Going home tonight:
Kris Allen or Danny Gokey
So NOW I understand Simon Cowell’s schooling of Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson after Kris Allen’s performance of “Apologize” last night.
Sy, one of the AI backup singers, twittered this little interesting tidbit last night:
In short, the backstory to what Simon said to Kara. I was told that all the
judges were given the opp to work w/ each kid ¦
¦they were told the time slot for each kid rhrsl. They could come &
advise the contestant on how 2 get the most of their song.
But on rhrsl day, only one judge actually showed up and did that ¦ guess
Granted, Simon’s few minutes would have been better spent critiquing Kris’s performance, but he had a point. Kara blew off the opportunity to work with Kris, and now she’s criticizing him after the fact. Put up or shut up Kara.
But, of course, she was right. “Apologize” would have been a better performance if Kris had reworked the arrangement. The verses were fine, but the out-of-range falsetto made the chorus fall flat.
I suspect if Kris hadn’t been flying half way across the country and back over the weekend, maybe he would have had the time to re-work that chorus a bit.
In any case, with limited time, it was better to work hard on one song. Knowing it was possibly the last time on the Idol stage, Kris made sure to leave us with something memorable. He did his thing–Kris-izing the arrangement of a song that’s completely out of his wheelhouse and bringing it to life with his killer phrasing and vocal interpretation. If Kris leaves tonight, the stripped acoustic version makes sure his lasting impression will be that cool, cool vocal.
Except, his performance was so memorable, it put him back in the game. Astonishingly, the judges didn’t damn him with faint praise, or attempt to subtly sabotage him, Kris could very well be in the finals next week.
His biggest competition is Danny Gokey, who was saddled with a pick from Paula that was not only dated but obscure. I’m guessing many viewers either never heard or barely remembered Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Dance Little Sister”. Seriously, that Paula is so weird. Vocally, he’s got that grit in his voice that D’Arby has, but none of the finesse. Danny’s volume control is stuck on one setting most of the time, making his performances boring and/or unpleasant.
Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful” is one of those hackneyed standards you hear at weddings. He’s a cheesy guy, so it fits him. Danny’s heart-tugging was so brazen, the lack of breath control on the soft parts may have gone unnoticed–at least it did by Simon, who called the performance “a vocal masterclass.” No, Simon. The gospelized second half was better than the first (I wonder which CCM cover he grabbed those changed up lyrics from?) and was enough to remind viewers that he can sing, when the song suits his range.
Who will prevail? The cool boy with a guitar, or the giant slab of Velveeta? My knee jerk reaction is to go with the former, but I for one, do not underestimate the power of CHEESE.
Maybe both will prevail. Personally, I can’t imagine a final without Adam Lambert, but by the looks of Dial Idol, the three amigos appear to be in a dead heat. Glancing at the online comments there were lots of peeps who weren’t crazy about Adam last night.
I’ve been critical of a few of Adam’s over the top performances, but I’ll go on record right here and right now to say that I LOVED his rendition U2’s “One”. Some think he should have kept it a straight ballad. But, If he’d done that, I think folks would be calling it boring instead of over the top. The first half was exquisite, but when he kicked it up a notch in the second half, I got chills. The wail was appropriate. It was a plea by passionate howl, and I felt it–it wasn’t just flash or showboating. Perhaps he could have dialed it back a notch in a few shrill moments. But live performances are not perfect. I can live with the imperfections.
“Crying” is the performance I would have changed. Well, not the performance, which was fine. But I think Adam threw away another opportunity to show us what kind of pop star he’d be. I’ve been dying for the glam boy to do some actual glam–a song from a current artist who shares his sensibility would have been better than another tired classic rock tune. Something from The Darkness, My Chemical Romance, Muse, et al. would have been fabulous.
It could be that clearance issues limited his choice (kudos to the peeps who speculated that the “Wicked Game” vs. “One” mystery was a clearance issue–Simon’s name dropping explanation revealed “One” didn’t clear til Saturday) but at this stage of the game, contestants have to strive to keep topping themselves. A very tall order in Adam’s case. I know.
So there’s Kris Allen’s advantage right now. He’s showing us over and over again the kind of artist he’ll be post Idol. His Idol path has been slow and steady and consistent. He’s still peaking. Danny peaked mid-finals, while Adam will have a hard time topping recent showstoppers like “Mad World” and “Whole Lotta Love.”
Does that mean I know who’s gonna leave tonight? Oh hell no. Adam still has a huge amount of momentum and a large loyal fanbase–not to mention Simon shilling for votes. No way am I counting him out. Danny’s got a loyal fan base that pulled him through the Note Heard Round the Idolsphere. Kris managed to survive a couple of ill-received performances and a crappy performance spot to make the Top 3.
All three have strong fan bases. All three performed well last night. Who did the casual viewers embrace?
I have no idea.
I’ll go out on a limb to say that Adam Lambert stays. He had the best critiques, and Simon reminding viewers to vote for him.
Either Danny Gokey or Kris Allen goes home tonight. I picked Kris in the LA Times Buzzmeter poll. I’ll probably pick Danny for the blog pool. Either way I’m right somewhere. Maybe.