American Idol: Judges try hard to crown Adam

We are rolling down the hill toward the “American Idol” finale, and the judges last night were over-impressed with one Adam Lambert on a night when I thought he was good, but not nearly as good as the judges’ collective frothing at the mouth indicated. Here is how it went down…

First of all, I’m quite sure that in previous seasons at this stage, they showed the three finalists going to their hometown with a whole montage on that before performing, but this time they shortened the show to an hour and though I haven’t looked at the listings, I’m expecting a longer results show tonight. But anyway, each contestant would sing something a judge or judges picked for them, and another song of their choice.

Danny Gokey went first and the song was Paula Abdul’s selection of Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Dance Little Sister.” Not a bad choice at all, with the tone and funky chorus that is right in Gokey’s wheelhouse. The problem is that the song never really goes anywhere, but Danny did a fine job with it. Randy said it was “dope,” Kara said the song was in Danny’s money spot but that she didn’t like the dancing, Paula said she was proud of Danny, and that she as a choreographer DID like his dancing (say what?), and Simon agreed with Kara but said it was a good vocal.

Kris Allen was next, and since there are now four judges, Kara and Randy tag-teamed on this one, picking One Republic’s “Apologize.” Kris played it painfully safe, sitting at the piano and doing a good job with it, but wowing positively no one. I was bummed that they kind of gave him a lame choice. Randy said the song fits who Kris can be, Kara liked the choice but wished Kris would have changed up the arrangement and said it wasn’t a home run, Paula said she understood the song choice and that she was proud, and Simon thought it was too copycat and he gave Kara a really hard time about Kara giving Kris a hard time about the arrangement of a song she chose for him. Ha!

Adam Lambert had U2’s “One,” chosen by Simon Cowell after Cowell received the personal permission necessary from Bono to let Adam perform the song. I can feel the pressure of Cowell’s and Bono’s big heads swelling from here. Get over yourselves. Anyway, it went from subtle to screamy and I am being totally honest when I say I thought it was all over the place. More exciting than Kris but for me, not quite as good as Danny. Randy said Adam is in the zone but he didn’t like the way he changed up the melody, Kara said it was “unbelievable,” Paula said it was “One brilliant song” and that she is looking at “One American Idol.” So basically Paula was handing Adam the crown. Whatever. Simon of course said it was a brilliant song choice and a brilliant performance. Whatever.

Then after a segment about “Idol Gives Back” with Carrie Underwood going to Africa, it was back to business.

Danny went first, and his choice was Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful,” which Randy appropriately pointed out was written by the late, great Billy Preston. It was a cool arrangement, and for me, this was Danny’s one moment….I think he showed with this performance that he is very capable of winning it all. Randy said Danny “can really sing!” Kara said it was “stunning,” Paula said she was “breathless,” and Simon said that while he didn’t love the arrangement, it was a “vocal master class.” Well said.

Kris then stunned the entire world by taking on Kanye West’s “Heartless.” Say WHAT? But as he’s done before, Kris strapped on a guitar and completely re-did the arrangement, making it one of his best performances this season at a time when he desperately needed it. Randy was blown away, saying it was better than the original, Kara said it was bold, brave and fearless, Paula said it was brave and “relevant,” and Simon said that he had written Kris off, but that after that performance he gave him a shot to make it one more week.

Adam closed out the night with Aerosmith’s “Cryin’,” probably remembering that Kara preferred the new, more schmaltzy Aerosmith to the drunken rock star Aerosmith of the “Dream On” and Toys in the Attic days. Not a bad choice, but somewhat safe at this point, because it was a good performance, but not nearly a “Whole Lotta Love” moment for me. Naturally, the judges touted Adam’s brilliance again. Randy said it was one of his best ever and that he was a true rock star, Kara said “see you at the finals,” Paula went on about, “If Steven Tyler was a mentor, blah blah blah.” And Simon said it’s easy to assume that Adam will reach the final 2 and that we shouldn’t crown him just yet, but that with his showing tonight, he truly deserves to be here next Tuesday. I’m not going that far.

So here is what we’ve got…..Danny was decent on his opener, phenomenal on his second song….Kris was mediocre on his opener, phenomenal on his second effort….and Adam was pitchy and screamy on his first song, and decent on his closer. By my accounts, Danny is safe, and and despite what the judges said, Kris and Adam are going to duke it out for that second spot. I wouldn’t be so sure America is giving Adam a free pass….because America loves Kris and he has many pimps like me. But if Kris goes home, I could totally see that happening too.

So what’ll it be America? What do you think? I’m going to make a bold prediction here…Adam is going home. Remember you read it here!

  

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