Just two hours and seven minutes left of American Idol's ninth season. Lee or Crystal? Eh, that's not what we're tuning in for. Rather, we want to see how the show bids farewell to its top judge, Simon Cowell. Follow along and on http://twitter.com/HowardCohen for one more time.
- Does Lee know where he is or have the zombies eaten his brain? He looked so dull during Ryan's blustery introduction.
- Alice Cooper joins the contestants to sing 1971's School's Out and the Top 12 are all wondering: Who is this old guy and why's his mascara running down his face?
- Barry and Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees reunite to ask the musical question, How Deep Is Your Love? Mine's deep enough to forgive the worn voices (especially Barry's) -- mostly cuz I'm hoping these two reteam to write some new songs. RIP Maurice. The Gibbs were joined by the season's most likable finalist Aaron Kelly (prematurely booted) and Siobhan Magnus.
- Yacht Rocker Michael McDonald joins Michael Lynche to sing the Doobies' Takin' it to the Streets which, four seasons ago, became Taylor Hicks' song. Given how ragged it sounded tonight, one has to wish Taylor would have come out of his seat and grabbed the mike away from the Mikes and sing the tune. That's how bad McDonald sounded.
- Alleged comedian Dane Cook did an aborted roast to Simon. Aborted, because a commercial popped up right in the middle. Humourous Interruptus. Several Idol audition rejects -- including my favorite in the cape -- return but don't do anything.
- Can someone get Amber Riley from Glee to take the mike on this Beautiful remake?
- Christina Aguilera bailed on her summer tour so she could promote this tuneless ballad she just sang? Talk about bad career moves. And, sweetie, Gaga called and wants her hair and eyelashes back.
- The guys start off singing Hall + Oates I Can't Go For That (No Can Do). I can't go for that, no really. No can do. Daryl and John turn up to rescue the performance. Of the grizzled vets so far none of these kids have heard of, Daryl Hall sounds the most passable.
- Then, Alanis Morrissette joins Crystal to sing You Oughta Know and I'd have loved to hear her sing that line. You know the one I'm referring to. But, alas, no lyric malfunctions.
- Bret Michaels is one tough dude. And, thank you, Apprentice winner for rescuing your Poison oldie from Casey's goat throat. Bret earned the night's biggest hand, thus far, it appears.
- So THIS is why Peter Cetera quit Chicago so long ago: the prospect of having to sing his oldies with Lee DeWyze on Idol.
- What's it tell you about this season of Idol when Gen. Larry Platt & William Hung, singing the former's Pants on the Ground, shows more flair and personality than the two finalists?
- Best moment of the night; the return of Paula Abdul. The return of Paula reminds us what Idol has missed all season on judge's panel: chemistry. She jokes about the real reason she left the show: A shared love child. "It's your turn to feed him," she quips. "It won't be the same without you but it will go on," she says. Simon, almost emotional, responds: "I didn't think I was going to be this emotional but the show goes on. Whoever's going to replace me, the truth is, you are the judges and you've done an incredible job,'' he says as every Idol winner except David Cook and many finalists sing a song in his honor. Was very nice.
- The return of the living dead: Joe Cocker sings With a Little Help From My Friends with Crystal and Lee.
- Lee wins. The fix was in. He's choked up. "I don't know. It's amazing. So happy. Never been happier. No words to describe it." After Lee once again butchered his band's Beautiful Day, ailing Bono pressed the button on his hospital bed asking for more morphine.
- I have some words, but am on deadline now for print column. Thank you Idol Watchers. Simon out. Howard out. Have a great summer.