Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Keep Dreaming Danny Because Tonight They Didin't Come True

The show that brought you mentors like Barry Manilow and Dolly Parton now welcomes Slash. Who could have seen this coming 8 years ago? Of course, this isn’t 1988 high out of his mind Slash, this is the new improved clean and sober version. I wish we could see him back in the days when he was taking more drugs than an HIV positive 95 year old.

Will Adam meet the immense expectations he created for himself with his earlier rock performances? Will Danny find a rock song about god, perhaps a reworked version of ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ sure it’s not about religion, but his Christian fan base probably won’t know any better and think Danny is singing a wholesome hymn because he talks about heaven. Can his fans even listen to the show tonight considering the Idols are all singing devil music? For those devout Christians watching at home I suggest you read the Bible during the commercials to prevent the sudden craving for sex and drugs bound to arrive when listening to these godless songs. Will Kris accept the rock challenge or change up his song into an acoustic version? Are Chris Daughtry and David Cook watching from home wishing they had Slash as a mentor. I wish he was on last season. Can you imagine little David Archuletta rehearsing with Slash? Which contestant will try to out-Adam Adam? Let’s face it, everyone knows this should be Adam’s week to truly shine, but someone might get greedy and try to earn the coveted ‘molten lava hot’ praise by going completely outside their comfort zone. Does Allison know enough musical history to pick the proper song choice? I think of the four remaining contestants she has the least musical knowledge to draw upon when selecting her songs. Are the internet reports of the stage manager (Debbie) falling down the staircase followed by an exploding set accurate?

The show starts with a recap of Adam looking like a fool by incorrectly believing he was safe in the top three. I wonder if Al Gore and John Kerry called him after the show last week to comfort him with the fact sometimes America can be very stupid when voting, especially when the voting involves an evangelical Christian. Ryan makes his way down the staircase; perhaps next week he can give Debbie lessons on this seemingly easy task. He says they are coming to us very live from Hollywood. The rumors of near disaster on the set are true. The American Idol tower almost fell over a few minutes before dress rehearsal, which means the contestants didn’t get the chance to run through their songs. Tonight we get our first ever Idol duets, because really what better way to judge how well someone sings than by having someone else sing along. Last season each contestant sang two songs during the Top 4, but now we have a fourth judge, and hearing her talk is vastly more important than hearing more singing. Ryan introduces Randy as the staple, but he has no cool nickname for Kara. Shame on you Ryan, how can you give one judge a nickname and leave out the others. Let’s stick with the office supply theme and call Kara the eraser. Why? Because her presence removed any chance of two songs per contestant the last two weeks. Ryan introduces Paula and Simon without giving them nicknames, but he does foreshadow a big week for Paula. The top four emerge from behind the stage door with three of them dressed in black and one outcast looking like Tiger Woods on Sunday. Danny is wearing a bright red button up shirt. What? This is rock night Danny, why are you dressed up like you are going clubbing South Beach style? I could see Anoop making the mistake of looking like a frat boy on rock night, but not the normally sartorially elegant Danny. Ryan says they will bring us rock classics and are prepared because of Slash. During the video introduction for Slash Idol doesn’t actually play any Guns & Roses music. I guess they were too cheap to buy the rights. Come on Idol couldn’t you have paid a few dollars to play the solo from “Sweet Child of Mine?” Ryan says Slash is always evolving, and by that I think he means evolving from a druggie into a somewhat normal middle-aged guy. Slash brought the contestants to the world famous Roxy on the sunset strip. Slash explains that rock & roll is a way of life. He says never saw himself as a possible mentor on Idol, but this season there are a couple standout artists (ADAM) that warrant his involvement. He explains to the idols they are going to do their song run-throughs at full volume with Slash’s band. Slash is sitting in the audience looking slightly amused. Axl Rose is watching at home somewhere screaming ‘sell-out’ at his television.

Adam – Whole Lotta Love

Adam continues two trends with his song selection. First, he likes songs from 20-30 years prior, and second, he isn’t afraid of taking on even the most revered rock anthems. A laughing Slash says Adam has some pipes and says his range makes his singing effortless. When the band finishes the song with Adam they all are laughing and having a great time and seem impressed with the kid that does musicals. Slash cautions Adam to avoid too much improvisation with his higher register and Adam vows to heed his advice. This is his favorite theme week and he wants to “kill it.” The classic guitar riff starts the song and a red screen blazes behind Adam. His outfit is equal parts David Bowie, Prince, and biker. When the drums finally enter this song becomes the most rocking moment in Idol history. Even the band sounds great right now as I’m not thinking ‘hey these guys are awful compared to Jimmy Page and Jon Bonham.’ Adam is attacking the song and hitting every note with more clarity and force than even Robert Plant (sorry kids but his vocals are even better than the original). Adam’s ability to make huge vocal jumps is always impressive, but feel so natural on this song they sound even better than normal. I wonder if Adam has been riding a motorcycle around the halls of the Idol mansion this week to get into this performance. During the extended guitar solo Adam head bangs towards the guitar player that joined him on stage. Adam has a way of making a song uniquely Adam even if he doesn’t completely alter the melody or arrangement. Adam finishes the song with a sudden ending and walks toward the front of the stage to get the judges’ comments – wait he isn’t done yet! He begins again, this time a cappella. His ending is amazing and stripped from the loud rock band behind him his voice sounds (if this is possible) even more magnificent. He follows Slash’s advice throughout the song by doing very few vocal acrobatics in his higher register. Randy says this is the Adam that he loves dude. He says no one will ever think about Broadway again because Adam is a rock star tonight. He calls the performance hot and suggest Adam make a record with Slash. Kara says Adam is more than a rock star, he is a rock god! She wants him to make an album that features a mix of the classic rock from the 70s with the glam rock from the 80s because no one else has his voice and he can kill it if he stays in this lane. Kara is more pumped up than I’ve ever seen her; maybe they renewed her contract earlier tonight. Paula says the band sounded great and Adam is a whole lotta perfect. Simon jokingly says his only criticism is the performance was a little understated. He says this could have been a disaster taking on one of the best rock songs of all time, but it ended up being one of Simon’s favorite Adam performances of the season. However, Simon does see one problem with Adam going first – no one is going to top his performance. This is the first time a Zepplin song has been performed on Idol and Adam (who has gone from sneering like a killer biker into his normal loveable self) says he was thrilled when he learned he could perform this song. Ryan again mentions the rock god moniker Kara gave Adam, which must especially frustrate the Danny fans, since there is only one true god. Good luck everyone else that has to sing over the next 50 minutes. As they go to commercial Adam is making the standard tongue out rock face to the crowd showing he is having a lot of fun tonight and not taking things too seriously.

Allison – Cry Baby

She gets a sit down with Ryan underneath the exploded Idol tower; they both look a little nervous sitting in the danger zone. She says she went with Adam to his hair girl because his hair is amazing. Allison is excited with her new hair style. She was unsure about which song to sing when she met with Slash. He told her to stick with Joplin. He says she has a natural rock & roll mannerism and swagger. If she pulls if off he predicts she will be great. He wants her to get past her fear and bring it full on when she comes out and performs. Allison begins the song standing behind a microphone stand looking great in her new hairstyle and black outfit. She is pouring a lot of emotion into the song and even using her hands while she sings. I think she is wearing on of Adam’s rings. So he took her to his hair girl and then let her borrow some of his jewelry. He is like the older sister she never had. She is a little reserved until she reaches the chorus, then she takes the microphone off the stand and launches into a powerful series of “Cry Babys,’ until she transitions back into the verse. She is putting a lot of nuance in her voice and demonstrating more vocal control than she has all season. It can be suicide to tackle Janis, even Carrie Underwood struggled, but Allison is doing a pretty good job. This is easily her most emotional performance. I don’t know if the judges will make this comparison, but she could make a Joss Stone type album tomorrow. Unfortunately, after Adam anything will sound inferior, but for Allison, this is her best performance of the season. I just hope the judges give her the credit she deserves. Uh-oh, Kara is not smiling. Randy yos Allison and says she can sing her face off because she can sing anything. He thinks there are better vehicles out there with more melody, because all the song has is her singing cry baby at the top of her lungs. He didn’t’ love this and it wasn’t that great for him. Kara thinks blusey rock Janie is the right choice for her, but she would have preferred a different song. She asks Allison is she was nervous tonight. What? This is the first time all season she DID NOT look nervous. Allison says she is always nervous and laughs. Kara says Allison transforms when she goes on stage and says the knocks about her not having a personality are not really fair. So, two judges in, and neither one has said ANYTHING about how well Allison actually sang the song. Randy said it was the wrong song choice and Kara compliments Allison’s personality. Are you serious? Can someone please talk about how well she sang the song? Uh-oh, Paula ‘you look beautiful tonight’ Abdul is up now. She says Allison is downright fearless and guarantees the role of Janis Joplin to Allison if someone ever makes a bio picture. Allison has a ‘what the **** are you talking about smirk on her face.’ Silly girl, she thought someone might actually talk about her singing. Simon says Allison has made a staggering change over the last 8 weeks. Unlike Kara, he thought she looked confident on stage and OMG he actually talks about her singing by calling her vocals teriffic. His only criticism is, he thought she tried too hard to sound like the original, which is in essence a back-handed compliment. He says she should have picked the other song, which he mistakenly thinks is a Queen song, but Allison corrects him (apparently it was a less famous song of the same name of Jefferson Airplane). Allison says she didn’t want to play things safe and explains to Kara she didn’t want to sing the other Joplin song because its been done so many times on the show. She then bursts out of her shell and says maybe she shouldn’t stop talking since everyone says she doesn’t talk enough. It’s as if Lil Rounds suddenly possessed Allison, except when Allison talks back it’s less combative and more jovial. Simon interrupts Ryan’s attempt to head to commercial and says he likes the fact Allison is arguing for herself. Allison gave her best performance this season and the only judge that actually talked about her vocals said they were terrific, one judge said she should be in a movie, and the other two judges lamented her song choice while giving her no credit for killing the vocals. Ladies and gentlemen your Idol judges! Kris and the club bound frat boy are up next doing the first duet in Idol history.

