Coming into the final performance show of "American Idol," many of my friends and family (who for some reason think I'm some sort of expert) wanted to know my opinion on who would win it. I, being the cagey guy I am, held off of voicing a favorite. However, in my mind I figured that...

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Coming into the final performance show of “American Idol,” many of my friends and family (who for some reason think I’m some sort of expert) wanted to know my opinion on who would win it. I, being the cagey guy I am, held off of voicing a favorite. However, in my mind I figured that Lee DeWyze had a big advantage. Most of the people I talked to were rooting for him over Crystal Bowersox. So my running poll, unscientific as it was, had Lee winning in a landslide.

But after the show was over, I’m starting to think that Crystal should win.

Early in the season, I called out this group of finalists as being generally uninspiring, and singled out Crystal as not really being Idol-winner material. Something about her just seemed so much like every other singer that I’ve ever seen at a coffee house, or bar, or sitting at a grassy corner at Folklife Festival. I thought that she was talented, sure, but not remarkable in any way. Man, was I wrong. Last night she aced just about every test that the big Idol stage threw at her. Comfortable in front of the larger audience? Check. Able to connect emotionally with the songs and the viewing public? Check. Showing grace under the overwhelming pressure? Definitely.

The only hitch I saw in her performances was her having to negotiate the Idol stairs in 10-inch heels. I don’t really blame her for looking nervous there, though. What would have happened if she had fallen? I don’t like to think about it . . . but I will. (Shudder.) OK, that would have ranked up there as a completely horrifying live TV moment. Almost as bad as watching the Seattle Mariners trying to bat.

But Crystal didn’t fall; she gingerly walked down the steps to the main stage and proceeded to kill “Black Velvet.” Then, after Lee sufficiently butchered “Beautiful Day” (probably causing Bono to throw his hospital-supplied tapioca pudding at the TV), she sat down with her guitar and played from her heart. I had never heard of the song “Up to the Mountain” before, but it was about as great a performance in a finale as there was in the history of the show.

Maybe this wasn’t the best season of the show. Maybe “American Idol” needs big changes. But if the culmination of this Idol season was this last performance by Crystal, then maybe Idol’s imperfections are forgivable.

(Final note: thanks to Bob Payne and the other writers of this blog for letting me share your space. It’s been great fun!)