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The Buzz with CCX - Season 22 Episode 18

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Went out to lunch today...or was it dinner? I think it was technically an early dinner but this day's been awfully weird. Trying to catch up on my rest since I'm sandwiched between two six-day work weeks, though honestly, the past couple of days have been remarkably smooth sailing after the end of last week and beginning of this week had been nothing short of disastrous. Anyway, I had my daily drink at lunch/dinner (Lone Eagle Brewing Flemington Fog IPA; I actually went to that brewery after my brother-in-law's father's funeral but couldn't have anything to drink because I needed to drive), and unfortunately, I do not yet have the benefit of likely acquiring some leftover Heineken 0.0% from this week's demos. It's funny, it explicitly says in the name that this is truly non-alcoholic beer, rather than the merely extremely low ABV "non-alcoholic beer" like O'Doul's (0.5% ABV, which means that many beers have more alcohol than two entire six-packs), and yet I still have to ID customers before I'm allowed to give them samples. Note that although New Jersey is not a state that allows alcohol to be sold in grocery stores (I suspect it wasn't always this way, because a lot of customers insist that they'd bought alcohol in the grocery store before), they still do sell O'Doul's. I used to drink it all the time as a teenager when I couldn't legally have real beer. Genuinely enjoyed the taste. Anyway, this is probably a suitably long intro for the season finale, so I suppose I'll have to wait for the show to actually start to continue writing--since of course, I wasn't about to chance not being able to get it started on time.


Oh yeah, Bon Jovi is one of the themes for tonight, so we open with the top 3 doing "Living On A Prayer" before introducing Jon Bon Jovi himself, who performs "Legendary". We also see a group of girls in the front of the audience with pink t-shirts saying "Bye Katy". ...What the hell is Katy's final show night outfit? It looks like the "back" of her top is just packing twine. Will's up first, and his dad is a big Bon Jovi fan and gave him a recommendation for which song to sing. "It's My Life", pretty appropriate for the Finale. Jon's not convinced during the mentor session that Will's properly connecting with the lyrics, but it seems to be working pretty well in the live performance. There's something there that isn't quite right, but it's a solid 88. Jack's up second singing "I'll Be There for You". Jack would be only the second married winner, right? Yeah, Kris is still the only one. ...I don't know how to rate this. I think...I just have to give it an 88. I can't in good conscience put him behind Will...but I can't put him ahead of Will either. There's a callback to last week's show with Jack's fashion sense, and Ryan ends up accidentally stabbing himself with the scissors as he puts them back.


This theme should be right in Abi's wheelhouse. She's singing "Bed of Roses", and Jon asks her how she sees that song, and reveals that that wasn't actually the headspace he was in when he wrote that...but she should absolutely go with her original interpretation. ...That sure sounded like a mistake. Not in the singing, mind you; on the piano. But even so...I think she's actually behind! 82. Abi gets a video message from Billie Eilish, whose song she sang in her audition, congratulating her. Wow, they're really pushing Abi!


Back to Hazelhurst, GA, for Will Moseley's homecoming. We're reminded again that he vowed that he'd take one year to pursue his musical dreams and if that didn't work, he'd put his degree to use. We see all sorts of relatives including a cousin who looks like she can't be more than 4. And speaking of young supporters, it's time to visit Jeff Davis Primary School, where Will attended...I was definitely thinking "elementary school" based on the name and the audience there, but apparently they have a full-fledged football stadium. Maybe it's a K-8? He's singing Montgomery Gentry's "My Town" as his hometown dedication. ...He's a bit shouty. I don't like this performance. There weren't any mistakes, but it just...wasn't...there. 60. Ryan shows art made by the primary school kids.


Jack's a Dallas native, and Mark Cuban invites him to perform at halftime of a Mavericks game. ...A Mavericks playoff game. Jack shows his age as a contestant by saying he always watched the hometown visits and remembered "Bo Bice being chased through a Wal-Mart". That was 19 years ago. Triston Harper wasn't even born yet when Bo was a contestant. He sings one of his originals, written about his wife, to the hometown crowd, but for his performance here, he's singing "All My Ex's Live In Texas" by George Strait. Really, Jack? A cheesy song choice like this, at this crucial juncture? 54. Jack even points out how strange a song choice that was, since not only is he from Texas, but he has no exes, having married his high school girlfriend.


Indio, CA, for Abi's hometown visit. And for her dedication, it's "Somewhere" from West Side Story. See, an old fan like Jack would know to avoid this song on Idol, but Abi's too young to remember Season 3, probably. Well, it's still a 71, which means that she did indeed erase her round 1 deficit.


