American Idol Season 8 Finale

American Idol Finale

So the performers have performed, the judges cast their judgement, voters phoned in their votes. Without a doubt, this was one of the best finales we’ve seen in all eight seasons of the show. And what are we left with? Two artists who have the relevance, talent and ability to sell millions of albums, that’s what.

In the red corner we have Adam Lambert, a Steven Tyler meets Steve Perry meets Nathan Lane type of stage character, and perhaps the first finalist who can really tap into the rock genre and have an impact in the way Carrie Underwood did in country music (I’m not sure if I should count the Nickelback-niched band Daughtry or not). He can definitely sing and perform, and has legions of fans ready to fight for him. His cover of Gary Jules’ cover of Tears for Fears was perhaps the highlight of the season when he first performed it a few weeks back.

And in the blue corner, the proverbial underdog Kris Allen. We’d barely heard a peep about this laid back singer in the auditions portion of the season, and he’s only gotten stronger as the weeks have gone by. I appreciate his ability to perform with an instrument, and feel his presence every time he plays. He fills that John Mayer, Jack Johnson, 311, Starbucks café niche perfectly. His connection to the audience and fans alike is different from Lambert in many ways, though he is just as willing to reinterpret a song, take risks, and make the performances his own. He doesn’t have the vocal prowess of Lambert, but he does possess more of that everyman, ordinary Joe quality which may take viewers by surprise tonight.

Their songs in the finale were for the most part excellent. Round 3 didn’t a prayer, as it was the Idol songwriter’s song round (ugh). But Allen’s “Ain’t No Sunshine,” and Lambert’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” left it all on the table for the viewers to decide. Allen had the misfortune of ending with an overreaching rendition of the crappy Round 3 song.

I predict Adam Lambert wins, narrowly. I wouldn’t be shocked if Allen pulls one out of the hat however, and I’d be happy either way. We have to remember that Danny Gokey fans had to cast their votes for someone last night, after all. Who do you think they are more likely to latch onto?

But I also predict both of these artists will produce more hits than all previous artists (with the exception of Carrie Underwood, who entered a very anemic country genre when she left the show). I would choose Kris Allen if the decision were in my hands, but with Gokey out of the competition due to a lack of taste and risk-taking, both of these guys would have been my second and third choices for the finals.

It’s worth noting that neither of these contestants have ever visited the bottom three until the final four week. It seems America has gotten it right this season, in my humble opinion.

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