Tonight, they have to get it all in, squeezing the last dollar out of each of their sponsors while somehow making us think we’re being entertained by two hours of commercials punctuated by the occasional live performance and finally, an announcement of the winning wannabe at 10:02 (just to piss off the DVR folks). Then, mercifully, we’ll be done until January 2009.
The entertainment charade will involve the Jonas Brothers and Carrie Underwood (thankfully not Miley Cyrus, as I originally reported—my bad for picking up on a blogosphere rumor), along with cameos by Idols past and plenty of forgettable banter by Seacrest and the judges. We’ll probably see a performance by the aggregated top eight Idol contestants, as a preview and promo for their forthcoming Idol Tour. Perhaps there will be a sprinkling of out-takes and funny auditions. There will be “surprises.” But mostly there will be commercials.
Archuleta and Cook will be placed on public display like zoo animals and will occasionally asked, in so many words, just how brown their shorts are. The sadistic rite of making them wait to find out will be played out as painfully as it has been for each of the past six seasons. When, in the waning seconds of the show, the idol of the universe is announced, there’ll be just enough time to say goodbye.
Most people expect David Archuleta to be this year’s American Idol but anything can happen, as we’ve seen in prior years. I have never, ever been able to rationalize Taylor Hicks’ win over Katharine McPhee and it seemed that Bo Bice had a strong lead over Carrie Underwood, yet Carrie won. But that was then and this is now. Last year, we all knew that Jordin Sparks would triumph over Blake Lewis. (Seriously, can you remember anything that either of them sang?) This year, we all sorta know that David Archuleta will wind up on top.
If David Cook somehow pulls out the win, justice will be served. Anyway you slice it, Cook will have greater potential as a recording artist than PeeWee. It doesn’t matter anymore who wins and who doesn’t. They’re all winners at this level. Doors will open for them now.