Kris and Danny – Renegade

I really wish we could see a two-minute video introduction of these two guys selecting their song and then rehearsing it until they become stage ready. Danny is assertive and a huge fan of Danny and Kris is laid back and cool, so I imagine they had trouble finding a song that worked for both of their styles. Ryan gives us our first itunes commercial while introducing the newest boy band. Kris begins the song a cappella and then Danny takes over. When they both sing together they sound pretty good. Kris is taking the higher part leaving the lower one for Danny. Then the entire band joins in and Kris takes his microphone stand in his hand and starts to run around the stage. He sounds pretty good considering this is way out of his style. Danny is standing relatively still, but he does pick up the mic stand, which qualifies as his rather pathetic attempt to have fun with the song. At least Kris is moving around, even jamming with the guitar players a little trying to infuse the song with some energy. During the extended musical break featuring just the drums, Kris tries to interact with Danny. He is looking right at him while he sings, but Danny does not look towards Kris. Instead he is looking out into the audience and singing as if Kris is not even on the stage with him – step back kids, the Danny show has started. They harmonize again at the end of the song until Danny decides to do an extended riff. In the middle of them closing the song together, Danny goes riff crazy and gives his longest riff this season. I wonder if this was planned or if he suddenly showed up Kris without any warning. It’s not even competing riffs, Kris is still holding out the ending note while Danny tries to shoplift the performance. When the song is over the two barely look at each other, but Kris extends a hand and they share a halfhearted bro-hug. Randy says this is the first duet and he really liked the harmonies. He thinks the two of them compliment each other; the harmonies were on blast but the individual vocals weren’t great. Kara says these two guys singing this song doesn’t compute for her because these are the type of guys that help little old ladies across the street. She says there were some pitchy moments and wonders if they could hear themselves on stage. Paula says it was a powerful and compelling duet. A confused Simon isn’t sure how to judge a duet, but says Danny was the better of the two. WOW, Kris is pissed. He already looked upset during the entire judging portion and now it’s like he isn’t trying to hide his contempt for Danny anymore. Normally when Simon says something like that, the contestants laugh, but not Kris. He looks like he wants to punch someone in the face, with that someone being Danny. Ryan asks the two duetist what working together was like and Kris hints at some tension saying they had a hard time picking the right song. Before he can really finish Danny starts talking to Ryan. Danny continues to talk and talk and talk while Kris stands there looking like McCain must have the first time he saw the Palin-Couric interview. Danny reaches out and puts his arm around Kris, and then Kris quickly touches Danny until he pulls his arm back. Geez, you never see this type of tension on Idol, Big Brother and Survivor yes, but not Idol where everybody loves everyone. When they head to commercial Kris turns and quickly starts to walk off stage without saying anything to Danny. I hope someday we find out what went on with these two leading up to their performance. Poor Kris, now he has to come out and sing his solo song while Danny has time to refocus before he has to sing again.

Kris – Come Together

Kris gets a sit down interview as Ryan plugs the Idol tour. At least Kris’s smile has returned. He tells Ryan he wanted to do a Beatles song, but changed his mind on his song choice midweek. Slash loaned Kris a guitar and the gesture made Kris a little nervous. Kris almost wanted to pee his pants he was so nervous playing his guitar next to Slash. Slash tells Kris even if he is holding the guitar he should try to be more animated while he performs. He says if Kris can pick up the live performance a little bit it will help. Sadly for Kris, Slash does not let him take home the guitar. Kris, so far, is doing a pretty standard arrangment of the song. It must have been hard for him the last two weeks to stick with song versions very close to the original creations. His main asseste is his ability to rework songs to suit his voic, but the last two weeks he has been robbed of this opportunity. Some rock songs just can’t be unrocked. For example, if you take a country song, and then turn it into a rock song everyone says wow he made that thing rocking. But if you take a song that is famous for its electric guitar riffs and make it acoustic and add some bongo drums you run the risk of an absolute disaster. Unplugged moments can be fantastic, but they are incredibly risky. His voice sounds better than I thought it might, but his voice needs a little rasp or gruffness. There we go Kris, he is changing up the vocals a little by unexpectedly going up a little on the Coca-Cola lyric. He strips the song down with just the drums in the middle and gives it an almost country rock feel; he sounds a bit like Big and Rich right now. Good job of showing some originality Kris. He adds his own phrasing near the finish further cementing this as Kris original. I think ‘Revolution’ would have better suited his voice, but I applaud Kris for taking a chance on the more difficult to sing song. Kris’s family and friends are standing for their boy, which means Matt’s family and friends might be the only ones all season that didn’t bother standing up once. Randy says for him, he knows that Kris is not a rock guy, but he appreciates him picking something that still lets him be Kris Allen. He isn’t blown away by his vocals, but he loved Kris adding some funk with his guitar. Kara says Kris is definitely the softer side of rock, but for her it wasn’t a great performance. She thinks there is more than what he delivered tonight. Paula says it’s risky to do a Beatles song, but his artistic delivery of the song has his signature all over his performance. Simon is doing something off camera that has the crowd laughing. Paula, like Slash, says Kris needs to bring a little more energy while he is on stage. Simon, still laughing from whatever he did to Paula compares Kris to ice at lunch. Both will leave you with nothing to remember afterwards. Simon says the song was boring and safe and a bit of a jam. Kris, who picked the LESS SAFE SONG, looks at Simon with his ‘are you ****ing kidding me face.’ Simon reinitiates his prediction that nothing could top Adam and claims he was right. Ryan says Simon is far too right to eat ice for lunch, but Simon quickly points out it’ mineral water ice. Kris smiles a little at the joke but you have to think he can’t decide if wants to punch Simon or Danny more. Speaking of the bespectacled one, he is in the mosh pit when they go to commercial and he is wearing a DIFFERENT OUTFIT. Are you serious? You changed your outfit in the middle of the show? While Kris had to go right back out there and sing you took the time to go back stage and put on an entirely different wardrobe? Wait a minute, which one is supposed to the gay one, Adam right? Are we sure it’s not Danny? I mean what straight guy changes his clothes if they don’t have to because things are starting to smell. Furthermore, what straight guy has more than 3 pairs of glasses? A lot of red staters don’t like Adam because he wears nail polish and spends too much time on his appearance, but let’s get one thing straight, the vainest person on the Idol Season 8 is Danny Gokey. Ok, maybe it’s actually Ryan, but Danny is a close second.

Danny – Dream On

Danny is either really brave or really stupid to select this song. He is brave if he knows this song is out of his range but he still wants to try it anyway and he is stupid if he believes he is good enough to nail the Steven Tyler ending. Michael Johns, a better rock singer than Danny, attempted this song last season and American sent him home. Slash says Danny is naturally gifted vocally, but picked a tough song. He says the main thing is to get the scream at the end because everyone is going to be waiting for the big ending. In rehearsals, Danny sounds horrible on the scream, which must mean he figured out how to do it well and they are showing us this to demonstrated how much he improved over a few days. Danny wants to do bigger things than he has ever done before. When Danny is done singing with Slash and the band he doesn’t smile and the band doesn’t either. Compare that with Adam’s rehearsal when everyone, contestant and band, seemed to have a great time. An uncertain Slash says depending on the moment Danny’s performance could go either way. You get the feeling when Danny left the stage, Slash and his band spent awhile making fun of the ‘idiot that thinks he is Steven Tyler.’ Danny must be awesome tonight, because Idol is setting it up like he could be really bad, but that’s not possible for the chosen one right? A newly outfitted Danny starts the verse going flat within a few notes. Right before the big vocal roll up, Danny hits the wrong pitch and stays on it for what seems like forever, until he rolls into the higher note, which sounds strained and out of his range. So far this is an inauspicious start. He has more pitch problems on the next verse. After a one week hiatus, his ‘I’m not singing full out so I have no ability to keep myself from going flat’ issues have returned. He sounds better when he starts singing full out, but any momentum he builds disappears when he tries to hold out a glory note and runs out of breath. When he hits the repeating ‘dream on’ part, he adds a ‘yeah’ and a riff and then some combination of do-do-doos. Dude what the heck are you doing? You don’t add riffs to Aerosmith. He is building, as best he can, for the big finish. If he nails the screaming notes he might save this otherwise very mediocre performance. Paula is dancing up a storm and then Danny changes into his screaming voice. Then something happens even more terrifying than waking up to a Mexican pig licking your face. Danny tries to sound like Steven Tyler and instead sounds like Tony Romo when he saw Jessica Simpson’s new figure a few months back. The sound be makes is not human. His fans all hate Adam because Adam screams. No Danny fans, Adam sings loudly in his higher register all while never missing a pitch. Danny is not even trying to modulate the pitch or even hit a pitch, he is just screaming as loud as he can into a microphone. Is this the way he communicates with his dead wife? I mean she can probably hear that sound right? Deaf people around American just signed the person next to them asking what is that vibration I feel? I think now we know what happened in rehearsals. Danny must have been hitting that note when Debbie (stage manager) was near the stairs. In an effort to make the sound stop she threw herself down the staircase in hopes the fall would kill her and grant her blissful quietness. Then, when Danny kept singing the note God did the only thing he could think of to save his children and caused the Idol tower to explode in the hopes it would end the rehearsal and give time for Danny to rethink his song choice.

Danny’s last note is like the extra footage in Michael Jackson’s original ‘Black or White’ video where he morphs into a black panther after destroying numerous car windows while grabbing his crotch even more than normal. When you see both of these mistakes, you wonder how could anyone that is not taking massive amounts of opiates think this is a good idea? Did god appear in a vision and tell Danny to sing ‘Dream On?’ What else could explain his peculiar song choice? Danny, maybe more so than any other contestant in Idol history is ‘in it to win it.’ His super competitiveness belies his outward nice all American Christian boy appearance. What else could explain Danny suddenly forgetting about his dead wife? For the first several weeks of this Idol season we heard more about Danny’s tragedy than Somalia Pirates. Then, once dead wife fatigue set in, he stopped directly talking about her and instead only implicitly referenced her through his lovey dovey song choices (see ‘Endless Love’ and ‘What Hurts the Most’). I believe Danny intentionally stopped mentioning her because he knew too much sympathy could create a Gokey backlash. In addition to the early dead wife vote pandering, Danny has also embraced his religious roots to earn favor with the at home voters. But he does so in a carefully coordinated manner that will not offend the agnostics, aesthesis, and other heathens. He never comes right out and says Jesus is my Savior and you must convert to Christianity to avoid an eternal journey into the fires of Hell, instead he casually mentions ‘faith’ and other key words to let the Christians at home know he is one of the good ones. I would have more respect for him if he just came out and declared his beliefs and tried to proselytize to American’s youth regardless of any voting impact. Sadly, it appears he loves the idea of winning Idol more than spreading the word of the only judge that really matters. I can already hear Danny’s fans defending their ‘boy’ because he has good morals. However, believing in god does not make you a good singer. For example, when was the last time you heard the Pope jamming on the radio? I mean let’s face it, if Jesus was walking around Jerusalem singing like that in front of his apostles, we’d all still be celebrating Chanukah Ok back to the show. The judges have to call out how horrible Danny was right?

