I know. It's all a big hype thing, but the Idol finale is just too big to handle alone. I mean, come on, it's Fantasia vs. Diana and the sisters are totally doing it for themselves. Thankfully, my devoted and adorable young intern Lauren Trucksess has happily agreed to help out with the pre-show, so I can pop into some of tonight's other options. Take it away, LT!
Unless you've been living under a soundproof rock for the last few months, you know that tonight is all about the Idol finale. Hour 1 of the self-proclaimed "TV event of the season" was packed with unnecessary but nevertheless entertaining interviews with Ray Romano, Nicole Richie and Sharon Osbourne, as well as performances by eliminated wannabes Jasmine Trias, George Huff and La Toya London. These just served to show us why Jas and Georgie are doing the pre-show, rather than the showdown, and why La Toya continues to rule more than most everyone else. Handling things outside the Kodak Theater were guest hosts Christina Christian and the somewhat randomly selected Jennifer Love Hewitt. Inside, bubbly Diana and the always-confident Fantasia had to put up with Ryan Seacrest running amok though the backstage makeup and dressing rooms. Which is probably where he's most comfortable, anyway. Back to you, Damian...
Academy of Country Music Awards
Nice job, kid. Thanks! Of course, I never would have given up the AI pre-show if I had known how scary this one was going to be. Seriously, are they kidding? I mean, love diversity and all that, but there are only so many tunes about happy hours a man can handle. And since this fête had more performers lined up than Peter Allen night at a West Village karaoke bar, I was about ready to open my veins before the first commercial. Criminy. And could these people just try to dress up? This is the big night, not league night, you yokels! Between Alan Jackson's torn Levi's and Uncle Kracker's 'do rag, it's no wonder it took 21 minutes to hand out the first trophy. The wardrobe team must have been scrambling to find the right mix of ugly and homeless. Except for host Reba McEntire, who was smokin' in that Appalachian chic way, and LeAnn Rimes, who has finally outgrown that weird small-eye thing she had going on in her teens. Speaking of, I gotta see how little Diana DeGarmo's doing...
Whoooaaa! Did Paula Abdul's breasts need their own tickets for the Kodak Theater? Or is this an ad for Fox's new show, Extreme Spillover? And check out Christina Christian looking all fab and starving while interviewing Ray Romano. Dude, you just nailed big bucks for your next season. Grab that girl an In-N-Out Burger, pronto! I should not be letting a high-schooler watch this!
Academy of Country Music Awards
Kudos, Brooks & Dunn! Top Vocal Duo ain't a bad haul. It helps that you're like the only vocal duo I know in this category. Just a tip to the blond guy: Ditch the leather shirt, bud. Nobody needs to be peddlin' that kind of funk at an awards show, OK? Oh, and thanks, Kenny Chesney. Your jeans seem to have put my roomie in some sort of trance.
Eww. Why is Jasmine Trias singing again? I thought we voted her off the island. Hula girl got a week to rest her voice and she still sucks. Bring on Fantasia! Hell, bring on Seacrest. Let's get this party started already!
Academy of Country Music Awards
Hey, Dierks Bentley. If nobody's told you about the curse of Best New Artist, you might wanna give Jody Watley a call. She's probably listed at this point.
The Bachelor: After the Final Rose
How cute. ABC wants to stick it in Idol's face with another Bachelor special. Aww. Like we actually care about Jesse and Jessica B. anymore. Please, they are so last week's Us Weekly. The only thing proved by this hour of Chris Harrison wading through the dull duo's vague answers about their fling ("Yeah, she came to New York. It was cool...") was that Trish and Tara make a more interesting couple. They turned against one another like sorority sisters who've run out of fat girls to mock! We got Tara rolling her eyes and then just rolling after Trash — I mean Trish — implied that someone dropped her prude act (and more) during an overnight date with Jesse. That's right, she went there! And I love Trish's "I've taken the high road" line — right before bashing Tara's walk-off with an offhanded "Dude, she is a bitch" to Harrison. Hon, if that's the high road, it's only because you been smoking something wacky while riding it, aiight?
Finally! Here we go. Tamyra Gray, you could sing the phone book and I'd listen. Kicking off the actual finale with the first season's powerhouse also-ran doing "The Star Spangled Banner" is a nice touch. Showing us Henry Winkler singing it in the crowd is not. These kids don't need to know how cruel and fleeting fame can be. Not yet, at least. Play them Justin Guarini's CD first, why don't ya.
The Fabulous Life of...
How convenient. Simon Cowell is under the microscope on the same night he's off sporting way too much man-cleavage in Hollywood. And how shocking! He's into strippers. Wow, a rich, single guy getting his kicks from stiletto-clad hotties? What a freak. Though I do find his habit of buying breast implants for his girlfriends a tad unsettling. Mostly because it makes me think he's dating Paula now. (Really, they're huge.)
Kelly Clarkson, I adore you. Got the album, voted for you, all that. But honey, the only "Beautiful Disaster" I'm seeing here is your dress. Looks like cabbage. Go back to the sequined bra and blazer from your big "Impossible Dream" number with Ruben, Fanny and Diana. Much cooler and no produce was harmed to make it. Unlike those of us now permanently scarred by the horrifying salute-to-the-guest-judges medley. Jon Peter Lewis had this unblinking creepiness during the damn thing and there wasn't nearly enough Jennifer Hudson to make it worth the effort. And for the first time in my life, I may be missing Brian Dunkleman. At least he was easier to take than Leah Labelle and Camile Velasco butchering those Donna Summer tunes. Which in my book is a bigger sin than even Kelly's coleslaw couture.
Law & Order
You know what? It's a repeat. They've been repeats all night long and I really can't be bothered. The fate of pop music is at hand...
...and I am on my feet! Oh yeah! Eat it, Elton John! How you like us now? Go, Fantasia! You thank God. Get your tears on. You are where it's all at. Honestly, if we can't have La Toya — or a break from Randy's "Yo, yo, yo, Dawg" Tourettes, for that matter — I'll take a single teen mom with those pipes any day! Dag. I believe, girl. Even if I never again hear that gospel-iscious song Tamyra wrote for ya'll after the eleventymillion performances in the last two days, it's so clear Miss Barrino's gonna be workin' it for a while. So's poor little Diana, who did so much better than Tuesday's hatchet job, too. And what class in such a youngster, handling the loss like that. She'll be just fine, don't you worry, 'tweeners. There's probably a best friendship with Hilary Duff and a sitcom on The N in her future. As for Fanny, I can guarantee that there's about $17 of mine coming her way soon. So get into the studio, woman! And take La Toya with you. It's only right and you know it. For real.