“American Idol” is really heating up, as we’re now getting down to the real talent, and this season boasts at least five and maybe seven with a serious chance to win it all. Last night after the ridiculous booming voice introductions and the annoying banter between Ryan Seacrest and Simon Cowell that just never seems to end, the nine remaining contestants were asked to sing anything they wanted, so long as it was a popular iTunes download. Pretty easy, right? Well, not when there are a few singers in this thing who just simply don’t get the art of song choice. Some do, though, and they do in a big way. But more on that in a minute. Here is your Top 9 America, in my take of the good, the in-between, and the bad:
THE REALLY GOOD
Danny Gokey has an amazing ability to connect with the audience, and he picks the right song week after week. We all know the back story, that Gokey lost his wife at way too young of an age recently. And he smartly draws from the grief and channels it effectively through song, as he did last night with Rascal Flatt’s “What Hurts the Most.” And if dude gave Mrs. Mike as well as judge Kara DioGuardi goose bumps, I imagine he did that for many of you as well. Paula said that type of song is where Danny thrives (what?), Simon said no one else so far (he went third) was in the same class and that it was Danny’s best performance yet, Randy said “the show starts here,” and Kara correctly pointed out that Danny moved everyone in the room emotionally.
Scott McIntyre stripped down his performance last night to take on Billy Joel’s classic “Just the Way You Are” and it was easily his best showing yet. I actually didn’t find anything wrong with it this time, and I’m not a huge Scott fan. Kara said it was a smart decision to strip the song down, Paula said the best part about Scott is that everyone forgets about his “challenge,” Simon said it was Scott’s best performance by a mile, and Randy said it was the best of the night. Um, hello Randy…Danny Gokey?