Wednesday, May 24, 2006

secrets, secrets...

For a live webcast, beginning at 6 p.m. eastern/3 p.m. Pacific, click here.

With just seven hours until showtime, the secrecy surrounding tonight's finale extravaganza is both intriguing and irritating. By this time last year, we pretty much knew who was scheduled, in what order and what they were singing.

This year? Virtually nothing.

Here's what we know or, at least, think we know with a high degree of certainty.

The top five (at least) are scheduled for solo/duets, which is my way of saying these kids will perform alone with an established star, rather than being grouped with one or more of the other kids for the performance. This is a new, but welcomed twist, because of all of the last five seasons, this is the one with the potential to spawn more breakout stars than the others. In addition to Taylor and Kat, I feel certain that we'll see Chris Daughtry with a CD out within the year. I expect to be standing in line to buy whatever Elliott Yamin produces, and a Paris Bennett CD wouldn't be a surprise. I do expect to see Kellie Pickler in a sitcom and see Ace Young somewhere on my television eventually. And if Mandisa doesn't release a gospel CD, I'll be shocked. And I'm not counting out Lisa Tucker or Bucky Covington.

Katharine McPhee will perform with Meatloaf. (I'm squeeling at the thought of Meatloaf on the Idol stage!)

Elliott Yamin will be paired with Mary J. Blige. (I'm hearing there's a lot of anticipation surrounding this performance.)

Chris Daughtry will perform with his favorite band, Live.

Paris Bennett will, reportedly, be singing with Al Jarreau.

Carrie Underwood and Clay Aiken will be there. Bo Bice may possibly be there. (Now, wouldn't it be nice to see Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, Ruben Studdard, Diana DeGarmo and Fantasia Barrino too? Well, nobody's said they won't be there...) We haven't had a winners reunion since season three.

Burt Bacharach and Dionne Warwick will perform, most probably with the kids. Kevin Covais will sing What's New Pussycat, or at least part of it. Bucky Covington will sing Raindrops Keep Fallin' on my Head. And the girls will be singing a Girls Rule!-type of medley.

Katharine and Taylor's traditional duet will likely be (I've Had) The Time of My Life, from the soundtrack Dirty Dancing, suspected only because a couple of super sneaky radio personalities risked losing their media credentials to secretly tape them during rehearsal. (p.s. they sound good.)

UPDATED: Taylor Hicks will be performing In the Ghetto with Toni Braxton.

Here's what we don't know...

Who Taylor will be paired with, other than his harmonica. (Names thrown about have ranged from Bruce Springsteen and Bob Seger to Toni Braxton and Sheryl Crow, so it's anybody's guess.)

Who will sing the national anthem, which, if you're new to the finale, is always a highlight. Last year it was Leandra Jackson, one of the worst auditioners who was brought back, all dolled up and given a standing ovation. I cried. This year? My money's on little Garet Johnson, the Wyoming cowboy who is probably practicing in front of an audience of turkeys for his return to the big stage.

Nigel is being tight-lipped but promising us enormous surprises throughout the two-hour telecast. And Katharine is following in his footsteps,
telling ET that "There's a big surprise that out of all the contestants only me and Taylor know about, so trust us it's pretty big, something that's never happened on the show!"

Okay, it's pretty big. Never happened before. And Kat and Taylor would be clued in, but the other contestants left clueless. Hmmm. Guessing game time. Maybe they're gonna announce that Kat and Taylor really aren't the two top finishers, cause the whole season was a reverse dream and all the awards go to Melissa and Kevin. Now that's never happened before.

Or maybe they're gonna announce the offering of recording contracts to more kids from this group than have ever been offered in the past five seasons. Naaah. Wishful thinking.



Anonymous Beancounter_in_Birmingham said...

Surprise guess:

Something to do with a Ford? Would make sense in that only Taylor and Kat will be in this weeks "crappy" Ford commercial.
However, didn't both of the final two win new mustangs on the final show last year?

1:51 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Yeah, they both got cars last year. But her wording leaves me to believe that the surprise affects the others, because she and Taylor know it, but she purposely says the others don't, which makes me think the surprise is for them. Maybe cars for everybody!! Like Oprah!! :D

1:56 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

I hope you're right about Garrett. That would by great!

1:59 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Beancounter_in_Birmingham said...

