Season 5: Do I Make You Proud

Darkness. Out of the darkness steps Ryan Sleazebag. Hey, don't change the channel, people, because he wants everyone to know that this is the most important night in the lives of Katharine and Taylor. No, you silly girls, it's not your wedding night with Taylor, sheesh, it's, as Sleazie says, the night where they duke it out for 40 million people's fanatical and often illogical and unreasonable support for votes that will earn them "the most sought after title on television". The American Idol, if you will. Sleazie then dramatically reveals the audience in the huge, glittering, and metallic Mothership. "This is American Idol!" cries Sleazie as the nimrods in the Mothership cheer to the camera. Yeah? And this is the end.

Welcome to the most pointless finale so far in the history of this show, people. Even when Fantasia went against Piggy Di Guano, there was a real possibility that Piggy could win thanks to Fantasia's polarizing effect on the audience. But for this finale, nobody, not even Katharine, expects her to win. Not counting the more insane members of the Soul Patrol, that is, who have been shrieking like obese lunatics for weeks now that Taylor is apparently an "underdog" when any reasonable person will tell you that the true underdog in this finale, in terms of being someone who has no chance of winning, is Katharine. So basically to get to the coronation of Taylor Hicks, I have to endure some three hours of insincere competition. That won't be so bad if I don't have to recap these three hours as well. I swear, it seems like the finales are getting longer and longer every year.

After the credits have rolled, the doors of the Mothership open and out walks Ryan "Angels Brought Me Here" Sleazebag in a suit that is probably more expensive than his usual ones given that we are at the verge of the end of another season. Oh look, Mandy Moore is in the audience. That's understandable, since she can't be too busy, what with her music career being in the rubbish bin and her movies haven't exactly, er, blazed the box office trail like Ape Boy would say. Her agent must have gotten her this "gig" just to placate her. Oh look, there's Ben Stiller as well, although the show doesn't introduce him the way it introduces Mandy Moore. He probably is here because he wants to study Taylor's dance moves in preparation for his next "wacky" comedy. In fact, Ben quickly ducks his head when he sees the camera on him. Oh dear, but he's so busted. When we see him wearing a grey wig and twitching as if he's being beaten with an invisible cattle prod on screen, we'll definitely know where he gets the inspiration for his role now, won't we? Give up on the dumb comedies, Ben, go act in some dramas or intelligent comedies like you used to! Or, if that won't pay for the coke, er, I mean, Coke and the underaged girlfriends, Zoolander 2 will do just as nicely.

Sleazie welcomes everyone to the Mothership, or the Kodak Theatre if you are planning to make a trip to lick the stage at the very spots where Katharine has walked on. Wow, did this season only begin back in January like Sleazie says? This season feels like it's been going on for longer than that. Sleazie reveals that the Mothership currently houses 3,000 beautiful people - and I'm sure there are TV actors and actresses among the first few rows of seats that I should recognize but I'm afraid I don't - as well as two "nervous" contestants. Cue the camera moving to the dressing room where Mary Roach's understudy is trying really hard to make Taylor look as pretty as Katharine. Katharine waves wildly at the camera as if she's this poor dear trapped in a circus that she doesn't want to be in but she is trying very hard to look cheerful anyway because she's a professional on TV like that.

Sleazie also introduces the three judges who are just a few hours away from returning to much-deserved irrelevance, at least until the next season when they return like bad pennies and recycle their same tired shtick all over again. Sleazie acts shocked that King Tut is wearing a jacket. He's just trying to point out to everyone that King Tut is wearing Sleazie's jacket, of course, like a lioness marking her territory to warn off other lionesses, especially blonde ones named Kellie. Sleazie asks the three bloody morons how the Two can impress them and naturally, the answers of Randy Randy and Miss Paula are absolutely rubbish. Randy Randy wants the Two to "lay it all on the line". He can't get any more concise and succint than that. Miss Paula babbles about nerves picking the right song to sing. In the finale? Apart from the obligatory cruelty involving sappy tuneless ballads no human being should ever be made to sing, is there any new song to be picked for tonight? Evidence #4,811 that the judges don't pay attention to the show at all. King Tut tells the Two to pray that they don't forget the words to the songs. As if it matters at this point. Let us be honest now with ourselves: everyone who is voting has already made up his or her mind who to vote for. If Taylor tanks, his fans will blame the sound system and some secret conspiracy out to bring the "underdog" down. It's not like they will change their mind and vote for Katharine because Taylor underperformed. If Katharine tanks, well, does it matter? She's not going to win even if she comes out on stage and launches into an entire Puccini opera while juggling eggs and walking on stilts at the same time.

Sleazie explains that the Two will perform three songs each tonight and they are each given three phone lines and people can vote for four hours after the end of this show. More money for the AT&T and everyone else on this show! And, of course, carpal tunnel syndrome for everyone else. Sleazie then says that in the past, Kelly beat that fuzzy moppet while Cattle humiliated Bo in a male-female showdown. He wonders whether Taylor can break the pattern and put Katharine in her place. Is he trying to forewarn people about the outcome of this season? Thanks, Sleazie, but everyone knows since Chris was booted that Taylor is going to win and nobody, not the Monkey Boy and definitely not the Mary Magdalene, can stop him.

But before we make the Two perform just for the sake of formality, first there is the introductory montage featuring scenes and snippets from interviews of the Two throughout the season. Oh, do you know that Taylor came from the same region as Ruben and Fantasia? Gee, is this show trying to tell me something? Oh, and do you remember that King Tut originally didn't want Taylor to move on? Sleazie yammers something about "silver fox", "soulful spirit", and "contagious dance movies" for Taylor. Well, chicken pox is contagious too, Sleazie. And what's this nonsense about Taylor defying some odds? What kind of odds are we talking about? The odds in the "Guess how old that grey-haired fat bastard actually is?" betting pool? As for Katharine, there are the expected scenes of the judges praising her. For her, Sleazie only bothers to say "Week after week she has proven to America that she has the chops." No scenes of her telling everybody how she defied some mystifying odds to live the American dream. No "brunette vixen", "beautiful spirit", and "the yellow dress that fell apart and revealed her panties". No King Tut telling everybody he's changed his mind about not wanting her in the finals. No mention of her capturing the hearts of America. So, are we still all clear about this conspiracy to prevent Taylor the "underdog" from winning?

