The results show took an hour to do what American Idol fans and even casual watchers knew — Casey James would not be going on to the American Idol finale. Although it was nice to see the Top 3 get to go home, meet up with family and friends and do some media PR and concerts, on Wednesday night’s results show, it was just so much footage of delaying the inevitable. And Casey James’ getting kicked off of American Idol was inevitable, because the judges, especially Simon Cowell, have been steering people toward a Crystal Bowersox and Lee Dewyze finale for weeks. Of course, it is doubtful that any of them figured that Casey James would make the Top 3.
With time to kill, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest sat and talked with the three remaining contestants and the judges. He asked questions that revolved around the basic theme: How has life changed since making the Top 24 on American Idol? At one point, when Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox were talking about the judges’ feedback and critiques, Lee made the comment that all that the judges had said was useful. Ryan caught Casey smiling and asked if he had something to add. Casey said, “I was thinking… that not all of their comments were useful.”
Casey James made a valid point. Just how useful are comments that contradict another’s? Lee should be more careful when brown-nosing the judges…
After the Ford commercial — which was far less annoying than the those of the past (was it the A-Ha-like quality of the video or was the singing better? Who knows?) — Casey James went home to Cool, Texas. He was greeted at the airport by screaming fans. On the highway, they stopped traffic for his limo. He made appearances at his old high school. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders were on hand. But the most touching moment came when he returned to the Texas Health Fort Worth, where, six years ago, the nurses and doctors rebuilt his arm and saved his life after a motorcycle accident. He presented the hospital with a signed guitar. The footage ended with him on his knees after performing a concert, his head bowed toward the crowd. When American Idol went live, he told Ryan that he believed it meant more to him to go back to the hospital now than it would have been before his Idol experience. Ryan told him that his was a “tremendous story.”
The first of the results night’s guest performers, Travis Garland, took the stage next. Perez Hilton was in attendance and told Ryan Seacrest that he had “discovered” Garland on the internet via a video of a cover of Justin Timberlake and T.I.’s tune “Dead and Gone.” With the celebrity gossip-monger’s endorsement, Travis Garland’s solo career was launched (he had previously been in a boy band called Not Like Them with Kevin McHale of “Glee”). Garland performed his hit single “Believe.”
Crystal Bowersox went home to Toledo, Ohio next. She landed at night and was driven straight to a Fox radio show. Her video footage was rather light-hearted. At one point, she signed a guy’s chest and he told her he was having it tattooed. She played a jack-in-the-box (jack-in-the-limo?), getting a waiting crowd to cheer when she rose through the sun-roof. Then she got the keys to the city of Toledo and performed a concert christened “Bowerstock’. The footage ended with her singing her own composition, “Holy Toledo.” When the cameras went live again in the theatre, Crystal was crying. She said that going home and getting to perform for her home town had meant a lot to her.
Then it was time to show Lee Dewyze’s trip home to Chicago, where he ended up doing an interview on the local Fox television station. He got to throw out the first pitch at a Cubs game. He visited the place he used to work, Prospect Paint, and had tears in his eyes at the reunion. At a later concert, while performing his American Idol ‘breakout’ song, “The Boxer,” Lee Dewyze choked up on the line “I’m a fighter.” When the cameras went back live, he told Ryan Seacrest that he was truly thankful to the support of his parents.
After the last hometown montage, teen sensation Justin Bieber performed “U Smile” and “Baby.” It was the second ‘live’ performance of the night that had been taped beforehand (Travis Garland’s had been taped as well). Still, all the little Bieberheads were enthusiastically singing along in the audience (could they have been taped as well?).
Finally, the moment came to kick off the latest American Idol contender. It was so anticlimactic, it was almost scripted. After recapping their performances and critiques from the night before…
Lee Dewyze was the first person told he was in the finale (after his “Hallelujah” performance, how could he have not been?). Then Crystal Bowersox was named as his competitor. She ran across the stage and jumped into Lee Dewyze’s arms.
That left Casey James standing, smiling, at center stage with Ryan Seacrest. As his farewell song, Casey sang “Daughters,” the song he had received good reviews for on Tuesday evening — except from Simon Cowell, whose obvious bias toward Lee Dewyze has flavored the show for the past couple weeks. Regardless, it didn’t change the outcome of over 47 million American Idol votes. And so the 27-year-old blues singer from Cool, Texas — who didn’t own a television, who had never seen an episode of American Idol, and who drove all night to audition in Denver just because his mother wanted him to — ended his run.
But it is doubtful we’ve heard the last of Casey James. As Usher noted when he was mentoring the Top 10 finalists: Casey James was “already a rock star” and, whether he won American Idol or not, was the one to watch.
Lee Dewyze and Crystal Bowersox will face off next week in the American Idol finale.
“American Idol,” Fox Television