Oh Ryan, you master of the turn of phrase. Clever little frosted minx. I'm gonna miss you when they pack you back up into your E! radio locker and I don't get any of you until next January. Sigh. The last competition night of the year! It was... just aight.

There were definitely some box-blowin', roof-rattlin' performances last night. But on the whole it all just felt a little... staid. And, heck, America agrees with me. Maybe it was that Nigel Lythgoe (or whoever chose their second songs) chose kind of uninterestingly. Or maybe it was that neither Paula's nor Kara's heads popped off and sailed into the light-stained rafters of the American Idol Thunderdome. Whatever it was, I hope tonight is more of a blockbuster. A fingerbang. A brouhaha. A Scotsman's Sundae. A Chinaman's Vacation. You know. A Happening.

The Good
Lillian Kristina Allen wins the night with "Ain't No Sunshine", what with its dizzying escalator trills upward, its Splash Mountain doo-hoo's downward, and its cool as a cucumber wearing sunglasses at a Miles Davis concert in Patagonia simmering in the chewy middle. I knew boyzone could sing, but dag, Ricky! Fool can blow! And I mean, come on guys. Just look at him. Just look. at. him. He's like if Rene Russo and Tab Hunter were on the same time-travel sex tourism trip and one crazy thing led to another and a baby got made. That sly devilish smirk coupled with those perky, Dan DeCarlo-esque, boy-next-door inkblot eyes. He's a stack of posters just waiting to be sold! How can he not win? Sure, "Brother, Brother" or whatever that song is called was wan, and the third one was... well we'll get to the third one, but that one "Ain't No Sunshine" was enough, in my eyes, to bestow the marketability crown upon his spiked anime hair.

Old Pal, We've Come This Far Together, So How's About a Dance?
Oh Lamby. Lambo. Lambchops. I've disliked you for so long. Your lurching Frankensteininess. Your ill-fitting skinsuit. Your blue-black hair. What I presumed, for so very long, to be a sham—a desperate ploy for the outre vote, for the sad little Emilies of this country. But now...Well, now you've grown on me like a benign tumor. I think I'll miss you when you're gone. Screeching theatrics, pirouetting hair, that coat that was a castoff from the Janet Jackson "If" video. Last night "Mad World" was spooky and super theatrical and I think maybe Adam Lambert would have been a big, showy, fabulous star some 25 or 30 years ago, and it's a shame that those times have, in essence, passed. But maybe... I dunno, just maybe people are ready again? Where this kind of ludicrousness will play outside of Vegas or downtown cabaret rooms I'm not quite sure. But something about that coat and that mist! It seemed... correct. "A Change Is Gonna Come" or whatever that song is called was a better performance and more in line with the mainest of the mainstream, but it didn't exactly have Adam's spark. Maybe I still can't shake his silly antics from all these weeks past. Something lingers in the heart like shrapnel, sticks in the mind like old Juicy Fruit under a table. But at the very least, consider my hand extended, Adam. Not that you're reading this.

"Why Do We Have Dreams During Tsunamis?", a song by Kara DioGarabaldino
"How do we move past the rainbows of disaster that clouden all our tears?" This was the essential crux of a very important question posed by Kara last night in her original winning song about overcoming mountains. After Adam wrapped the ditty in a spaceship and slingshot it up toward Uranus, Kris grabbed it by the gullet and tried to wrestle it into submission—like naked, toned, tawny Jacob grappling with the angel Diane Warren. But it didn't quite work, did it? Sheepish, idiotic Kara, perhaps forgetting already that she'd written the song, said "That was too high for you Kris. Judge the season, America! Not tonight!" Which isn't exactly how the show should work in a vacuum, but oh well. I guess everyone really should keep striving for their dreams, even if bad things surround you, even if your feet can't keep you up toward the sky. If only so, one day, you can one day hear Kris Allen lovingly belt and hold: "go deeperrrrrr."

So We Bleat On, Votes Against the Current Top 40, Borne Back Seacrestly Into the Past
So tonight we say goodbye to all that. Goodbye to clocks ticking, to Tatiana moaning. Goodbye mama, goodbye papa, goodbye ghost of Ricky Braddy, still lingering on that long-darkened semifinal stage. Goodbye hopes! Goodbye dreams! Goodbye signs and suits, blind high fives, and "I have a flu" bad-singing alibis. Goodbye to everything. But most of all, goodbye to you Kris Allen. I think you lost last night. Actually, no, you won last night. But, unfortunately, you lost weeks ago.

Or maybe not!