They show Danny’s family and friends and none of them are standing, but wait, it’s not his friends and family. For some reason they are showing Adam’s friends and family, unless the two of them are all sitting together. Either way, it’s hilarious to see them all sitting down and clapping politely. Randy says he knows this isn’t Danny’s genre and although the performance was only alright and not perfect (understatement of all time), he gives Danny an A+ for a valiant effort. WHAT? Ok so let’s recap, Danny tries a song that is far too big for his vocals and butchers the ending, after barely making it through the first 90% and Randy commends his song selection? He gave Danny a better review than Allison or Kris! Why didn’t he say Danny made, oh I don’t know, the WRONG SONG CHOICE like he does with everyone else that sings a song too big for those with limited vocals? So I guess next year, with this new version of Randy, every time someone sings a Mariah Carey song Randy will give them an A+ for their valiant efforts. Like little David A. last season, it’s as if the judges are not legally allowed to say anything negative about Danny. Kara thinks Danny took the comments about adding more edge and swagger into his performance a little too far. She doesn’t see him on this type of song, and would instead like to see him doing early Aerosmith like Crazy or Cryin instead of this song. WHAT? KARA YOU CANNOT BE THIS DUMB CAN YOU? Early Aerosmith??????? ‘Dream On’ IS early you fool, it’s from the early 1970s, and the two songs you mentioned, are from 20 years later. How can anyone that gets paid this much without throwing around a ball be this stupid? Let’s recap some of Kara’s more stupid moments. She was unable to correctly count out her words, she called Studio 54 Studio 57, and she said Saturday Night Live when she meant Saturday Night Fever. We lose an extra performance from each contestant for this judging? She finishes her comments commending him for taking a chance because rock & roll is about being bold and going for it. That’s funny Kara, I thought rock & roll was also about not sucking. Paula says she knows this genre was tricky for him and isn’t sure if this was the right song choice. Then, for some reason, she asks how many people in the audience are Danny fans. Sadly for Danny, the only people the camera finds screaming are a group of little girls that have probably never heard how this song should sound and like musical greats like Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers. Paula improves Danny’s grade by giving him an A++ for going for it.

The way the judges are doing their collective best to avoid any negative Danny comments, I’m almost surprised they aren’t making up a reason to praise Danny. Considering this is on Fox, maybe they could turn into Fox News and suggest Danny’s performance helped us in the war on terror. Since water boarding is now illegal we need a new way to break the will of captured suspected terrorist. The judges could suggest the CIA implement a never-ending loop of Danny’s scream played on a loudspeaker into the ears of recently imprisoned Al Queda members. After 25 minutes of that cacophonous sound we will learn everything we need to know about future plots without needlessly wasting countless gallons of water; water conservation is an emerging issue, and Danny helped save mother earth. It’s obvious Danny intentionally sounded like a cat thrown out of an airplane while being electrocuted because he loves our country and will do anything to stop the Islamic Jihad. Amen Danny!

The cantankerous Brit is our only chance of giving Danny the truth about his performance. Simon says he mostly agrees with the other judges, but says the last note was like watching a horror movie. He compares it to watching Friday the 13th. He says the performance was over the top; he says that style works with Adam but not so much with Danny. Uh-oh, those are fighting words for Danny, since he pretty clearly has an Adam created inferiority complex battling it out with his pompous ego. Despite a mediocre performance, Simon still thinks Danny will be safe tomorrow night. In a development even more mind numbing than Danny’s final note, he appears dumbfounded that Simon did not praise his scream. He says he needs to go back and listen to it (don’t do it Danny don’t do it) before he can admit it didn’t sound good. As usual, he cannot stop talking and says he wanted to pick something out of his safety zone. Then finally stops talking by saying “it’s whatever.” I don’t know which is sadder, that Danny thinks he sounded good or the fact I had to listen to that performance. On a positive note, next to ‘The Office,’ Danny singing ‘Dream On’ is the funniest moment on television in 2009.

Adam and Allison – Slow Ride

Ryan introduces the duet standing behind the judges. Allison walks on stage looking and sounding like a real rocker. Adam soon joins her wearing pants that are tighter than a Michael Phelps swimsuit. They take turns singing until they both sing the chorus together. The sound really good together and unlike the first duet, they are actually interacting with each other. They are having a lot of fun. Allison seems more at ease on stage with Adam than by herself. I bet when they sat down to pick a song Allison said, “so what song are we doing Adam,” and let him pick a good song for their voices. Adam is doing everything he can to help Allison shine. Like a good partner, he isn’t trying to out sing her, which he could, and is instead backing off when it’s her turn to take the lead. See Danny, just because you want to win Idol doesn’t mean you have to sing louder than the person next to you. They finish the song facing each other while they belt out the last few notes. When they are finished Allison runs into Adam’s arms and they embrace in a genuinely warm hug. Randy says these two are the rock stars of the season and suggests they do a duet on the album because that was the bomb. Kara calls them a rock goddess and a rock god and says this is what a duet is supposed to be, when both people are pushing their counterparts to be better. Paula says the duet is a perfect marriage and also wants them to do a duet. Simon, still confused on duet judging, says they won the battle of duets. And, he says Adam may have given Allison a chance to stay in the competition with this performance. Adam mouths “I hope so,” and then later tells Ryan she is like his little sister.

Final Thoughts

Adam is still giving everyone every single inch of his love. Allison is still crying the judges didn’t like her more. Kris still can’t get people to come together. Danny is still trying to communicate with his dead wife through a primal scream.

Thanks to Adam and Allison tonight felt like an actual rock concert. I am convinced Danny is sick and tired of Adam out singing him every week and saw the rock theme as his chance to out-Adam Adam. Unfortunately for him, he has about as much chance of out singing Adam during rock week as Paula does of becoming a practicing neurosurgeon. His misguided belief in his greatness led to one of the worst (or best) moments in Idol history. Adam, after facing immense danger last week, should be safe safe safe this week. Joining him on the couches will unfortunately be Danny. Sigh. As much as I would love for Danny to go home to his friends and family (since they apparently were not in the studio tonight) I think his primarily Christian fan base rallies around their boy and keeps him safe. That leaves Allison and Kris as the two facing elimination. I hope Simon is right about the duet possibly saving Allison; I think he is correct. She will be safe, which sadly means Kris (the second most original contestant this season) will be going home. At least he has a really good-looking wife waiting for him – take that Danny! If I’m wrong and Danny is the lowest vote getter, then maybe there is hope for mankind.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Pack Of Rats

American Idol continues its trend of choosing ancient themes to ferret out the most relevant and current undiscovered artist. Tonight we get the oldest theme we’ve had in several years, but why not go back even further next time with a Bach or Mozart night.

Last season each person in the Top 5 performed two songs, but tonight they only get one thanks to Kara’s presence. So not only do we have to put up with her pathetic math skills and missed pop culture references, now we lose 5 performances. There are several big questions facing the remaining five contestants. Following his now predictable pattern, Adam is due another full speed adrenaline filled performance tonight, but will he be able to ‘spice’ up something from Sinatra and the boys? Which ‘I miss my dead wife but still love her dearly’ or ‘God is my savior and I can do all things through him’ song will Danny select tonight? How will Kris add an acoustic guitar part to a song from the 1940s? Will Matt sit behind the piano or run around the stage? If he can play the piano well enough to justify him sitting behind the instrument he could give a really ‘cool’ performance. Has Allison ever heard of the Rat Pack or any songs from its era? Heck has she ever even heard of the Brat Pack? Her ability to sing a song from the past could establish her as a legitimate contender for the finals. Kelly Clarkson, Allison’s near doppelganger, found success with a song from a similar time period. But, does Allison possess that much versatility? Will all the guys wear a suit and tie? Will Allison wear a proper dress with a tame hairstyle?

Ryan says the intensity of the competition is a constant evolution. Tonight they take on some of America’s most classic song, but who will set the standard? Get it everyone? They are singing standards so Ryan just made a wonderful Paula like play on words. The finale is only three weeks away and tonight we have the benefit of two phone lines for our voting ease. The band goes into a full musical number during and after the introduction of the judges. Is that a first? The remaining Idol hopefuls enter the stage all dressed era appropriately. This is the most lady-like Allison has looked all season. This week they got a mystery mentor. Could it be the ghost of Joey Bishop? Matt guesses Tony Bennett, Michael Bubble, or Rod Stewart. Little do they know, it’s actually In Living Color star Jamie Foxx! Idol then runs a video that tries to justify having Jamie Foxx on during the Rat Pack week, which fails miserably in its attempt. Sure he is a good singer and an even better actor, but come on folks, couldn’t you have picked someone that sings in this genre? How about someone old enough to have seen the Rat Pack in their prime on the Vegas Strip? Really, Jamie’s only qualification for his mentoring assignment comes from the fact he stared in a movie about a guy who was as old as the guys in the Rat Pack.

Kris Allen – The Way You Look Tonight

Kris Allen, wearing his first suit this season, is up first. Ryan, in a rare stand up interview asks him what he needs to do to stay in the competition. Kris says since there are only 5 of them left and they are all amazing all they can do is what they know how to do and hope it works. Ryan thanks us for making Idol a part of our evening and then sells itunes, but this week when you purchase the song you also get an autographed photograph of a Top 5 contestant. Ryan says Kris continues to win over America and wonders if he can do the same with Jamie. Gee, I’m going to guess yes Ryan. Jamie says Kris isn’t trying to win the throat Olympics; instead he is performing the song. Jamie says he would make a record with Kris, which shocks the southerner. Kris admits he cannot sing as well as the other Top 5, and he is shocked Jamie showered him with so many compliments. Kris is singing the song without his guitar, but he still has his creepy little facial hair. Right now he looks like a 15 year old that is desperately trying to grow a manstache. I’m a little surprised Kris didn’t rework the song to fit his style. He has been thriving in this competition more for his arrangements than his vocals. His voice is pleasant, but on this slowed down standard he sounds a little like a teenager trying to sound all grown up at his high school talent show. The pathetic attempt to become Magnum PI is not helping his cause. He is hitting the right notes, yet I expect more from Kris to mitigate his vocals deficiencies. He transition into his falsetto and then back down to his normal voice, and has a few issues. He finishes up the song going back into his falsetto, at first it sounds like he missed the right now and is flat, then he holds out the note for an extended period, which means he actually intended to hit that pitch and not scoop it up to another note. The unexpected note gives the song an interesting ending. Despite Kris singing the song rather well, there is just something missing from his performance (as Randy would say) for me tonight. I’m sure the teenager girls are all giddy over their ‘hottie’ all dressed up like it’s prom night. Randy says he is looking to see who is in it to win it and who has the steam to take it all the way right. He loves the song, and personally, thinks this is his best performance to date. He says Kris told a story and gave the song some R&B styling. Kara says songs from this era give people a chance to show off their technical ability and he set the technical standard very high. His impeccable phrasing, diction, rhythm and timing make him a true dark horse in the competition. Paula says he has made an amazing transition from the boy next door to a sophisticated gentleman. He is a contemporary crooner and she says he was near impeccable. Now I’m not suggested the judges are intentionally pimping Kris tonight, but it’s interesting Kara and Paula used the same word (a big word for each one) to describe Kris. Simon says it was good, but he is not quite as enthusiastic as the other judges. He says something about the performance or Kris being wet. Huh? Maybe that’s a British saying or something. Kris’s family has no idea what it means and you can see they are all confused and asking each other to translate. He says the performance was like a well-trained spaniel for a walk. It’s going to be safe and quite nice but he didn’t think it was incredible. He doesn’t believe Kris can win this competition based on tonight. Ryan asks Simon what he meant by wet, and Simon casually says he meant not dry. Kris could be Ryan’s little brother as they stand sit by sit on the stage.

