Simon Cowell says Adam is a “worldwide star” and Kris is “incredible” after lackluster finale

At the end of “the acoustic rocker versus the glam rocker,” as Ryan Seacrest characterized the competition between Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, one thing was clear: they can both sing, but neither owned the night, or arguably even a single song, the way they have owned previous songs. They both forced their way through the melody-less first single (more on that in a moment), while Kris did better with his first song and Adam did better with his second. And both received nearly universal praise from the judges.

Simon Cowell’s comments after their final song definitely favored Adam Lambert, who’s still the favorite to win. He said, “Over the entire season, you have been one of the best, most original contestants we’ve ever had on the show, and the whole idea about doing a show like this is that you hope that you can find a worldwide star. I genuinely believe with all my heart that we have found that with you. Congratulations.” A few minutes later, Simon told Kris, “Watching you tonight on this stage was incredible,” and pointed out that he’s grown from an auditioner with “no confidence” into someone who “thoroughly, thoughly deserved to be standing on this stage tonight.”

So, we have a worldwide star and someone who can stand on the stage instead of just performing in a subway station. Who will it be, America? And what will the culture war people do with whoever wins?

Tonight is the results show, which Ryan warned is “packed with such great stuff that we’re scheduled to go a little bit long.” He might be lying about the “great stuff” part, but my digital cable guide says the show is scheduled to end at 10:07. How much do you want to bet it won’t finish at that time but will go even longer? (Make sure to return tonight for the live blog–or bookmark it now–and this time, it’s with reader participation. Insane!)

As for the coronation song, “No Boundaries,” it wasn’t as bad as some of them–“This is My Now,” I’m looking at your pathetic ass–but the fact that two strong singers couldn’t do anything with it was a good indication that it, too, sucked. Like most of those before it, “No Boundaries” lacked a catchy melody, or pretty much any melody.

When I broke the news that Kara DioGuardi was writing the song, she admitted that its message should be “powerful” but “it’s a hard song to write, because it is inspirational and you find yourself when you’re writing it, it can be cliché.” You’d think that with two co-writers, Cathy Dennis and Mitch Allen, they could have avoided that, but no; Simon even criticized it, mocking its reference to “the mountains and the hurricanes” while Kara said, “I know, I know.” Simon even told Adam, “I’m not going to judge that song, I’m going to judge you.”

In other important news, the night was notable for its fashion, starting with Adam’s hideous final song pants. While Simon Cowell proved he’s capable of wearing more than an undershirt, as he wore a collared shirt and a coat, Paula Abdul may need to lay off Donald Trump’s tanner, because she was almost as orange as he was; and Randy Jackson’s combination of a polka dotted tie, a purple checkered shirt, and a plaidish/tweedish coat means he’s apparently blind.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.