"It's the West versus the South," Sleazie goes, as if it doesn't go without saying that only the suicidal will opt to compete against the South when it comes to obsessive and out-of-control zealotry, adding that it's "the McPheever against the Soul Patrol". Have you see photos of the two contingents of fans? Katharine's fans are mostly young dainty girls who are into Ashlee Simpson, eating disorders, girlie magazines, and cheerleading while the Soul Patrol mainly comprises all these humongous housewives wearing Klingon-like outfits and using what's left of their Kewpiemania confetti to decorate their hair and eyes. If I'm to bet on the outcome of a battle between sullen Valley girls and wild-eyed big-boned Southern housewives who will rip your heart out with their claws if you dare grab the last piece of fried chicken on the Hartz buffet tray, my money's on the housewives. At any rate, Sleazie wonders who will be the next American Idol.

Oh wait, the show can't start yet! Maybe it takes a look time to put on enough make-up on Taylor to make him look thirty years younger. It's not like they can airbrush him on live television like they can always do on his promotional photos and CD artworks, after all. Sleazie now wants the audience to scream out who they think will be the next American Idol because this isn't a real show until somebody makes some noise. The crowd goes "Ya-woah-woah-aaah-ooh-woah!" and it sounds to me like they're unanimously saying "Elliott". Yeah, yeah, wishful thinking, I know. Sleazie then reveals that after the show last week the Two flipped a coin and Taylor won the coin flip, choosing to go second. Therefore, Katharine will begin her pointless and hopeless performances first.

And wait, wait, the show hasn't started yet! Sleazie needs to get a big hug from Chris in the audience first. And it's Chris who makes the first move, mind you, so he's come a long way from being the Heterosexual Christian who flinches when Sleazie runs his hand along Chris' back. He's now a Heterosexual Christian Who Wants To Be Famous who happily throws his arms around Sleazie. That's when I know Chris will fit in very well with the happening folks in LA. Sleazie also chats with the McPhee clan although Katharine's ninety-eight year old boyfriend is curiously nowhere to be seen in the audience.

To open the show, Katharine reprises KT Tunstall's Black Horse & The Cherry Tree with her on her feet from the start this time around. I don't know why she chooses this song since this song is better suited for actual concerts where the members of the audience are happy people who are halfway drunk and cheerfully going "Woo-hoo!" with her instead of being furious members of the Soul Patrol who want to rip every strand of her skanky hair off her scalp. It's a decent performance but not one that I would call memorable. She manages to bounce along pretty well on stage though, teasing and interacting with the two box drum players, even touching the thigh of that guy to the right in a way that the Soul Patrol will definitely not approve. While this performance could have been nothing more than fluff with plenty of swaying hips and shiny hair to go along with the pointless calories, I like how Katharine tries to inject her own interpretation to the song. This isn't a faithful replica of KT Tunstall's Lillith Fair anthem as much as a feel-good summertime version - a more shallow and superficial version, if you will. But given the subject matter of the song, perhaps Katharine's treatment of the song is a reasonable one.

As Christina Applegate reluctantly gets onto her feet to clap for Katharine along with the other members of the audience, Randy Randy says that Katharine "nailed" the performance and had "fun". He feels that the performance wasn't as "supersized" as he expected but he feels that she sang the song better this time around than previously. Miss Paula uses at least twenty redundant words to say that she expects better from Katharine, like, say, a penis just like how Miss Paula likes all her favorites to have. King Tut's verdict of the performance is "good with a small G" because he feels that the occasion is bigger than that song and therefore the performance felt like "merely a warm-up". Fair enough, I'd say. Katharine tells Sleazie that she chose the song because she liked the song and wanted to have fun with it. Sleazie then reveals that Katharine received "a thousand roses" earlier today because he saw them in her dressing room. He wants to know who sent those flowers. Naturally, Katharine is not stupid enough to reveal that she has a ninety-eight year old boyfriend so she acts coy and pretends that her fan club is the one behind the roses.

Taylor is next with Living For The City and of course, knowing how popular his hammy shtick is, he chooses to wear the shiniest purple jacket the shade of Barney the Dinosaur and waddles/hip-waggles his way to the stage. Same constipated pose, same fisting action, same vocal stylistics, more of the same old ham really that have me thinking, "That fat purple knob can really sing so I won't mind him at all if I can actually look at him perform without wanting to gouge my eyes out." As an experiment, I deliberately turn my head away when I rewatch this episode so that I only listen to him. You know what? He sounds great, if a little cabaret, as King Tut would say, with his voice having enough infectious energy to get me to feel like I want to stand up and dance along to his performance. Taylor can be fabulous, it's just that he latches onto that hammy shtick of his once he knows people like it and just doesn't know when to stop or how to restrain himself.

As the audience gives him a standing ovation, I see Taye Diggs whispering to some fellow beside him and I think they are talking about how awesome Taylor is. I agree because Taylor, unlike Katharine, is a veteran performer who knows how to choose the perfect song to get the house onto his side. In fact, I'd bet Taylor has given this performance many times before in his Vegas strip circuit act. Meanwhile, Randy Randy blabs something about Taylor making every song he sings his own. If I'm the artist of one of those songs that he has just sung in his hammy epilepsy-Macarena way, heck, I would be screaming at Taylor to just take the song and make it his own because I don't think I will be able to perform that song again without seeing a close-up of Taylor's constipated mid-screech facial expression in my head. Oh look, there's Chris in the audience with Ace, making a stupid open-mouthed facial expression at the camera. His wife is seated between him and Ace and she's holding on to him hard because she's just read in the magazines about his recent adventures in the Playboy Mansion with Paris Hilton. Randy woo-woos and Taylor goes woo-woo as well. I think they must be related in a past life when they were both chimpanzees or something. Miss Paula stands up and ferociously gestures at her bosoms, which are falling out of her dress, while shrieking something about wanting Taylor to do something to her again and again until everybody got that too. Or something. She's babbling incoherently and I can't be bothered to properly decipher what she's babbling. King Tut jokes that the audience clearly hates Taylor and Taylor laughs out loud. Oh look, there's Kellie in the audience. Hi, Kellie! Choked on any calamari lately, hon? King Tut praises Taylor for the "smart song choice", great performance, and "the worst jacket in the world". Taylor deserves nearly every praise he receives for that performance but he's not making it easy for me to watch him some more when he joins Sleazie on stage and proceeds to thank everyone and his brother for putting him here. Isn't it strange how throughout this entire season, Taylor has only said things on this show that are about himself and only himself? It's like he sees himself as the center of his universe. That's not a bad way to look at the world, I suppose, if you're Tom Jones, bonafide panty-stealer superstar, instead of just Taylor Hicks, a superstar-wannabe with fans whose panties nobody really wants to see, much less have thrown on their faces. Taylor calls out to his fans, pumping his fist as he goes, "Soul Patrol! Soul Patrol!" like he always does.

