American Idol Top 4 – Wrap Up and Predictions

Going Home – Kris Allen
Should be going home if life was fair – Danny Gokey

My tongue was in my cheek a bit when I posted the scream this morning and asked if it was the worst Idol performance ever.   There’ve been many craptastic performances over these 8 years,   some worse than Danny Gokey’s “Dream On”.   So let me rephrase it: Is Danny’s “Dream On” the worst performance from an Idol contestant who has a real chance of winning this thing?   Oh, hell YEAH.

Seriously, Danny has had a handful of decent performances, but nothing water-cooler worthy.   He’s also had a few clunkers. And in the case of “Dream On”–a nightmare.   I think both Kris Allen and Allison Irheta, are better all-round performers.   Kris may not have a big belty voice, but his phrasing and musicality far surpass Danny’s, who tends to barrel his way through a song with little finesse or subtly.   Ditto for Allison, who has also got the knack for great phrasing.

Kris has had several “moments” with “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “Falling Slowly” and “She Works Hard for the Money.”   Allison has wowed the judges a few times too–“I Can’t Make You Love Me” and “Someone to Watch Over Me” come to mind.

They both should be moving into the Top 3 tonight. Bah to the judges for giving Danny a pass for his pitchy and unlistenable “Dream On.” At this stage of the game there are no excuses. So Danny gets a pass and Allison and Kris, who both outsang him, get lukewarm comments.

And, kill me now, but I rather liked Kris’s performance of “Come Together”.   Some peeps have been comparing his version unfavorably to Carly Smithson’s from last year.   Well, first, unlike a lot of journos, I never hopped on that train, so I’m not going to get all precious about it here.   Second, Kris and Carly took two completely different takes on the song.   And while the full on band deal isn’t the context in which Kris really shines, I thought he managed to bring his own sensibility to the song.   It was a typically nuanced and soulful vocal from Kris–he was solid.

Granted, his chemistry-free duet with Danny was pretty underwhelming.   Although I think both Kris and Danny had their moments, especially the initial vocals before the band kicked in and during some of the harmonies, it was like watching two people perform separately, but at the same time.

Also didn’t get the judges’ criticism of Allison Iraheta’s song choice.   I thought “Cry Baby” suited her rock sensibility really well, and while she doesn’t have a huge vocal range, her phrasing is fantastic.   Loved it.

Allison’s duet with Adam Lambert was the complete polar opposite of   Kris/Danny. The two A’s had tons of chemistry–they fed off each other’s energy and were both generous collaborators–blending awesomely while allowing each to have a moment to shine in the spotlight.

Adam’s vocal for “Whole Lotta Love” was spectacular.   Although I had a sense   he was holding back his performance a little, every note, every vocal choice was perfect.   After ending up in the bottom 2 last week, he may be wary of   turning out another over-the-top performance. But at this stage of the game, it’s smart to concentrate on delivering a good vocal–it’s ultimately what’s going to see him through to the finish line.

Slash seemed almost incidental as a mentor.   The intro clips were short–we didn’t really see him really working with the kids, so it’s hard to know what really went on.   Some of the advice he gave was good–like telling Adam he shouldn’t improvise so much in his higher registers. It was also cool to see the kids out of the mansion and playing with a full rock band in rehearsal.

I don’t know who made the decision to make Rock Week such a rigid affair.   Hard rock songs from the 70’s seemed to be the only songs available for the kids to sing–the rock genre is so much bigger than that.   There’s country rock, and soul-inflected rock, and folk rock–excluding all the subsets turns “Rock Week” into “Classic Hard Rock Songs from the 70s”   Plus, not allowing the kids to re-arrange the songs, for the first time all season is a very curious decision. It hurt Kris and Danny the most.   You’d think TPTB would want to help the guy (Danny) they want to see in the finals, rather than deliver an opportunity for him to hang himself.

Slash said the producers told him he could do whatever he wanted, but I have a hard time imagining Slash–a child of the 80’s and beyond–insisting that only classic rock with no re-arranging be performed.   Not sure what’s in it for him.

I’d happily give up my points in the pool to see Gokey go go go.   But strong fan bases pull contestants through bad performances.   I have a feeling Danny’s fans were dialing their fingers bloody last night…

About mj santilli 33092 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!