Speaking of Season 3, we get a flashback to Fantasia being declared the winner, and then here she is, walking in with "I Believe" playing behind her. Wow, that was 20 years ago...and that's over half her lifetime ago, since she was still a teenager on the show. Advertisement for auditions for Season 23. Jason Mraz performs his new song "I Feel Like Dancing", accompanied by Julia Gagnon. I normally don't rate these performances, but that's because it would usually be unfair to the performances that actually count towards the show. This, on the other hand, is a 44, partly because the song itself isn't that good and partly because of Jason's hobo aesthetic. His suit jacket is open, he's wearing a baseball cap at a skewed angle, and I'm pretty sure he forgot to shave. Seal is celebrating the 30th anniversary of his Platinum debut album, and he's performing the hit single "Crazy" from that album accompanied by Jayna Elise. ...So much for "black don't crack"; he looks far older than (checks) 61, which I'll admit is older than I expected given that his debut album is only 30 years old (except Ryan was mistaken; the 30-year-old album was actually his second. Yeah, I thought "Crazy" was from 1991, 1992 at latest. Well, he still looks older than he is. And now it's results time. The first person to advance to the top 2 is Will Moseley. And the other is...Abi Carter. Jack Blocker finishes in third place.


I do some "homework" for tomorrow's job and walk in to McKenna Faith Breinholt and Kaibrienne accompanying James Bay on "Let It Go". I apologize for all the times I criticized Jack for his facial expressions. Okay, now this would be about a 90. I'll admit, I forgot to rate the previous song, was too preoccupied looking up Seal. Speaking of performances that should be better than the contestants', it's time for the annual "judge premieres a new single"--"Love You, Miss You, Mean It" from Luke Bryan. Then he brings Mia Matthews out, and they perform George Strait's "Run". 105.


And right into Lionel with "Running With The Night". The whole top 12 behind him. 100. Taking a break from his Leather tour to join Triston Harper for "'Til You Can't" is Cody Johnson. Holy shit. 117 but that's largely carried by the professional.


Abi's turn for her celebrity duet, joined by Bishop Briggs. Well, so far all I'm seeing is Bishop...ah, here's Abi. I have no clue what Bishop was doing solo but their duet is "River". 68. Had to do it, because it's one of the contestants still in it, and that legitimately was...a worse performance than Abi's solos. Judges montage. And now, Season 14 winner Nick Fradiani, accompanied by the guys of the Top 12 on a pair of Neil Diamond hits, "Coming to America" and "Sweet Caroline". Nick's playing Neil in the Broadway show "A Beautiful Noise". Obviously the chances of me giving this a rating, already looking slim during "Coming to America", completely died when the second song turned out to be Sweet Caroline. I am a Red Sox fan after all; I'm obligated to sing along. After the break, Will's celebrity duet, with Hootie and the Blowfish. Huh, that's kind of curious. He's doing a Hootie song instead of a Darius Rucker song?


Yep, it's "Hold My Hand". Well, even as Hootie, Darius is still pretty country. Followed up with "Let Her Cry". Okay, unlike Seal, Darius is still in his fifties, and likewise looks older than 74-year-old Lionel Richie. We're shown the top 12 again, and they all seem to have undergone yet another wardrobe change.


And now it's Jack Blocker and Katy Perry on the latter's "What Makes A Woman", with a special verse rewritten by Jack for "this occasion". So this is also the farewell tribute to Katy? Man, that would've been unfair if Jack had been one of the two still in the competition. 85. Now New Kids On the Block performs their new single "Kids", then are joined by KAYKO for "You Got It (The Right Stuff)". Ryan calls out a couple producers in the back singing along. Also it sounded like their upcoming tour will also feature former Idol judge Paula Abdul.


Emmy's accompanied by Wynonna Judd, but given the song choice, this is probably just as big a deal for Wynonna as it is for Emmy: they're singing "Coal Miner's Daughter". They follow it up with one of Wynonna's songs, though, "No One Else On Earth". I maintain that Emmy really should be the winner. Fantasia was apparently singing along over on the couch, and we get some more Ryan/Fantasia chatting. Roman Collins then takes the stage with CeCe Winans. I looked over my ratings and I really feel the judges chose poorly putting Roman in the top 14, and this isn't a genre thing, either; I'd replace him with Odell Bunton Jr. (Same for Jordan Anthony vs. Mackenzie Sol, but Jordan didn't make Top 12 anyway--and honestly Mackenzie was only borderline for Top 14 himself.) And, yeah, this isn't great. 37. Calm down, Roman.


Katy's eating pizza, but we've got a medley of her songs from the girls. First up is "Teenage Dream", and both Kaibrienne and Emmy are showing Abi up. And now it's McKenna and Jayna on "Dark Horse", and we already knew from Top 8 that McKenna is the best at covering Katy. Mia and Julia's turn for lead vocals on "California Gurls"; Julia's a bit spotty but Mia's on point. Also, I'm not entirely sure there isn't one of Katy's own vocals being pumped in. She gives an appreciative roar, and then gets smacked in the head with a beach ball multiple times. Ryan announces that the top 2 have each won a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas for themselves and three guests. After the break, it's finally time for Round 3.


Will's single is called "Good Book Bad". It's the predictable OWS treacle. 84. And now it's Abi's turn, hers is called "This Isn't Over". They show Abi's audition, she looks years younger (not in the way I've been talking about the various established artists; Abi looks her age now but in her audition she looked like a high schooler). And she starts off reclined on the stage. Okay, there we go. Finally, the showstopper the Finale deserves. 97.


The winner is...Abi Carter! A "You done it!" is audible, coming from Will; a gracious runner-up.

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