This week is the finale of American Idol (one of my guilty pleasures).  Wednesday will be the results show, which seems to get stranger each year.  I am re-posting my summary of last year’s finale because I thought it was pretty funny.  I’ll try to write something a little more meaningful next week…

First of all, there is the issue of the number of votes.  Seacrest kept saying that there were “almost 100 million” votes cast.  Compare that to the 2008 presidential election, considered by many to be the most important one in recent history, where there were about 120 to 130 million votes cast and you get a good sense of where America’s priorities lie (or is it lay… I never could get that one). 

Now for the performances – I didn’t really start keeping track until about halfway through the show, so I’ll omit the awkwardness of Lionel Richie with Danny Gokey and the surprisingly good performance by the combination of Cindy Lauper and Allison Iraheta. 

Since the judges always talk about contestants needing to be new, fresh, relevant, etc. what better way to celebrate the culmination of the season than to showcase a bunch of 30 year-old music?

When I saw Adam with what appeared to be rebar bent into some kind of industrial art incorporated into his costume, I told my wife that he would either be with Meatloaf or KISS.  Sure enough, KISS descended onto the stage amid some “shock and awe” pyrotechnics.  This is where everything started to get really weird for me.  I have to say, I’ve never been a big fan of KISS.  Yeah, they dress funny and wear a lot of makeup… but so does Paula Abdul.  These guys range from 57 to 64 years old.  Let that soak in.  Seeing them in spandex and u-cut shirts that showcase their harry barrel-chestedness was nauseating.  Was this a performance by rock and roll legends or The Country Bear Jamboree?

Next came the ageless Carlos Santana.  This guy is still one of the best guitarist ever and lives up to the name of the song he performed, “smooth”.  I can’t fault this one at all.

Next up… Steve Martin is playing a banjo and plugging his new album???  This is becoming a strange dream.  As weird as this was, I kind of liked the bluegrassy sound.

The adventures in surrealism continued when Rod Stewart was apparently given an adrenaline shot straight to the heart so that he could come on stage and perform a few more 30 year-old songs.  If American Idol is really going for the young demographics, they really need to invest in a calendar… or a time machine.

For the final performance, Kris and Adam starting singing Queen’s “We Are the Champions”.  For a brief moment I thought, “Holy cow – they’re going to bring back Freddie Mercury from the dead.”  Don’t laugh, they did it with Rod Stewart.  The surviving band did appear and the show’s bias toward Adam was underscored.

To sum it up, I think all of the performances proved that there hasn’t been much decent music made this decade.  Everybody is shocked that Adam didn’t win the competition, but when you consider the fact that now he doesn’t have to record that stinker of a song that Kara wrote, he may be the real winner.  I  guess Adam can seek consolation from Chris Daughtry, who can tell him how to deal with a life of obscurity after losing on American Idol while the winner goes on to fame and fortune.  Who won that year?  Oh yeah, Taylor Hicks… he’s awesome.

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