American Idol Recap: 'Sparks' Fly for the Youngest Idol Ever!

The Grand Finale at the Kodak Theatre... Who could miss what American Idol fans have been waiting for all season? Well in case you did... here's the play by play.

Ryan asked the crowd, "Who's it gonna be? The beatboxer from Seattle or the sweetheart from Arizona?" Blake Lewis definitely got the bigger cheer from the crowd so I started thinking hmmm... maybe Jordin Sparks doesn't exactly have it in the bag. Wrong!

The two were wined and dined with some big fashion gurus. Blake was fitted by Ashton Michael. And Badgley Mischka created stunning outfits for Jordin.

The remaining contestants started off the show with a duet -- The Beatle's "I Saw Her Standing There." (She was just 17 and you know what I mean....) Blake sang it looking at Jordan who is just 17. Then, Jordin sings, "before too long I fell in love with him" -- as she was looking at Blake. It was a perfect song for the two of them! They really sounded great together as they performed holding hands and grooving. So cute they were -- in the end when Blake swung her into him with a spin... and Jordin kissed his cheek.

Was that choreographed by Paula? I was thinking, with her background, does she do any of that?

After that, Ryan went to Gwen Stefani who was live on tour -- from the Tweeter Center in Boston. She was actually in the middle of a show performing a single off her new album, "4 in the Morning." It was a slow ballad type song which is a little different then her ska type music, but it was nice.

Next, the very first Idol, Kelly Clarkson came out on stage and sang her new single "Never Again."

This is an angry song definitely. She wrote it from an actual breakup in her life a year or two ago. She
totally rocked out to this song. Her energy was electric!

I recently saw an interview with Simon saying Clarkson is by far the best Idol they've had -- and he even compared her to Celine Dion! Wowsers!!!

Once again this year, they gave out the Golden Idol Awards to honor the contestants who "stood out" during the audition process this season... and made us lol.

The first award was for the Best Presentation. And the nominees...
-- the guy from the LA auditions who thought he was a Cat as he scratched and clawed the air making those hissing wild cat noises. Isadora Furman -- the one who thought she sounded like Pat Benatar, Stevie Nicks, and Janis Joplin -- dressed like a cowgirl. She moaned really loud for her try out. And who could forget about Margaret Fowler. She was the "bird lady" dressed like a big yellow chicken. . Remember, the chick who said she was "26." Yeah, going on 50! Who could forget how she lifted up her shirt -- to show Randy "her number" -- jiggling that belly of hers.

And the winner is... Margaret Fowler from the Birmingham auditions. Dressed in full form... she couldn't even walk up the steps to the stage. And when she finally got to the top, Ryan went to grab her hand to help her. But she helped herself by slapping a wet one on him. It was long -- and she really got into it. HA! She bent him backwards while she kissed him, then she picked up her shirt and jiggled it for the crowd. If that wasn't enough... she then read a haiku she wrote for the show. Entertainment.

Time now for the Top 6 guys... all dressed in white. Bring it on! They sang Smokey Robinson's "Ooh Baby Baby." Sanjaya Malakar, sporting a normal calm haircut, started it off. Then Chris Richardson took over with his hot falsetto. After that Chris Sligh and Brandon Rogers really sounded smooth and of course Phil Stacey and Blake made the scene complete.

The icon himself came out to sing with the boys. The song -- Smokey's, "Being With You." All three judges rose to the occasion. Smokey took over, singing "Tears of a Clown" with the boys doing the back-up singing and dance moves of that era. Very nicely done.

After that segment, Ryan came on stage saying fans were upset that Blake couldn't beatbox in the final song from the night before (uh-yeah)!
That was the segue to a Blake, legendary Doug E. Fresh and Producer Barry B. -- beatboxing, rapping and scratchin' sizzler. The three of them BLEW IT UP!! It was the best performance of the night!! Crazy good! I'm talking fantastic!

