The American Idol 5 Finale was a virtual smorgasboard of wild and wacky fast food entertainment. I watched tonight for my own pleasure and did not write one word while watching. It was the best and least expectant Idol finale so far. Everyone was there and most of them sang. It would be easier to say who wasn't there. There were former Idols and former stars and present stars and present Idols. There were some excellent pairings of guest stars and some clunkers too. There was weirdness and greatness and humor and mirth. The Golden Idol segment could have been shortened to one smaller segment, but overall, I was completely entertained and mostly forgot that there was a contest to be decided at the end. The difference in winning and losing is a guaranteed success (at least temporarily) versus an incredible chance at a career without any guaranteed dollar figure, so there are no losers. One will make a record for certain, and one will most likely. Everyone will benefit with the producers of American Idol making the most. Their revenues are enviable if not their methods.

Highlights and questions: Did someone tell Toni Braxton she would be doing a number with the Pussycat Dolls instead of singing a song about social injustice with Taylor? They win for oddest pairing, with Taylor pulling off the best save attempt of the evening. At least Toni let Taylor sing whereas Mary J. Blige took the mike, got the feeling, and wasn't sharing with anyone. I love her and know she really feels that song personally, but it is about sharing. It's “One Love”, not “One Singer” girl! Let the skinny white boy sing a verse. Dion Warwick is still a diva, a one in ten million voices. No one has ever sounded as lyrically haunting as her and no one will. Clay's hair? Clay's hair? Clay's hair? Mandisa and Paris showed all the sparks that were missing at times for me in the later parts of the competition. I would trade you two Aces and three Kellies for one Mandisa, please. Everyone wore black tonight. Black was the new black. Except Prince. Prince wore Purple (what else?) and spoke to absolutely no one. Ryan has never been so snubbed. It was a total sideshow. There were more votes for the Idol Finale than any President in history. What does that tell you about popular culture versus politics? Everything really.

Taylor wins. No big surprise and yet, probably the most unlikely Idol we'll see in a while. Too bad we're left with the bad ballad/anthem as the last song and sound of American Idol 5. Don't forget the Tour, The CD, and the Downloads. It goes on and on and on until the next round of American Idol. Congratulations to Taylor, Katharine and all the American Idol contestants. Have a great summer.