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The Great 8: Last Night’s Top Idol Finale Moments

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

So the American Idol finale is over, David Cook has won, and the last of the confetti has hopefully been swept up by some poor guy who really hates Nigel Lythgoe right about now.

Anyway, last night I blogged about what went down on the red carpet and in the press room (where season 6 winner Jordin Sparks actually happened to be standing when David Cook's victory was announced, by the way).

But now that I've had the opportunity to go home, fire up my TiVo, and watch the televised finale without distractions, here are my personal top eight finale moments (yes, sorry, I could only come up with eight this year, but they're a great eight). They are listed in ascending order of overall Idoliciousness:

8) David Cook Rocks Out With ZZ Top - Because every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man...and hey, I'm no exception.

7) Jason Castro Revives "Hallelujah" - Yes, JC was inconsistent throughout this season, but when he was good, he was very, very good. Last night's goosebump-raising revision of Jason's finest moment was undeniable confirmation of his occasional greatness. Expect more Jeff Buckley/Leonard Cohen iTunes spikes this morning, after this.

6) George Michael Performs - So what if he had a cold. So what if he sort of looked like a paler Sammy Davis Jr. with those blacked-out cool-cat shades and overly pinched face. So what if the guy ain't exactly--as claimed earlier by Idol producers--the "biggest star in the world"--and mainly makes headlines these days for his careless trysting and for being even less capable of operating a motor vehicle than Billy Joel.

He's still GEORGE FRICKIN' MICHAEL. And the song he did last night, "Praying For Time" (the same ballad excellently covered by Carrie Underwood at Idol Gives Back) is still a classic. I just wish he'd brought cancer survivor Luke Menard up onstage on for a reprise of "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"; that would have been kind of sweet.

5) Amanda Overmyer Goes Through The Motions - Anyone who questioned whether or not this rock 'n' roll nurse is (unlike the oft-doubted Robbie Carrico) a true rocker only had to take one gander at her dead, constantly rolling eyes and her openly disdainful sneer

as she mushmouthed and sidestepped awkwardly through hokey Donna Summer and George Michael medleys (she should have sang with ZZ Top instead; that pairing would have had more legs, heh heh). The Big O's bad attitude was pure comedy gold, and I have to reluctantly give her props for not "selling out." The chick couldn't even pretend that she was happy to be there, and I bet she's thrilled that she narrowly missed making the top 10, because that means won't be forced to mime along to cruise-ship pop singalongs on the Idol tour for the next six months of her life.

4) Tropic Thunder Sing Backup For Gladys Knight - Ben Stiller, Jack Black, and Robert Downey Jr. completely stole the show with the best musical number of the night...and it wasn't even a REAL musical number. I don't know if that's an insult to Bryan Adams et al, but it's a definite testament to these guys' comedic skillz. And this was a FAR funnier movie-promotion gimmick than Mike Myers' interminable Love Guru commercial earlier in the night.

3) Renaldo Lapuz Spreads His Brotherly Love - Back when this caped crusader auditioned with the feelgood anthem of the century, "We're Brothers Forever," I predicted right then and there that he'd be back to perform it at this season's finale. Sure, the accompanying USC marching band's "Tusk"-like drumbeats seemed to throw Renaldo off, but that never stopped him from smiling. My only three gripes here: Jason Castro should have hopped onstage to redo their audition-room duet; "We're Brothers Forever" should have been David Cook's victory song (it's better than Cook's Goo Goo Dolls-y "Time Of Your Life," and actually catchier than almost any other previous Idol winner's "I Believe A Moment Like This Is My Now"-style debut single); and now Renaldo's song is going to be lodged inside my cerebellum for another four months. Damn you, Lapuz!

2) Simon Cowell Apologizes To David Cook - Let's face it, Simon is usually right...but when he's occasionally wrong, he rarely admits it. After Simon boldly declared Archuleta's "total knockout" on Tuesday night, it was vindicating and refreshing to see him gobble up a big ole slice of steak-and-kidney humble pie and give Cook his due. But more importantly, I had a hunch that Simon's apology was a sign that he knew Cook had won and didn't want to look foolish. And whaddya know, I was RIGHT!

1) Cook Wins!!! - Duh. (What did you think was going to be number one on this list? That Love Guru infomercial?) No dis on Archuleta, who seems like a very nice boy, took his loss last night like a real man, and hopefully didn't catch too much grief from his father after the show...but David Cook is a true rock star, and his win was a milestone for all the rock 'n' roll fans who'd previously speed-dialed in vain for past contenders like Constantine and Daughtry and never thought a rock singer could really win this competition. And Cook's reaction--the tears (while his guyliner remained perfectly unsmudged), the gracious treatment of his opponent, the huge hug  from his over-the-moon mom, etc.--was something I don't plan to erase from my TiVo any time soon.

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