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"American Idol": Now We Are Two

By admin Published: May 14, 2009

I'm not sure "American Idol" has any lines left to cross in terms of promoting one contestant over another, but Katy Perry wearing a cape with Adam Lambert's name on the back may be one. Still, we are set for what could be a really interesting final two. More notes, and the Fox results press release, after the jump.

First, a note on my delay in posting re "Idol": Last night I was at a local hospital getting a sleep test -- all wired up and no place to go. I was able to see the results on the TV set in my room and to Twitter a little, but that was about it. So this extended post on "Idol" had to wait, as did any thoughts on "Lost," which I did not even watch until this morning. (I also did a spot-check on some "Idol" segments this AM.)

On replay dodged most of the filler, except for Jordin Sparks -- might get that song, although it's a horrible lyric -- and some of Katy Perry (at least to double-check the jacket). As for the result itself, this was genuinely a nail-biting night: Dialidol had the numbers very close, Seacrest mentioned there was just a million-vote gap between first and second, and the commentariat of which I am a part had diverse expectations of who was staying and who was going. (My comment after the Top 3 performance show was "Adam does seem to be a lock for the final two. But who's the other? The early line was Adam and Danny, but I won't be at all surprised if it's Adam and Kris.")

Danny was indeed long expected to be in the final two -- can't remember how many times Paula declared an Adam/Danny final -- but I don't think he proved able to close the deal. In recent weeks, when he should have blown the doors off, he just didn't. And whatever good will he had with fans was not so locked in that they would march to the end with him regardless of performance. When young and cuter Kris emerged as a capable and even interesting singer (although I still think he's basically channeling Jason Mraz), Danny had all the more need to prove he was formidable, and he just never seemed hungry enough to do it.

Adam, meanwhile, gave a series of performances which made it seem as if he was already in the finals -- although on Top 3 Tuesday he stumbled, falling back on some tired and annoying vocal tics which suggested he believes he had already won. Certainly the press coverage has presented him as the biggest star on the show, and the major question for long weeks has been "What will Adam do next?" But you have to be careful of victory laps. Justin Guarini was thought to be a favorite in season one, only to see Kelly Clarkson rightly take the crown from him; Archuleta was the prototype of an "Idol" champion before Cook seized the day.

So where are we on the final? Is this Clay and Ruben, two different singers with divergent constituencies battling for the soul of the show? Or Cook and Archie, one very much in the mold of "Idols" past (that would be Kris), the other reaching out to viewers wanting something different (Adam, of course)? Or is it Jordin Sparks and Blake Lewis, where the mainstream singer outpointed the singer who was just too different?

I don't think any of those parallels work completely; for one thing, Adam is a much better performer than Blake was, and I don't sense an emotional battle between Adam/Kris on the thunderous level of Clay/Ruben. But there's certainly a contrast in style here.

That said, assuming Adam delivers a top-Adam performance, I would expect him to win. Certainly the show feels the same, considering how it has staged his performances, the judges' comments and Katy Perry's cape (which the show had to know she would wear). But I can't say that for sure. Kris, who at first seemed the other side of the same coin as Matt Giraud, has gone far. I am very curious about how he will try to go one step more.

Here's the release from "Idol" last night. Note how much space is devoted to "Night at the Museum 2," which happens to be a Fox movie. As they said last night, coincidence, yeah.

Kris Allen and Adam Lambert are AMERICAN IDOL’s Top 2 finalists after Danny Gokey received the fewest of the record-setting 88 million votes cast last night. In a season full of surprises, next week’s final performance show promises to be a night to remember as Allen and Lambert compete head-to-head for the IDOL crown at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE Tuesday, May 19 (8:00-9:00 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed) on FOX.

Tune in the following night for the biggest television event of the season. Over 100,000 people auditioned, and now only one finalist will be crowned the next AMERICAN IDOL on the two-hour season finale Wednesday, May 20 (8:00-10:07 PM ET live/PT tape-delayed). Next week’s finale and celebration will feature special performances and surprise guests as the Top 13 finalists reunite on stage one last time before America’s vote is revealed.

Also on tonight’s show, Ben Stiller, Hank Azaria, Jonah Hill and Bill Hader, stars of the upcoming 20th Century Fox theatrical release “Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” were part of an opening segment celebrating AMERICAN IDOL’s newest honor. After making an indelible imprint on the television and music industries and permeating pop culture with its mission of finding undiscovered talent and giving hopefuls a platform to share their voices, AMERICAN IDOL has earned a place in the Smithsonian Institution. One of the iconic pieces of the IDOL set, the Judges’ desk and chairs, will be on display in the Smithsonian Institution Building (“The Castle”) in the coming weeks.

In this second installment of the “Night at the Museum” saga, former night guard Larry Daley (Stiller) faces a battle so epic it could only unfold in the corridors of the world’s largest museum. Now, Larry must try to save his formerly inanimate friends from what could be their last stand amid the wonders of the Smithsonian, all of which, from the famous paintings on the walls to the rocket ships in the halls, suddenly have a mind of their own. “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian” marks the first action-adventure film ever shot on location at the nation’s premiere museum complex, the Smithsonian Institution.

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