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'Idol' finale: Live blog!

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Americanidoltop12_lDing! Ding! That’s the sound of the final round, American Idol fans. Kate Ward and Mandi Bierly are here to guide you through the biggest showdown in showbiz history, the fight of the century, the moment — stretched out over two hours — that the judges we’ve been waiting for all season: Will it be Big David (a.k.a. Sugarfoot) or Little David (a.k.a. Babyface)? Time and Ryan Seacrest will tell. Let’s get ready to rumble…

Kate: I’m trying to figure out if that was a staring contest or what.

Kate: Mandi, can we agree to keep all boxing phrasing in our intro and out of this live blog?

Mandi: Not if they use the Rocky theme song again. Sorry.

Kate: Okay, I’ll have to deal. Wow, a smashed record. Cookie fans, you think?

Kate: Or were the grandmas taking Red Bull and dialing all night?

Mandi: 97.5 million votes came in. New record, by over 23 million. One David received 56 percent of the vote. Wouldn’t it have been great if Ryan had slipped and said a last name?

Mandi: Kansas City and Salt Lake City are way too excited.

Kate: He’s way too oiled a machine.

Kate: Matt Rogers!

Kate: Believe it or not, I saw Matt Rogers when he was a guest on Ryan Seacrest’s now-canceled show.

addCredit(“(The 2008 Idol Top 12; Frank Micelotta/Getty Images”)

Mandi: It’s not a case of believing, but caring.

Kate: Ouch!

Mandi: Top 12 production number. How many will you remember?

Kate: Only the ones that Jason Castro appeared in. I couldn’t get enough of his obvious apathy and hatred directed towards them.

Kate: I hope David Hernandez is wearing tear-away pants so he could make one last splash.

Mandi: I feel like if you have to pan to the audience during a performance, it means it’s boring. Am I wrong? Though then I wouldn’t have just appreciated Paula’s shoulder rolls. She looks great tonight.

Mandi: This production number is making me die inside.

Mandi: Ah, Ramiele wore a hat!

Kate: Especially because they seem to only have one dance move.

Kate: Was that Janice Dickinson?

Mandi: It was. That does not bode well.

Mandi: If your biggest star is on Oxygen?

Kate: Oh, I think it bodes EXTREMELY well.

Kate: I’d vote for replacing Randy with Janice Dickinson on the panel.

Kate: I feel like I should be eating some Edy’s American Idol ice cream to celebrate the finale.

Mandi: Janice would never use that phone book line. So I’m in.

Kate: What else do you think David Archuleta should sing besides the phone book?

Mandi: So glad you mentioned food. I would like to thank the good people at TNT for sending me Closer cookies today. Crap. I’m seeing raisins.

Kate: I know, I scarfed one of those down earlier. But I got the snickerdoodle cookie.

Mandi: Wait, the one that says, “I’m not a real blonde” on the wrapper is chocolate chip. All is well.

Kate: Thank goodness! I just wish Edy’s made a “No Sex Allowed Chocolate Chip” American Idol flavor.

Kate: David Cook + Nickelback = good thing?

Mandi: The harmony is not bad.

Kate: Um, can we talk about Archie’s jacket?

Mandi: What, that the last button clearly WOULDN’T button?

Kate: Or the top button.

Kate: Archie’s flying away and catching rainbows!

Kate: Um.

Kate: Is this The Love Guru?

Kate: Oh dear God.

Mandi: It is. I’ve never laughed at any of the ads for this movie.

Kate: My boyfriend laughed at the trailer for this movie. I’m thinking I should break up with him.

Mandi: OK, I haven’t seen anything this forced since there was a screening of Made of Honor on The Bachelor.

Kate: How many more times do they plan on torturing these kids?

Kate: Okay, I DID laugh at “Mariska Hargitay”

Mandi: Body hair = comedy gold.

Kate: Ha. But I am always up for an Archie/puberty joke.

Mandi: The Swaybots liked it.

Mandi: This is the saddest thing I’ve seen since I opened my TNT cookie and it crumbled. Boo, TNT. Boo!

Kate: They’d scream and sway even if Archuleta was sacrificing a kitten onstage.

Kate: No, this is the saddest thing I’ve seen since Robin Williams on Idol Gives Back.

Mandi: My sound just went out. Did that happen to you, or am I just lucky?

Kate: You are very, very lucky.

Kate: I think seeing is everything here.

