Crystal Bowersox, Lee DeWyze are American Idol 9’s final two as Casey James leaves

American Idol 9 voters proved themselves to be rational and/or susceptible to heavy-handed manipulation, sending Casey James home and both Crystal Bowersox and Lee “HE IS SO AWESOME” DeWyze to the finale next week.

This year, over 47 million votes were cast for the final three; last year, it was 88 million, as HitFix’s Dan Fienberg points out. Also last year, the final two were separated by a fraction of that, but we did not hear how many votes separate Crystal and Lee.

They both did really well Tuesday night, and when they weren’t talking to Ryan Seacrest or the judges, proved themselves to be worthy of the finale. (When the final three talked, like during the interview segment that started the results show, it’s unimaginably boring.) Anyway, I’m pretty confident after Lee’s accessible, well-performed version of “Hallelujah” that he’s the favorite.

The penultimate results show–Yes, just one more to go! And there will be a live blog, so get ready–included footage of the final three’s trips to their hometowns, where surprising numbers of people came out to wave signs, scream, and have the finalists sign inappropriate things (Your dog? Really, ma’am?).

Meanwhile, we had two performances, one by Travis Garland, who was apparently “discovered” by Perez Hilton, who was in the audience. I couldn’t quite figure that out until the performance began, when I realized that the producers and/or Fox let him show up to humiliate Perez and/or prove that there are far more awful singers in the world than the top 12 we’ve just had to slog through, because holy crap was he bad.

The phenomenon that is Justin Bieber and his hair also performed, and it was really nice of Casey James to single out and include Justin Bieber during part of his exit performance of “Daughters”:

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.