Wednesday Night War: The Season Finales of ‘Lost’ and ‘American Idol’

Tonight, tens of millions of Americans will sit in front of their televisions in suspense for two very different reasons. For fans of American Idol, they will sit waiting for two hours while the show parades out its past contestants and waits until its final moment to reveal its winner. For fans of Lost, meanwhile, they will spend two hours waiting to see whether the much touted finale can live up to its hype. Will fans be satisfied with either conclusion? Only time will tell. But, who needs time when we’ve got meaningful speculation?

American Idol – Shades of Guarini

Yes, although I chose to watch Veronica Mars instead of watching Idol last night (I will be watching On the Lot ASAP, though, the Elder had good things to say about it), I did pay enough attention to be able to make a direct comparison. The battle between Jordin and Blake, you see, is identical of that to Kelly Clarkson and Justin Guarini. Now, I won’t attempt to claim that Blake is as terrible as Justin was, but it’s a decent comparison point for what I believe will happen in the finale.

I think that Jordin is a better enough singer to overcome the performance differences. This showed most on the terrible, awful, hideous “This is My Now,” perhaps the worst atrocity that Idol has seen yet. In retrospect “A Moment Like This,” Clarkson’s Idol song, isn’t terrible, but at the time it was. And, when it came time to sing it, Justin dropped the ball. It was gut-wrenchingly terrible, and he just didn’t sound right singing it. Clarkson, meanwhile, was a natural.

The same can be said for Blake and Jordin, respectively, last night. Blake does not have enough range to pull of a song that doesn’t allow him to play with it. He seemed bad enough on Maroon 5’s “She Will Be Loved”, which is just too flat and boring a song that his voice got lost in it. It got even more lost in a downright nothing song, and the result was Blake falling out of perspective. He can pull off his Bon Jovi beatboxing all he wants, but it can’t overcome his inability to sing.

And while “This is My Now” was as bad as it was when Blake sang it, Jordin at least made it sound like something…musical. It had melody, it had power, and it seemed even a little poignant…if still ridiculous in its content. Yet it felt like a single, it felt like a recording…whereas Blake felt lost.

I think this is why Jordin will be able to win this competition: much like with Guarini, even the young girls who fawn over Blake will see that he just can’t compete with the singing talent of his competitor. Jordin isn’t as good as Kelly Clarkson, nor is Blake as bad as Justin was, but the fact of the matter is that the comparison is apt: it is a one-sided singing competition, and should end in its predictable fashion.

It’s Jordin’s to lose, and I plan on being asleep before it ends. There’s little suspense for me: the episode is sure to be 2 hours of filler before the only minute we really want to see, so I figure I might as well catch up on some rest.

Lost – There’s a Rattlesnake in my Mailbox!

Lost’s season finale, “Through the Looking Glass,” isn’t really going to be a complete surprise for viewers, as we know some of the basics. We know that the castaways are planning on blowing up The Others when they arrive, and we know that Charlie has found that the Looking Glass station is most certainly still occupied (by gun-toting females no less). And yet, that’s really all we know. Which is good, because we don’t want to get too comfortable, because we should be expecting the unexpected. That unexpected: a rattlesnake in the mailbox.

That is what producers equate the finale to, which is just all kinds of scary. It’s the idea that what they’re doing is mean, cruel, unexpected. “Who would put a rattlesnake in a mailbox?” the writers asked, and then realized that it was exactly what they were doing. We don’t know exactly what this means, but it is apparently “show-changing.”

And, unlike Idol’s finale, Lost’s has me nervous and anxious to see what happens. Last week’s episode was sentimental and meaningful, and in retrospect did a good job of establishing the calm before the storm, or the innocence before the rattlesnake.

I’m most curious to see what exactly it was that Desmond saw in his vision of the Looking Glass station. Could it be that he had manipulated Charlie into believing he had a vision of his death in order to himself find something? His insistence on him taking the trek down, and the fact that we never actually got to see the vision, tells me that he’s hiding something. And unless he was really wrong about the future, he must have seen what Charlie was faced with.

And that doesn’t even take into account the biggest question: is Locke alive? What’s going on with the Others? We’re unlikely to see any more of Jacob, but we will surely be seeing more of Ben and the mysterious, unaging Richard. Plus, Jack has two hours of back story…will it be more relevant than his last one? And will it shed any light on his father’s fate?

It is a finale that is suspenseful because there are so many possibilities to consider…and yet producers are claiming that we don’t expect what is coming. We’re expecting your junk mail, a few bills, a letter, a magazine subscription, maybe a postcard, and all of that is exciting enough…but it promises to deliver what we’re not expecting: a rattlesnake in our mailbox.

I’ll have a review of Lost’s 3rd season finale, “Through the Looking Glass” up before 9pm EST thanks to the joys of Canadian broadcasting, but the American broadcast on ABC starts at that time. American Idol, meanwhile, starts its two hour finale at 8pm EST on FOX.

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Filed under ABC, American Idol, FOX, Lost, Television

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