Sleazie, lurking in the upper levels of the Mothershop, reminds everyone watching that this show isn't done sucking everyone's money yet because the tour has only just begun! At the rate the fanwars have been progressing this season, we probably need barb wires to separate various contingents of fans from trying to beat each other into submission during the tour. I wonder whether I can make a killing from selling tazers, buckets of Kentucky Fried Chicken, and "Hello, my husband and kids, I'm having fun following TayTay/Elliott/Chris/Ace (delete where applicable) and I won't be back until November or until the credit card gets maxed out, whichever comes first, so if the food runs out in the house, there's always take-out; PS: don't forget to feed the cats" postcards at the kiosk. Sleazie also reminds people to buy the CD. Buy, people, buy! Sleazie needs new beards and Miss USA pageant gals don't come cheap. Oh, and don't forget to visit the official website!

It's now time for round two so Katharine sits on the stage floor to reprise Judy Garland's Somewhere Over The Rainbow. She tries to sound appropriately bittersweet during the acapella introduction and remains in that demeanor for the rest of the performance. I'm impressed that she only manages to let a smile slip through once throughout the performance. This is meant to be a dramatic performance, but somehow I don't feel the impact of this song. Katharine performed well, she's in tune, and for the most part she manages to convey convincingly that she's feeling what she's singing, but I still feel disconnected from her performance. Maybe it's just Katharine's inexperience, I don't know, but while she performs well, I'm just not feeling it, as Randy Randy would say.

Wow, the audience gives yet another standing ovation. At the rate they are going, they probably don't need chairs to sit on at all. Meanwhile, Randy Randy tells Katharine that she has "worked it out". Miss Paula babbles about how Katharine is "possessed with... possessed of..." some "God-given talent" before her words trail off as her thought train derails a little. She abandons her previous sentence to come back with an even more bizarre proclamation about how "every father around this country" must have tears flowing down from their eyes the way tears are flowing down from the eyes of Katharine's father. "You made everyone proud! And every little girl proud! Who want to dream and be inspired by you! Congratulations!" she babbles as King Tut stares at her with a completely befuddled expression on his face. At her other side, Randy Randy scowls as he looks ahead to the distance, no doubt thinking, "Oh god, will that dumb cow ever shut up?" King Tut says that Katharine was "slaughtered" in the previous round but she has rebounded with what he believes is her best performance so far in this competition. "You're back in the game!" he tells her. Oh, the camera zooms in on this handsome man in pink striped shirt. He looks familiar but for the life of me, I can't put a name to his face. He looks like the guy from Lost, but since he's all cleaned up and sane-looking here, I can't really be sure. Meanwhile, Sleazie and Katharine explain how her earpiece wasn't working back then so she couldn't hear herself, much less know whether she's on key. Fortunately, she says, she managed to hit the right key when it came to the first note in the acapella beginning of her performance. My goodness, must a earpiece not be working every season? I'd think these people will get better equipment now that they are rolling in money. Or is all this a conspiracy to kill off Katharine's chances in this competition? Hmmm. Katharine explains about her earpiece in a very excited manner, like she's just discovered a huge conspiracy against her and she's unnerved by the realization. Sleazie puts on the earpiece and jokes about receiving transmission from another network. The joke can be funny, I suppose, since no harm was done to Katharine unlike how a earpiece malfunction totally wrecked Piggy Di Guano's Don't Cry Out Loud back in the season three finale.

Sleazie chats with Taylor's parents for a moment before introducing Taylor with a reprise of Levon. Oh look, he manages to ham it up even in a ballad! The facial tics, the fisting action, the dump squat position... it is as if Taylor has deliberately pulled out all stops to make sure that his body will be even more uncoordinated than before, just the way his fans love him. As his various body parts try to divorce each other, only his voice remains clear and loud and steady. Like Katharine's previous performance, this one also feels mechanical and even perfunctory. I'm not feeling this performance either.

Again the audience gives a standing ovation. Really, someone should take away their seats to teach them a lesson. As Taylor starts acting like a robot malfunctioning on stage, Randy Randy says that the song was nice but the performance was "a little pitchy" for him. Miss Paula disagrees because what Randy Randy finds pitchy is "the essence of Taylor" to her. Miss Paula defends her judgment because in her condition, she's obviously the best judge of pitch. King Tut predictably gives the second round to Katharine. He and the show pull the whole "the Two are both tied, it's down to the last round" stunt every season, it's amazing how they expect me to fall for it every time. Sleazie joins Taylor on stage and scolds Miss Paula and King Tut for arguing. Taylor starts to say something to Sleazie's insipid questioning and Sleazie quickly talks over him to give Taylor's number, heh. Taylor is reduced to hollering "Soul Patrol! Soul Patrol!" as if saying that phrase once every ten minutes will make him look younger.

For the third round, the parents are featured in the introductory clip so the McParents inform everyone that Katharine has been singing since she was old enough to "make noise". Katharine reminisces about listening to her mother play music and sing. She concludes that performing and singing are what she is born to do. With that, Katharine steps out on stage to perform her punishment anthem, My Destiny.

There is a rumor going around even before this episode is aired, saying that this song was originally meant for Taylor and Do I Make You Proud was commissioned for Elliott. That makes sense, since the show would love to play to Elliott's underdog status if he made it to the Two, but Taylor threw a fit about My Destiny so the people behind the show switched things around to give Katharine My Destiny. Who knows how true that rumor is. I have my doubts, however, about Taylor being able to influence the producers to switch songs around for him. Something tells me that the likes of Katharine and Kellie would have stronger influence with the lecherous Uncles who run this show than someone like Taylor.

