So who will it be, Crystal or Lee?
Judging by the actual performances on tonight's final competition show, it would seem Crystal has the edge.
Her performance of Patty Griffin's "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)" was the night's only true highlight. A great song - right in her comfort zone- well sung. Her "Me and Bobby McGee" was slow to start and had a few rough notes but she was clearly feeling the moment so that carried her through. "Black Velvet" should simply be stricken from existence and was additionally marred by a too loud band that caused her to shout. (Plus was anyone else nervous as Crystal herself seemed nervous navigating that staircase?)
Lee's performances were okay but they were not shining triumphs by any means, and the judges way overpraised them. (Again it feels like they're almost defiantly showering him with compliments to reinforce their own judgments.) "The Boxer" was an improvement over his original take, more nuanced in some ways but why was he shouting the ends of the phrases? No amount of uplifting background vocals could obscure his pitch issues on "Everybody Hurts." And the only thing he brought to his slacker-esque version of U2's "Beautiful Day" was nerves and relief. He seems like a nice kid and he's certainly improved but if he wins it will likely owe more to young female voters who think he's dreamy than tonight's performances.
I think it's going to be close. Crystal was certainly more consistent, but her final song was much less well-known. Lee was good enough and is probably going to get all the votes from the girls who were supporting Casey.
(For anyone who liked Crystal's song, which was also covered on Susan Boyle's album, do yourself a favor and check out Patty Griffin. She's a wonderful singer-songwriter who happens to be playing the House of Blues on June 6.)
And finally, a programming note. This week's "Idol" chat will take place Thursday at 10 a.m. instead of Wednesday so we can all rant and/or rave about the final outcome.
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsMatthew Gilbert is the Globe's TV critic.
Sarah Rodman is a staff TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.