Allison – Someone To Watch Over Me

She is in the mosh pit raising the roof as they go to a commercial. Little do all these people realize that the free photo you get when you buy itunes is actually an autographed picture of Sarver. Allison gets a sit down with Ryan. I guess since they don’t have two songs to sing they will all get the chance to show off some personality. Allison says its awesome being the only girl left, but she does miss the other girls. She celebrated her birthday by rehearsing and then her family gave her a surprise party on the third floor. Jamie says her singing is absolutely innocent. He says she is too young to have a love life, so instead she should focus on her family while she sings. If she does that she can shock the world. She is singing an original version of the song. I wonder if they were told not to mess with the standards by creating their own arrangements. Unlike Kris, this song does not feel too big for her vocals. Her rock stylings are an interesting take on this classic song and gives it a new feel. She is hitting all the right notes and showing more subtlety than she has on any other song this season. It’s nice seeing her show so much technical control of her voice. This might not be as monumental as Kelly’s performance in season one, but it’s a lot closer than I would have guessed. She is doing a fantastic job that far outpaces how well Kris sang only minutes prior. The judges better give her the credit she deserves, and by that I mean even more than they gave Kris. She finishes the song with a nice jump into her quiet falsetto. This is perhaps her best performance. If the judges say anything other than ‘best of the season for you dawg’ then we know the fix is in for Kris. Randy says he thought this genre might be tough for Allison. He says she looks like Brittany Murphy and sings like Pink with extra octaves. He doesn’t care what nobody tells her, she was the bomb and did the song in her own rock style and he loved it. Kara was starting to think Allison needed someone to watch over her when she fell into the bottom three, but she isn’t worried anymore. She thinks she picked up some new fans tonight by showing she isn’t just a rock chick. She gave a gut wrenching deep emotion way behind her years rendition. Kara says if that doesn’t land her in the finals she doesn’t know what will. Paula has been waiting for an Allison ballad and loved the fact she was both alluring and tender; she is really proud of the new 17-year-old. Simon asks her if she thinks she can win the competition at this stage. She says yes she thinks she can. Simon says he still doesn’t think she believes she can win, and he has a horrible feeling she could be in trouble tonight. Ryan asks for some clarification from Simon. Unlike the wet question, he actually answers this query. He says he didn’t feel, in terms of commitment and belief, the performance was a 10, instead it was a 7. Kara says she loves Simon, but he is crazy. Randy also defends Allison and says she was the bomb. The judges seem to be enjoying the freedom of talking as much as they want tonight.

Matt – My Funny Valentine

Matt gets another sit down with Matt while Ryan advertises the Idol tour. He is wearing his ‘I’m cool’ hat and is stoked about this week. He loves jazz and studied it in college; it’s a part of his life. Jamie says it’s a big song and had no suggestions for Matt. But, he ended up calling him back into the room. All of a sudden Jamie wants him to change the song’s key. Jamie says if Matt sings it in the new key in his full voice he could land at number one. Matt is sitting on the stool of emotion. He is delivering the song in a slowed down deliberate pace. Matt isn’t trying to be cool, like he does most weeks, which makes him actually cool. He even hits the right pitch when he enters the danger zone that is his falsetto. His voice starts to really soar when he gets into the middle of the song, but when he goes back down to his lower voice he loses the right pitch for a moment. I don’t think he made the key change Jamie requested, but he still sounds good. He finishes the song showing off some vocal prowess by hitting a big power note, probably his biggest one this season. Still, much like Kris earlier tonight, I feel there is something missing from this performance. Fun. Maybe that’s it, none of these contestants look like they are having fun tonight, and the Rat Pack was all about having fun with life. Randy says for him this is one of the hardest songs to sing ever, and for him it was just a little bit pitchy. He compliments him for adding some runs, but says only some of them worked while the others didn’t land right; he only gives it a 6 out of a 10. Kara says the competition is so tough tonight she needs Matt to be the leader of the pack. She didn’t think Matt made an emotional connection with the song. Matt assures her he was connected. Paula loves what he did with the song and loves the advice from Jamie. She says by lowering the key they got to hear a different side of Matt and she says he did an excellent job. Simon has to disagree with Randy (Paula is thrilled). He says it was the only believable authentic song tonight and he could tell Matt loved the music. He could hear Nat King Cole phrasing in the song and calls Matt brilliant.

Danny – Come Rain Or Come Shine

Danny steers clear of any ‘making fun of blind people’ moments as they go to commercial. Ryan gives us another itunes commercial and then introduces Danny and Jamie. Danny says he isn’t changing up the song much, just adding a bluesy feel. Jamie says Danny is really close, to what, he never says. Jamie uses a creative technique to get Danny to sing the song well. He gets up in ‘his grill’ and makes him sing while he is close enough to still French kiss him. Danny is at first befuddled, but finally relents and starts singing. Jamie says if he channels the song he will be fantastic. This really should be called the slow and sad Idol night. This is almost a first; he is hitting the right notes in the verses. Normally it takes Danny awhile to get going. He sounds better than he has in recent weeks. Thankfully he is using a microphone stand and avoiding the hand of emotion. Near the end the song picks up pace and power and Danny enters his ‘I’m screaming but all of my fans say I’m not screaming and only Adam screams voice’ and gets gospel with the standard. He tries to finish with a bang, but runs into some pitch issues on his final riff and then goes completely off pitch during his final note. However, Danny surpasses Kris and Matt for best of the night and is probably tied with Allison. At least someone finally brought some energy to the stage. Randy has to corral the crowd before he can start pimping Danny. Randy says it sounded like a ballad again and too safe, but Danny is the only one that could actually have an album of songs like that and win. He reminds everyone to forget about the connection because this is a singing competition and Danny can sing. Kara says she has been missing the Rat Pack swagger from Danny all season. She says his ending was the most creative he has been with a melody all season; it was unbelievable. She is starting to think he should do standards. Paula says it was a stellar stellar performance. She says Danny can see the finish line in front of him and finishes with a ‘way to go.’ Simon agrees with Kara and says he had swagger and confidence tonight. He felt tonight Danny came out to prove a point with his vocals and he showed what he was capable of – an outstanding performance.

Adam – Feeling Good

Adam, like Danny doesn’t get a sit down with Ryan. I bet after all of Kara’s talking they were running long on time and need to finish the show quickly. Nice job managing the time judges and Ryan. Adam is singing a version of the song that gives it a bit of a rock edge. Jamie says he is going to knock everybody’s head off with his version. Jamie is so impressed with Adam’s run through he doesn’t think Adam is nervous and he says ‘you don’t care about who I am at all.” And Adam laughs because inside he was freaking out because Jamie was standing three feet away from his face. See, if he had the Danny ‘Jamie is only 3 inches away from my face,’ then he would have been nervous. Adam starts the song at the top of the staircase, which is lit all in red. He starts the song in his upper register when he stops on the middle of the staircase. He struts down to the stage while the band plays the classic descending melodic line. Confidence and swagger have never been a problem for Adam, at least not on the stage, this is the one place in his life where he knows he belongs. He is changing around the melody to sound new and current. Having Danny and Adam go back to back really demonstrates the disparity in talent between the prayer and the screamer. Adam has more vocal ability than anyone in the history of American Idol. Yeah, I said it, because it’s true. This is the first ‘fun’ performance tonight. It’s like a ray of sunshine breaking through the clouds on a stormy day. Adam is even adding a little rasp to his voice. His ending is amazing. He suddenly goes into a massive power note and then holds it and holds it and holds it some more, and while continuing to hold the note he reads the paper, finishes up his late taxes, and does some yard work. The duration of the notes isn’t what’s most impressive, no, that can be found with how he ends the marathon note. Instead of stopping short and then starting a new note after a breath, he somehow dials back the volume and slides into several more notes, a mini riff, and then pauses before hitting the final note. Wow, if the judges do not give his boy mad props as the best of the night Congress needs to investigate the judges. Randy asks Adam to check it out and then says the song was a little too drama filled, theatrical, and Broadway for him, but he says Adam is in the zone and gave another good performance. Kara says he is shocking in a confusing and good way. She says he is way over the top but still likes him. Are you kidding me judges? That’s two judges that are confirmed idiots. They slurped up the Kris and Danny Kool Aid and now they are not sure about Adam? Let me remind you Randy, A FEW MOMENTS AGO YOU SAID IT WAS A SINGING COMPETITON AND ALL THE OTHER STUFF DIDN’T MATTER AND NOW YOU ARE SAYING HE WAS TOO BROADWAY – ARE YOU KIDDING ME? What was too Broadway about it Randy? The fact that he hit a lot of notes and was pitch perfect? Is that what you meant? Furthermore, this was a lot more Vegas then Broadway. You know Vegas Randy, the new home to over produced shows where Adam would be at home. If any of the other Idol contestants got on stage at one of the casinos no one would bother watching their performance, but Adam, everyone would stop and take notice. Paula says he makes he feel better than good. She says watching him is like watching the Olympics and he is their Michael Phelps. Wait a minute, did she just accuse Adam of taking a hit from a bong? Someone in the audience has a creative sign that says, “Adam is Wicked Cool.” Will Simon give this his ‘Ring of Fire’ treatment? Simon says Randy complaining about Adam being theatrical is like complaining that a cow moos. Simon loves season 8’s competition because unlike some years, he thinks most of the people actually want to win this time. He says Adam wants to win and prove a point every time he sings. He says Adam had quite an entrance and says Ryan is no longer allowed to use the stairs. And then he is done talking. So, let’s see, HE DIDN’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THE PERFORMANCE, ARE YOU SERIOUS? So we gave up 5 performance so Randy could say it was too Broadway, Kara could act confused, Paula could compare him to a swimmer, and Simon could ramble on about past seasons. Ladies and Gentlemen, your Idol judges! I think they have run out of nice things to say about his voice and if they say he didn’t sing it well they will be obviously lying, so instead they just act confused and avoid the topic.