At any rate, they can't pick a worse song for Katharine because here she is, singing how she's always dreamed of being here in the finale when she's already being accused by angry Yaminions and Adaughterous Housewives of being the harlot that stole the spot belonging to their man while the Soul Patrol egg on the feeding frenzy on poor Katharine. The song is predictably some sugary swill picked from the reject bin of some European songwriters. However, there is a pretty nice Triumph of the Pageant Gal quality to the chorus. Poor Katharine's voice goes very sharp as she tries to increase her volume while hitting her higher register until I cringe at some of the more painfully botched notes she tries to hit. The camera cuts to Annabeth Gish in the audience who looks like she wants to throw up all over her lap. I know that feeling. Oh look, the Blue Tarbanacle Choir makes an appearance now although they can't do anything to save Katharine's performance since at that moment she's launching this high "How different my life turned out to BE-EEEE-EEEE!" that sees her voice straining to reach the high note until it breaks and she pretty much just gives up and moves on to the next line. What happened to her? Did they get her drunk or something backstage before they let her perform? You know, I hate to say this, but I think I really like this song even if Katharine butchers it completely. It's the chorus: it's a pretty catchy one. Oh, and Katharine looks so beautiful on stage with the lights seeming to caress her in some ethereal luminiscence, it's unreal. It's too bad the lighting crew can't make Taylor look just as pretty. I suspect that only a surgeon's knife can make Taylor look pretty.

Oh look, the audience is giving yet another standing ovation. They don't need chairs. The finale of the next season may as well be held in a football field. When the camera focuses on some people captioned as "Katharine's friends", there's this blonde woman that looks to me like Tori Spelling after Tori has recovered from her sixteen eating disorders. Randy Randy tells Katharine that she looked amazing, sounded really good, but he doesn't like the song. Miss Paula comes in to say something sensible for once: the song choice is not Katharine's fault. She goes on to call Katharine "brilliant". King Tut says that Katharine went from "brilliant" to "quite good" in the space of one performance. He then hints at something that everybody in that place knows - Katharine has no chance of winning - by saying that she is a "great great potential artist" and he is delighted that she is in the finale. He goes on to say that anyone who wants to vote for Katharine should remember her performance of Somewhere Over The Rainbow. Sleazie joins Katharine on stage where he gets Randy Randy to say that the song is "merely average" and Katharine deserves something better than that. That's how I know for sure Katharine won't win, by the way - Randy Randy is this show's biggest syncopant so he will not dare to say anything against the song if it's going to be released as the winner's single. Since My Destiny is fair game, Katharine's clearly not going to win this thing.

Now it's Taylor's turn to perform. First, his father talks about Taylor's love affair with his harmonica. Please, I can play a harmonica, self-taught too, it's no big deal. I'll be more impressed if he can calm down and actually perform instead of trying to distract me with all his stage antics. He steps on stage now to perform Do I Make You Proud. Unlike Katharine, at least he's on key, bless him. I especially love the contradiction between his smug smirk as he sings about being humbled by his journey to success. I actually detest this song, finding it a slightly more tuneful version of Inside Your Heaven and I suspect that My Destiny will be a much better pageant song if Katharine didn't butcher it so badly. However, as much as I detest the song, I have to hand it to Taylor: I avoid watching the performance in my repeat viewing, I just listen to him, and I can only say this: give it to him, he has earned it tonight. He succeeds in selling me a wretched song and it's actually very good, his singing. Nicely done, Taylor, nicely done indeed. He then ruins my goodwill by jumping on stage howling "Go, go, go! Soul Patrol!" or something. Oh look, there's Elliott in the audience crying out Taylor's name like he's Xenu coming to save Elliott by taking him to space. Since Elliott is wearing a hideous jacket, I'd say he still hasn't dumped his old girlfriend for that model yet by the time the finale takes place.

Randy Randy finds this song a "slightly better" song than Katharine's and he's all about Taylor making the song his, yadda yadda. Miss Paula blabs about "the nuances" of Taylor when previously she was all about his "essence". Taylor should be very scared of Miss Paula if he could look away from the mirror for a few seconds and see the expression on her face. King Tut charges straight ahead and tells Taylor that he has just won the competition. Taylor orgasms on the spot -"Woo! Hoo! Soul Patrol! Ooo! Woo! Hoo!" - with this clearly being the best he's ever had in all his years of loving himself to the hilt. Sleazie joins Taylor and rattles off Taylor's numbers.

The lines will be opened soon, but first, a recap where everyone gets to relive how Taylor outperformed Katharine in every way. Sleazie then lets Daniel Powter come on stage to perform Bad Day. Looking at Daniel Powter, I find myself wondering how a guy who keeps a stubble to look like some thuggish good-looking bloke can come up with such a wimpy-ass crybaby song like Bad Day without choking on his bile. When he's done, everyone calls it a night and goes home to mentally steel themselves for the two hour circus taking place the next night.

The audience cheer a little when the doors of the Mothership part open and out walks Cattle Underwood, the winner of the previous season and this show's biggest snow job on everybody with her fake "I'm really an inexperienced singer who has never done live performances before, just don't Google up my name and look at my old website, please!" personality, to perform I Made It Through The Rain. She is joined by Taylor and Katharine. All three are wearing the same "We're white celestial angels coming to save all of you from your tedious lives after we've received your SOS, thanks to ATT!" outfits that have made an appearance in every finale since the second season, although this is probably the first time Katharine wears such an outfit to bear her cleavage like that. Naturally, the Soul Patrol whose opinions are the only one that matter on this show do not approve. The three are then joined by the rest of the Twelve in the time for the predictable final chorus screechfest-in-unison penultimate of the performance. They have made it through the rain, people! Because the Twelve are not enough, out come the background singers as well, although they are dressed in black so that people won't mistake them as any of the Twelve and go, "Damn, how did those talented ladies miss out on being in the Two?" Cut to the faces of Taylor, who looks like he's trying not to gag, and Katharine, who looks like she's really into singing this kind of cheese, and Cattle, who has not a single expression on her face at all. I see that her manufacturer has not uploaded emotions.exe onto Cattle's system even if a year has passed. Such negligence is mind-boggling to contemplate.

Credits. We are now officially watching the finale of this season, people, with all the expected filler and nary a single drop of suspense this time around. Can you feel the magic, people? The doors of the Mothership open once again to allow Sleazie to come out and welcome the audience. It's his final two hours of mainstream pop culture relevance before he has to go back to faux-dating D-list female celebrities to try to register on the radar of the media. I wonder what Sleazie will do when this show inevitably gets the ax in, oh, year 2980 or something. Probably hold hands with Randy Randy and jump off a cliff in their despair, I suppose. Sleazie gives a small wave at Heather Locklear and Ben Stiller who are in the front row. Heather bends over to whisper in Ben's ear, probably something like, "Oh no, that midget squirrel is trying to be our friend! Do you think it's too rude if I show him my middle finger and tell him to sod off?" Sleazie says that we have finally "made it here together - tonight!" to the finale after thousands of broken hearts, broken noses, broken phones, yadda yadda yadda. Sleazie is also pleased to announce that this show is being broadcasted to an estimated 200 million folks around the world.

