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Was Last Night’s American Idol Classic-Rock Guest Roster the Oldest Yet? Surprisingly, No!

Lee with this hip, new band called Chicago.

Why do American Idol finales always skew so old? The judges go on all season long about the importance of the contestants being "current," and each results show features a current-day act like Gaga and Ke$ha to reinforce that notion. But then, every year, the finale arrives and it's hello, 1982! Last night's finale featured a lineup that was like a colonoscopy waiting room: Alice Cooper (62), the Bee Gees (average age: 63), Joe Cocker (66)! When the 29-year-old Christina Aguilera finally came out, it felt like an oversight, like maybe she was just there to introduce Sha Na Na. This year certainly felt like the oldest finale yet, but guess what? We did the math, and it wasn't.

We took the guest lineups from all the seasons (starting in season four: The first two finales didn't have guest stars, and Paul Anka — age 62 — was the only guest for season three, so that's not fair). Then we collected their ages at the time (or the average ages for the members of a duo or band), and then averaged them all out by season. Here are the rankings, from oldest to youngest. And guess what? Last night only ranked fourth:

Season Seven (2008)
Average Age: 57

Seal = 45
Donna Summer = 59
Graham Nash = 66
ZZ Top = 58

Season Six (2007)
Average Age: 53.4

Gwen Stefani = 37
Smokey Robinson = 67
Doug E. Fresh = 40
Gladys Knight = 62
Tony Bennett = 80
BeBe and CeCe Winans = 43
Joe Perry = 56
Green Day = 35
Bette Midler = 61

Season Five (2006)
Average Age: 52.5

Al Jarreau = 66
Live = 34
Meat Loaf = 58
Mary J. Blige = 35
Toni Braxton = 37
Prince = 47
Dionne Warwick = 65
Burt Bacharach = 78

Season Nine (2010)
Average Age: 52.4

Alice Cooper = 62
Bee Gees = 63
Michael McDonald = 58
Christina Aguilera = 29
Hall and Oates = 62
Alanis Morissette = 35
Bret Michaels = 47
Chicago = 58
Janet Jackson = 44
Joe Cocker = 66

Season Eight (2009)
Average Age: 48

KISS = 57
Cyndi Lauper = 55
Steve Martin = 63
Queen Latifah = 39
Rod Stewart = 64
Fergie = 34
Jason Mraz = 31
Keith Urban = 41

Season Four (2005)
Average Age: 47.6

Kenny G = 48
Rascal Flatts = 34
David Hasselhoff = 52
Kenny Wayne Shepherd = 27
George Benson = 62
Billy Preston = 58
Babyface = 47
Lynyrd Skynyrd = 53

BONUS: Total for All Finales
Total guests = 48
Average age = 51.7

Photo: Vince Bucci/FOX