'American Idol' Recap: Taylor Has The Advantage After Neck-And-Neck Finale

Final performances were close, but Katharine's out of luck if fans base votes on the entire season.

It seems everyone has something to say about "American Idol" and is no different. Here's this season's final edition of our weekly performance-night roundup:

May 23: Theme - Two songs performed for previous themes and one original written specifically for each finalist

Surprise performance: Daniel Powter. First, because it literally was a surprise. (And probably better to sing "Bad Day" tonight than tomorrow.) And after Katharine McPhee's and Taylor Hicks' singles, "Bad Day" sounded like "Hey Jude."

Fashion hits and misses: Simon Cowell's whole two-steps-backward thing with Katharine last week applied to her wardrobe Tuesday. Like this season's early weeks, her first two tops were frumpy, and the dress for the third song was unflattering. As for Taylor, I disagree with Simon on the velvet jacket. It was nice to see him wearing something as unique as he is.

Judging the judges: In previous final-performance nights, the judges have been congratulatory and kind, but that was hardly the case with Katharine. The judges are obviously rooting for Taylor, but his performances were really no better than hers. The highlight: Simon telling Paula what she just said ("What may be pitchy to you is essence of who Taylor is") made no sense. Finally. Thank you.

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Who will go: Katharine's father, thankfully. It's sweet, but seriously, grow some you-know-what and stop with the tears.

Who needs to step it up: "American Idol" producers. Just give it up and stop making the final two sing these horribly over-produced, cheese-ball songs for the finale. We're sick of the "My Destiny I Believe Is Inside Your Heaven When I'm Flying Without Wings for a Moment Like This" schmaltz. Here's an idea: What about having them each write their own song?

Who is the one to beat: From Tuesday, it's neck-and-neck. But fans are probably basing their votes on the entire season and Taylor has Katharine there. He was more consistent and his personality is far more likable. More of those 33 percent who voted for Elliott a week ago are likely to vote for fellow Southerner Taylor than Kat. Plus, Cowell left voters with this final statement to Hicks: "Assuming the show was tied, you have just won 'American Idol.' "

You told us:

It's a tie! Taylor does not have an especially good voice, but his unique and natural presence and real passion for what he does makes him an "American Idol." He is an entertainer, and I hope he wins. Katharine has a beautiful, lovely presence and a good voice. She has the ability to communicate with her audience. As her attitude and voice mature, she will be nothing short of magnificent. She is a star. She is my "American Idol."


Phoenix, AZ

Taylor Hicks should win the "American Idol" title. He is wholesome and unique. He makes people smile and feel good deep inside when he sings and does his trademark dance. He has music in his soul.

Kim, 35

Anderson, SC

Katharine has been cheated out of the win because of that stupid last song. Whoever wrote it should be fired. Taylor's song was upbeat, inspiring and showed his range. Katharine's was mousy, too low and just plain horrible. No wonder she was sullen for the entire episode: She knew she was going to disappoint everyone with that last number, and it was completely out of her control.

Travis, 30

New York, NY

After seeing Elliott Yamin shout "Soul Patrol!" with the rest of Taylor's fans, I couldn't help but log a few votes for Mr. Hicks. If he is good enough for E, he's good enough for me.

Kristina, 22

High Point, NC

"American Idol" is going to have to come up with a better voting method. After Tuesday night's final competition, I tried to cast my vote for almost three hours. Not once did I get through on any of the three numbers assigned to the "Idol" I chose. Everyone deserves a chance to cast their vote.


Grand Junction, CO

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