Final Thoughts

Kris is still the little kid acting all grown up wearing his father’s suit. Allison is still more versatile than anyone thought. Matt is still in a lot of trouble if the voters get things right. Danny is still over singing his song and not emotionally connected. Adam is still feeling good. Taylor Hicks is on tomorrow night, which means Simon might actually skip the results show. Making him sit through a Soul Patrol performance is a bit like making a snake cross a recently waxed tile floor. Mean, but yet a lot of fun to watch. Not giving Adam the coveted ‘best of the night praise’ is a little like giving the MVP award to anyone other than Michael Jordan when he was in his prime. Sure you understand why it happens, but it still doesn’t make it the right or fair. Adam had the pimp spot and delivered a show stopping performance, so he should be safe. He was also the only person to take a chance and alter the original song to any significant degree. And for all the Danny lovers out there, your boy screams even more than Adam does, except it’s about 4 octaves lower. Danny is, well Danny is Danny, and his wife is dead, so he should also be safe. After the two frontrunners, things get really interesting tomorrow night. Kris seems to have much more fan support than Allison or Matt, but I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow he went home tomorrow night. Granted there were only 5 performances, but Kris did go first, for whatever that’s worth. In the end, I think he will be safe leaving Matt and Allison as the two most likely to go home and begin their careers in retail sales. Since I want Allison to remain the competition and I think we’ve seen all that Matt has to offer, I’m going to predict he will be the lowest vote getter. Somewhere Anoop is devastate the judges used their save on Matt. The Noop dawg would have loved all the slow and contemplative songs we heard tonight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Matt received excellent news last week when he learned the judges were going to save him, unfortunately, his reward is singing disco. Considering the judges always talk about being current and chart ready one must wonder why they have a theme night with music last popular in the early 1980s. For the first time all season every contestant faces elimination. Sure, there was no chance the judges would use their save in the first few weeks of the season, but knowing they might had to provide at least a modicum of comfort for the contestants. This might be the most talented Top 7 in Idol history. Everyone can sing, most of them pretty well. Even those Idols with ‘issues’ still manage to sound good most of the time. There are some very well known disco songs, but if the Idols sing them without making the song their own they will sound very karaoke (for some reason disco songs are more likely to sound karaoke than others). Some of the big questions heading into tonight’s show include the following. Will the show finish on time tonight even with every judge commenting? Will Adam break his trend of singing a slow song the week after singing a fast song? Will Lil finally show some originality? Will Matt play the piano during disco week? Will someone make the unfortunate mistake of singing the very much over done ‘Last Dance?’

Ryan starts the show by reminding us that Matt should have gone home last week. Ryan says his famous ‘this is American Idol’ line in front of a screen of burning flames. Normally he doesn’t get to stand in front of the burning flame screens. Ryan says the good news is that Matt gets another week, but the bad news is two people are going home tomorrow night. Ryan says there is an unprecedented amount of pressure on the contestants this week. I hope he means this season and not in the history of mankind. For instance, I’m guessing during WWII FDR was under more pressure than the people on this show. I can’t prove that or anything, but I’m pretty sure. The contestants emerge from behind the stage door and Anoop is wearing a very bright pink sweater. Adam looks like he is on his way to a 9-5 job wearing a full suit and tie. In an effort to shave off the extra minutes from last week the show has no mentor and no introduction videos before each song. I wonder if they will take out the itunes commercials to save even more time. All of the contestants leave the stage except for Lil, who must be up first.

Lil – I’m Every Woman

This song should be retired from every talent competition. When Lil picks a song like this it’s as if she isn’t really trying. She obviously picked the first and probably only song she recognized and figured ‘hey I can sing this so I guess I will.’ I wish she picked something we didn’t expect. Something no one would see her singing, and then sing it well. She got half of that formula right last week. She picked an unexpected song, but then sang it unexpectedly bad. Unless she has something in mind like changing up the melody, this performance is bound to fail. Her lengthening wigs are getting out of control. It’s the most obvious thing ever that she wears one, so why not let Ryan ask her about how she picks out her fake hair. She sounds pretty good, but she sounds like everyone else I’ve ever heard sing this song. She walks behind the judges and stands still for a moment, then she goes back to the stage. What was the point of her movement? She doesn’t really do anything except walk around. Rather than adding energy to the song her movements are just distracting. She is doing almost nothing unique with her vocals. This would have worked nicely on season one of Idol, but the show has changed. It’s no longer just about singing, it’s about how well you can create your own version of a song. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week, but to be successful with the judges you need to show you have your own vision. You must develop a style different from the original artist. Lil can sing and is a good performer, but she either has no musical curiosity or is a coward. She almost never takes any chances. Her closest attempt came last week when she tried to gospelize the ‘Rose’ and failed miserably. Her family is thrilled with her performance. I have a feeling when the judges are done talking they might not be so enthusiastic. Randy says she definitely got the party started, but she sounded so wild. Although she can sing, he doesn’t think she showed them what type of artist she wants to be, even though she can definitely sing. It was big and she danced, but he doesn’t think she demonstrated enough vocal control. Lil is not pleased, but she is composed and timid compared to her mother who is shouting something from her seat in the audience. Kara says she has been waiting for Lil to sing a song like this, but she isn’t sure it was worth the wait. She says Lil has been every other women on the stage but her self. Kara still doesn’t know what type of artist Lil would become. Paula says Lil was on vocal rest this week because she lost her voice, but she made a great recovery with her strong vocals. Paula says the reason this song was great is because the original artist tapped into her inner goddess. She says Lil was hot tonight, but didn’t reach the boiling point. Lil has gone from upset to sad. Simon says she looks so sad and she says she had fun tonight singing this song. Her mother gives her a standing ovation. Simon says he is glad she had fun because this should be the last week we ever see her. He says there was no originality and the vocals and arrangement were a mess. Ryan asks Lil what she is thinking and she believes she didn’t sound karaoke tonight. Lil also believes in the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, and the TARP program. Simon was extremely hard on her performance. Her only chance to stick around another week is if people try to annoy Simon by voting for her. It’s happened in the past and it wouldn’t be shocking if it happened again tomorrow night.

Kris – She Works Hard For Her Money

Kris gets a sit down with Ryan while he is holding his guitar. He was pretty worried about singing disco at first, but he feels comfortable with his song choice. He says the song has something to say since it’s about a woman…that works hard for her money. Kris is used to having an introduction video and sits there after Ryan makes the introduction. He is supposed to be walking to his spot on the stage but doesn’t realize it until Ryan tells him to get moving. While he is walking Ryan reminds everyone about the upcoming Idol tour. Wow, this is an interesting song arrangement. He is playing the acoustic guitar surrounded by a couple percussionist. He is doing a completely original version of this song. Hey Lil this is how you make a song new and relevant. Kris does not have the biggest voice, but he always manages to create his own unique blend of music and vocals. For some reason he is wearing dog tags. Lil’s vocals were probably better than Kris’s, but his performance is far superior. He almost runs into pitch issues near the end of the song, but he pulls it off. In a compare and contrast moment, when Adam had a band on stage with him and acknowledged them and shook some hands. Kris just stands there and looks cute as his backing band quickly leaves the stage. Kara starts things off, or tries to as the crowd keeps cheering, and says he took a real risk with his arrangement, but it paid off big time. He showed them something about himself with the song and she thinks it could go on his record. Paula says he had a Santana feel and then she goes off the tracks. She says a lot of women are known to shop in the men’s department, but there aren’t many men willing to shop in the women’s department. She says he shopped and found a perfect fit that showed his originality and why he is a contender in the competition. What? I have no idea what she is talking about. This is more confusing than when Kara talked about shopping earlier this season. Simon says he needs a translator to understand Paula and then she reiterates that Kris is known to shop in the ladies department. Simon joking asks if it’s for women’s underwear. He says Kris was a complete and total opposite to Lil. He was original and thought out and not karaoke. Simon doesn’t care if Kris buys or wears women’s underwear because he thinks the performance was fantastic. Randy doesn’t care what Kris buys and says to forget Paula and Simon because they are acting like they are in high school or even grade school. He loves that Kris knows who he is and he thinks he proved he is ready for the big time with that great arrangement. Kris looks like he wants to say something. Probably that he doesn’t like to wear women’s underwear, but Ryan is rushed for time and never gives him the chance. As they go to break Allison is wearing Danny’s glasses and he is pretending he can no longer see. Danny is obviously making fun of Scott now that he is off the show. His hatred for blind people cannot be tolerated and he should be kicked off the show immediately. Ok, not really, but I’m sure at least one overly sensitive person out there took offense to his antics.

Danny - September

Ryan advertises itunes while introducing Danny from up top with the band. Danny has the back up singers on the stage. I’m not saying Danny is cheesy, but he just signed a multi year endorsement deal with Kraft. He sounds better on the early verses tonight than normal. His hand of emotion is always a little distracting for me and tonight he is really using that hand. He is really belting out the notes. For all the Adam haters that don’t like it when he ‘screams,’ I hope they realize Danny screams a lot more than Adam, he just isn’t doing it at such a high pitch. He often sounds like his voice is reaching the breaking point, but it hasn’t failed him yet. He moves next to the back up singers and he then almost jogs down to the front of the stage. He has a fire background behind him. I guess because there are a lot of forest fires in the month of September. Maybe he will tell us after the performance that he met his wife in September. He doesn’t sound bad, but he is just going through the motions. This isn’t an original arrangement and even though he is adding his own interpretation to the vocals, compared to Kris’s new arrangement this feels a lot like a Lil performance. I wonder if the judges will be consistent and lament his lack of creativity. Vince Neil is in the audience. The lead singer of Motley Crew is sitting in the audience at American Idol. What is the world coming to these days? Randy starts things off by asking Danny to check it and then he says he was worried about this song choice. He says Danny turned this song, a song without much melodic range, into something that allowed him to work it out. Danny apparently has four sisters and they are all in the audience cheering for their brother. Kara says she was worried about Danny on disco night, but because he is an incredible vocalist his pitch is always right on and he never has any issues. She says he had another solid performance, and she hopes people remember him at the end of the night. Umm Kara? He never has issues? Did you really just say that? Have you ever heard him sing the beginning of a song? He almost always takes 30 seconds to find the right pitch. In fact I’m pretty sure you have pointed this out yourself at some point, so maybe you should go back and review your own comments from previous weeks before each show. Paula says she loves Danny’s voice because whenever she thinks he reached his limits he goes up even higher. Although he didn’t change the arrangement, she says he showed vocally his agility and brilliance. As a woman she thinks he has one of the sexiest voices ever. Yes Paula, in the history of the entire world, no one is more sexy than Danny. No hyperbole there at all. Simon says he agrees with what everybody says. Hmm so he thinks Danny has a sexy voice too? He cannot fault the vocals, but as a performance he didn’t get any star power from Danny. At this stage he thinks the contestants need to do something special and Danny was awkward and clumsy. Paula says she will still see Danny in the finals. Ryan says Danny was working late into the night on his performance. Does that mean no one else worked late into the night Ryan?

