Idol. So the big do with the big two is tonight. I pretty much only love the finale. Maybe not for the same reasons others do. In fact, I used to not like the show at all. For one simple reason: I made the mistake a few years back of watching some of the regional tryouts where young, earnest people were summarily sent home – hopes dashed, loans called in, family members horrified – with nary a can of floor wax to show for it.Totally devastating. Now I know that’s not entirely true and the ones who make it further can leave with something between a goody bag and a small South Pacific Island. With the early tryouts however, you just know the door prize mirrors their level of despair in retail value. Too much for me. Too sad. I have a friend who lost and walked away from a smart, trivia-based reality show with 26 pounds of Salt Water Taffy and a central air system. We tried to celebrate his also-ran status and new home ventilation options. Sadly, he was informed later that the nonreturnable central air system worked only in houses — and performed to optimum standards in multifloored dwellings. Not good – or even possible—for my friend, who still lives in a basement studio. Although he was popular for about 6 Halloweens thereafter. But I’ve wandered here. The point is it’s very hard for me to witness the early stages of these talent-offs because it’s too disturbing & painful to watch the dashing of the American Dream (or the Canadian Dream, or the Lithuanian Dream, or whatever). They get sent home and I always wind up saying “That’s so brutal! It’s cruel!” to which some of my more-than-callous friends always respond: “Don’t be silly.They needed to get told that they couldn’t sing. Wouldn’t you rather know for sure that you don’t have talent? It’s better they find out now.” Really. Really? When it comes right down to it I would rather sit next to someone at a dinner party who has an air of mystery/hint of undiscovered talent than sit next to someone whose life had been shattered, their front teeth handed to them, because they screwed up “Lady In Red” and got told they’d never make it. But then, when I complained for the 400th time about the bitter cruelty of these early tryouts, another friend said, “So don’t watch til you get to the good ones.” And I knew that was the answer. So watching Lee and Crystal? Not a problem at all. Nor is it just because I know they’re both going to score massive record deals regardless of who wins. Or because I know they’ll both orbit the earth repeatedly with sold-out tours. Or even because they’ll never have to park their newly-won car that runs on solar panels all by themselves. Oh wait. That’s exactly why I can permit myself to watch now. Because even if they don’t win, they’ll at least have some creature comforts with which to lick their wounds. Which I can’t say for the poor folks grasping for a Kleenex at the too-heartbreaking tryouts. Thus, I only like finales. Speaking of which, how about voicing your choice in today’s featured poll and letting us know who you think will win tonight.