Though it’s not at all surprising, it’s now official: Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze will square off against one another in the finale of the ninth season of “American Idol.” After sending away Casey James’ haircut on Wednesday (May 19), the final two were left on the stage. Will America choose the quirky Bowersox or the hunky DeWyze? Will Bowersox become the first woman to win the show since Jordin Sparks a million years ago? Or will DeWyze continue the streak of men dominating the “American Idol” landscape?
No matter who comes out as the winner, one thing is for certain: This finale may be the weakest in the history of “American Idol.” It’s possible that Bowersox and DeWyze can pull off something special next week, but it would take a great deal to elevate them higher than the last spot on this list. Here are the eight other final pairs — from worst to best — in the history of “American Idol.”
Taylor Hicks (Winner) and Katherine McPhee (Season Five)
The Hicks/McPhee showdown from the fifth season reminds everybody a lot of the current final two. Like Bowersox and DeWyze, both Hicks and McPhee were talented but not especially enthralling. They were able to sing relatively well, but neither was terribly interesting.
Fantasia Barrino (Winner) and Diana DeGarmo (Season Three)
Fantasia had crazy-awesome pipes and could bring the house down with just about anything, but DeGarmo was the first extra-young contestant who was pushed to the forefront, and her performances were competent but unpolished. Plus, this was the first season where a bunch of clearly superior singers (Jennifer Hudson, LaToya London, John Stevens) didn’t even sniff the finale.
Jordin Sparks (Winner) and Blake Lewis (Season Six)
The sixth season of “American Idol” presented a contrast of styles. Sparks was a more traditional R&B diva, while Lewis was a beatboxing, body-popping charisma machine with questionable pipes. Their match-up made for an entertaining finale, but there was never any drama about who was going to win.
Kelly Clarkson (Winner) and Justin Guarini (Season One)
The first season not only rode the wave of the show’s novelty (it’s amazing to think that there was a time when it actually seemed fresh) but also happened to have two pretty talented people in the last episode. Though Clarkson now seems like an obvious pick, people often forget that Guarini was extremely talented and provided a formidable opponent for the first superstar to emerge from “American Idol.”
Ruben Studdard (Winner) and Clay Aiken (Season Two)
The second season of “American Idol” brought us the first all-male finale and also one of the more thrilling last episodes in the show’s history. Nobody had any idea who would emerge on top, as both stars had a tremendous amount of talent and charisma.
David Cook (Winner) and David Archuleta (Season Seven)
Another great season-ender, as the two Davids had clearly become friends over the course of the series and both brought unique skills and styles to the table. Cook’s win — a mild upset — was a great moment in the show’s history.
Carrie Underwood (Winner) and Bo Bice (Season Four)
The fourth season was simple, as it came down to two huge voices, one rock and the other country. While Bice never really seemed like he could win, he delivered such memorable performances in the final weeks (remember his a capella “In a Dream”?) that the finale ended up being a true nailbiter.
Kris Allen (Winner) and Adam Lambert (Season Eight)
The absolute be-all and end-all of “American Idol” finales. Here you had two incredibly talented, charismatic and downright gripping contestants, both of whom clearly wanted to win badly. The spirit of competition (combined with their great and divergent voices) made the last episode of the eighth season a peak that “American Idol” will struggle to hit again.
Which pairing represents your favorite “American Idol” finale? Let us know in the comments!