wants to be anywhere else right now.  I think Carly's tattoos are about to take over her body.  Toot toot, heeeeeey, beep beep!  Then Donna Summer comes out to sing her latest single.  She has to be escorted downstairs by two guys, and her eyes are all puffy.  Um...I'll be kind and not write what's going through my head right now.  Then we go into "Last Dance" and full flashing disco light mode.  Donna hands her microphone to Syesha for some reason, even though Syesha has her own.  Let's get her backstage now, shall we?

Carly Smithson and Michael Johns sing "The Letter."  They sound great, but this ragtime-bossanova arrangement?  How bizarre.  Why would you do that to this song?

Jimmy Kimmel "recaps" the season.  How much did he pay to be on this show?  He is so not funny.  Zzzzzzzzzz.

The top six guys sing a Bryan Adams medley.  Thankfully, Jason's solo in this is very short, or it would totally negate his earlier performance.  Eeuw.  From "Summer of '69" to "Heaven" to...oh, hey, Bryan Adams comes out!  He's cut his hair, he looks all scraggly, and I barely recognize him.  David Cook pats him reassuringly as Bryan sings what I suppose is his latest single.  They close out with "I Need Somebody."  I need somebody to get me out of this.

Jordin Sparks tells us that Disney World is opening an American Idol theme park experience.  Oh, boy!

David Cook and ZZ Top sing "Sharp Dressed Man."  The performance is a little subdued, but David looks like he's having fun, and this song always makes me laugh.  I want the big cool red car from the videos to roll out now, with a trio of 1980s MTV babes emerging from the back seat and strutting about the stage.  Instead, we get to see Michaela in Kansas City again, interviewing David's old music teacher.  Go away.

Graham Nash and Brooke White sing "Teach Your Children."  This is right up Brooke's alley, but a bit anticlimactic after ZZ Top.

Blink and you'll miss it: In the midst of all the other commercials, David Cook channels Tom Cruise in a send-up of the Risky Business dance-in-your-underwear scene for a "Guitar Hero" ad.  Oh, my eyes.

The Jonas Brothers, looking about five years younger than even David Archuleta, set all the girls to screaming.  I stare in horror at Hanson redux.  This is what's popular now?  Eep.

Ryan brings some random older lady on stage to introduce a video medley of bad auditionees.  One of them comes on stage to shout...I mean, sing.  The USC Marching Band and cheerleaders accompany him.  Adding insult to injury, Paula and Randy join him on stage.  I grope for our remote so I can turn down the volume before our speakers explode.

One Republic performs "Apologize."  This is supposedly a big hit, although I don't recognize it.  I must not be listening to the right radio stations.  David Archuleta comes out to sing with them.  He sounds better than the lead singer.  Hmm.  Maybe I'd have appreciated him more if he'd sung this during the competition.  Matt Rogers then interviews David's grandfathers from both sides of the family.  One of them can't speak English.  Awkward.

Jordin Sparks sings "One Step At a Time."  She looks like she's auditioning for The Wiz in a gold Dorothy-esque dress.  The song is totally forgettable, and I'm bored once again.  Take note, whoever wins: 19E will suck the life out of your first album.

A young Gladys Knight is shown auditioning some Pips - Jack Black, Ben Stiller, and Robert Downey, Jr.  Amusing, but, uh...was there a point to this?  Oh, if you download the video, the money will go to charity.  How special.

Carrie Underwood comes out in a sexy pseudo wedding dress and sings her latest single, "Last Name."  Concerning a drunk night out in Vegas where she wakes up married, this is actually one of the funniest country songs I've heard in a while.  I'm halfway tempted to download it, but then I slap myself and come to my senses.

Blink and you'll miss it, part 2: The same "Guitar Hero" ad, with David Archuleta playing Tom Cruise.  In boxers.  Oh, dear.

The top 12 sing a George Michael medley.  "Faith" by the girls is followed by "Father Figure" by the guys.  I get the willies thinking that young Archuleta is going to solo on this one, but thankfully he doesn't.  "Freedom '90" follows, and I'm chuckling at the irony of singing this song on American Idol.  "All we have to do now is take these lies and make them true somehow."  And then...the world comes to an end.  George Michael walks out on stage.  My jaw hits the table.  He sings a totally depressing song about not giving to people, but I don't care.  Even with a cold, that man's voice can melt butter.  I could listen to him all night.  Man.  Where was this all season?

The judges get to blather one last time.  Randy and Paula say nothing important.  Simon apologizes for being borderline disrespectful to David Cook last night.  The world ends again.  And then Ryan announces that the winner is:

David Cook.

Oh.  My.  Gosh.  A rocker has finally won this show.  After all the gushing over David Archuleta last night, this is the first real shocker of the season.  And I swear that I saw David Archuleta's Dad mouthing "He was robbed" in the audience.  Heh.  Heh heh heh.

David Cook is weeping.  As his mother and brother join him on stage, he can't talk.  Then he sings the winning song of the songwriter's competition, "Time of My Life," and I immediately understand why they allowed the contestants to pick other songs last night.  This one's all about rainbows and coming alive and tasting every moment with eyes open wide.  I guess my radio will have to stay off this summer after all.

Best performances of the night for me: Jason Castro's "Hallelujah," Carrie Underwood, David Cook with ZZ Top, and George Mmm-mmm Michael.

Worst performances: The two Davids singing "Hero," Seal and Syesha, Donna Summer, any other Jason or Amanda solo.

So that's it for this year, folks.  I'm off to bed, singing "Freedom."  Until next year...Lowhorn, out.

Review 2008 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail


May 20 Review | Season 7 Index