I’ve been telling anyone who asks me for these past few weeks that Adam Lambert will win American Idol, so why change my prediction? The race appears to be so close, either could take the crown tonight.
Dial Idol has Adam and Kris Allen in a statistical dead heat for votes, and I anticipate Ryan Seacrest announcing that a slim margin separates the two competitors.
Conventional wisdom would have Adam Lambert–he’s consistently trended higher for Google searches, the media went crazy for him and the judges pimped him all season–taking the title. But this race may be the triumph of that world of viewers who don’t surf the net for Idol news or pay attention to who is on the cover of what magazine. It’s those millions who tune in once a week, and maybe pick up the phone to vote for a favorite, who may be deciding this race.
Either way, both Adam Lambert and Kris Allen have earned their spots in the final. Adam with his breathtaking and creative performances week after week, and Kris with his clever arranging and spot on vocal phrasing and interpretative skills. Both stayed at the top of their games all season, right up through the finals.
My favorite performance had to be Adam Lambert’s “A Change is Gonna Come”. He revealed a bluesy soulful side we hadn’t seen from him yet on the Idol stage. He shaded the song effortlessly, taking it smoothly from a slow burn to a passionate cry.
Second best was Kris Allen’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”, topping his first excellent performance to create a brand-new moment for himself. His stripped down rendition was fearless, vulnerable. It was Kris at his best–connected to the a song, interpreting it at it’s deepest emotional level.
“Mad World” wasn’t the moment it was the first time I heard it, but it was still an exquisite performance, and Adam looked stunning in his long black trench coat. I couldn’t take my eyes off him.
Kris’s “What’s Goin’ On” was well arranged and sung–I honestly expected the judges to give it higher marks. I thought the song might pose a problem for Kris, but he came through with a great interpretation.
Kudos to Simon Fuller for picking two great songs and making both his picks message songs. It was like a big FU to pundits who tried to make the competition a cultural clash. It warmed my heart a bit to think that maybe, maybe TPTB aren’t as cynical as I thought.
Too bad, then, that after four wonderful performances, the show came to a screeching, grinding halt when Adam and Kris took the stage to perform that flaming pile of poo called “No Boundaries.”
Last year’s song, The cliche-ridden “Time of My Life” at least had a lovely, lilting melody that was hummable and singable. “No Boundaries” not only has stupid lyrics, but a turgid melody that’s as hard to listen to as it must be to sing.
Watching Adam and Kris struggle to make something out of nothing was downright uncomfortable. Neither looked happy up there. I give the round to Adam. His performance was pitchy and unsure in spots, but his showmanship kept the song afloat. Kris was out of his musical element and vocal range. Without being able to connect to the lyric (some that he missed) it was a hopeless rendition.
But even the judges weren’t willing to critique their perforamance of the song….even the songwriter herself wasn’t willing.
I don’t get willfully submitting a sh*tty song or forcing the contestants to sing it. Why is this ridiculous formula they have in place for the winner’s song necessary? Why not just create a good song for the winner to record and release?
The last third of the show was a definite buzz kill, stopping any momentum the show had up until then. Carrie Underwood ended the night with a sweet rendition of “Home Sweet Home” but it wasn’t enough to get the taste of ca ca out of my mouth. Sigh.
Back to my prediction. I’m going to say it’s Adam for the win. But I won’t be surprised, or terribly sad if it’s not.