You Put a Pep Back in My Step

Chris Young earned his Nashville Star victory by being consistently good — and, at times, great — throughout the competition. It’s too bad the show did him no favors in holding such a dull crowning ceremony.

As the show started, Cowboy Troy performed with Big & Rich, providing viewers with the 90-minute finale’s first snack break opportunity.

Then, the USA Network managed to further stall performances by the finalists, Chris, Casey Rivers, and Obvious Third Place Finisher, with long retrospectives of their past performances.

Casey Rivers brought his guitar onstage and sang “Your Cheatin’ Heart,” which was picked for him by show fans on USA’s website. Apparently, Casey’s core fanbase is still in high school, as he admitted he’s been invited to several proms over the course of the show.

Nicole (the lock for third place) reprised her best performance of the series, “Thing Called Love.” Anastasia urged her not to give up after the show and told Nicole to follow the road paved by Mary Chapin Carpenter and Sheryl Crow, who are apparently two of this nation’s most famous female construction workers.

Chris Young wore an unfortunately long jacket–it looked like a trenchcoat for an eight-year-old–perhaps to hide his nervousness. He should’ve been more confident, because he was the only contestant asked by fans to give a repeat performance of his original song for the finale.

The only amusing moment of the retrospectives was a quick shot of Anastasia’s naughty-Pocahontas outfit from last week.

Guest singer Jason Aldean then performed his song, “In a Hick Town,” which Jared Ashley performed earlier this season. Now I know why. Jared and Jason Aldean are virtually indistinguishable, right down to the hats and the height. All 10 of the contestants joined in the song, and I was surprised to find myself missing fourth place finisher Matt Mason.

In an attempt to heighten the suspense, Troy kicked off one of the three finalists. To no one’s surprise, it was Nicole Jamrose. Just to make the moment totally awkward, Wynonna asked Nicole, “Do you have any final words?” Then, after Nicole had said everything she wanted to say, the Wynobot asked again, “Do you have any final words?” Nicole killed Wynonna on the spot, and another Wynonna instantly appeared from the ether.

With 40 minutes still left in the show, Troy pretended like he was going to announce the winner. Wynonna told him it wasn’t time yet, because we still had plenty of musical performances to come.

Apparently I was clamoring for Chris and Casey to sing together, because that’s what I get. The lengthy finale backfired for USA, because I kept changing to the NBA Playoffs during each commercial, or whenever I got annoyed with the filler.

In an visual homage to the Police video for “Wrapped Around Your Finger,” hundreds of candles lit the stage for a performance by Phil Vassar. Phil played his new song, “The Phoenix Suns lead the Los Angeles Lakers by 10 points in the first quarter. (However, with a new investigation surrounding center Kwame Brown, the Lakers have a decided edge in accused sexual assaulters, 2-0.)”

Chris and Casey each performed solo again. They were probably good. The Lakers had closed the gap to seven points late in the first.

Finally, 83 minutes in, it’s decision time. Or, it would be if Wynonna would stop telling the entire cast and crew how much she loves them. Save it for the after-party, Kool-Aid. OH, YEAH! She tells Chris and Casey, “You put a pep back in my step.” Then she stalls a little more, telling the finalists she wants to torture them for a few more minutes. If she only knew how many others she was torturing at the same time.

Cowboy Troy finally opens the envelope and announces that Chris Young is the winner. But we’re all winners, really, because now I can get back to the game.