All right folks, for the second to last time Ryan dimmed the lights tonight and sent someone home. Hard to believe next week is the finale of American Idol season 10 – it’s been an enjoyable ride. The night started with Hailey, Scotty, and Lauren all hoping to make it to the big stage next week. Who made it and who didn’t? Who seemed genuinely touched and who had a sour attitude? Who, like me, wondered why the Italian singing trio Il Volo was singing Mexican music? Let’s not waste any time and just dive right in and see…
- Looks like most of the top 13 were in the audience – but I didn’t see James. Hope he was having fun somewhere.
- Impressive that there were 95MM votes cast last night – the highest ever for a non-finale, and the third highest ever, period. I wonder how much of that was driven by the fact you can vote online this year? Either way, it was an impressive number.
- Last week the top four had a chance to go visit with JJ Abrams at the Bad Robot offices, and get a sneak peek of “8MM”. I’m not sure any of them really knew who he was. The footage looked impressive – and now we know why Lauren was shown last night with an 8mm camera on her hometown visit. Mystery solved.
- Elle Fanning proved she may be good with someone else’s lines – but is far too giggly when talking on her own.
- The first hometown visit of the night was Hailey. I’m sure I’ll lose points on the giant karma scoreboard in the sky – but I was tickled to see it raining on her homecoming. I’m a terrible person. I did love that, when accosted by an overly excited middle-aged woman, she replied – “Thank you for freaking out.” The crying security guard bit was a bit corny, awkward, and out of place. I didn’t realize Wheeling, IL was important enough place that they needed a President instead of a Mayor.
- Three college guys had Hailey’s name painted across their shirtless chests in what appeared to be Smurph’s blood. I can only hope their frat brothers duct tape them to their beds tonight and shave their heads in their sleep.
- At the end of the day, Hailey played her homecoming show at what appeared to be the same racetrack Lee Dewyse played at last year for his homecoming. It was nice to see her get to jam with both of her parents – but the moment was ruined by more of the crying security guard on stage.
- After the break, Ryan had a young girl name Rhianna help him introduce the Ford Music Video (she was better than Dunkelman – enough said.) The video was as pointless and coma inducing as ever. Has anyone else noticed you cannot hear any of the contestants’ voices in the songs for these videos? I have to wonder if they are even recording the tracks for them anymore. Just a thought.
- The first musical act of the night was Il Volo singing their new single “Oh Sole Mio”. Really? It was like the Jonas brothers ate the Three Tenors and came out to do a song from their favorite local Mexican restaurant. The sound you heard was that of millions of teenage girls hitting the fast forward button. It was without a doubt one of the strangest choices of performers in Idol history. I’m still not convinced it wasn’t an elaborate Ashton Kutcher prank on America.
- Next up with a hometown visit was Scotty. He made the rounds, saw the screaming crowds, and then went to visit his parents. As he was lying on his bed, you could see the reality of the day starting to set in. After visiting his High School, the emotions finally overcame him and he broke down in tears in the car. It was the first genuine moment I’ve seen out of Scotty all season. I turned to my wife and said, “You know, I might not mind if he won.”
- Once Scotty got to his show, Josh Turner surprised him on stage while he was singing “Your Man”. His reaction was almost as good as James when he met Hulk Hogan. It was yet another genuine moment. (Although it seems like it might have been a better pairing for the finale…) When it was all said and done, Scotty summed it up well – “I’ve only lived about 17 years so far, but this might just be the best day of my life.”
- The second musical guest of the evening was Nicole Scherzinger with 50 Cent. Can’t say that I really cared for the song all that much. I’ll say this – she’s come a long way from Eden’s Crush. The only thing missing was someone to tip her with one-dollar bills at the end of the song.
- The last hometown visit of the night was Lauren. There were the obligatory stops at a radio station, an AT&T store, and her High School – but the true highlight of the visit was Lauren seeing how her hometown had been devastated by a tornado. You could see the shock and disbelief on her face. She met with a young boy named Tyler who helped save his family during the storms. When he told her about helping find his baby brother and pull him out of the rubble alive – I almost broke down and cried right along with Lauren.
- At her hometown performance, Lauren sang “Build it Anyway” again for the crowd. It was another genuine moment in the show – and one that made me happy we voted for her last night.
- Finally, it was time for the results (after a break). Scotty, Lauren, and Hailey all joined Ryan on the stage. Scotty and Lauren both looked nervous. Hailey looked perturbed. Ryan pulled out the results card…and announced that Scotty was the first finalist. After sending him to the stools, Ryan then announced that the second finalist was…Lauren. I’m not sure who was happier, her or me.
- Go back and watch Ryan call Lauren’s name and you will see something interesting. Hailey has an expression on her face that says – “What do you mean it’s not me? Did you read the card right?” She didn’t even bother to clap for Lauren. It’s the same reaction Danny Gokey had when he didn’t make the finale. I didn’t care for it then, I don’t care for it now.
As Hailey sang/screeched “Benny and the Jets” the show came to an end. Let me just say – thank you America. Thank you, thank you, thank you. If I had known all I had to do was say Hailey was going to win, and she would be sent home – I would have done it six weeks ago. Welcome to third place Hailey – enjoy the tour.
Next week sees season 10 come to an end. Scotty McCreery versus Lauren Alaina in the youngest match-up ever in an Idol finale. Who will win? The smart money is on Scotty, but I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. It should be fun to watch. Don’t forget – the performance show is on Tuesday. Until then – Word Zombie Out.
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