By the way, the energy around Birmingham for last two shows is electric.

Virtually all the talk shows this morning were featuring some AI theme. Rick and Bubba hosted a breakfast for Soul Patrollers from around the country. It was interesting to hear people from Vermont, Illinois, Missouri, Michigan, etc. who had made a pilgrimage to be in Birmingham for the various watch parties.

Tonight they are hoping for 10,000 - 12,000 in the downtown civic center arena where the doors will open at 4:30 central. An American Idol crew will be there.

Despite the fact that Birmingham has been well represented on past idol shows, this is my first year to really get into it. My first google search in January turned up this blog which I review daily.

I support Taylor but have been a fan of most of the top 10, so I don't have a problem with whoever wins. Just thankful for having been entertained for five months.

2:08 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Any news on who's hosting the Taylor viewing for AI? We thought it was Tamyra, but now, it seems, she's hosting Katharine's. How exciting it must be (again) for Birmingham! Wish I were there.

2:12 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Bonnie said...

I was just over on the official site's boards reading what people think the 'big surprise only Kat and Taylor know about' is.. a few things that are being said around there..

- Taylor is proposing to Kat (haha)
- It'll be a tie
- All the past Winners and Runner-uppers will be performing, including Kelly Clarkson
- The Judges will sing a song together
- The whole season was really just a fix, and Chris will be crowned the winner
- The top 5 all got recording contracts
- Elliott received a contract
- There was a recount, and it'll actually be Chris and Elliott in the top 2.

Oh man, those cracked me up. Interesting to read what other people think though, that's for sure.

2:30 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for the suprise- I hope I'm not offending anyone with this, but...
How about Elvis "entering the building", voicing his opinion that Elliot and Chris were HIS choices, that they've tied and that will both be awarded recording deals to be recorded exclusively within the confines of Graceland?? Now THAT would be a shocker, indeed! (sorry- I've got an admittedly strange sense of humor, but I couldn't resist!)
I'll consider it an early birthday gift that Elliot will be seranading us along with the likes of Ms Blige. Can't wait for that soulful combo!!
And, just a few words to the creator/author of this blog: Miss Jennifer, I thank you for giving all of us an opportunity to share in our collective love for this show, for respecting any and all opinions, contestants and commentors (if that's even a word!?) and for your seemingly neverending well of wit. It's been a pleasure to ride your train of thoughts this season and I'm just not sure WHAT I'll do until next season... thanks again!

2:50 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Awww, thanks. That was so sweet of you to say.

I love all you guys, and I don't know what I'm gonna do with myself once this week is done.

3:03 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I VERY "soulfully" concurr with the above comment. Thanks so much Jennifer for entertaining us these past months. I don't know what I will read until next season. I have visited your blog faithfully every day since day one! Please tell us, will you be covering any other shows until next season?? (crossing fingers..)
On the west coast, so 8 long hours to go! Can't wait!

3:12 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Maggie said...

Ok, here's my guess, Will Randy be jamming with the idols tonight? LOL Jennifer I can only echo the words of those who gave thanks to you for all you have done to give those of us who are idol fans a place to view our opinions and share yours. You have one of the most amazing idol blogs on the net. Your devotion to the show, the contestants and your fans is amazing. Your sense of humor and commentary is unmatched!!! Thank you for all you do to feed our Idol Obsessions! You rock Jennifer. I [heart] Elliott and Jennifer too!!!

3:25 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to agree with the others. Great blog Jennifer, thanks for the all the work on it. Its been a great read all this season.

-- Allen

3:38 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh - The thought of Elliot and Chris being the bottom two would have been truly divine

Jen please keep us informed to what's going on with contestants - I can't imagine rushing home from work each afternoon and not checking your website - how you get all your info is simply amazing!
Mabe I'll see you in line waiting to pick up Elliots SC - Again Thanks!

4:02 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger angelof_mercy81 said...

*sniff* I can't believe the season's almost over. I'm going to miss Idol, and miss this blog. I come here every day to check out the latest news. What will I DO during those long hours at work now? :-)

I can't wait to see the "big surprise" that Katharine alluded to. I hope it's recording contracts for the top 5. That would be awesome.

Only 4 more LOOOONG hours 'til Idol!

4:05 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Laura said...

Jennifer, I have so thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog this season! Thanks so much for all your hard work!

