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American Idol, Week #13, Part 1: The Final Two Performby Dana Walker -- 09/09/2002
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Tuesday night, 7:54 pm. The episode of American Idol that will pit the two finalists, Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini, against each other will be starting in a little over one hour…
…and my VCR is stubbornly refusing to eject the tape inside it. It’s emitting some strange whirring noise… and, quite suddenly, it shuts off and starts blinking the number two.
I scramble around and unplug it, then wait anxiously for five minutes, praying that it will reset itself. I plug it back into the wall, hit the power switch…
(whirr… zzzzmmmm…) Click. (blink) 2 (blink) 2…
I’ve had that VCR for nine glorious years… we’ve been through so much together. Grammy Awards shows, live concert specials, the first three seasons of Friends, countless moments with David Letterman and Jay Leno… every movie Johnny Depp has ever made… oh, my heart is aching…
But thank God I was setting the timer early, because my other roommate has a VCR in her room. Regardless, I reluctantly had to say farewell of my most treasured possessions this weekend. (Sigh.) Please join me in a moment of silence for my tried-and-true – and now, after many years of companionship and reliability, defunct – Magnavox 4-head VCR.
Thank you all.
While wallowing in my deeply-set misery these past few days, I have risen each morning… well, late morning… okay, the past two days it’s been around noon… hoping that perhaps the recaps of the final two shows would, by some miracle, have been written by me already. That I would rise from the comfort of my bed, flip up the screen of my laptop, and the words “Week 13” would appear, followed by eight to ten pages of detailed, witty commentary about the rather superfluous “final battle” (the writers use such heated language, as if we were viewing an episode of Xena, Warrior Princess instead of American Idol) between Kelly and my Justin and the unnecessarily drawn-out (much like this paragraph, it seems) two-hour results show “finale spectacular!”
Much to my chagrin, that did not come to pass. So now that I have begrudgingly replaced my VCR with a DVD/VCR combo (what the hell, it has a big fat extended warranty), I sit here on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, laboring over the retelling of last two episodes of this summer’s biggest hit. (Woo-hoo! Let’s bring out the cake.)
As far as the first show goes, there’s not a whole lot to tell you. There’s a ton of celebrities in the audience (Harry Connick, Jr. and Jenny McCarthy are among them); the judges are seated in the “Royal Box,” looming high above the right side of the audience.
Brian – the darker half of the already dim duo – informs us that “Dunkleman” is a German word meaning, “And we’re live.” I find myself gasping at the possibility that the show’s writers may actually attempt to be clever now that we’re at the bitter end, because that actually wasn’t half bad. Then before the two remaining kids are brought out to the cheers of like, 18 million people crammed into the Kodak theater, Brian says, “They need no introduction, but in case you’ve been summering with the Amish…” And with that my hopes for witty-ish repartee from the ever-tedious Briyans are smothered once more.
Kelly looks lovely and elegant in her floor length gold shimmery gown; my Justin is stylin’ in a pair of suede-looking pants and a black shirt. The Briyans delightfully inform us that the kids have become almost best friends though this. When asked if it’s difficult to compete against each other, my Justin replies, “It’s about competing with ourselves rather than each other.”
There was a coin-toss to find out who goes first; Kelly won and she decided to have Justin go first. They will sing three songs – two originals written specifically for this competition (the winner’s versions will be released as a “two-song single”… is that an oxymoron?) – and a song of the contestant’s choice.
Now, I described this show as rather superfluous a few paragraphs ago, and here’s why. My Justin has about the same chance of winning this as I do. Why? Kelly has this thing bound in duct tape. She’s a phenomenal vocalist; she’s not just adorable but also normal looking enough to stave off the “skinny bitch” backlash; and she’s just so damn genuine about this whole thing. So as much as I love my Justin, I absolutely adore Kelly. They can’t both win, so who’s “better”? They’re so different vocally and stylistically… it’s not like comparing Coke and Pepsi here (ooh, where’d I come up with that one? Can I write for the show now? Pretty please?). They both have the whole package, so it’s simply a matter of opinion. I’d still like my Justin to win… but my entire imaginary stock portfolio is on Kelly as the winner, and I’ll be ecstatic for her when she is.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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