He now pretends to pace up and down the stage in thought as he wonders who the new American Idol will be, Taylor or Katharine. Saying that the votes are apparently close, he then introduces the judges. Each introduction is preceded by a clip of the judges. To the recognizabe riffs of Queen's Another One Bites The Dust, Randy Randy is exposed to be a verbally-challenged nimrod who said "Dude" and "We got a hot one!" an estimated six bazillion times throughout the entire season. Whitney Houston's So Emotional comes on as the montage of Miss Paula exposes just how incoherent her babblings are throughout her season and how absolutely demented she is as she jumps up and down or whacks King Tut up and down. Of course, Miss Paula completely misses the not-so-subtle "You poor pathetic one-woman circus!" jab from her own show and acts like she's being crowned the princess of the show by Sleazie. King Tut gets Fraggle Rod's Do You Think I'm Sexy? as he gets a clip about what a egomaniac he is and how he doesn't care about this show, just the twenty million pounds he gets per season. So basically the show is telling me that Randy Randy is a moron, Miss Paula is a pathetic circus, and King Tut doesn't give a damn. Ooh, the show is laughing at me! I tell you, if George Orwell is alive today, I'd bet he'd write a book about this show. Then again, he'd probably end up a big fan of Taylor and I will really not know what to say to that.

Sleazie cups his manboobs as if he's mocking King Tut but he can also be mocking Miss Paula as well, which is the beauty of his gesture, as he says that that is certainly more than a handful. Sleazie then introduces the band and pretends that Katharine and Taylor have roughly the same number of fans. The screen then comes to life behind Sleazie where it turns out that Becky O'Donohue - you may remember that she was cut in the first prelim round for her rendition of Because The Night - and her twin sister are hosting the Birmingham, Alabama viewing party on behalf of the Soul Patrol. Becky squeals that it's crazy and all about love in Birmingham for "the you-know-what". In Universal City, California - er, which is like just next door to the Kodak Theatre - Tamyra turns out to be the host for Katharine's viewing party. There are no aerial shots of the crowd in Katharine's viewing party because I understand that someone actually attended the viewing party and revealed on a website subsequently that the actual turnout for Katharine's viewing party is very dismal indeed. Then again, the fact that there are many people holding up KissFM signs with phrases scrawled with blue marker should be a dead giveaway that something is amiss. For all I know, these "Katharine fans" could be random passers-by offered ten bucks to pose for a few minutes with those signs for the camera. LA clearly doesn't care about their American Idol finalist, unlike some places in the South where people live vicariously by supporting their homegrown prodigal son. After all, in LA, being on TV is really no big deal at all.

First, a musical interlude. Paris kicks off with a performance of Al Jarreau's We're In This Love Together and she is joined by the man himself come the second verse. As usual, Paris is nice to listen to in her completely unnatural too-old manner that contrasts jarringly with her baby squeak as she introduces Al Jarreau. I can barely hear Al Jarreau over the band and Paris, by the way. Poor Al comes off like some doddering grandpa who's been invited by a precocious granddaughter to join her in a singalong during his 99th birthday celebration.

Sleazie now stands behind a presentation table thingie like he's a presenter on Oscar night and announces next Chris and Live together for the first time on stage to present Mystery. Poor Chris. Put him next to fellow baldie Ed Kowalczyk and Chris is inadvertently exposed as a poor man's Ed in so many ways. Nice song though, but I like it better when Ed is performing this song without his literal Mini-Me by his side. Oh look, there's the Bone lady Emily Deschanel in the audience!

Sleazie now introduces Kellie by saying how she nearly had a brain haemorrhage when she tried to pronounce "calamari" so here's a clip called "Puck 'n' Pickler" where Wolfgang Puck at Vert tries to help Kellie sell her future sitcom by abetting the giddy fake trailer-trash putz in her fake introduction to calamaris. She lays down her accent very thick to the point that I can barely make out a thing she is saying. Kellie acts shocked that Puck presents her with a snail dish, putting on his accent so thickly that it's like watching a cultural merging of two particularly bad caricatures. I think this clip is supposed to be funny. I think.

Katharine now comes on stage to duet with Meatloaf in, funnily enough, Celine Dion's It's All Coming Back To Me Now, which is a Meatloaf song only in the sense that Jim Steinman, Meatloaf's chief supplier of overwrought dramatic anthems, wrote that song for Celine. I like how Meatloaf stomps around the stage looking like a horny bull trapped in a pen while she's casting him worried glances. Or is that horny glances? I don't know. But she's trying to act out her "role" in this performance and she's doing it pretty well. It's too bad that he's singing like a drunken off-key buffoon when she's trying her best to sell the song (and doing it very well indeed) to the hilt. Needless to say, the McCleavage is in full display and she's of course beautiful. I think David Boreanaz in the audience agrees with me.

After promising that the results are coming soon - soon - Sleazie now introduces the first "Annual Golden Idol Awards". The statuette is this angel holding up a round thingie that has the name of the show on it, like she's about to bring it down to the ground and smash it to pieces. Even God disapproves of this show; I suppose that's what this show is trying to tell me. Sleazie happily camps up in the clip as he pulls out a Coke bottle and points out that the statuette is placed on the front of a Ford vehicle in the obligatory "brought to you by..." moment. For outstanding female vocals, the nominees are Cierra Johnson who was one of the terrible losers in the bad audition episodes for butchering O Holy Night by dragging out each note for an hour, Crystal Parizansky the coked-up and overly fake-tanned loser who butchered Lady Marmalade, and Princess Brewer who sounded like Aretha Franklin trying to sing That's What Friends Are For as if Aretha's being electrocuted during the performance. The winner turns out to be... Princess Brewer who Sleazie says isn't here because she's not crazy enough to show up for more abuse. So, that means there is no punchline for this "joke". For outstanding male performances, the nominees are Marlowes Davis who compared himself to Usher and Michael Jackson but sounded like Usher being under Michael Jackson and trying to sing at the same time, Derek Dupree the singing marshmallow, and Crazy Dave who actually made it to the workshop, heh. He's still cute. Am I going to hell for daring to admit this? Crazy Dave is the winner and look, he's here on stage jumping up and down like the crazy dog that he is. Er, I suppose that's supposed to be funny too? I want my ten minutes of my life back.

