American Idol recap: Lee DeWyze and Crystal Bowersox are final two as Casey James goes home
But the announcement leaves former paint store clerk Lee DeWyze and single mom Crystal Bowersox facing off in the show's finale next week -- a face-off some fans have predicted for weeks, as DeWyze's performance skills have sharpened and Bowersox's power remains strong.
Unfortunately, Idol producers spent much of tonight's hourlong results episode providing that Fox made the right decision when the network announced that next season's results shows would be cut in half. That, hopefully, will spare viewers the sights they endured tonight, including an appearance by gossipy blogger Perez Hilton and his musical discovery Travis Garland (what exactly qualifies a celebrity blogger to pick a pop star, I'm not sure).
There were also two numbers by teen sensation Justin Bieber, including a halting drum solo that mostly proved he should stick to bad choreography and kiddie vocalizing. Even with these time-gobbling atrocities, Idol still had time to feature footage from every competitor's trip home last week, complete with howling crowds and visits to the local Fox affiliate.
I won't lie -- it felt a little disappointing, knowing that the ejection last week of Michael "Big Mike Lynche kept St. Petersburg from basking in similar glory. But watching the display as folks in Ohio, Texas and Illinois go crazy for their hometown singers, I was struck by how little this matters to someone who doesn't live in any of those areas.
Once again, host Ryan Seacrest made much of the fact that 47-million votes came in this week -- 14-million more than last week, but little more than half the total votes cast at this point last year, according to Hitwise.com.
All signs point to flagging interest among fans for a show that has become so predictable, that even the guy who placed third guessed it and expected it long before it was announced (Seacrest revealed it in such an offhand way, Bowersox wasn't even sure what had happened for a moment).
I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that DeWyze is going to be our next American Idol, mostly because he's the kind of unassuming cute dude who has been winning the show in recent years.
A bigger question for Idol producers is: Will anyone care?