Review: Crystal vs. Lee!
During the open auditions for Season 9 of American Idol that were held last summer in Chicago, Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox met while waiting in line and became friends. Little did they know that many months later, they’d be the last two standing at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles…and deservedly so. But now that the dust from last night’s battle has settled, one mystery still remains: who is the winner? That question has three different answers, so let’s take a look at each one.
ANSWER #1: CRYSTAL IS THE WINNER - MamaSox arrived as this season’s most fully-realized artist from day one, and I think most of us recognized that fact when she became the frontrunner during Hollywood Week (a rare feat). But as Simon noted last night, Crystal had lost a bit of excitement over the past several weeks, which probably had more to do with a certain type of boredom that had set in, due to the fact that we knew what we were going to get from her every time. However, Crystal pulled out all the stops last night and gave us one last potent reminder that she is unquestionably this year’s most talented singer. Her reprise of “Me and Bobby McGee” was just as good the second time around, and her interpretation of “Black Velvet” brought new excitement to a somewhat stale song. But it was her version of Patti Griffin’s “Up To The Mountain” that was nothing short of spectacular, capping her run on the show with a performance that ranks among her very finest of the season. Yes…Crystal Bowersox won all three rounds and was last night’s champion.
ANSWER #2: LEE IS THE WINNER – Ah, but just because you stumble in the finale doesn’t mean that all is lost (see Season 7’s David Cook vs. David Archuleta matchup). More than anything else, Idol viewers hunger to witness growth, evolution, and a story arc…and Lee DeWyze has provided that in spades. The former paint salesman was so lacking in self-confidence that he actually found it difficult to believe when the judges informed him that he’d made the Top 24 (“Really?? Are you kidding me?”). But as the season progressed, we all watched a young man begin to believe in himself and he blossomed right before our eyes…and that, more than anything else, is what the audience seems to crave. Never mind that “The Boxer” was better when he sang it last month, never mind that his “Everybody Hurts” was just okay, and never mind that “Beautiful Day” made us all realize he’s no Bono. No, it doesn’t matter that Lee wasn’t as good as Crystal last night; the bottom line is that most everyone has already decided who they are rooting for before the Super Bowl even starts. Lee DeWyze will be the next American Idol.
ANSWER #3: IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO WINS - Take last year’s Kris Allen vs. Adam Lambert finale, for example. Kris was crowned the winner, but Adam has sold more than twice as many albums. Clay Aiken also outsold Ruben Studdard, and Chris Daughtry sold more than Taylor Hicks, Katharine McPhee, and Elliott Yamin combined. So regardless of who gets the confetti coronation tonight, the real winner won’t be determined for quite some time.
SHOULD WIN: Crystal Bowersox
WILL WIN: Lee DeWyze
What do you think? Who will win, and why? (Vote in our poll on the right.) How did you feel about this year’s coronation songs being covers instead of original compositions? Sound off below with a comment!