It's here! It only took us 38 episodes, 17 weeks and one Tatiana del Toro, but the "American Idol" finale is just moments away!
Tonight I'm live-blogging from the actual honest-to-Gokey "American Idol" finale - but don't get too excited. I'm not in the auditorium with the judges and the random celebrity guests and the Seacrest. I'm in a "press viewing party" in the basement of the Nokia Theatre, squeezed in between other (sweaty) media outlets and watching the show on a monitor. This is the glamorous underbelly of showbiz, folks, and taking a look around the room, I'd say put the emphasis on belly.
For those of you who need to get caught up to speed on tonight's proceedings, it's Battle Royale between Adam Lambert, a theatrical screaming banshee who revitalized the aging competition with a unique style and a coy/savvy depiction of his sexuality, and Kris Allen, a humble newlywed from Arkansas who started the season as cannon fodder but slowly but surely gathered tons of fans with his boyish good looks, consistent vocals and acoustic interpretations of unexpected pop hits. His greatest achievement thus far? Kicking judge's fave Danny Gokey out of the competition last week.
Each singer will be tackling three songs tonight. One is a repeat from earlier this season (which is never as good as the first time they sang it), one is Simon Fuller's choice (he's the executive producer who also made "Spice World," so perhaps one song will feature the lyrics "Zig-a-zig-ah") and the last one is the coronation song/winner's first single, co-written by 4th-judge/show-ruiner Kara DioGuardi. (I kid, Kara. Can't wait to have you back next season.)
Okay, let's get on with the live-blogging!
7:56 pm - Holy crap you guys, I literally almost missed this. Somehow I got seriously lost in the 4 blocks between my hotel and the Nokia Theatre. I hate cars.
7:59 pm - Sixty seconds away!! (Nice way to plug my 60 Second Recaps, ain't it?)
8:00 pm - Gasp! It's on the monitor but there's no volume! It's mutiny in the press room! GAHHH!!!
8:01 pm - Crisis averted. The audio kicked in just as Kris and Adam were saying "I am the next American Idol" during their auditions. How much you wanna bet they went back and re-taped that yesterday?
8:02 pm - Camryn Manheim alert! She was there last year, too. Her son looks like he's off his meds. It's okay, kid. I'd be jumping up and down like a maniac if I was allowed to be inside the auditorium, too.
8:03 pm - Seacrest called it the battle between "the guy next door and the guyliner." Or he was announcing the name of a porno he was producing.
8:03 pm - Carly Smithson in the audience! Also Casey Carlson! $5 if you remember either of them.
8:04 pm - Seacrest tells America that tomorrow night's results show is gonna go long, so set your DVR's accordingly. They had to add an extra 5 minutes to the show so that Steve Martin could hock his Banjo album. I'm not making that up. Steve Martin is performing tomorrow night.
8:05 pm - Commercial break math quiz. Steve Martin + a banjo - comedy = ???
8:06 pm - And the answer is "something I don't want to see on the 'Idol' finale thank you very much."
8:06 pm - Anyone else notice that Kara got the quietest applause during the intros? If this were the Oscars In Memorium montage, Simon Cowell was Heath Ledger and Kara DioGuardi was the sound recordist for "Ishtar."
8:08 pm - I can hear the stage manager and the audience next door. This is just cruel. But at least they gave us free wraps.
8:09 pm - Breaking news brought to you by Coke: Adam Lambert has been shrieking since infancy.
8:09 pm - Adam's doing "Mad World" again. He is rising from under the stage wearing a black trench coat. At least I think that's him. I can't tell from all the smoke.
8:10 pm - This is absolutely brilliant. Okay, Kris Allen. You can go eff yourself. I'm voting for the superhero tonight.
8:12 pm - Randy loved that he started off quiet. Kara is saying something she pre-wrote.
8:13 pm - Anthony Hopkins is dying in the audience. Do we know what his deal is yet? Eeek!
8:14 pm - Danny Gokey is dying in the audience, too, but in a different way. This was supposed to be your now, buddy.
8:14 pm - Simon thought it was over-theatrical. WHAT? Isn't that the whole point of Adam Lambert? You never thought his past performances were over-theatrical...
8:16 pm - Kris is singing "Ain't No Sunshine" with just a piano. Woooowwwww.
8:17 pm - The band kicked in. Kris Allen is a superstar right now.
8:18 pm - The band dropped out and it's just Kris and a piano again. Well-done, buddy! You're putting up a fight. Granted, this is the sissiest fight in the history of fights, but boy, what a fight!
8:19 pm - Randy loved it. Kara is saying something she pre-wrote. "You're making it feel like you're singing it to US." The woman sitting next to me just rolled her eyes. I don't know who she is or what outlet she works for her but we are going to be best friends before the show's over.
8:20 pm - Simon just apologized for giving Kris the stink-eye last week Danny Gokey got eliminated. "I take all that back now." Kris is in it to win it. What a finale! AHHHHH!!!!!!
8:21 pm - Simon calls round one for Kris Allen. Gasp! I don't know that I agree, but it's neck and neck. Adam's performance was pretty iconic. I loved the theatrics. If you can't get all goth'd out during a song from "Donnie Darko," then when can you? Simon's wrong.
8:23 pm - So who do you think won round one? Comment me below!
8:24 pm - Also, Seacrest needs to stop with the boxing analogies.
8:25 pm - Simon Fuller chose "A Change Is Gonna Come" for Adam Lambert. BOLD! No doubt, Mr. Fuller. A black president and a (probably) gay Idol in the same year?