4:16 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

LOL Connie, I can just see an Elliott Junkies reunion waiting in line for his first CD. I would definitely be there.

4:18 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger Kristi Mantoni said...

I agree! Garet Johnson would be awesome. I would cry at that!

4:42 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a brand new viewer to AI this season, I'm completely & unapologetically addicted. In my 40 years, I can't ever remember a TV show that has caused such a roller coaster ride of emotions in me! Discovering your blog has only led to yet another "sub-addiction." It has added so much fun to this whole wild ride. Like many others, I can't imagine not reading your posts every single day. You are the bomb! Thanks again! Elliott forever!!! = )

4:48 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous SoulPatroller said...

First things first. Jennifer, thank you for a great ride this season! You have a great sense of humor, and a talent for drawing people in with your writing. I'll miss this blog while you're hibernating for the summer.

UNLESS! you decide to blog about any of a number of crappy new reality shows NBC has planned for the summer. Simon Cowell is doing one called "America Has Talent." Apparently, there aren't many restrictions. Any age, any talent. Should be interesting!

Now for the BIG SURPRISE. There are only 2 things I can think of that make any sense.

1) All top 12 get new Fords.
2) Final 4 get recording contracts. I don't think it would be the final 5 getting them. Nobody was surprised when Paris went home when she did. However, even the judges were shocked and dismayed when Chris was sent packing. Simon saw all those dollars slipping away. (Side note: I saw him on Leno couple nights ago. They showed the clip of him when Ryan said, "Chris, you're going home." Simon said he was actually thinking about what he was gonna have for dinner that night. LOL! Simon has a sense of humor!)

Where was I? Oh yes. Think about it. They KNOW that Chris is going to be hugely successful. They've known from day 1, which is why he got the reputation of being The Chosen One. Now doesn't it make sense to have Chris beholden to THEM for the first year or two, rather than some band? I think they'd rather have the money Chris will generate than hand it on a platter to Live.

And if #4 Chris gets a contract, then it's only fair that #3 Elliot gets one, as well. Even if it wasn't a huge shocker that Elliot went home when he did, still...I'm pretty sure I saw a tear in Simon's eye. Elliot has huge potential as a money maker. He'll make a fantastic recording artist. Plus, he touched so many people in such a special way. You can't put a price tag on that, though I'm sure TPTB will do their level best to do just that.

Thanks again for such a fun diversion! Your blog should be nominated for Best Blog of the Year.

Peace out.

J - SoulPatrollerAKAYaminionFormerlyKnownAsChrisROCKS

4:53 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous SoulPatroller said...

P.S. I'll see you in line to buy Elliot's CD. ;)

J -

4:56 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

SoulPatroller, you've gone through a lot of names! LOL Actually in an interview before F3 night, Clive said he was going to sign the top two, but wanted to sign Chris and Paris. The only one left out of that was Elliott. Boy, THAT ticked a lot of E voters off.

This is one reason, I think, that the top 5 are all getting solo/duets instead of the traditional top 3.

5:04 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Toni Braxton???? Yuck,,,,, sure hope not,what an anti-climax that would be for me

5:10 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

LOL I thought the same thing. Taylor gets Toni Braxton and Kat gets MeatLoaf (whom I love). And my Elliott gets Mary J. Blige. Now...who is the real winner here?

5:12 PM, May 24, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Originally posted by Jennifer:
I love all you guys, and I don't know what I'm gonna do with myself once this week is done.

You could start watching "So You Think You Can Dance" and blog about that. I will.

5:18 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


she should have really won season three.

5:47 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Ali said...

Jennifer, thanks so much for this terific blog. It has added so much enjoyment to this years AI season. I looked forward to reading it every day and it was a great source of comfort when Elliott got the boot. Have a great summer.

5:48 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Maggie said...

I was just watching the live video you linked and whomever this woman is just referred to Katharine as Katharine McGee LOL!!!!

6:23 PM, May 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See they're forgetting Katherine already. My favorite part of the show tonight is when Katherine hurls herself onto the floor, collapsing in tears at losing, and has to be hauled off by her weeping father. But first, she stomps her foot, it lands on his toe, and VCM has to shuffle them both off the stage.

Katherine's 15 minutes are almost up

Buh Bye

6:38 PM, May 24, 2006  

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