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'AMERICAN IDOL' FINALE : FROM THE SCENE

One last chance to squeal

May 22, 2008|Kate Aurthur and Maria Elena Fernandez

The final "American Idol" show of the season is always a shell game: Thirty seconds of information must be stretched to two hours of viewer engagement. The night's rumored appearances by Britney Spears, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney soon yielded to the reality of Bette Midler. (We love her, but, you know.)

Here's a look inside the Nokia on finale night.

And so it begins: The judges make their grand entrance to the Paula-Randy tune, "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow." Some 7,000 people bark for Randy Jackson and scream for Paula Abdul. Of course, Simon Cowell.

Then the two Davids, dressed in white, bound onto the stage -- and here we go!

With Ryan Seacrest's announcement at the top of the show that one David received 56% of the vote, Dialidol.com watchers wondered whether they now knew who won.

The Nokia is about 100,000 times better for live performance than "Idol's" former finale home. During breaks at the Kodak, the room would die.

Receptions: It's hard to tell how Bryan Adams was greeted in the room since we were already standing for the top six men. It seemed like a muted greeting here in the loge. But in the special guest applause-o-meter, the collective gush over Seal is still No. 1.

Jordin Sparks, last year's queen of "Idol," took the stage and, awkwardly, did not get a standing ovation. Her effort to excite the crowd worked better toward the song's end, when she appealed directly to the Jonas Brothers squealers. Carrie Underwood, on the other hand, commanded everyone's attention instantly.

Bedlam: The top six boys are positioning themselves among the tweens in the pit. Insanity reigned for a moment. But back to normal now.

We will leave it to scholars to debate whether George Michael is in fact the most famous person in the world, or whatever the hype promised. But children did scream, "We love you, George!" as he left the stage.

And finally: Did Jeff Archuleta really say he's taking it to the convention?

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