We, the viewing audience, have survived almost another full season of "American Idol" and have watched as the show whittled down thousands of contestants from across the nation to just three. We've seen country, soul, a little rock (debatable), and even some R&B. Out of all of these genres of music that were represented, we...

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We, the viewing audience, have survived almost another full season of “American Idol” and have watched as the show whittled down thousands of contestants from across the nation to just three. We’ve seen country, soul, a little rock (debatable), and even some R&B. Out of all of these genres of music that were represented, we get to make the call on who goes home: the singer-songwriter guy, the singer-songwriter girl, or the other singer-songwriter guy.

It’s not hard to see that final three “American Idol” contestants are very similar to each other. Each brings the “busker,” coffee-house vibe, each plays guitar (with a little harmonica thrown in via Crystal Bowersox), and each has some sort of accessory on their lower lip (soul patch or piercing). So what happened along the way giving us three copies of the same singer? I’m almost wishing that someone like Aaron Kelly would have made it this far to mix it up a little. Almost.

Regardless, these are the final three, and maybe, on this night where they can sniff the finale, one of them will take a risk and try to deviate a little from the normal.

First up is Casey James. And (surprise!) he has his acoustic guitar with him. And then Crystal has her acoustic guitar. And then so does Lee DeWyze. At this point I’m waiting for Bluto to come out on stage, grab someone’s six-string, and smash it against the Idol stairs.

OK, maybe the judges will pick songs that will break the pattern. For Casey, judges Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson pick the song “Daughters” by singer-songwriter (and man who probably sold his soul to the Devil — or at least a few minor demons) John Mayer. Great. After the monotone singing, and a little guitar solo thrown in just for Casey to audition for a studio gig when the Idol thing doesn’t quite pan out, the judges (who picked the song) praise it like no tomorrow. Except for Simon, of course, who thought that it was a little uninspiring.

Dead Judge Walking Ellen DeGeneres picks something a little different for Crystal: “Maybe I’m Amazed” by Paul McCartney. I could note that the lyric “maybe I’m a man” will be sung by a woman about a dozen times during the song that Ellen chose, but I probably shouldn’t go there. Most shocking, however, is the lack of any stringed instrument. Unfortunately, Crystal’s lack of stage presence without one is fairly obvious as she shuffles around like an army recruit. She did belt out the song with more than her usual restrained soulfulness, so the choice of song actually worked for her.

The last song of the evening is “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen, picked for Lee by Simon. Of course, this is a staple now at open mikes everywhere after Jeff Buckley’s cover version became popular. To his credit, Lee didn’t mimic Buckley as previous Idolists have on the show, and he gave it his own spin. Although he was pimped quite heavily by the Idol producers with the walking chorus and the gratuitous fog machine. I was almost expecting lasers. But you don’t get too many lasers at coffee houses.