By Michael Slezak
Updated June 01, 2010 at 01:10 PM EDT

Image Credit: Ray Mickshaw/Fox/PictureGroup (3); Michaels & CaseThe ninth season of American Idol is over, and huge questions about the future of the franchise hang heavy in the air: Can a female contestant ever again win this show? Will Idol‘s producers admit their failings when it comes to theme nights and song lists? Will Ellen DeGeneres stop behaving like a kindly pre-school teacher and start behaving like a reality TV judge? And can Idol stay relevant after Simon Cowell’s exit? My cohost Jessica Shaw and I tackle these topics, and take a look at the final performances of newly crowned champ Lee DeWyze and runner-up Crystal Bowersox, on the season finale of Idolatry. Plus, we pick our favorite moments from the finale (not that Chicago duet), name the MVP of the season 9 judges’ panel, and rage against the fact that the show brought together so many talented alumni last Wednesday, then gave most of ’em less mic time than Tatiana del Toro. But wait, there’s more! We’ve also got a special surprise for you toward the end of episode, so do stick around for the whole six-part shebang! And to get all my Idol news and commentary, follow me on Twitter @EWMichaelSlezak. If you’re having trouble watching the videos in PopWatch, or if you’re on an iPhone/iPad head over to our Idolatry hub for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6. [RELATED: Paula Abdul’s finale speech to Simon Cowell: Pure poetry; ‘Idol’ music director Rickey Minor out. Should he have gotten a finale montage?; The 20 Best Idol Performances of All Time; Adam Lambert rep: Report about canceled ‘American Idol’ finale gig was ‘completely fabricated’; Crystal Bowersox after ‘American Idol’ finale: ‘I wouldn’t have tried out if I didn’t think I had a shot at winning’]