Mandi: It’s back. Damn.

Kate: Well, someone up there was looking out for you for a few brief seconds.

Mandi: Syesha! Damn, she’s looking good.

Kate: Do you think she still thinks she can win?

Mandi: SEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mandi: She won.

Kate: Wherever you see a Seal, there’s a Heidi Klum somewhere talking about their sex life.

Mandi: I have to say, I never think he sounds good live. (And by that, I mean when I saw him on Dancing With the Stars.) He sounds good here.

Mandi: Okay, that note was a little strained.

Kate: Well, I only saw him duet with Heidi at the Victoria’s Secret show, so he sounded pretty good there.

Mandi: I’m waiting for him to sway his hips again.

Mandi: Joel McHale!

Kate: Okay, I vote for Joel McHale to take over Randy’s spot.

Mandi: I would be fine if he replaced Randy on the judges panel.

Kate: Then we could get as many “Dutch Oven” clips as we want!

Mandi: Not to keep harping on these disappointing cookies, but now I know why there was a pile of them on the giveaway table earlier today. I just thought someone in my hall was dieting.

Kate: Yeah, I caught on once I saw the fourth box on the giveaway table. But I’m still jealous The Closer didn’t think of ME.

Kate: Do you think they’ll all be doing duets tonight?

Mandi: Well, taking into account last night’s solo performances, let’s hope.

Kate: Dear God, yes. I mean, Archie could basically just step into the Jonas Brothers and I wouldn’t know the difference.

Kate: Yay, Jason!

Mandi: Somewhere, Slezak is smiling.

Kate: And I’m smiling with him! I GET Jason.

Mandi: I’m so glad that sentence is in print. You will pay.

Kate: Bring it!

Mandi: Not as effective the second time. Gotta say.

Kate: That’s why the Idols SHOULD NEVER REPEAT PERFORMANCES, Simon.

Kate: Oh God, the bull fighter costumes.

Kate: David Cook deserves to win just for that.

Mandi: I wonder how many costume changes the Davids will go through tonight.

Kate: I’m not sure, but I think I’ve seen that shirt Cookie’s been wearing before.

Mandi: I love that they give the two guys new cars, then have the Top 6 girls singing about working hard for their money.

Kate: Oh joy, we get to see Amanda dance again!

Kate: Oh, the irony!

Mandi: Oh Carly, Simon would not like the black tights.

Mandi: Amanda is dying inside.

Kate: And that’s why I love her.

Kate: And Ramiele is now proving why she never should have made it into the top 12.

Mandi: I know EW.com’s video producer Jason Averett will be using that clip of Carly.

Kate: SUPERSTAR!

Mandi: I am a fan of the bedazzled mic.

Kate: You can thank Mariah for that.

Kate: Because it’s more important to wrap a mic in diamonds than to feed a starving child in Africa.

Mandi: Wait, were those dancers just hanging out with Ryan?

Kate: Um, no, Ryan is dancing.

Kate: Better dancer: Ryan or Archie?

Mandi: Oh, I think I found Ryan kinda hot. Because I didn’t know it was him until he turned.

Kate: Oh my. But you do have the “Thanks for last night” autographed photo from him, so that doesn’t surprise me entirely.

Kate: Does Syesha get to duet with everyone tonight?

Mandi: They need to stop showing Amanda. It’s not fun to see her not happy.

Kate: Actually, I love watching her. I hate sugar-coated Idol.

Mandi: I mean, I love her. I just don’t like seeing her miserable. Do something that won’t make her look like she bit into a TNT cookie. I’m not letting that go.

Kate: Nor do I expect you to! A bad cookie is a traumatic experience.

Kate: So we haven’t discussed this yet: Who do you think will win tonight, Mandi?

Mandi: I think Babyface. I think a lot of people tuned in last night, maybe for the first time in a while (hi, Mom!), and will have voted for him.

Kate: Unless Cook fans retaliate for his completely underrated performances.

Kate: How dare a man wear makeup, Moment of Truth?!

Mandi: Carly and Michael Johns! I do not know this song, “The Letter.”

Kate: Carly and Michael duet! Nice, but it’s still not fair that Syesha got to duet with Seal and Donna Summer.

Kate: Oh, how I missed these two.

Kate: And for the record, my cat seems to enjoy Michael Johns, Simon.

Mandi: I’m sure Carly is enjoying this more than singing with the other girls, though.

