In a finals show marked by a notable lack of cheese and manipulation, the American Idol Final Four was whittled down to the Triumphant Three. Just before the moment of truth, host Ryan Seacrest, dressed like a banker in a sedate black suit, displayed three slick Marquis Jet passes for private luxury trips home that would go to the three survivors, and a generic coach ticket home for the fourth place finisher.
That ticket went to Anthony Fedorov, the 20 year-old Ukraine native and Philadelphia-area resident, who as an infant required an emergency tracheotomy to keep him alive – an operation his Moscow doctor said might prevent him from talking, let alone reaching the rarefied heights of a national singing competition that began with 100,000 aspirants.
As Seacrest said, Anthony is a “total class act,” who grew as the competition progressed from a Clay Aiken-clone into his own man, and who out-sang favorite Carrie Underwood in Tuesday night’s performance show in a same-song duel on “If You Don’t Know Me By Now.” There will be no collective sigh of national relief as there was last week after Scott Savol was finally expunged.
It just came down to numbers and this time it was Anthony’s turn in a week where the singing competition was split between Nashville and Sound of Philadelphia soul legends Gamble and Huff, neither notable strengths for the MOR Fedorov. But he surprised all with his relatively soulful rendition of the Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes classic and certainly didn’t embarrass himself on the country “I’m Already There.”
The finals show was also marked by a look at Bo Bice in Busta Rhymes hair contortions in the obligatory Ford commercial, a quartet performance on the Dolly Parton-Kenny Rogers smash “Islands In the Stream,” and a look back at the four’s original audition tapes.
Now it’s down to three: Bo, Carrie, and Vonzell Solomon.