Last night, America made a statement. Our country crowned Taylor Hicks, a 29-year-old gray-haired dude from Birmingham, the fifth “American Idol.” America chose charisma over beauty, and rightfully chose a guy who deserved to win. While many of us are annoyed by the hideous “Soul Patrol” refrain, we still couldn’t help but be entertained by Mr. Hicks, and it’s going to be interesting to see his career develop. But the best part about Hicks winning is this: here is a guy that would never be able to get a record deal the conventional way. Record execs are cruel and stupid that way. They would take one look at his gray hair and wave him off before even listening to his soulful, unique voice. Hell, even Simon Cowell did that during the auditions, and it’s a good thing Randy and Paula sent him through to Hollywood back in January.
But last night’s result was perhaps overshadowed by a star-studded finale that included performances by Meat Loaf, Mary J. Blige and Prince. Since this is the final recap of the season, let’s go to the videotape, shall we?
The show opened with the current Idol, Carrie Underwood, performing Barry Manilow’s “Made It Through the Rain” along with Katharine and Taylor. They then flashed to Birmingham, where the O’Donohue twins (remember them from the auditions?) were hosting a big gathering in support of Taylor…..and down the street in Los Angeles, where former Idol contestant Tamira Gray was leading the Katharine fans.
Then Paris Bennett came out and performed “We’re In This Love Together” along with Al Jarreau, and Chris Daughtry then got to sing with his favorite band, Live. Both were super cool performances and fun to watch.
Then they broke to the first comedy segment, “Puck and Pickler,” where Wolfgang Puck schooled Kellie Pickler on the finer points of fine dining. Kellie was practically forced to try eating escargots, and spit it out ala Jerry Seinfeld spitting out the mutton that Elaine’s cousin Holly cooked. It was clever and a good use of Pickler’s talents…there is definitely a future in “Hee Haw” type comedy for her.
After that, the first big star of the night was introduced, as Meat Loaf came out to sing Celine Dion’s “All Coming Back to Me Now” with Katharine McPhee. The fact that it was a Celine song was disturbing enough, but not nearly as disturbing as the way Mr. Loaf was shaking when he started to sing. I know I didn’t order a big vanilla shake with my meat loaf last night.
Considering that the producers had to fill two grueling hours before announcing the winner, they then began the “Golden Idol” awards, where Ryan Seacrest outlined some of the worst performances from the audition phase of the past season. The first award was given to the craziest guy, and that was Dave Hoover…remember him? He was like an escaped mental patient. Anyway, Hoover was actually on hand to accept his award and promptly did a stage dive.
Then the guys (the final six male contestants) did a medley of songs like “Takin’ Care of Business” and “Don’t Stop Believin’”, after which Taylor and Katharine were both presented with brand new Mustang convertibles for being the two finalists. Damn!
The next Golden Idol award was for Proudest Family Moment, which went to Elliott Yamin’s mom. Then Elliott got to perform U2′s “One” along with Mary J. Blige. Blige is releasing the song on her new album, which goes to show that most things on “American Idol” last night were about exploitation.
That you know Bono would think himself far too cool to appear on the show.
Carrie Underwood sang her single, “Remember Me,” which was okay…but can someone tell me where the hell Bo Bice was? Then Taylor Hicks sang Elvis’ “In The Ghetto,” a song that probably helped him earn a ton of votes a few weeks back. But as he was singing, out came Toni Braxton to help him out…she looked amazing, but was singing in a kind of half-singing style…..if any of you saw it, you know what I mean….it was hard to describe and really strange. But who cares when she looks like that? Then Katharine and all the girls sang a medley of woman songs like “I Feel Like a Woman” and “Natural Woman.”
Then came one of the finest moments of the show this season. The Golden Idol award for the best impersonation went to this dude named Michael Sandecki, who during the auditions kind of thought he was Clay Aiken. Michael was on hand to accept the award (kudos to the producers of the show for recruiting all these crazy kids to return for the finale) and then Ryan asked him to perform Elton John’s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me,” a song that Aiken performed on Season 2 en route to a runner-up finish. Michael started singing, and then the crowd went nuts as Aiken himself appeared on the stage. But the best part was that Michael was the last one to see him…..and when he did, Seacrest had to contain him to make sure he didn’t pass out before finishing the song with his idol.
You know, I think we’re going to look back on this as maybe one of the single greatest moments on television.
Then Burt Bacharach sat down at the piano and the top 12 contestants sang a medley of his songs. It’s pretty incredible how many hits that dude has churned out during his career. But of course, the producers had to fuck with poor Kevin Covais, by making him sing “What’s New Pussycat”…..those of you who have followed the show know that Kevin has sort of a lisp…..so I don’t need to tell you how that song turned out. Then Dionne Warwick came out for another medley, and even though she is aging, it was another pretty cool moment.
After that came the Golden Idol award for “Best Male Bonding,” which was given to the trio from the auditions that the show labeled as “Brokenote Mountain,” featuring that 16 year old kid from Wyoming who sings to his turkey. This was accented by the fact that they let these guys come out and perform live. Pretty funny shit.
Then after saying that the guest appearances were done, Ryan Seacrest was deemed a liar as Prince made an appearance and performed a couple of songs. Mrs. Marley questioned the significance of this, but really, Prince is a true American Idol.
After Katharine and Taylor performed “Time of My Life,” the results were made known. You could look at Katharine and just know that she knew what was coming. Hicks hooted, hollered and “soul patrolled” and then sang his horrible new single, “Do I Make You Proud?”
So that’s it.
It’s been a fun ride with all of you chronicling Season 5 of “American Idol” and look forward to doing it again. Till then,
Spike Marley is OUT.