Allison – Hot Stuff

Wasting no time, the stage behind Ryan and Danny opens and Allison is sitting on a red lighted staircase. She is being as seductive as the show will allow for a 16 year old. She is doing an arrangement different from the original. Her version is more rock than disco. This song has a little grunge feel at times. She sounds good using her rock voice. She looks comfortable and unforced on stage. Like Danny, she gets the fire background. I guess it makes sense since fire is indeed hot stuff. The song gets a little corny near the end, but she salvages an otherwise lackluster finish with a wonderful glory note. She looks pretty content with herself when she is done singing. Randy says he has two things. For him personally he didn’t like the over indulgent arrangement, but he thinks she is one of the best singers in the competition and he doesn’t care how old she is because she can really sing. Kara also wasn’t crazy about the arrangement. She thinks the song was too slow, but this was the right song for Allison. She agrees with Randy that Allison is one of the best singers and vocally she says it was a 9 or a 10. Finally, Kara says something useful. I wish more judges would tell us what they thought of the vocals when they didn’t like the arrangement. Instead they normally spend their allotted time complaining about the arrangement and never say anything about how well the person sang. Paula says the word compromise does not belong in her musical vocabulary. She loved Allison’s edginess and authenticity and thinks she hit the last note off the charts. Simon says she was going into this week as an underdog, but taking everything into account he calls her performance brilliant. Ryan speeds through the numbers and Allison looks a little shocked Simon gave her the most praise. As they go to commercial Adam is in the middle of a girl filled mosh pit.

Adam – If I Can’t Have You

Someone in the audience is holding up a homemade Adam Lambert disco poster. Ryan talks to Adam about disco night. Since Adam has already done a disco song earlier in the season he wanted a song he could connect with emotionally tonight. He is standing on a darkened stage with a single spotlight shining from above. He is in his upper range and sounds fantastic. When he goes into the chorus he opens up his voice and seamlessly transitions from his quiet voice into the voice his critics call the ‘screaming’ voice, but it’s not screaming when you are hitting the exact pitch. It’s not screaming if you never lose control of your voice. He is a pitcher throwing a 99 mph fastball compared to Danny’s 65 mph knuckleball, but he has more control and finesse than Danny. He is really connecting emotionally with the song and unlike Danny, he doesn’t need to use the hand of emotion to guide the audience on his musical journey. He has the ability to connect to the lyrics without doing anything dramatic. He just stands still and sings the song while emotion pours through his voice. This season is shaping up as a Danny v. Adam showdown, which is exactly what it might be in the finals. And, the show will in fact go down every time Danny is on stage. He ends the song on a perfectly in pitch subtle falsetto note. When he is finished Simon is actually clapping. Adam’s dad is in the audience wearing a tee shirt and a pair of shorts – way to dress up big guy. Randy says one of the things that should be happening at this stage in the competition is the contestants should be showing off their range. Some weeks Adam does the rock thing, sometimes the slow vibe and he thinks Adam is ready right now dude. He says Adam has it majorly going on and is a hot one tonight. Kara says he is brilliant and ups it for her every week. She says he looks like the guy from SNL meets Clark Kent. I have no idea what that means. Maybe after the show Kara and Paula can twitter what they meant to say on the show and give explanations and a glossary for easy reference. She says he was inspiring the way he connected to the emotion. Paula says she has never questioned her visceral response when he performance. She felt his pain and vulnerability as if he tore his heart out and left it on the stage. She calls him fascinating, brilliant, and awesome, and predicts he will be in the finals. Simon didn’t quite feel the pain. He would have bet 10,000 dollars Adam would sing a Donna Summers song, but he didn’t, and that’s what makes him special. He does things the judges do not expect. He loved the performance because it was original, memorable, and most importantly the vocals were immaculate. Adam interrupts Ryan to give credit to Michael Orland for helping him with the arrangement; another classy move by Adam. Michael is the piano player for Idol that everyone recognizes, but no one knows his name. Adam did not have to give him any credit. There is no Youtube video out there of Orland doing this version of the song that might come back to haunt Adam if he didn’t give he credit, but he did it anyway. He is easily the best of the night.

Matt – Staying Alive

Matt is going all-in with his song choice. It’s like singing the national anthem; everyone has heard the song and will know if he misses a note. If he is ‘molten lava hot’ he can elevate himself as a serious contender, but if he is only lukewarm he might make the people at home regret the judges’ save. Ryan sells itunes while walking through the audience introducing Matt. He is using an arrangement different from the original. It has a Maroon 5 feel to it with the accented drum and guitar parts. Matt is sans piano and moving around the stage. However, he is not in falsetto on the verses. Why select this song (perhaps the most famous falsetto song in history) if you cannot handle the verses in falsetto? It’s like remaking Star Wars without any special effects. He sounds ok in his normal voice until he throws in some falsetto notes near the end of the verses and it does not sound good; he is completely off pitch for a few notes. He is doing his best to stay alive. He is adding a lot of movement trying to infuse the performance with his own energy. Every time he goes into his falsetto (which isn’t enough) it just points out how he isn’t using it on the verses. He is trying so hard, but he just isn’t getting the job done. Not even standing next to the back up singers Danny-style is working. Matt’s finale attempt at salvation is not quite a train wreck, but the train does come off the track. He adds an unnecessary riff that is a mess and dare I say self-indulgent. Matt’s family and friends learned their lesson last week and are standing this time. Randy asks Matt to check it out and starts with the bad stuff. He didn’t like the song choice or the arrangement, but he says Matt can really sing. He calls the Top 7 one of the most talented groups in the show’s history. Kara says he brought the disco groove back. She really liked to see him move and she thought the vocals were pretty good, but not crazy original like Adam’s performance. Paula says Matt picks songs like she bowls, sometimes it’s a gutter ball sometimes a strike. She calls it a strike tonight and says he saved his own life this week. Simon didn’t like his performance because he thinks Matt needs to leave Idol land. He says the performance was a bit desperate. He says the vocals weren’t great and Matt lacked originality.

Anoop – Dim All The Lights

Ryan takes a sip of Kara’s drink before he introduces Anoop. The Noop dawg is growing out a goatee. Nothing compliments a pink sweater like facial hair. He is going ballad tonight, but I think this is a mistake; he should be singing something up-tempo and having a good time. He sounds pretty good. The song gets a little faster and he kneels down and touches some audience hands. He hits a big power note halfway through the song and he sounds great. There is no doubt Anoop is a good singer, but despite some pitch perfect vocals this is a boring performance. He has a Lil feel to him, by that I mean he is singing all the right notes but has no emotional connection with the song. This is a ‘so what’ performance. He nearly makes it through the entire song without any mistakes until he reaches the end and butchers the final note. You never ever want to end a song like that since you know the judges are going to remember how you finished, not how you started. Randy says the last note was rough, but he is really happy because even though he didn’t like the arrangement, Anoop can sing. Randy is amazed by this season’s Top 7. He is happy to hear Anoop’s vocals and says nice baby nice. Anoop’s parents are happy with the dawg’s comments. Kara thought it was a great song choice and really liked the beat. She thinks something like this song could be on the radio. She says the last two weeks have been his best performances. His parents are even happier now. They have come out of their shell compared to the early weeks when they hardly showed emotion. Paula is talking about Anoop’s look, specifically his new facial hair. She says real men know how to wear pink. She says no one can deny his vocals and she felt Anoop was enjoying himself when the song picked up the pace, but she wants him to smile even more since he has great teeth. Simon, again disagrees with his fellow judges. He says it was mediocre at best. He prayed the tempo didn’t speed up, but it did. He says this was a horrible version of the song and in general his worst performance this season. Anoops parents look more amused than upset, in fact his mother is laughing at the crazy British man that just insulted her son.


Lil is still every woman because she sang the song exactly the same as every other woman who has ever sang it in the history of the universe. Kris is still original and entertaining. Danny is still bad for your cholesterol. Allison is still hot stuff baby this evening. Adam is still the most controlled vocalist in this show’s history. Matt is still not staying alive, in fact he might be Idol dead soon. Anoop is still better than Matt or Lil tonight.

Well, disco night wasn’t nearly as bad as some seasons. Maybe next season they will go all out and have a disco country night featuring the best songs of country music done disco style. Simon might take some of Paula’s pills before he sat through those performances.

Three contestants should be safe tomorrow night. Adam delivered another emotionally charged performance continuing his trend of fast songs followed by slow ones. It must have been hard for him to stay away from the fast paced disco numbers, but he didn’t break from his master plan. Kris continues his strong assent into the top three. He began his journey into the Top 12 (then Top 13) defying expectations by advancing from his group. Besides Adam, he is clearly the most original contestant each week. He usually takes chances and thinks outside the Idol box. The fact he is dreamy cute and has a large percentage of the teenage girls locked up solidifies his standing as a true contender. Danny is Danny. He has very little versatility and still struggles when he doesn’t shout his song. But, the judges love him and so do all the red staters sitting at home thinking about Danny and his deceased wife. There was a group of girls in the audience in Danny’s family and friend section. I wonder if the Idol producers put the Danny’s sisters caption underneath the girls lest anyone at home think he has a girlfriend in the audience. If the producers ever decide they want to get rid of Danny we’ll know when we see a girl in the audience with the following caption underneath her: “The girl Danny is sleeping with because he no longer loves his dead wife.”

Allison sang well and should be safe, but her fan base might not be big enough to keep her safe. The other four contestants could all be in serious danger. Two of the four will be going home and neither of them will be saved no matter how much they beg. The judges lambasted Lil, and unless the public rallies behind the only remaining diva, she will be going home. I think the rally will fall short and she will soon be at home with all her children and her wigs. Matt’s fans were terrified last week until their boy was saved, and they will vote vote vote to keep him safe. The extra voting should keep him safe, but it will not keep him out of the bottom three. That means Anoop is not only the final member of the bottom three, he is also the second person going home. This is the first week this season where anything can happen. It wouldn’t be a shock if Allison and Matt went home instead. The drama should make for a fun, perhaps sad night.

Monday, April 20, 2009


With Sarver, Scott, and Megan now watching comfortably from home, the show has lost all of its ‘why are they still here’ Idol hopefuls. Everyone left, yes even Anoop, has a decent level of talent and at least one ‘hey this person could make the finals’ moment. Of course for Lil and Anoop those moments came before they even reached the Top 13. Lately, Adam has a ‘moment’ every week and the judges always ensure the public believes Danny also has moments. Allison, Kris, and Matt have been up and down each week, but it wouldn’t be shocking if one of them slipped into the Finals. For the first time this season I have no idea who should go home this week. Could this be the week the judges finally use their ‘save’ power? If the power only applies until we reach the top 5 this is their penultimate chance. It is perhaps a little fortuitous Scott left before we entered Movie Theme week. We are saved the awkward moment when Scott tells Quentin he is one of his biggest fans.