Kate: In fact, she’s licking herself now, so I think that’s an endorsement.

Kate: Hmm… singing with Ramiele or Michael Johns? I think I know who I’d choose.

Mandi: Ooh, Carly just borrowed a dance move from Grease. You’re the one that I want, Michael Johns.

Kate: Plus, they’re both old enough to know good music, unlike David “I don’t know songs by the Beatles” Archuleta.

Kate: Didn’t we all get our basic dance training from Grease?

Mandi: I love your cat.

Mandi: Jeri Ryan! Still not impressed with the level of celebs here.

Kate: Do I need to repeat, Janice is there!!

Kate: And Sanjaya is there! Laughing at his expense! And crying inside…

Mandi: Only Paula is going to have something nice to say about Kimmel’s bit.

Mandi: Simon Cowell in a sage sweater is kinda hot.

Mandi: What is this show doing to me?

Kate: Okay, I’m glad THAT’S in print. You will pay.

Mandi: BRYAN ADAMS IS GONNA BE THERE!

Kate: Okay, David, let’s go: tear-away pants. The time is now.

Mandi: Oh, Jason should not be singing “Summer of ’69.”

Kate: Do the Davids have to sing together all night?

Mandi: Did you know that Bryan Adams wrote “Heaven” in two days, for the Christopher Atkins’ stripper movie A Night in Heaven? True story. Insert your Hernandez joke here.

Kate: Like I’ve been saying, tear-away pants. That is all.

Mandi: Okay, I saw Bryan Adams recently, and he was awesome. Better than this.

Kate: Is it wrong that I was more excited about seeing Bo Bice than I was during that whole performance?

Mandi: Sadly, no.

Mandi: Watch this clip of Bryan Adams singing “Run to You,” just him and his guitar, before you judge him.

Mandi: http://youtube.com/watch?v=PhhyIrliY94

Mandi: Michael Johns singing “Run to You” would’ve been better than seeing Bo Bice.

Kate: Then watch this clip of David Archuleta on Star Search, courtesy of Dawnie Walton, and be very, very disturbed.

Kate: http://youtube.com/watch?v=u5Qx11VZZJM

Mandi: Okay, he had more stage presence then.

Kate: Archie? I know! And he wasn’t catching rainbows!

Kate: I can’t believe Jordin was about the same age as Archie when she won.

Kate: The Paula ride at the theme park is probably awesome.

Kate: Makes you dizzy, I’m sure.

Kate: How much you want to bet that Ryan appears with a long, fake beard after this performance?

Mandi: I just love that Ryan introduced “Sharp Dressed Man” while standing next to Randy. Not loving the Dawg’s jacket. Loving that one of our posters pointed out that it was Captain Kangaroo’s.

Kate: Whoa, check out David’s leg dance! I think a few cougars just fainted.

Kate: They’re making David Cook shirts now!

Kate: Teach the children to not forget their lyrics, Brooke.

Mandi: Hey, she didn’t ask him to stop and start over. She’s on! Special shout-out to our live blog editor, Adrienne, who loves this song.

Adrienne: Thanks!

Kate: By the way, we’ve officially reached the hour 1 mark.

Kate: Paul Kim tried to make that his “thing” last season, and he promptly got voted off.

Mandi: I’m cool if you’re working the stage. If you’re sitting on a stool, wear the damn shoes. In my opinion.

Kate: So I think footless singing is a no go.

Mandi: It works for Joss Stone and Kelly Clarkson though. I don’t think dudes should try it. No need.

Kate: I wish Kelly Clarkson performed half as often as Carrie Underwood does.

Mandi: I’m guessing Jennifer Hudson won’t be performing this year.

Kate: I love how Simon & Co continue to reference JHud and talk about her like she still has a relationship with them.

Kate: Whoa, according to our posters, David Cook was in his underwear for an ad.

Kate: I totally missed that one.

Kate: Thank you posters!

Mandi: Confession: This is the first time I’ve ever heard the Jonas Brothers.

Mandi: Adrienne just IM’d that David in his undies was HOTTT. (You better leave that in, lady.)

Adrienne: [Done.]

Kate: Okay, so what do you think? Archie, future Jonas Brother? He looks like them, and I feel they really need a member of their family that has no rhythm.

Kate: Jonas Brothers: Still not as cute as JTT.