Next, more of the tedious and unfunny "Puck 'n' Pickler" show where Kellie screams in mock terror at the sight of lobsters. This show is losing it, people, it's really losing it.

Up next are Kevin, Bucky, Ace, Chris, and Elliott who come on stage to perform Bachman-Turner Overdrive's Takin' Care Of Business, one of the most recognizable classic rock songs back in the 1970s. Bucky really sounds at home performing this song and Ace surprisingly sounds very good as well. Seriously, Ace should kick the butts of those who had him believing that his falsetto is the best aspect of his singing because he sounds so much better using his natural voice. Kevin tries very hard to sound like a pimp daddy gangsta and I'm just glad he only took out Ayla, Gedeon, Will, Kinnik, Melissa, and a hundred other people who can sing circles around him before he was booted. No harm done, right, Kevin? Elliott ad-libs very nicely indeed. I miss Bucky and Elliott, sigh. Then Taylor shows up with his freaking magic harmonica that will save us all to take centerstage in a brief solo before introducing constipation squats into the performance. Go away, go away! Can we just have Bucky, Ace, Elliott, and Chris on the stage and replace Taylor and Kevin with Gedeon, Will, and Patrick? Oh, let's bring in Bobby as well. I bet he'd be less painful to watch than Taylor in full ham mode. Then it's time to move on to the much-covered song Don't Stop. The guys sound really good harmonizing here, which has me thinking that this season ranks up there with the second season in terms of overall fun to watch group performances.

Ford clip time. Taylor and Katharine are in a drive-in watching an actually very cute clip of the rest of the Twelve acting wacky in scenes from previous Ford clips on the big screen while Don't Stop which is performed by the Twelve plays in the background. Aww, look at Lisa looking so human with her big grin.

Sleazie now joins Katharine and Taylor on stage where Taylor is as usual "Woo!" and "Hoo!" all the time while Katharine stands there smiling sweetly and looking just like Princess Peach flanked by a hyperactive monster and a smarmy villain. Sleazie reveals that the two of them have won themselves a Ford convertible each. I'm sure you must be surprised to know that Taylor keeps "Woo!" and "Hoo!" loudly throughout all this like he really wants people to notice that he's just won a convertible. Woo! Sleazie hands them their keys and then introduces the next category in the Golden Idol Awards: the best manipulative crap they do on this show. Or, in other words, "proudest family moments". The nominees are Elliott's decrepit mother that the show and Elliott happily and shamelessly use to sell Elliott's underdog/crippled/Simon Birch status to people out there with creepy mothering issues, Katharine's father with his magical watering-on-cue eyes, and Chris' wife who cries and says that Chris is doing all this for his kids. Yeah, and I'm saving the world. The winner is, appropriately, enough, Elliott's mother because hey, that technique got Elliott to the final three, not that I'm complaining because hey, it's Elliott. I'm surprised nobody mentions Kellie's father or grandfather though. Remember when she and the show pushed the whole sickening "she deserves to win because her father is in prison" angle down everybody's throat? And isn't Pa Pickler supposed to be released from jail? Is he in the audience?

Speaking of Elliott, he then comes on stage to play backup singer to Mary J Blige in the duet of U2's AIDS anthem One. Look, I understand that Bono did a duet with Mary that is similar to this performance but that's because the duet was supposed to be all about Mary so Bono graciously stayed in the background. However, this show is supposed to be about the Twelve, so the least that cow Mary could have done is to choose something that allows Elliott to sing a little bit more. Her duet with George Michael, As, comes to mind. At any rate, Elliott is great in that one verse in which he gets to stand on his own before Mary comes on and insists that all eyes be focused on her and her oversized shades. Elliott is reduced to waving stupidly at the audience while ad-libbing here and there in an effort to remind people that he's still on stage. "We get to carry each other!" Mary screeches without irony while grabbing Elliott's hand and waving it like he's her ventriloquist dummy. Look, Elliott is probably never going to get any record deal after this show so the least this show can do for me is to let me hear him perform one last time. Is that too much to ask, Mary Freaking J Blige, you stupid cow? God. The camera cuts to Elliott's mother and his girlfriend who is so happy and clearly unaware that she's about to be dumped, heh heh.

Sleazie now reintroduces Cattle who takes the stage and performs Don't Forget To Remember Me which is from her CD, a forgettable ballad made even more forgettable by her complete lack of facial expression throughout her performance. Seriously, someone just upload emotions.exe into her already!

Sleazie now announces that the fake bad-auditionist Rhonetta, who is nowhere as funny as she or the show would like to believe, as the winner of the Randy Randy Speak Like A Moron Golden Idol Award. Rhonetta is not here to pick up her award - "Rhonetta is working tonight," Sleazie says suggestively so that you'll think exactly what you're thinking - but there's a "satellite transmission" of her thank-you speech where she bleeps and curses about having to win "What?!!" until she sees the award, likes the fact that she can make money by pawning it, and is all smiles again. She's still as fake as a three-dollar note.

Taylor now takes the stage with In The Ghetto. He is joined by Toni Braxton who, for the occasion, is dressed like she's just woken up in her nighties and forgot to put on her clothes before she got here. As they sing about the poor and the downtrodden dying on the streets, Toni breathlessly moans and acts like she's really getting some kind of sexual high from that song. Or from Taylor's proximity. Either possibility is too terrifying for me to truly contemplate. This performance is too creepy for words due to the huge disconnect of the song and the antics of the performers on stage.

Katharine steps out on stage as the familiar guitar riffs of Shania Twain's Man! I Feel Like A Woman! plays. Sure enough, she is joined by the other ladies of the Twelve as Katharine launches into the song. The ladies sound really great in their harmonies. Lisa and Paris, two unnatural singing robots, then take centerstage to perform Trouble and they sound fabulous. They are joined by Katharine who, when she sings about being evil, runs her hand briefly along her hair and gives this look to the audience, daring them to think just what she wants them to think. Melissa, Kellie, and Mandisa take over in the second verse and I really miss seeing Mandisa perform. She's been cut too soon, I tell you. Katharine again takes the centerstage as she launches into (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman before Lisa and Paris take over. Then the ladies launch into I'm Every Woman - see a theme forming here? - where Mandisa takes the centerstage and once more reminds me how much fun I have watching her on stage. She helps give this performance the glory note it needs to close this group performance.

