On March 31, 2009, the final 9 contestants in this year’s “American Idol” performance took the stage and it appeared, to me, that those who earned a “pass” were Scott MacIntyre, Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert.
Those whom the judges dissed included Anoop Desai, Allison Iraheta, Megan Corkrey and Lil Rounds. The judges also did not seem to like Matt Giraud, but I have a feeling that the public may.
What were the songs and the comments on this night? And who were the “best” and the “worst?”
The very best, for me, as always, was Adam Lambert strutting his stuff while singing “Play that Funky Music, White Boy,” by Wild Cherry from 1976. I have always loved this song, and some may remember that Craig Kilbourne, who disappeared from the late-night airwaves a few years ago, used it as his theme song. Adam used a light show backdrop, did some fancy footwork, and had amazing vocals, as always. He also generously gave credit to Ricky Minor and the band, for, as he said, “hooking me up with that arrangement.” The judges were universal in their praise of Adam’s incredible vocal skills, with comments like “true genius shatters expectations” (Paul Abdul), “You worked it out. Definitely in the Star Zone.” (Randy) and “I cannot wait to get to the show to see what you’ll do” from Kara. Simon, also, declared Adam’s performance as “original’ and said, “Good for you.”
If we rank below Adam (in order from “good” to “weak”) second, for me would be a tie between Scott MacIntyre, who sang Billy Joel’s “Don’t Go Changin'” and Danny Gokey—one of the front-runners—who did a stripped-down version of “What Hurts the Most.” For me, Scott lapped Danny for 2 reasons: 1) I had never heard of Danny’s song; therefore, I did not enjoy it as much as Scott’s and (2) Scott looked better than Danny, with a newly “pouffy” hair-do, black leather jacket and a good, clean look and performance. The judges said, of Scott, “One of the best performances of the night” (Randy) and “Your best performance by a country mile” (Simon). Simon also chose the occasion to point out that Paula’s advice, given on an earlier program, that Scott should step out from behind the piano, was poor advice (which led to the two squabbling at the table, as usual, with Simon telling people to “rewind” to prove his point.
Of Danny Gokey’s stripped-down song (violin accompaniment front and left) the judges said, “This is where you thrive,” (Paula); “Your best performance so far. So much better than the first two. Get a great song. Sing it brilliantly. And do your version.” (Simon). Kara said, “You moved everyone in this room emotionally,” and said she had goosebumps (I wasn’t that “moved,” at home, but I’ll take Kara’s word for her goosebumps.) Randy said, “I felt that the competition starts right now. Very nice.”
I’m puzzled by Matt Giraud’s standing. Last week, he was a standout, doing a great song, and yet he ended up in the bottom three! This week, the judges did not like his rendition of “You Found Me” by the Fray. About the only judge’s comment(s) I agreed with was the one uttered by Kara, who said, “You are a talented guy and you don’t deserve to go home.” I actually liked the way Matt took his keyboard(s) right out into the audience and had adoring fans (mostly girls) surrounding him. However, Randy said it was “Just the wrong song for you” and Simon felt it was “just uncomfortable.” Paula did not like his lack of riffing and falsetto, calling it “more of a sound alike” and saying, “This wasn’t a great performance for you.” Simon said, “I didn’t get it at all,” and added that his performance was “uptight. Not a good commercial song.” Last week, when the judges declared him to be one of the best of the night, he almost bit the bullet. I hope that the fact they didn’t like him this week works in his favor, because he is really good. He didn’t deserve to be in the bottom three last week, and he doesn’t deserve to be in the bottom three this week.
So, who does deserve to be in the bottom three tomorrow night?
Megan Joy Corkrey has been hanging on by her fingertips for weeks now. Why she is still there can be attributed to one judge, Simon, and she seems to have lost favor with him. Megan sang a Bob Marley song “Turn Your Lights Down Low” and was robotic and looked uneasy. The song had about a 3-note range, which reminded me of “Send in the Clowns,” which was written specifically to cover a very limited range because the female lead in “A Little Night Music” couldn’t reach notes beyond those 3 or 4 notes. When Megan sang her Marley song, I was bored and felt it was typical of her last few performances. Randy said,” It was like watching paint dry.” (I don’t think that is a positive comment.) Simon called it “indulgent, boring and monotonous.” Kara declared, “I really like you, but I think you’re in trouble,” suggesting that Megan should have tried some Adele and used her falsetto. I think Megan should try packing, and that she should have been sent packing about 3 performances back, which Simon confirmed with the statement “You’ve been selling that every week.”
I also didn’t like the new aggressive sex symbol side of Anoop Desai and neither did the judges. Anoop selected an Usher song (“This girl’s got a hold on me”) and, while most of the judges felt the vocals were good, and Randy said he had “picked up his swagger,” Simon nailed it when he said his performance was something that seemed ‘as though a bunch of frat guys dared you to get up and sing Usher.” Simon said it was ” a complete and utter mess, if you want my honest opinion. It actually gave me a headache.”
Another usually good performer who was so-so this night was Allison Iraheta. She looked horrible, wearing a red flared dress that had white bands down the bodice that were criss-crossed and which she wore with leggings and fake hairpieces (red) that made her hair look like straw. Simon compared her appearance to Halloween and even Randy, who is hardly a fashion plate, had questions about the outfit. Simon said it looked like something from “The Addams Family.” For me, singing “No Doubt” with guitar, which Simon said “she shouted,” was overpowered by her really ridiculous get-up. Plus, I want Allison to sing biker chick stuff by Joan Jett et. al. However, Allison was, as always, a strong performer vocally, bringing remarks from Kara like “Not your best, but good.” Paula declared Allison’s intonation and delivery to be “masterful,” so I think Allison can probably keep this odd wardrobe hanging in her L.A. digs for another week, but, were I one-armed tattooed girl, I’d be getting ready to pack my bags.
The other low vote getters will, as always, be surprising, but 2 of the 3 should be Megan and Anoop. It’s difficult to predict if Lil, who the judges declared to have sung an “old-fashioned” song will have been saved by her tears and the appearance of her adorable twins, but I’m guessing that will be the case and that means that Allison will end up in the bottom three….again. She really doesn’t deserve to be sent home, but I could live with her being dissed for the outfit alone.
Kris Allen did a very good job on “Ain’t No Sunshine” (When You’re Gone) and Randy declared him to be “in the zone” with Simon chiming in that it was ‘a very good arrangement” and Kris’ “best so far.” Simon added a “well done.” I think that Kris is firmly established as heartthrob material for America’s millions of teen-aged girl voters, so I would expect him to make it through. I’m hoping that Matt’s foray into the crowd will bring him closer to his fans both figuratively and literally, as I’d hate to see him go.
But Megan? Elimination overdue.