"The Final Showdown:
Inside Your Heaven" - May 24-25
Welcome to the big time.
It's the moment you've waited five long months
for. In 26 hours, America will have her new Idol, either Bo Bice or Carrie
Underwood. Will it be the rocker from the Alabama? Will it be the farm girl from
Oklahoma? Rocker? Farm girl? Alabama? Oklahoma? Bueller?
Here is how the final will go down. It's man vs.
woman. Last time this happened, Justin Guarini lost to Kelly Clarkson, 58 to 42.
Three rounds. One will be their favorite from the season. The other two: the
We go first... to the coin toss. Bo is... heads.
Carrie is... also heads. See the faces of the contesti are on the coins, so as
to make it that much easier. Whoever lands face up will choose who goes first.
And the result is... through the grates on stage. OUCH. The three are literally
tearing the stage apart looking for that blasted coin. Take two, off to the side
at the interview area and... it's Carrie with the honor. She wants to go second.
Which means that Bo... you're up first, my friend.
His first song, his single #1, "The Long Long
What they say: Randy says "yo" and "check it
out" more times than he should at this point. Dude, we know you're cool, just
get to the point. "I have bad news and good news. Bad news: I did not love that
song. Weird song, but here's the great news. It don't matter what you sing, even
though you started a little shaky, you still brought it home in the end." Paula
says "It's really hard to sing a song that nobody knows, but I get the chills
seeing everybody vibing with you on that song. That is the mark of a true
performer." Simon says that it's probably the closest final we've had. "You look
like my chemistry teacher. It was a very dreary song. You're going to have to do
a hell of a lot better than that to walk away with this title."
What we say: Bo pulls out every trick he used
this season to get to this point. We have the mic hold, the shades, the tunic,
the raspy soulful tone. It started out of range, I'll admit it. But the note
that shook the heavens caps it off. This would be an ideal song for Bo to
record, not so much perform. But still, please say you're saving your best for
What Bo says: "Give me something to sing and
I'll go for it."
Now to Carrie's first number, her single #1,
"Inside Your Heaven."
What they say: Randy is wondering why the
singers are relegated to the background, while the choir gets the props. "I
didn't like that song, either." Carrie didn't connect, but did "brought it
home." Paula thought she sang it beautifully. "You had a couple of not-so-great
notes, but who in the heck cares?" Simon sees Carrie's nerves. He likes THIS
song better, but says that her vocal was "right on the edge", counting round 1
to her. Of course he would.
What we say: On the edge... of the Nullarbor...
If you missed last week's recap, the Nullarbor is a big expanse of nothingness
in Australia where no one can hear you. Good voice and scared-stiff stage
presence to start. We go from good to pitchy fast. And Will you stop fidgeting
with your hair? And what's up with the weird voice right before the power note?
I don't get it. Ironically, the most movement comes with a wave to the audience
AFTER the performance.
What Carrie says: "I really don't think I can
describe this. It is incredible. Awesome, awesome!"
I'm willing to pull a Randy Jackson (because
apparently I'm the Dawg to Gordon's black-shirted Haterade) and call a push in
round 1, simply because both songs sucked. And both singers did the best they
could with what they had.
Now to round 2: best of season 4. From the week
where Paula called that Bo was going to be in the final, 70s Week, it's
What they say: Randy says, "That's what I'm
talking about. Now I'm happy." Paula, "That's the true authentic Bo we all know
and love." Simon, "Welcome back. Now we've got ourselves a competition."
What we say: This was WAY better than the first
time around, and that's saying a lot, because he basically proved why he's there
with that performance. He's a showman. Simple. This is what Bo should be doing,
and will be doing, I think.
Meanwhile, Ryan takes a moment to remind us
(although I think Bo did it just now) that Bo and Carrie are up there... and the
rest of the Idols... are down there. Lindsey's just sheepish, knowing that she
can look forward to a summer of just chilling back and playing PSP all day. Even
the show logo gives her no love. Just the perks of being the first one
eliminated. Heh.. yeah...
Going back to the competition now, and going
back to the 90s with Carrie's rendition of "Independence Day".
What they say: Randy welcomes Carrie back to the
competition. Paula calls it brilliant. Simon thought she should've sang
"Crying." He scores this one for Bo.
What we say: Back to her security blanket. She
makes no secret that she's good at country. We all know that. And this was one
of her better songs throughout the series. And she pretty much goes from
strength to strength on this one. And it's good to see her loosen up with this.
But I was looking forward to her injecting something like that to something
that... you know... wasn't country?
Round 2.... Both were pretty strong... I have to
give this another push, SO... Round three will decide it for me. This time, Bo
takes on "Inside Your Heaven". Carrie got her supporters cheering on this one,
but can Bo do the same?
What they say: Randy said "You made me love the
song." Paula fell in love with the song. Simon notes that Carrie was just
outsung. "For us, it has been a pleasure having you this year on American Idol."
What we say: This is incredibly tough. Bo takes
nothing and turns it into something, extrapolating it like crazy and doing it
justice. Good news: Bo took Carrie's pass, and ran it in for the TD. Bad news:
remember the last guy who did that? All in all, Bo is coming out punching with
this performance. Scores better than Carrie's. Infinitely better, and he can
actually move with the beat and the audience. If Carrie's your singer, then he
is your performer.
And finally, the moment that was inevitable. If
you, like me, followed the various incarnations of "Pop Idol" the world over,
the last song should be VERY familiar. Carrie wraps up with her second original
single, a cover of Guy Sebastian's "Angels Brought Me Here". If you recall, the
first-season "Australian Idol" performed that song last year in the round of
three. And I love the hell out of it. Carrie, I swear to God if you mess this
up... *fist shakey*
What they say: Randy gives her the dawg standing
O. Paula calls her journey "a lifetime of achievements." Simon, "You have a lot
of guts. Again, I felt your emotion. I think you've done enough to win this
What we say: You know something... Simon said
the same thing about Clay Aiken. And he came in second. Some people say this is
too close to call. I say, "Bring back Guy Sebastian." He wasn't flat, he
controlled the breathing, and he didn't sound like a Faith Hill reject.
Ironically, she saved her best for last. All personal ribbing aside, she just
might have made her case with that one. Not saying it was good, but it was her
best. And personally, I thought Will Young's "Anything Is Possible" was going to
be the first one to cross international waters.
Round three... goes to Bo. So that's my favorite
(as if you didn't know already). But like last year, time to go around the
Quisla (sister): Should win, Bo. Will win, Bo.
Travis (cohort): Both deserve to win. This was the first real final.
Tom Heald (TVBarn.com): Bo should. Carrie will.
Me: Should/will win: Bo. But I want to ask the audience.
AOL: 61% in favor of.
Okay, just making sure.
Well, that's basically it for me. I've had fun.
Hope you had, too. One final note from me; Ryan has your north-of-the-border
Idol fix this summer. Tomorrow night: Carrie sings with Rascal Flatts, while Bo
sings with .. his mic stand. Both should be a hoot and a half. And while we look
back on the season, we look forward in anticipation... Simon finishes with the
phrase, which has been a cornerstone, this season especially... "It's about
being an original. Don't compromise."
What they say: Randy calls it the best season
ever. Paula agrees. Simon, "I'd like to thank America for listening to me this
year. Thanks, America."
What we say: Bottom line, and I say this every
year. Many are called, few are chosen, the best are given the stage, but in the
end, there can only be one American Idol...
And America... you've waited long enough. Go
vote, don't mess up, Gordon, take us home! Until next year, remember the Idol
credo... "Dare to dream." Alexander... out! Pepper and Rojas... on.
The Results.... after the break.