Welcome to the two-hour Fox promo machine - I mean, the season finale of American Idol. And believe it or not among all the stars, a new star was crowned in what had to be one of the closest finales in seven seasons.
It was easy to forget that the purpose of the night was to award the Idol title as Fox paraded star after star among this season's Top 12. But never fear, the answer to your long awaited question of who is the next American Idol is answered.
With a fairly narrow 56% of the record-setting 97 ½ million votes, David Cook beat out David Archuleta for the 2008 American Idol title. Who knew that the cougar vote was more powerful than the teen vote?
Seriously, I was sure that Archuleta had the crown cinched especially after the judges gushed all over him last night. But just before the winner was announced, Simon apologized to Cook saying that after rewatching the performances of Tuesday night, he didn't give Cook enough credit and that the race was closer than he thought.
As the new Idol, a very emotional Cook closed out the show with a performance of "Time of My Life," the songwriting contest winner. This song was worthy of the award and suited Cook to a tee. It was a nice finish to a busy night.
But if I was Cook, the highlight of my night would have had to been jamming with ZZ Top to "Sharp Dressed Man." Second on the list would have been doing the Guitar Hero commercial a lá Risky Business - which for me was the best cross-promotion of the night (sorry Archuleta, your boxer version just didn't cut it).
But sing with a star was the name of the game tonight. Archuleta sang the hit "Apologize" with One Republic. And I actually liked him with this group. Maybe there is hope for him yet. But did anyone else notice that he seemed to have a little trouble keeping up with the group? I think the multiple performances were taking their toll on him.
Syesha Mercado returned to sing "Waiting for You" with Seal. I'm not sure if it was the time off, the song or her duet partner, but I thought she sounded great. Guess it's easier to perform without the pressure of being judged.
But apparently the producers couldn't find anyone willing to sing with Jason Castro, who gave us an encore performance of "Halleluiah." My husband kept wondering if he'd remember the words. I think the song was handpicked for him because they knew it was his best performance all season.
Brooke White teamed up with Graham Nash to sing "Teach Your Children," a song that suited her style well. She seemed more relaxed than ever. Maybe she wasn't struggling with stage fright afterall, but with the stress of the competition. Either way, I was impressed with her performance.
Carly Smithson rounded out performances of the Top 6 by teaming up with fellow contestant Michael Johns to perform "The Letter."
The finale was packed with so many performances by the Top 12 that it seemed more like a preview of the upcoming tour with special guests. But if the confident performances we saw tonight are any indication then the tour shouldn't be as bad as I once imagined - at least for the more individual performances.
The group numbers weren't quite as impressive. The finalists of So You Think You Can Dance joined the Top 12 to liven up the opening number. Clearly the producers are saying they don't expect the Idol contestants to have any dancing abilities. Do you think the dancers will be going on the tour too?
The two Davids treated us to a duet of Chad Kroeger's "Hero," a performance that clearly exaggerated the differences between the two and why Cook deserved the title. As my husband said, Cook has a rocker sound that is more interesting to listen to.
The Top 6 women did a medley with Donna Summer featuring her new song "Stomp Your Feet." I was not impressed with this number. Amanda Overmyer looked totally uncomfortable - maybe it was all the red outfits for "She Works Hard for Her Money." Somehow with these outfits the song wasn't bringing to mind a woman working as a waitress. But even with the prostitution undertones, Brooke still managed to look pure and innocent.
And then there was the aging Donna Summer who had to be helped down the steps. Couldn't they come up with a better entrance that didn't make her seem so feeble?
The Top 6 men had a better outing with their Bryan Adams medley. They all looked sharp in their dark suits and Adams aged better than Summer. He sang his new single "I Thought I'd See Everything."
And finally the Top 12 performed a George Michael medley with the man himself. Who knew that the Wham alum was resurrecting his career with his first American tour in 17 years? Personally, I can do without the medley numbers.
The musical side of the show was rounded out with performances by past Idol winners Jordin Sparks and Carrie Underwood. The Jonas Brothers also performed. I guess they had to have someone on the show that was within Archuleta's age range. But even the Jonas Brothers made Archie look young.
While I expected to see the array of singers, I was a little shocked by the number of comic acts.
Of course, we'd be treated to a promo for the new Mike Myers's movie The Love Guru. The mock advice of the guru was cute, but it was when Ryan almost drove his "flying pillow" off the edge of the stage that I laughed.
Surprisingly, Jimmy Kimmel (not a Fox product) put in an appearance to give us a season recap monologue. Unfortunately, his Simon video just didn't compare with his Ben Affleck video.
My favorite comic act of the night was the try outs for Gladys Knight's Pips which featured funnymen Ben Stiller and Jack Black, and the surprisingly stoic Robert Downing Jr. This skit was my favorite bit of the night.
It definitely beat out the return of Renaldo Lapuz who got to perform his original "My Brother" song with the USC marching band. This Best of the Worst feature was still better than last year's "awards."
Overall, the two hours of fluff could have been worse - at least most of the time was filled with performances and a few of them were even good.
What do you think? Did the best David win? Was the show a complete waste of two hours or have the producers finally found a good mixture of fluff and performances?