Well, that certainly was anti-climactic, now wasn't it? For the final showdown between small-town heartthrob Kris Allen and Big Scary City drama nerd Adam Lambert, producers of American Idol managed to put together what would have been the most boring episode of the season if only that abysmal Rat Pack night hadn't happened. Each contestant got to sing three songs: one they'd already performed at some other point in the season, one chosen for them by Idol creator Simon Fuller, and another called "No Boundaries," which was co-written by judge Kara DioGuardi. More on that big fat disaster, and everything else, after the jump.
ROUND ONE: The Repeat Performance
Adam got things started with "Mad World," which he originally performed the night contestants had to choose a song from the year they were born. He did the same version—Gary Jules', from the Donnie Darko Soundtrack, rather than the original by Tears For Fears—and it was solid, if also a little boring. The most notable parts of the performance, as far as the judges were concerned, were that he was wearing a long coat and that there was a smoke machine. Surprisingly and thankfully, they weren't terribly enthused.
Kris chose to reprise his version of "Ain't No Sunshine," and aside from maybe "Heartless," it was his best performance of the season. He was seated at the piano, which I'm realizing is where he's I enjoy him most, as he's unable to do the silly dorm-room jam session thing he seems to enjoy so much. His voice was in fine form, and the judges were very much on board.
Simon's Call: Much to his own surprise, round one had to go to Kris.
Mine: No question. Kris.
ROUND TWO: Fuller's Pick
As soon as Ryan announced that Simon Fuller had chosen "A Change is Gonna Come" for Adam, it was everything I could do to not run out of my living room covering my ears and crying. But it wasn't quite as bad as I feared it would be. He was joined by a band for a bluesy performance that, if you were only to listen and not be forced to watch the ridiculously overwrought facial expressions, was, dare I say, actually sort of understated—for the first 30 seconds or so, until he started screeching like an idiot again, and making that face he likes to make where it looks like he's going to cry but you totally know he's not going to because that would involve genuine emotional involvement and not just learned acting chops. The judges were over the moon excited. Paula even stood up and started swinging her arms around inexplicably. It was awesome.
Kris was given "What's Goin On," and it fell really, really flat. He did the stupid acoustic guitar and bongos thing, and while he sung it well enough, it was immediately forgettable. Seriously, I kinda don't remember it. The judges were similarly unmoved.
Simon's Call: I believe he said "One million percent Adam."
Mine: I suppose I would have to agree.
ROUND THREE: The Worst Song Ever Written.
You know a song is very, very bad when it makes you wish you were listening to "This Is My Now" instead. Kara joined forces with a bunch of people I've never heard of to write "No Boundaries," which, as you probably gathered from the title, is another cringe-worthy inspirational number about how nothing—nothing—can hold you back when you..dfgf';hkfgsdfgdf;ghfd. I can't. I just can't. The song and the two performances were actually so bad that the judges basically didn't even comment on them—they just kept talking about everything they'd accomplished earlier in the season, and it was hard to blame them. Sheesh. Not good.
Simon's Call: He thought the lyrics were mad stupid.
Mine: I thought the lyrics were mad stupid.
I don't know what's going to happen tonight, but my fingers are crossed for Kris, even though based on last night, I'm not even sure he deserves it. I am sure, however, that you should follow Ryan's advice and be sure to set your DVR to tape whatever's on after tonight's finale. They already plan on going long, and you do not want what happened to me and a billion other people last year ("And the winner of season seven of American Idol is... David...CUT OFF) to happen to you. It was remarkably unpleasant.