AI9, Round of Two

It’s seriously not even close, is it? Crystal just wiped the floor with Lee, didn’t she? All of Lee’s shortcomings were on display tonight, while all of Crystal’s strengths came through. She played it ten times better than he did, and I almost had to feel sorry for him.

“Everybody Hurts” and “Beautiful Day,” really? Could they have been anything other than karaoke? I felt badly for him on “Beautiful Day.” Without that guitar, he might as well thrust his hands into his jeans pockets and stand there motionless.

Though I did have kind thoughts for him when I saw him just staring out into the crowd and taking it all in. You could see it was slightly humbling for him. He seems like a nice enough guy. He’s got a voice that would fit well in commercial bland copycat radio. He probably has a career.

But he’s nowhere near as good as Crystal, who somehow managed not to cry at the end of that lost song, barely. And, sure, her ode to Simon may have been awkward and she didn’t know where she was walking to in the introductions, but — she sang her face off tonight.

Tangent: The great thing about high definition TV? You can clearly read along with the contestants as the lyrics float up the teleprompter. I actually don’t have a problem with them being there, and I didn’t ever catch either Lee or Crystal relying on them. (Crystal sings with her eyes closed half the time, while Lee is glancing awkwardly to either side to avoid the camera, I guess. Still, the occasional grin was endearing.)

So, there you have it. An often boring season ends with the two strongest contestants, and one was able to pull it off.

While anything is possible, I think Crystal wins this one tomorrow. I love the Idol Finale show. It’s a true spectacle. Can’t wait to see what they come up with for Simon. And will Paula return to say her goodbyes while Andrew sings “Straight Up?” Will there be duets between the contestants and beloved contemporary artists? How much of a workout will the gospel choir get this year? What matching outfits will the Top 12 wear at the top of the show? etc. etc.