Film and TV

'American Idol' Final Three Fight for the Finale

This season of American Idol is almost over (thank gosh), and it's finally down to the Final Three--the clear frontrunner Crystal Bowersox, the frat-ish wannabe rocker Lee DeWyze and the lovable underdog Casey James.

This time around, the contestants get to choose their own songs to perform in the first round, and the judges get to choose the second batch of tunes. This makes for a surprisingly boring show (what, no Justin Bieber?!), so hopefully the finale will actually be OK to watch.

James kicks things off with a song no one's heard before, "OK, It's Alright with Me." It's a horrible song choice because, while he sounds fine, there is nothing about it to make him sound like a star or an artist with originality. It's probably in the same vein as the kind of music he'll be making once the show is over, but it'll be a B-side you'll skip over on the CD.

Bowersox sings the equally generic "Come to My Window." Once again, like James, while she's always been consistent in her performances, her vocal performance is open mike-worthy, not sold-out theater-worthy. And, perhaps one of the most disappointing things of all--Bowersox can't really play harmonica that well! As an obvious hippie, it seemed like she'd have that on lock-down. Not so.

DeWyze sings a song that's dear to his heart, "Simple Man." DeWyze still sounds like a 3 Doors Down reject, but at least his performance is semi-energetic. The best part of his performance is that judge Ellen Degeneres says he was like a little baby lamb in the past, then she does some cute animal noises. Seriously, Degeneres is probably one of the most stellar parts of this whole season.

James announces in a strip mall in front of an AT&T store that judges Randy Jackson and Kara Dioguardi have selected "Daughters" for him to sing. Dioguardi tells James she chose it because his audience is women and girls--how observant! Yet, it seems she's pigeonholing his future before he has a chance to have it.

James actually sounds pretty great on the song, especially since John Mayer's probably left a bad taste in many people's mouths recently. James may be more likable on the track now than Mayer, and it sounds fresh because everyone has heard Mayer sing that song so freaking much. Unfortunately, James is probably still going home because the judges just like to bash on him to save the paint seller. Not fair. Prediction: Going home.

Bowersox, in front of another AT&T store (just like James), announces Degeneres chose "Maybe I'm Amazed" by Paul McCartney. Wow, so the show is really, really selling out with the product placement and advertising. When Jordin Sparks came back to Glendale, she was at Westgate, and there probably weren't any specific signs in the background.

In her clip, when Bowersox finds out the song, she gets the audience to start a drum roll--how surprisingly charming! Bowersox does well on her track, considering the legendary original singer. Perhaps Bowersox can be a star, after all, in the Kelly Clarkson-ish vein where she doesn't compromise. Her performance solidified she'll be making it to the Final Two.

Unlike the first two, there are no AT&T stores in DeWyze's clip. DeWyze gets a message on his phone, instead, that judge Simon Cowell chose a song Cowell owns the rights for, "Hallelujah," by Leonard Cohen. It is wonderful to hear someone with a rocker voice do such a beautiful song. Employing a choir, like DeWyze does, is incredibly cheesy and annoying, though, but it is a good enough and flashy enough show to get him in the Top Two. And gosh darn it, since it was kilted bagpipers and choirs galore that allowed him to make it. If only James had been given a fair shot.

So goodbye, you good-looking man, you. Casey, we'll always adore your coy smiles and throaty singing, and you'll probably be just fine playing places where cougars like to hang out.

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Nicki Escudero
Contact: Nicki Escudero