Sleazie repeats that you have to buy tickets for the tour and then moves on to more pointless and unfunny Golden Idol nominations. This time around it's for best impersonation and it's won by Cattle for her impersonation of Jem of the Holograms. No, really, the nominees are the cute male Cher wannabe Kenneth Maccarone, the Michael Jackson wannabe Seth Strickland, and Michael Sandecki as Kewpie. After the show Michael has since gone on in record his MySpace about the more insane Kewpie fans giving him trouble for daring to go onto the show and "embarrass" Kewpie like that, so I suppose it says a lot of how mentally unstable these Kewpie fans must be when they are still mad at him even when Michael wins this "award" and comes on stage only to be joined by Kewpie. Kewpie must be hoping to be nominated in this award as well since he's currently sporting a bizarre hairdo that makes him look like Michael Sandecki impersonating kd lang, but there you go. Michael sings Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me and Kewpie "surprises" him by joining him in the performance a while later. Amusingly enough, I think they switch off Michael's microphone the moment Kewpie makes an appearance because Michael is still singing but I can't hear him anymore! Sleazie finally invites Michael to sit down on a stool so that he can hyperventilate in comfort as he watches Kewpie perform. Kewpie sounds really good, by the way - he's not oversinging for once.

Burt Bacharach now comes on stage to play the piano as the Twelve now perform in tribute to him. The song that kicks off things, as you may have guessed by now, is What The World Needs Now Is Love. I think the Uncles must have pickled Burt in one of those huge vats in science-fiction movies and let him out once a year to play the piano that song in the finale. That damned song keeps showing up on this show every freaking year, it's not funny anymore. It's that song that just won't die, damn it. Taylor kicks off the performance - this song is, after all, exactly up his cheesy alley no matter how hard the Soul Patrol insist that Taylor's music is "deeper" than cheese - and Katharine takes over in the second verse. Ace then comes out to perform Look Of Love. He's using his natural voice and again, he sounds good. I tell you, it's scary how I could have been a fan of him if he does this throughout his run in the season instead of making all kinds of off-key falsetto noise. Melissa in a slinky red dress joins him and sounds terrific. Poor Melissa, she should have gone much further on this show. Kellie shows up next to butcher I'll Never Fall In Love Again in her usual tendency to bleat off-key. Thankfully, Bucky saves the day with his version of Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head. Oh, Bucky, I don't care what people say, you too should have gone much further in this show! Mandisa is next with, quite predictably, I Say A Little Prayer which allows her to exercise her vocal chops with great results. Lisa now takes centerstage with Alfie and I think this is actually one of her best performances in this season.

Elliott now performs A House Is Not A Home and... sigh. Hello, I'm a Elliott fan and I'm glad to meet you. Admitting that I have an addiction is the first step to overcoming the problem, right? Can someone please tell me how to stop my finger from pressing the rewind button on my remote control because I don't think it is healthy to watch this performance so many times and sigh, "Oh, Elliott!" each time. Oh, Elliott. You're turning me into Miss Paula for you and I can't find the will to fight the indignity of such a fate. Kevin then wakes up me from my rapture when he struggles with What's New, Pussycat? and the song ends up completely destroying him in the end. Am I the only one screaming in terror at the sight of this... this... Malcolm In The Backward kid singing about kissing delicious pussycats? Eeeuw, I'm think I'm scarred for life. Kellie, Paris, and Lisa do that up/down thingie behind the piano, laughing because this show is getting away with making Kevin sing some of the most innuendo-laden songs ever. Stay away from pussycats belonging to those scary overweight church ladies in your fanclub that are old enough to be your grandmother, Kevin, and stick to the pussycats of girls around your age, okay? Kevin is then joined by Chris and Ace, the men giving Kevin a nudge and a look as if they are telling him, "See, this is how men do things, little boy!" before the three launch into Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do). Paris then leads the other ladies in Close To You, sounding again good. She's incapable of giving a bad performance, truly.

Paris then introduces Dionne Warwick who then walks out to the stage to join the Twelve sans Katharine and Taylor and performs Walk On By. Now, I love her to pieces but listening to her now, I suspect that she hasn't warmed up her voice or maybe even performed in public for a while now because goodness me, she sounds pretty terrible here. She then launches into her trademark song That's What Friends Are For, a song that I will always associate with so many bittersweet goodbyes in my life, sigh, and she is joined by the Two as well as the rest of the Twelve for the chorus. The Twelve stand in front of the stage with Dionne as they sing out, "That's what friends are for!" Watching the Twelve, I have to sigh. Okay, I could have done without Ace's falsetto and the presence of Kevin and Kellie, but yes, ladies and gentlemen, without doubt one of the finest roster of finalists in the history of this show.

What, we have only half an hour or so left in this show? No, wait, I want more singing! Bring out somebody else to sing with the Twelve! I don't care who, even freaking Neil "Uncle Les" Sedaka will do! I don't want Elliott to stop singing for me on my TV. No, please don't end this show! See what I mean? This season really gets under my skin the way the second season did. Elliott is my Trenyce of this season. Isn't it strange how I am ready to see the season end at the start of this long finale but now I just want everybody, even Ace and Kevin and Kellie, to keep singing?

Sleazie announces one more Golden Idol Award - best male bonding. Or, in other words, homoerotic moments you love and cherish on this show. As Donna Summer's Love To Love You Baby plays in the background, the nominees are revealed. First off, Chris and Ace who were roommates and who knows what else. We get to see Chris screaming and hugging Ace when Ace comes out from the audition room to let Chris know that he's also making it to the next round. There's nothing more indicative of two men bonding in a non-gay way, of course, than the sight of them hugging so hard that Chris is practically bumping crotches with Ace. Next is a bizarre nomination of Sleazie and Taylor, as if we all don't know by now that Sleazie is bumping uglies with King Tut while Taylor is only capable of bonding with his reflection in the mirror. Seriously, if Sleazie has to be nominated with a contestant, Taylor is the last person to be that contestant. Remember how Sleazie keeps molesting Chris in the pretense of speaking to him after each of Chris' performance until Chris actually likes it and wants more? Or when Sleazie tries to rip Will's shirt off during the second prelim show? And finally, the Brokenote Cowboys, remember them? Really now, I find those three guys actually more sweet than funny, especially how protective the older guys were to Garet. Michael Evans and Matt Buckstein seem to sing better than Kevin - then again, my husband singing in the shower sounds better than Kevin - and I always suspect that those two men were cut just to give the show a chance to do that Brokenote Mountain montage. The show replays the montage.