Mandi: I’m digging the singer’s gray suit. How old is he? Am I allowed to be looking at his pants?

Kate: I don’t think so, Mandi.

Mandi: You saw what he was wearing. He was asking for it.

Kate: Chris Hansen is coming your way.

Kate: I actually liked Alexis.

Kate: Take it, take it, take it!

Mandi: If Alexis got rid of the bad eye shadow, she’d be as good as Amanda. (Ducking.)

Kate: Oh, James Lewis had the greatest audition ever. Let my people go!

Kate: Why isn’t “I Am Your Brother” a Top 10 hit yet?

Kate: Okay, I am taking this opportunity to rewind my DVR to check out Cookie in his underwear. No offense to Renaldo.

Mandi: I guess I’m the only person who doesn’t think bad auditions deserve more air time.

Mandi: This Renaldo performance reminds me of a clip you’d stumble across on YouTube from a foreign talk show and think, WTF? People in other countries will be laughing at us tomorrow.

Kate: Okay, posters, you are right. David Cook in underwear = YouTube-worthy.

Kate: Let’s discuss this: who is the bigger emotional wreck: Archie or Josiah Lemming?

Mandi: Who’s Josiah Lemming?

Mandi: Wait, I don’t want to remember.

Kate: That’s probably best.

Kate: Is it too late for Kristy Lee Cook to apologize for “Eight Days a Week”?

Mandi: Okay, I think that song, lyrically, worked as a country song.

Kate: Yes, but it’s about the execution, my friend.

Kate: Wow, look at little Archie, being all current.

Mandi: And he sounds as good as the original guy. At least live.

Kate: Why didn’t he do songs like this on Idol?

Mandi: He’s lookin’ a little manly here. SERIOUSLY, are there like special signals being sent through the broadcast tonight to make me hot for guys I normally wouldn’t be?

Mandi: Maybe I’ll wake up tomorrow and be a puppet. (Shout-out to Angel fans who remember the “Smile Time” episode!)

Kate: I’m scared for you.

Kate: I’m so tired of Archie pimping though. Last night’s show infuriated me. In fact, I don’t think I had been so angry and confused since my brother used my toothbrush in high school.

Kate: Or since Scott Savol outlasted Constantine in season 4.

Mandi: Matt made me believe that there WAS an Archuleta Legacy. Good for him.

Kate: Gold seems to be the color of the night.

Kate: More boring: Bryan Adams or Jordin?

Mandi: Jordin Sparks’ dress is just confusing me. It’s boxy. And the neckline is ’80s. It’s like something Drew Barrymore should have worn to her prom in Never Been Kissed. She can do better than that.

Kate: OMG, that is SO something Drew Barrymore would have worn in Never Been Kissed.

Kate: You should work in movie wardrobe, Mandi.

Kate: Wow, Blake knows all the lyrics to her song.

Mandi: Well, Jordin’s orange nail polish isn’t boring. Wrong. But not boring. She sounded good though.

Kate: Mandi, do you realize that one of our posters said the exact same thing about Jordin’s dress?

Kate: I think you have a soulmate.

Mandi: I didn’t know that! When I borrow lines, I give credit. See: Captain Kangaroo.

Kate: What clever posters we have! You guys rock!

Kate: Do you think Archie will get his own commercial like Cookie? If so, what would it be for?

Mandi: LOL to Kdghty who wrote, “wake up in smile time, mandi, and you’ll be just the right size for a date with archie.”

Kate: Is this some sort of David Boreanaz world I don’t know about?

Kate: OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG

Kate: ROBERT DOWNEY JR.!!!!!!!!!

Kate: (notice that I don’t even care about Ben Stiller and Jack Black)

Mandi: See, this is the way you plug a movie.

Kate: Um. Yes. And BTW, Tropic Thunder is great. See it everyone.

Mandi: Give me something funny, and I will think you are funny.

Kate: What can’t RDJ do?

Kate: I am loving Jack Black’s dance skills though.

Mandi: Him pulling up his pants was great. Ben is the least funniest Pip. By far.

Kate: I could play this on repeat and be happy.

Mandi: You should download it because the money will go to charity.

Mandi: What is Carrie wearing?

Kate: Stevie Nicks much?

Mandi: She is going to trip on her, what would you call that?

Mandi: She could have the best legs in the business.

Kate: Well, they’re probably coated in Vaseline for extra shine.

Kate: No way anyone has legs that shiny.