Ryan says the Idols have dominated the small screen but now they go big time taking on the music from the movies under the watchful eye of a legend. The so-called legend, Quentin gets the honor of announcing, “this…is American Idol.” Quentin has had some good movies and is always a great interview, but legend might be going a little too far. Is this the best mentor available? Is a guy that cannot even sing and never produced an album the best Idol can find? Any chance Fox is distributing his new movie? Idol never does anything without cross promotion involved so I’m guessing somehow his inclusion helps make them money. This is another wide-open theme that gives the contestants a huge universe of available songs. A big universe often leads to song choice disasters so we might have a couple train wrecks tonight. Ryan is using the new opening from last week that replaced the new opening they used the first several weeks. Gone is the voice of god guy and the judges’ grand arrival through the stage door. Ryan flies down the stairs and introduces the band, which for some reason is down on the stage tonight. In an ironic twist, Ricky, the lead musician on the show got sick of being high, so they put him next to the contestants. Ryan introduces a very colorful Randy by calling him the one and only vibrant congenial yellow striped Randy Jackson. He calls Kara provocative. If provocative means bad at math and a time consuming distraction, then yes Ryan used that word correctly. He calls Paula hot and Simon legendary. Ryan is just throwing out the legend word tonight. How long until he says Kris is a legend? Ryan says tonight is historic; after overrunning their allotted time last week the judges will now talk only two at a time. Simon says the show ran over last week because of the girls talking too much. I wish someone would go back and review every episode and see how much in minutes and seconds each judge has talked on air this season. And if the person is a big enough nerd they can also calculate how many of those minutes were spent giving positive comments. This is one of many new stupid changes the show is trying this season. Let me get this straight, Idol has so little control over themselves they cannot regulate the judges’ comments to ensure the show squeezes in under an hour? Every week when they get short on time the judges manage to fly through their comments with no trouble. Why not use the same approach tonight? I’d rather hear all four judges say something quickly than two judges providing a detailed opinion. If we are so pressed for time why not remove the mentor portion of the show. Do we really need to see Quentin working with each contestant? Maybe the show is thinking ahead for life after Simon and getting us used to not hearing him talk after every person sings. Steve Van Zandt is in the audience. He is wearing his E Street Band clothing, not the Soprano stuff. If we get lucky maybe he could kill off one of the judges. Ryan walks behind all the Idols giving them shoulder massages and comforting words like, “we got to work tonight baby.” They play an extended introduction for Quentin, which reminds everyone he has only had a few successful movies, but it’s ok because he is a legend, right Ryan. Ok this show is incredibly short on time, so short the judges cannot all talk after a contestant sings, but they have the time to show this video? Really? We are approaching ten minutes into this time pressed show and no one has starting singing! Next time you are so short on time cut out the introduction video for the mentor, especially when they are a legend and need no introduction. Quentin explains how the theme is about the combination of music in the movies and says he will give them performance tips if he has any.

Allison – Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing

She is following in the footsteps of last season’s Idol winner singing a song that should be retired into the ‘awesome song but overdone’ assisted living facility. Quentin says she wasn’t quite at a performance level when she ran through her song. He sat down in front of her and made her sing the song again. He thinks on performance night she will do a great job and belt it out. So his great advice to her was to sit in a chair in front of her and make her sing the song a second time. Wow, it’s pretty hard getting expert advice like that without paying the big bucks. What next he is going to lay down on the couch while someone sings? The song begins with the string section taking the melody. Allison is wearing an Adam like fingerless glove on her right hand. The lighting and the screen behind her are all red making her hair almost blend into the background. She changes up the melody a little on the verses. The background looks more and more like a giant lava lamp. She saunters her way in front of the judges as she approaches the chorus. She even reaches out and touches the hand of one of her adoring fans. What happens if the fan pulls her into the mosh pit. Please someone make this happen one week. For some reason when she nears the big finish the lighting turns white. She almost has a few pitch problems near the end, but avoids anything major. The big glory note is almost out of her range, but she manages to hit it with sufficient power. She gets a little shouty on the final few notes but this is her only real chance to add any originality to the song. This is a pretty good performance of an overdone song. I wish she did something different with the arrangement to make it a little fresher. Is that Katie Couric in the audience smiling and clapping? Paula says she has vocally championed Adam since day one, but tonight she noticed for the first time she has the same special sauce he does – her authenticity. Special sauce? You need to describe her singing and you use a condiment reference? Simon hears the word sauce and immediately throws out the word barbeque in the background. She doesn’t care if Allison is 16 or 60, she is an uncompromising remarkable and talented young lady. So we only get two judges talking about Allison and the first one barely manages anything about the actual performance. Simon continues the sauce talk and confirms the sauce is barbeque because Allison is hot and spicy. He thinks she is the only girl with a chance to make the Finals. She is getting more confident and stronger. He doesn’t think he’s ever heard a girl sing this song as well. He predicts we could see her all the way through to the end now. Allison seems more confused by Simon’s praise than happy. Maybe tonight is an attempt to get America used to Simon not always talking after each contestant. If he is leaving the show anytime soon we might have to deal without his acerbic wit permanently and not just after every other contestant. Normally going first is an easy way to slip into the bottom three, but with only 7 contestants left on an hour long show, going first isn’t that much of a hindrance.

Anoop – Everything I Do

As always, everything we hear tonight is available on itunes. Anoop, who apparently has no imagination, is singing a song everyone under the age of 60 probably has memorized. Quentin was a little concerned with Anoop’s song selection at first, but he told him to rough up the song and then changed his opinion. He wants Anoop to over emphasis certain words to give the song more dramatic effect. Anoop always sounds like he is starting the song in too high a key. For some reason there is a large red circle on the stage around Anoop. He is following Quentin’s advice and changing up the melody a little. He sounds surprisingly good. This song doesn’t allow for too many melodic changes, but he is making enough to avoid sounding like a bad Bryan Adams. He is adding a few too many riffs on the word ‘you (since when is you an 8 syllable word),’ but this is actually working. Dare I say Anoop dawg is rocking a slow song? For some reason Anoop likes to sing the sometimes boring love ballads instead of the more upbeat songs. Just because he cannot sing fast Michael Jackson and Usher songs doesn’t mean he should avoid the fast stuff completely. He is avoiding any major pitch issues while somehow emotionally connecting with the song. All too often Anoop uses dramatic facial expressions to convey how emotional the song is instead of using his voice; tonight he is avoiding this mistake and if finding a happy mixture. This might be his best performance all season. Since only two judges are going to talk about Anoop, it will probably be Kara and Randy since Simon and Paula just spoke. Anoop is barely staying on the show and he finally gives a good performance and he doesn’t get the benefit of Simon giving him praise. Maybe Simon would find a way to criticize Anoop, but I think even he might like Anoop-dawg tonight. Paula, well it goes without saying (see normally when people use that expression they then say what they said doesn’t need to be said, but not me, you can figure it out yourself). The crowd isn’t booing, it’s Nooping. Although some weeks I think they were actually booing. Randy affectionately says Anoop dawg is in the house. He was worried when he learned Anoop was doing this song, but the last couple weeks Anoop has found his zone and is rocking the house. He thinks Anoop was in tune, filled with emotion, and did a really great job. Kara says Anoop found his place – pop songs with a little soul infused. She says this was one of Anoops best performances. She felt connected to his singing and really liked his changes to the melody. Ryan asks Anoop what he was thinking about while he sang the song, but Anoop says he cannot reveal the source of his inspiration. I bet he was thinking about Danny’s deceased wife.

Adam – Born To Be Wild

He is easy riding tonight and hopes to give the song an electronic vibe. Quentin says he is looking forward to hearing Adam’s version of the song and Adam, who apparently hasn’t decided how to change it yet, says he is too. Quentin says Adam is the real deal and Quentin doesn’t appear to offer any advice to Adam. I guess he didn’t feel the need to tell Adam to come out of his shell a little. Adam begins the song with his back to the audience standing in front of a lightning bolt filled background. You can already tell the Adam haters will not like his upbeat song. Adam skips his way to the center of the stage. He is wearing his fingerless gloves again and through the first two verses he is keeping the song pretty close to the original. Then, as he approaches the chorus and he runs over to the band (I think more than any other contestant he loves having the band on stage next to him) and the song morphs into a head banging interlude. Adam jumps back and forth between the keyboard player and the back up singers. Seriously, the band has to enjoy playing for him. If you could play your instrument on a slow and dreary dead wife dedicated Danny ballad or an Adam ‘experience’ wouldn’t you prefer the latter? I’m sure there are some bikers listening right now not approving of Adam’s alterations to their theme song. He is really changing things up now on his second run through the verses. Instead of singing the normal straight melody he is starting low on a verse and going a little higher on every word until he reaches the apex then going a little lower on every note until he reaches the end of the verse. This is how you make a song your own without totally destroying the original song. He screams (in pitch) his way into the next pass through the chorus and the drummer is having a lot of fun bashing away on Adam’s new arrangement. I wonder if they put the band on the stage specifically for this number. His final note is higher than Keith Richards. He finishes his performance on his knees belting it out with everything he’s got. The crowd erupts. You get the feeling every one was expecting a loud fast number from Adam tonight. Most of the clapping people have a ‘holy crap’ look on their face. Paula tries to talk but then cedes to the screaming girls that need to voice their approval for Adam a little longer (they do know he is probably gay right). Paula tells him he should take it all in. She says the reason he is shaking up this competition is he dares to dance in the path of greatness. Even though he probably has no idea what the heck she is talking about he thanks her. General rule – anytime someone says greatness to you say thanks. Paula says fortune rewards the brave and she thinks Adam is one of the bravest contestants she’s ever witnessed. Simon says Adam needs to learn how to express himself a little more. Vocally, Simon thinks he was incredibly, but on a down note, he felt parts of it felt like the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Since this is one of the biggest rock songs of all time Simon predicts a large portion of the audience will despise his changes to the song. He doesn’t’ think the performance will be as popular as his performance last week. Ryan asks Simon if he liked the performance and Simon says yes, but not as much as last week; last week he was more original and current in Simon’s opinion. Ryan jokes with Adam that he should work on coming out of his shell. I agree with Simon. Anytime Adam takes a chance with a classic song he is bound to annoy part of the audience. Danny isn’t nearly as talented as Adam, but no one hates him when he sings. How can you hate something that doesn’t’ force you to think and borders on boring. Danny’s singing would be played on an elevator because although some people might not love it, no one would hate his singing. If Adam really wants to win this competition he needs to show his softer side every other week like he has been doing. He is following the Tom Cruise model. He usually does a big blockbuster movie followed by a small independent feature. Therefore he gets to ‘act’ and make lots of money. We still don’t know which is the real Adam. Does he prefer doing the fast paced number of the slow break your heart ballads? Maybe he likes doing both and will make an album that touches on several different styles and genres. He is a walking contradiction at times. He dresses like an emo rocker and spends hours on his fashion sense. He constantly talks about being new and modern, but every time Idol provides him a wide-open universe of songs to select, he usually picks something older. He keeps going back to the 60’s for his material with a few trips to the 70s and 80s. His most recent song came during Michael Jackson week. I would like to hear how he alters an already modern song to fit his style. Adam is safe tomorrow because if he somehow got the lowest votes you know the judges would use their save.