Paula, broken nose and all, was up dancing (as usual). Randy wasn't up on his feet but was throwin' his hands in the air like he's a true playa. The crowd went wild!! Ryan joked after the performance saying, "Ah yes...just like the days of Justin & Kelly."

The next Golden Idol Award was for the Most Original Vocal.
The nominees are... The "self-taught" Nicholas Zitzmann (Seattle auditions) who sang Simon's favorite, "Unchained Melody." Oh, the comedy! Sandy Chavez, the girl who sang kind of like a yodel or something, but you really couldn't understand one word. Sholandric Stallworth (LA auditions), who sang an old throw back to the long gone soap opera Santa Barbara, If ever I'm in your arms again... And the winner...Sholandric.

Ryan asked him to sing without a mic because he had such a "loud" voice the people in the rafters of the theatre would hear him. Randy told him to sing "Silent Night." Sholandric was cut off almost immediately!

Next, it was time to hear the Top 6 girls -- who were also all in white. Jordin, Melinda Doolittle, Lakisha Jones, Gina Glocksen, Stephanie Sloan, and Haley Scarnato broke out "Heard it Through the Grape Vine." Gladys Knight came out to sing with the ladies. Gladys looks amazing. How old is she?? Then they went into the song, "Midnight Train to Georgia." Melinda and Lakisha blasted out that song with Gladys -- as the other girls mostly sang back-up.

Even though Tony Bennett was sick and couldn't perform the week he mentored the contestants back in April, he was back tonight -- and in performance mode.

The classic singer did a song from his duet CD "For Once In My Life." Even Simon stood and applauded. He is such a cute old guy isn't he? And he still has such an amazing voice. When everyone thought he was finished with his song he went to the refrain and belted it out like he was one of the contestants. I was really surprised how great he sounded.

Back to the Golden Idol Awards... This one was for Best Buddies. Nominees: Jonathan Jayne and Kenneth Briggs, the two became friends. Jonathan was a large boy who Simon asked if he borrowed Randy's trousers and Kenneth was the goof who was slammed by Simon who said he "looked like one of those bush babies." Kenneth disagreed -- saying didn't think he looked like a monkey. Others -- the BFF's from Jersey: Amanda and Antonella. Remember Amanda during the Hollywood days when she was put through saying, "God likes good people." (How annoying was that girl! It was funny to see her get cut right after that comment.) And the final nominee for this award, host Ryan and judge Simon. They showed clips of the two of them arguing and calling each other names back and forth. It looked like Simon laughingly mouthed "a**hole" to Ryan when he was busting on him. The two were jokingly crossing their fingers for each other.

When Ryan announced the winner he said to Simon, "You don't have an Emmy and you don't have one of these either." The winner...Jonathan and Kenneth, of course. Kenneth thanked Simon and said he wasn't mad at him anymore because if he didn't call him a monkey he "wouldn't be where he is today."

Where is that you might ask? He's appeared on Jimmy Kimmel and Media Day at the Super Bowl. They did the Grammy red carpet and the American Idol red carpet too.

Another funny note -- Ryan announced that they sponsored a bush baby in Kenneth's honor at the Milwaukee Zoo. And they named it Simon! The British judge was hysterical and stood up and clapped for the two as they walked off stage. Good stuff! TV gold!

Many people thought Melinda was going to wear the Idol crown this year, but she was clipped off in third place. Tonight, she got to show off her stuff singing with the people she used to sing back up for, BeBe & CeCe Winans. What a great idea producers! They sang "Hold Up the Light" and wouldn't you know... Melinda "held up" her own -- and was better then them by far. A back-up singer no more. She is a star!

This week's Ford Commercial showed candid shots of the top 12 singing "Time After Time." Then Ryan presented Jordin and Blake each a Ford Mustang.

Carrie Underwood came on the stage to sing what she sang during the Idol Gives Back charity week, the remake of "I'll Stand By You." What was she wearing???? The top is great but NOT with the jeans...don't know who put that together...GAG!

Grammy award winning record producer Clive Davis came onstage to give props to all the AI winners and other big Idol contestants who have blown up the music charts.