Mandi: I wonder if Simon likes this country song. I’m a fan of it. And Carrie’s head bobs.

Mandi: Did her mic lose all of its rhinestones, or was it bedazzled in black as to not have the white stones clash with her ivory ensemble?

Kate: I support the latter theory. Clashing = mortal sin.

Mandi: Answer that, Kate! ANSWER IT!

Mandi: Do you think that’s really Kelly Ripa’s home?

Kate: I know she’s not really making food for her own kids.

Kate: Would you, if you had millions?

Kate: Then you could buy all The Closer cookies you want!

Kate: Oh no.

Kate: No, no, no, no, no, no, no.

Kate: No.

Kate: Archie in underwear.

Kate: No.

Kate: Chris Hansen is going to have a very busy night.

Mandi: GEORGE MICHAEL!

Kate: Um, yeah. I’m not sure what makes me feel dirtier: George Michael or Archie in his underwear.

Kate: I keep thinking of Ace Young when I hear this song.

Kate: Perfect having David H. sing the “naked” lyric.

Kate: Oh, and he said it with gusto! But he should have pulled off the pants then for extra emphasis.

Mandi: I’m sure they could’ve gotten New Kids on the Block if they wanted them.

Mandi: Jason Castro just waved his hands in the air like he just don’t care. Literally.

Mandi: Kristy Lee is lookin’ pretty good in that black dress.

Kate: All the ladies are looking nice tonight.

Mandi: Why don’t they just have Paula get up on the stage and dance already?

Mandi: Wow, pretty risky having him do a song that Carrie Underwood did a definitive version of on Idol. Kidding!!

Kate: Carrie sang this on Idol Gives Back — and I have to say, she did a better job.

Kate: It sounds like he said all God’s children “crapped out the back door.”

Mandi: I do wanna see George Michael in concert this summer though. I bet that’s a party.

Mandi: Was Paula just crying? Maybe she looked directly into the sunset.

Mandi: Still one of the most distinctive voices though.

Kate: I just wish he would do “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.”

Mandi: Ah, he had a cold.

Kate: Are you ready, Mandi? We’re about to find out who’s the… next… American… Idol…

Mandi: We’ve got seven more minutes, which in Fox time is like 49.

Kate: This is true. I just know I’m going to be depressed when Archie’s crowned the winner and I have to listen to that God-awful song on the radio.

Mandi: Um, you told me that you liked it better than the one Cook sang last night. (Adrienne, print that. It’s totally true.)

Kate: From one of our posters: Jim: “George Michael could sing the Vietnam Memorial.”

Kate: Did I?

Mandi: Oh, wait, you didn’t. That was me.

Kate: Ha! That’s what I thought.

Mandi: I retract that statement.

Kate: I think I will watch an episode of Mind of Mencia before I said I liked anything Archie better than Cook.

Mandi: Paula was actually coherent.

Kate: Paula’s my favorite. Partly because she’s the only one who appreciated David’s Collective Soul performance.

Kate: And the American Idol is…..

Mandi: DAVID COOK!

Kate: WOW.

Kate: Oh no, Archie’s going to be kept in the cellar tonight.

Mandi: Simon and Paula look way relieved.

Kate: But I will say, he totally deserved it over Archie.

Kate: What a mensch. I love Cookie.

Mandi: Totally. He is ready to go make an album that I may or may not buy right now. Archie needs to bake.

Kate: I will buy David Cook’s album. I will never buy an Archie album.

Kate: Note — that is Cookie’s mom, not a cougar.

Mandi: “This is all your fault.” Best winner quote ever!

Kate: I agree. But Jason would have had a better quote.

Kate: Cookie is rocking the guyliner though.

Mandi: And it didn’t run. Endorsement deal!

Mandi: I’m liking this better now than I did last night.

Kate: I’m still in shock that Cookie trumped the producer pick.

Kate: Nigel Lythgoe is crying under his desk right now.

Mandi: CONFETTI! Now it feels like the finale.

Kate: Phew! I was worried for a second there that this would be a confetti-free Idol. Do not want.

Mandi: “That’s my brother!” Tears.

Kate: Is it bad that I’m already in Idol withdrawal?

Kate: Hey, Idol fiends, be sure to check out our Idol hub where you can find galleries of the finale highlights and the Davids’ Idol journeys, On the Scene reports, Q&As with the winner and runner-up, and more.