Matt – Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman

He gets a sit down with Ryan on the stools of knowledge. Ryan asks him about the judging the last few weeks and how confident he is tonight. Matt says it varies but this week he picked a song he loves and it should work because he is going back to the keys. The Idol piano guy gets a break when Matt works with Quentin since he can play his own piano. Matt thinks this is one of the most beautifully written songs. Quentin warns Matt not to lose the enunciation of the lyrics when he riffs and growls. He thinks Matt is giving the song a completely different feel. Quentin says Matt could have one of his top three performances. Matt begins the song playing the piano with no backing. He runs into his first pitch problem before he finishes the first verse. Well he isn’t sounding copycat right now, but it’s because Bryan Adam hits the right pitches. The band joins Matt and he stays at the piano. He is actually playing the piano really well tonight, probably his best piano moment so far. He jumps into his falsetto note, but struggles a little to hit it with sufficient power leaving his back up singer as the dominant voice. Uh oh, the bridge is a mess. He is trying to do a few vocal riffs and he loses the right pitch and then struggles for several moments to find it again. That sound you hear is the train going off the tracks. On the final note he goes a little flat before he fades out with just the piano. His family isn’t even standing for him. Guys, he is your boy, STAND UP FOR HIM NO MATTER HOW BAD YOU THINK HE SOUNDED. IF YOU DO NOT THINK HE IS WORTH STANDING UP THEN WHY SHOULD WE VOTE FOR HIM? A laughing Randy says the performance started out kinda cool, but then hit a rough patch in the bridge. He lost the melody and went off pitch. He cautions Matt not to do ‘all that stuff’ with a song that has a beautiful melody. He says Matt fell down more than he won on the song and it wasn’t one of his best performances. Kara, who wants to put everyone in a box, says there is a struggle for Matt between rock and soul songs. Some weeks he really nails the song choice, and then he tries to put too much soul into a rock song and takes away some of the core melodies that make the song great. She says if he flips a song like that he has to make it a master piece. Randy says the only way you can soul up a rock song is to make it perfect on every run. A non-glasses wearing Danny waves as they go to commercial. I just realized Danny without his glasses looks a little creepy.

Danny – Endless Love

Danny gets the second sit down stool love of the night with Ryan. He tells Ryan he bought a guitar because he gets bored. Ryan wonders how he has time to get bored and Danny never answers him and instead talks about the Idol tour. He says he will not break out the guitar on the show anytime soon. Was this entire ‘interview’ just a way to advertise the Idol tour? Quentin is a big fan of Danny’s vocals. Danny says this song touches his heart the most out of all the songs he has done so far. Wait a minute Danny hold up. Isn’t every song you sing touching you emotionally? I mean all but a few were dedicated to your deceased wife so shouldn’t they all touch you the same? Or, are you just scared that Adam is better than you and know your only chance to beat the emo rocker is to pull on America’s heart strings as often as possible. Why don’t you find a song called ‘My Wife is Dead’ and sing that one instead. Quentin tells Danny that he is showing his emotions through his eyes. He wants Danny to stick his hands in his pockets and convey his emotions through his eyes and not his hands. Maybe that’s why he isn’t wearing his glasses tonight. Danny is sitting on a stool still using his hands to emote. He sounds a little weak on the verses. As always, he just doesn’t sound too good unless he is really belting out the notes. He stands up at a totally random point in the song (contrast with Adam who stood up last week right as he hit a big power note and the song changed course) and grips the microphone with both hands. This is Danny in full sincere mode. He sounds better when he gets into the louder parts. He is still using his hand of emotion. Dude put that thing in your pocket. He is not doing anything original with the song, but then again Danny rarely does anything creative. His big creative moment last week came when he did the 1980s version of ‘Stand by Me’ that destroyed the classic song. So maybe he is better if he just sings the copycat version. He looks very sad while he sings the song and looks towards the heavens when he hits the last note. Is it wrong to point out his love with his wife wasn’t endless? Sure their love will go on, but the relationship is over now unless he sees his dead wife Grey’s Anatomy style. Although his vocals were good most of the song, this is pretty boring. His family and friends are standing (take lessons Matt’s friends) and they all look sad instead of happy. At least no one is holding up any pictures, but you know they have them in their pocket just in case they need to whip them out. Paula says she wasn’t sure at first if Danny should be singing in a lower key, but midway through the timbre of his voice became magical and he was unique and unforgettable. She says he grabs them in the beginning, wows them in the middle, and slays then in the end. Wait, you just said he wasn’t that good in the beginning, so how did he manage to grab you with his subpar vocals? Simon says he cannot fault the way Danny sang the song because he is a brilliant singer, but he is disappointed they heard the original version of the song. He was a bit bored Danny didn’t do more with the song like David Cook did with a Lionel Richie song last season. The crowd boos and Simon suddenly remembers the dead wife and says he knows this song means a lot to Danny personally and was hard to sing. He congratulates him for overcoming the intense emotions. 30 years from now will people be attending Danny concerts and still crying for him about his dead wife? When does the sympathy party end and the vocal competition begin? Hopefully if he finds love again he will steer clear of one legged British women – they cannot be trusted.

Kris – Falling Slowly

When they return from commercial Ryan is sitting in Randy’s seat and Randy is trying to get back to his chair but Simon will not let him pass. I guess he doesn’t know the magic word. Ryan does a very bad Randy impersonation while selling itunes. For some reason Randy’s shirt, which looks like something out of a new Star Trek series is growing on me, I wonder where you buy something like that, maybe the pet store. Kris looks like a midget next to Quentin. The tall one thinks he captured the spirit of tonight the most by picking song from a movie that meant something to him. Quentin thinks he will do well with or without an instrument. Kris is sans guitar and in full emoting mood. He is having a little trouble enunciating in the lower range of his vocals and we lose a few words. He is missing the right pitch a little on the first verse. I think because he is singing too low for his voice. He must be going high at some point otherwise he shouldn’t start the song this low. A back up singer joins Kris and they are harmonizing well. He hits a falsetto note in pitch and is sounding really good right now. The back up singer and him must have practice a bunch; this is the best pairing of Idol in back up singer in recent memory, they sound great together. His vocals are really good tonight, but there is something missing from his performance. Maybe the song is not big enough for a ‘moment’ or his voice is too small to blow me away. Whatever the reason, he is just short of an amazing performance and instead never leaves the good but not great zone. Randy says for him for Kris it never quite caught on for him. He loves the song, but for him it was pitchy form note one for him. Kara says it is difficult singing such an obscure song, but for her it was one of his best moments. An excited Paula grabs Kara by her shoulder. I guess she liked Kris too. If only we got to hear her comments too, but that would mean we’d have to give up that cool introduction video about Quentin and let’s face it, he is the only reason we are all watching tonight right?

Lil – The Rose

Ryan is in the mosh pit next to a random nerdy looking guy. Why is the mosh pit always made up of a bunch of attractive teenage girls and one or two random guys that look out of place. I’m guessing the guys are children of Fox executives or something. Quentin is a big fan of Lil and was thrilled to hear her sing. She took the song more gospel at the mid point, but Quentin wants her to commit more to the original verse in the first half as much as she commits to the gospel middle. Lil is either using a wig every week or some combination of chia pet and miracle grow to get these elaborate hairstyle variations. She is singing the song with only a piano accompaniment. She sounds good yes, but not good enough to sing this song. She tries to take the song in a Mary J. direction, but her big gospel moment isn’t gospel enough. This song should be filled with emotion but she is just going through the motions, not the emotions. She needs to watch Mary J. sing a song prancing around the stage stomping her foot becoming part of the song. Lil doesn’t know how to reach those inner emotions, which leaves the song feeling lifeless and boring no matter how good her vocals sound. I have no idea why she thought Bette Midler was the way to ‘gospel out.’ Is this song over yet? She finishes her mediocre performance barely hitting the big falsetto note and then ends it quickly when she doesn’t appear to have enough breath support to hold out an extending finish. Despite all her talent, she just cannot figure out how to put together a complete performance. Paula says the lyrics were beautiful and she is sure that sometimes the road is really long, but it’s a worthwhile road when you’ve made it this far. What? That made no sense Paula. At least tell us how you think she performed. Ok new plan next time they are afraid the show might run long, let every judge except Paula talk. Simon has no idea what Paula is talking about and then tears into Lil. He says the song was too soft and middle of the road and despite a few nice moments he doesn’t believe she is the artist they discovered 8 weeks ago. Uh oh Lil is verging on going ethnic on Simon. She asks Ryan if she can respond (haven’t you been paying attention Lil there isn’t enough time for all the judges to talk let alone time for you to talk back). He tells her to be quick. She says when she heard this song she put her own gospel into the song and she thinks it was really good. She says she honestly put an R&b feel into the song and then out of nowhere Paula says, “Don’t ever be afraid to say what you feel Lil, those that matter don’t mind.” What does that even mean? Maybe Paula is just smarter than anyone and years from now we will quote her unique insights to make sense of the world. Ryan quickly gives out Lil’s numbers and rushes into the video recap. She is lucky Simon didn’t have time to verbally berate her attempt at creativity.

Final Thoughts

Allison is still straining on the high notes. Anoop is still surprisingly good and should stick with songs from white Canadians from now on. Adam is still born to be wild. Matt is still more Chris Richardson than Justin Timberlake. Danny’s wife is still dead, but his love is endless. Kris is still interesting and so close having a moment. Lil is still a stem without a rose. Ryan manages to get the show in just a little over their allotted time and promises both Miley Cyrus and Jennifer Hudson tomorrow night.

Tonight was probably the first ‘no one really sucked tonight’ episode since last season. Not coincidentally, it’s also the first episode without Scott and Megan. The Top 7 is very talented but one contestant stands out as far and away the best – Lil. Ok just kidding, in fact she is the exact opposite. Adam ‘rocked out’ tonight and again had a moment. Every time he sings he has a moment. Even his not well-received ‘Ring of Fire’ created a huge buzz and crowd reaction. This season is shaping up as a replay of last season where the creative and original David C. went against the family friendly loveable David A. The teenage girls love them some Adam, so when Kris and Matt make their exits he should gather up their remaining votes and become powerful enough to slay the Danny ‘my wife is still dead’ Gokey. Allison started off the show strong and got the Simon seal of approval and Kris is just so darn cute; both of them should avoid the bottom three. Therefore, Lil, Anoop (he does not deserve to be here), and Matt will face danger, with Lil eventually going home to all her children. Since tonight has 7 contestants left Ryan should implement the standard ‘make one person pick which group of three is safe’ routine. Since whichever group has Adam and Danny in it will be safe, they will have to put them each in a different group of three. I’m guessing they put Adam, Lil, and Matt in one group with Danny, Anoop, and Kris in the other group. Allison will be the final person and Ryan will tell her she is safe but must pick which group of three is also safe. If she is smart she will avoid making a choice and Ryan will then ‘change things up’ and tell Adam to switch with Anoop giving us our first glimpse of the bottom three. Since Lil has struggled for weeks finding her true identity, I don’t think the judges will use their save to keep her around any longer.