8:26 pm - Adam has not done his tongue-wagging scream yet tonight. Do we think he's saving it for his final song?
8:26 pm - Remember last week when Simon said Gokey's "You Are So Beautiful" was a "vocal master class?" Dear Simon. THIS is a vocal master class.
8:27 pm - Um...I'm actually tearing up in the press room. That was beautiful, powerful, emotional. Keep it together, Jim. KEEP. IT. TOGETHER.
8:27 pm - Although I just giggled when he sang about being down on his knees.
8:28 pm - Kara says it was his best yet. Paula said it was his best ever ever ever. (She's high on life tonight, ain't she?) Simon says Adam's back in the game.
8:29 pm - KATIE HOLMES AND SURI CRUISE ARE IN THE HOUSE!!!!! I REPEAT, KATIE HOLMES AND SURI CRUISE ARE IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
8:30 pm - I just shouted that out loud in the press room. People think I'm nuts. My friend just got up and moved away from me. Me = loser.
8:30 pm - I'm actually worried for Suri, guys. That room seems way too loud. Poor thing was frightened like a small animal.
8:31 pm - I just text messaged Alex Wagner-Trugman, who's in the audience tonight. He better get a pic with Suri.
8:35 pm - Simon Fuller picked "What's Going On" for Kris Allen. I love all this socially-conscious music. Simon Fuller is making a statement! Other songs he considered for the finalists: "Ain't Gonna Play Sun City", "Hands Across America" and Hear'n'Aid's "We Are Stars."
8:36 pm - It's pretty telling that I just had time to think of 3 other socially-minded songs. That was decent, but not mind-blowing.
8:37 pm - Randy didn't think it was "big" enough. Kara said something pre-scripted. Paula said the words "tore up" and "Marvin Gaye" in the same sentence, which strikes me as distasteful for some reason, and Simon thought it was like a bunch of kids sitting in a room singing Marvin Gaye. Adam wins round two "by a million percent."
8:38 pm - Commercial break math quiz: What would "a million percent" look like, numerically?
8:39 pm - Some night, right? It all comes down to the final round - Kara's (hopefully not cheesy) coronation song, "No Boundaries." I suspect Lou Dobbs is going to hate this song.
8:42 pm - Yikes! I just saw the pic of me on the mtvnews.com homepage linking to the live-blog and it might be the worst picture ever. HAHA! Also, I need a haircut.
8:43 pm - Annnd the new "idol" song sounds like every other "Idol" coronation song. "Climb every mountain," "roads to nowhere," "dreams," "care" "you can go higher, you can go deeper, there are no boundaries." "Make it through the pain." WORST! SONG! EVER!
8:45 pm - Adam's trying his best to make this song not terrible, but he's not doing it. Did Kara DioGuardi ruin Adam Lambert's chances?
8:45 pm - Actually, Adam Lambert ruined Adam Lambert's chances. He hit some seriously gnarly notes in there. Oh no!
8:46 pm - Paula Abdul: "Adjectives can't express what you've brought to this show, season eight." How does one bring an adjective? Wouldn't you theoretically have to bring a noun?
8:47 pm - Simon is dissing the song's lame lyrics. And Kara groans, "I know! I know!" Oh, you know your song is s***? Real nice.
8:48 pm - Paula and Simon somehow praised Adam without any mention of his performance. The pimping continues.
8:49 pm - Most ominous toss to commercial ever: "Kris takes on the same song...after the break." And America just changed the channel. I don't think I'm the only one who can survive hearing that crapfest again, no matter who's singing it.
8:51 pm - I'm so jet-lagged and confused and hungry right now. I didn't imagine Suri Cruise sitting in the audience, did I? Now I'm starting to doubt myself.
8:52 pm - 30 seconds to live.... yep, I can still hear the stage manager. 5, 4, 3, 2, LIVE!
8:53 pm - Kris Allen can't pull off this song either. OMG HE JUST FORGOT THE LYRICS! It's okay. It's better as an instrumental!
8:54 pm - Kris looked absolutely pained to sing this song. His voice is giving out. This is a depressing car wreck. I hate to say it. The only person who could have polished this turd is Danny Gokey...
8:56 pm - Randy likes the song better for Kris. Kara wants people to forget that performance. Ack! Simon is pimping Kris hardcore right now. It only took him 17 weeks!
8:57 pm - I FINALLY realize who Kris Allen looks like. Remember Gabriel from this season of "Make Me A Supermodel" who couldn't stop pouting? I'm so glad I figured that out. It's been hounding me since he first performed "Man in the Mirror." Whew, what relief.
8:59 pm - Phone number montage makes it crystal clear: Adam Lambert is our next "American Idol."
9:00 pm - Carrie Underwood is performing "Home Sweet Home" while a highlight reel rolls behind her. You'd think after 5 seasons of "Idol," someone would have taught Carrie Underwood a new dance move. The knees-bent waving back and forth swaybot thing isn't any more endearing now that she's a zillionaire.
So what do you guys think? Does Adam have it in the bag? What was your favorite performance tonight? And most importantly: do you think Suri is a Glambert or an Allen girl? Leave your comments below!!!
And be sure to come back to the Newsroom Wednesday night. I'll be live-blogging the 2+ hour "Idol" results show super duper finale!! And before that I'll be hitting the "Idol" red carpet, so if you guys have any questions you want me to ask the Top 13 (and any old "Idol"s you likely don't care about any more) leave 'em below.
Thanks for reading and watching with me tonight!