The winners are of course the Brokenote Cowboys. What, you think the show spent all that time and money making that montage for nothing? The Cowboys in question show up to perform Willie Nelson's Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys. Garet is as bad as I remember him to be, but the older cowboys are pretty decent on the ears. I only hope these three haven't actually gotten together under the name Brokenote Cowboys to terrorize weddings everywhere. Now that will be embarrassing indeed.

Sleazie now announces that the "fun" is done and it's now time for the serious matters. Who is the newest American Idol? But... eh, out comes Prince onto the stage. Huh, what is that all about? Where did he come from? He performs Lolita which is from his recently released CD 3121. I don't need to point out how inappropriate that song is given the supposed family-friendly image of this show, right? Like the rest of 3121, Prince is trying very hard to erase his kooky days and recapture his Purple Rain magic, and he almost succeeds in this performance. I miss Raspberry Beret. After Lolita, Prince launches into Satisfied, another song from that CD. He's singing about communicating well instead of anything kinky in that song, by the way. Lolita is still the most "adult" moment in this history of this show, heh. And then he's done and he and his harem girls are out of there. No, really, what was that all about?

Taylor and Katharine get together to perform (I've Had) The Time Of My Life and it's eerie how this song could have been written just for their voices. This is easily the best finale duet by a Two ever, I tell you. Katharine tries to match Taylor in the ham, spinning around and bouncing like she's aware that everyone will know she has lost to Taylor and she's trying very hard to forget that. Sleazie now steps onto the stage and reveals that 63.4 million votes came in for the Two the night before, which are more votes than any American president had ever received. But then again, people can only cast one vote in the elections so the comparison is pretty much like apples to oranges. Edward, the charming British gentleman from the supposed independent arbiter and certifier of the voting system Telescopic Corporated - you may remember him as he showed up in the previous finale as well - and passes the result envelope to Sleazie. Sleazie opens the envelope and... sure enough, Taylor is the winner. Has there been any doubt about this outcome?

The audience erupts into pandemonium. Heh, obviously the audience this time around is happier than the audience last year when Cattle won! Taylor goes, "Soul Patrol!" and Katharine thanks all for making her dream come true. She dreamed of losing to Taylor? Alright then. Taylor reprises Do I Make You Proud and tears roll down David Hasslehoff's eyes. Taylor yells that he's going to live "the American dream" and that's it for me.

At the time of the writing, Taylor has released his CD and he's on his way to being the lowest-selling Idol winner ever. Even Ruben wasn't as humiliated as Taylor is when Taylor's CD slipped out of the Top 50 in the Billboards album charts two weeks ago while Chris' album still holds strong as of now in the Top 10 after having sold more than double the amount of records than Taylor. This makes Taylor's incessant "Soul patrol!" victory cries hollow and even tragic when I think about it because... where is the Soul Patrol now?

I'm not trying to rub salt on poor Taylor's wounds although to be honest a petty part of me is gleeful because the Soul Patrol are so obnoxious throughout the season as they are as crazy as Kewpie's more demented fans in invading every discussion forum to praise Taylor to no end while ripping apart other contestants in their insecurity and paranoia even as they insist that Taylor is an underdog and there is a conspiracy to bring him down. Watching them trying desperately to weave a conspiracy around Taylor's underperformance in sales is amusing as everything they "predict" about other contestants flopping during the season now sticks to poor Taylor. This is the best "Fuck you, you annoying obnoxious stupid gnats who all season trumpeted loudly about Taylor being all about soul when many of you don't even own a single album by an African-American artist!" middle finger that fate, karma, or irony can unleash on those annoying members of the Soul Patrol. However, I do like Taylor's voice and I actually find his CD pretty good so I don't want Taylor's career to flop.

What I am trying to say here is that Taylor may have won, but it's clear by now that he won for many reasons, many of which have nothing to do with music that his fans on this show would want to purchase. Maybe it's his class clown antics, I don't know, or his grey hair, because clearly America prefers Chris' music as they are buying his album more than they are buying Taylor's. As much as Taylor's more insane fans are insisting that Taylor's album is not representative of his "real music", he's actually making pretty much the same kind of music in that album as the music he made on this show, so there's always that question: the people that vote for him on the show supposedly love the way he performs, so why aren't they buying his album which contains more of the same kind of music he makes on the show?

To put things in perspective, the sales of Taylor's CD in the first few weeks of its release are actually as good as those of the debut efforts of Kelly, Ruben, and Fantasia. However, Chris' even better sales humiliate Taylor since Taylor is supposed to be the most popular contestant. It gets worse when Taylor's album starts to sag in its sales after the initial few weeks - at the time of writing, five weeks after its release Taylor Hicks is faring worse than Bo's debut album! Both Chris and Taylor are performing on their debut efforts the same brand of music they are doing on the show. More than anything, Taylor is the cautionary tale to future contestants: winning the show is a closure for the happy people behind the show who have made lots of money off their abilities, but for the winners, they are not set in stone to be rich and famous yet. In the case of poor Taylor, many people apparently like him for his dancing, his grey hair, his looks... but clearly not his music, at least not enough to buy his album and save him from public humiliation at the hands of the true winner of the season, Chris Daughtry, and to a lesser extent, Kellie Pickler.

Only on this show would a hammy out-of-shape class clown beat the ridiculously beautiful young lady in a popularity contest. As Taylor is learning, however, real life doesn't work that way and, if his awkward appearances on MTV shows which make him look like someone's uncle who has accidentally stumbled onto the show are anything to go by, he's famous on the show because people like him enough to laugh at his appearance and dancing but when he wants to join the ranks of the cool people, he's being put in his place. While I'm glad that the Soul Patrol realize that they are not the center of the universe like they imagine themselves to be, I hope the best for Taylor. And, to be honest, I also hope that Taylor's underwhelming sales will mean that the next season will be stacked with beautiful women and good-looking men. I also hope that the lukewarm reaction to Taylor's antiquated Great Solo Male Singer sound of the 1970s will mean a wider acceptance of more contemporary music genres on this show. I've always been hoping to see a contestant who can rap as well as he sing on this show, for example.

So, if there's a hot good-looking man with great abs and good voice next season, all the better, heh. So how about it, people? We've finally crowned a Token Sexually Non-threatening Fugly Male a winner and the injustice of Kewpie has been avenged, so to speak, so can we now go on to embrace the superficial and the pretty? The pretty, the current, and oh yes, with some talent as an afterthought - isn't all those what American Idol should be all about?