From Bad to Verse in the Battle of Seattle

By Lisa de Moraes
Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Once again the final night of "American Idol" competition pits a goofy, likable guy with a crowd-pleasing schtick and not so much of a voice against a pretty young woman with a big, gorgeous voice but not so much entertainment value.

No, not Taylor Hicks vs. Kat McPhee. That was last year. No, not Bo Bice vs. Carrie Underwood. That was two years ago.

This year's variation on the theme: Blake Lewis vs. Jordin Sparks. Here's a new twist. Both came out of the Seattle auditions -- you know, where Simon Cowell said there was no talent to be had. Also from Seattle, it turns out, are the creators of this year's Coronation Tune -- the one the winning Idolette will have to release as his or her first single. It's called "This Is My Now." And no, a nationwide competition does not produce a better coronation song. It's the most glutinous "American Idol" Coronation Tune yet:

There was a time
I packed my dreams away.
Living in a shell,
hiding from myself.
There was a time
when I was so afraid.
I thought I'd reached the end.
Baby that was then . . .


For the final week, the show has moved to the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

Everyone is agog to see judge Paula Abdul, who last weekend broke her nose and a toe tripping over Tulip, her Chihuahua.

And to think she was this close to making it through a whole season of "American Idol" without an "incident."

Tulip is fine, Paula reports. She looks heavily made-up, especially under her nose. She also looks fractured on some painkiller, but you can't blame her.

Before the show started, Paula appears to have shared some of her Broken Nose and Toe Percocet with fellow judge Randy Jackson, which inspired him to conclude that what this show really needs to jump-start its moribund ratings is costumes. He has come dressed as Sgt. Pepper.

Simon, in honor of the occasion, has unbuttoned his trademark white dress shirt another notch.

Last night, each Idolette got to sing one song that they sang before in the competition, and one new song. And both had to take a crack at the coronation tune, like it or not.

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