All I can say is that it died as it lived: Simon made a surprise appearance, which surprised nobody except Paula Abdul. Brian Dunkleman is there!
Brian Dunkleman is a sport and a half. He knew what a mistake it was, and he knew his name had become the reality-TV equivalent of Pete Best , and he never had to say any of this out loud; you knew it because he wore it. But he kept his head up, and he kept plugging away, and he still does. People are going to make jokes at your expense, sometimes right at your actual face, but you keep going.
What else are you going to do? Anyway, ha-ha, Brian Dunkleman is here. Wah-wah, boing, glitter cannon. It was the realest moment this show ever had.
And then our top two are locked out of the studio for two hours and six minutes so we can stroll down memory lane and almost completely forget the last three seasons ever happened. I am way behind on my dues. Bo Bice looks like he is about to sell you a speedboat! Turns out I still kind of resent Caleb Johnson! We know who she is before she ascends from beneath the stage, because who the hell else would it be? It is Carrie Underwood. I think there are hay bales onstage, but the Snapchat filter in my brain might just be placing them there.
Ace got some arms. Carly Smithson, who stopped getting new tattoos, thank God, accompanied by harp. Ruben Studdard, who still sweats more than you do.
Casey James, whose hair remains on point. Jessica Sanchez gets the big finish. Nobody here gets to show any personality. You are not from this area. Can we say that it did? Same goes for Daughtry and Underwood, honestly. Only some of them are good at it. In an admirable show of restraint, Blake Lewis does not show up to beatbox. And there is no Chris Richardson.
How dare you, American Idol? Joshua Ledet gets a solo and, as is his custom, goes directly to crescendo. Melinda Doolittle and Candice Glover bring us out with some gospel.
I would go to this church. Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall get a nice little crowd shot. Vladimir Putin and Wendi Deng are probably watching at home. Next up, they get all of the Cute White Boys With Guitars out of the way in one David Bowie tribute, though a Dave Matthews tribute would have been much more appropriate. My rankings are final. I totally remember him. Paula and Randy come out to bring closure to the experience, as their therapists have recommended.
They give Ryan an enormous American Idol sign, which is literally too big to put anywhere unless you live on a sound stage, which Ryan Seacrest actually probably does.
And then William Hung sings a Smiths medley. It is the Weeknd Lite. Who wins our relationship tonight? It actually hurts to watch. She needed this win. But you know what? If 19 Entertainment botches her career, they will have to answer to me.
Until I forget about it sometime tomorrow afternoon. We knew there was a new iteration on the way. Everyone connected with the show has suggested it. But can we pretend for a moment that this night has significance? Of course we do. This is American Idol, and American Idol will always get things exactly wrong.
Thanks for hanging out with me this season, as well as all those other seasons I sat through this show and complained about it to you. Thanks for commenting and passing these recaps around and giving me inside dirt on Lazaro Arbos. It really has been a pleasure, and it has been that way because of you.