In the entire music industry, Chris Daughtry was the biggest selling artist of the year! His album has been in the top 10 for the last six months. He also had two Number 1 singles on his debut album: "Home" and "It's Not Over." His album sales are over 2.5 million.

Clive also commended the judges for their outstanding job in picking the most talented contestants. All of this seemed to be a way to announce that Carrie Underwood has sold over 6 million from her debut album in the US alone (over a longer period of time then Daughtry). Carrie gave a quick thank you speech to everyone involved with AI and the fans. Short and sweet.

The African Children's Choir were invited back for another performance this season. They performed with Josh Grobin during the charity program. This time it was without the classical sensation.

 Sanjaya got to be on stage with Aerosmith's Joe Perry singing, "Girl You Really Got Me Goin." Perry played the guitar and Sanjaya, still stinking, put on a decent "show" going through the crowd and nearly giving a heart attack to that spastic teary-eyed litte girl who freaked the last time she saw him in the crowd. That was earlier this season.

After Sanjaya sang, it was time for some punk! Green Day rocked out. Man, this show was loaded! The song was promoting peace and to stop the tragedies going on around the world.

Last year's winner, Taylor Hicks boogied out next. He's still the same good ol' boy... sporting that wild blazer.

Taylor sang his single "Heaven Knows" from his new album. He is really so much better live. That CD of his ... not so great. I'm thinking that's one good sign for the ultimate performer, Blake, who didn't win it this season.

Even more music..."You're All I Need To Get By" from Jordin Sparks and season 2 winner, Ruben Studdard. What were they going to -- prom? Did you see their getups? Ruben's fuchsia tie matching Jordin's fuchsia dress. The performance didn't do much for me but they both sounded good. It just wasn't jaw dropping.

Ok, here's where my jaw dropped.. and I'm not talking surprisingly good either.

Bette Midler was next on the scene, singing "Wind Beneath My Wings." What was up with her? She sounded horrible. And Ryan mentioned she was going to be taking over for Celine Dion in Vegas? Huh? Someone better rethink that strategy.

Maybe put Kelly Clarkson in that spot -- Simon thinks she's that hot! Or maybe Jordin. I told you in the "Countdown to the Finale" article that if Sparks "played her cards right -- she could take the whole shebang." It became evident her odds were getting better each week. Who was betting on that?

Anyway, while Bette was singing the camera panned over and Randy and Paula were slow dancing, like your grandparents do. And for a second, Randy was whispering something in Paula's ear! hmmm... What could that be?

The final performance of the night was an AI tribute to Sgt. Pepper. Kelly Clarkson came out again. Also back on stage -- was Joe Perry, to accompany her on guitar. Wow, she can really belt it out there and Perry's guitar playing was incredible.

Another really good performance -- Hicks and Underwood along with the Top 12 contestants came out to pay tribute to several different songs from the Sgt. Pepper Band album. Ruben came out to finish it off with "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." This year's 12 then sang "I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends." They really sound great together.

It was then time to lay it out -- results time. Check out these stats...
Over the entire season 6 -- there were over 609 million votes that came in. It went from 100,000 wannabes -- to one, the "sugary sweet" (as Simon called her in the auditions) Jordin.

This year's finale votes broke a world record -- of 74 million. When Ryan asked the judges for their final thoughts Randy said, "Jordin." Paula gave her normal flip flop "I love everyone you all are great" answer. And Simon said, "based on last night... Congratulations Jordin".

Yep, it was Jordin Sparks.. daughter of former NY Giant Phillipe Sparks. She is the next American Idol. Young, fresh and talented... hopefully she wont get lost in the crowd.

Paula, of course, was bawling and not only did Jordin win the title -- she also got to sing that yawner, "This is My Now."
Speaking of yawner.. who's with me that this season dragged on quite a bit?
After six seasons, how long do you think AI can keep this up?

There's always the new "Great American Band" contest they are pushing now. Think that will take over for a while?

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