Bottom 2: Matt Giraud, Allison Iraheta
Going Home: Matt Giraud
Five songs. One hour. So much filler. It really pisses me off that the judges’ inability to keep their critiques short and sweet forced the producers to ditch the two-song format for Top 5 week. They tried–the contestants were rehearsing two songs, and the AI site initially promoted a 10 song episode–but in the end the decision was made to cut one of the contestant’s songs and hire a mentor to fill up the time.
Thank Jeebus for small favors–Jamie Foxx proved to be a helpful and entertaining mentor. But, now I’ll never know how the kids would have handled two standards. Boo.
And guess what? I heard that Debbie the stage manager told yesterday’s dress rehearsal crowd that next week might feature the two-song format. Might. Oh, and despite this week’s reconfiguration, the end of the episode was still rushed! So, I’m not holding my breath.
Last night was another episode of Simon Cowell’s Upside Down World! On one hand, he disses good performances from Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta, only to praise Matt Giraud’s exercise in pitchiness and really bad phrasing. I loled when Simon compared his performance to Nat King Freaking Cole. I mean, really? Natalie might have something to say about that.
In defense of Kris Allen, I will say that while he doesn’t attempt to jam runs or compete in the “throat Olympics” (tm Jamie Foxx) his understated, exquisite phrasing perfectly captures the emotion of a song. His “The Way You Look Tonight” had a couple of strange moments–particularly when he attempted falsetto mid-tune-but overall it was a well-crafted vocal. Randy, Paula and Kara loved it. But Simon, who appeared to be a man on a mission, not only downplayed his vocal but said Kris couldn’t win the competition.
So? Neither can anyone else up on that stage other than Adam Lambert, so what’s yer point, Simon? Hello bus! Meet Kris. Simon, gunning for that Danny/Adam final has begun the de-pimping. I have to wonder if the press buzz around Kris lately has Simon a little nervous.
Amending my knee-jerk reaction from last night’s live blog–I don’t think Kris is in trouble this week. That he’s yet to appear in the bottom 3 proves he’s got the fan base to see him through. And, if anything, Simon’s harsh words earned Kris backlash votes. But, Simon has planted a seed. And he made sure to compare Kris (and Allison) vaguely and unfavorably to both Matt and Adam in his critiques. If Kris advances, we’ll see if Simon continues to water the garden…
Allison Iraheta, on the other hand, could be a goner. Unlike Kris, she’s in a fragile position, having already appeared in the bottom three times. Simon questioning her desire to win, coupled with his prediction that she “may be in trouble” could be enough to put more doubt in viewers’ minds. Or it could have motivated folks to pick up the phone. I hope it’s the latter. I thought her raspy, torchy take on “Someone to Watch Over Me” was the best performance of the night. This kid is sensational. It would be a shame to lose her now.
With my head already reeling from Simon’s inexplicable critiques of Kris and Allison, he proceeds to call Matt Giraud’s pitchy run-infested “My Funny Valentine” the only “authentic” performance of the evening. WTF? Badly executed runs plus nervous off key singing = please get off my Tee Vee NOW. Matt redeemed himself in the last third of the song, hitting a few nice glory notes. But overall? Just. No. Matt, who has been wildcarded and saved, has yet to prove his mettle. It’s time to head back to Michigan. Maybe he will–I’m not confident Matt has the fanbase to carry him further.
That leaves us with the two contestants who will probably face each other in the final. I would love Kris Allen to overtake Danny Gokey, but if TPTB get their way (and they usually do) that ain’t gonna happen. My fellow Idol blogger Maura Johnson from Idolator makes a most excellent point in her last blog. How can Simon Cowell defend his support of Danny Gokey while hating Taylor Hicks so much? They’ve got similar vocal styles and take to the stage in similar ways. But for my money, Taylor has more polish, better vocals, and way more musicality. Like Maura, I’m stumped.
Having said that, Danny had his best vocal of the finals last night. Except for the last verse, Danny stopped attacking a song like a bull in a china shop. Finally singing a song with subtly, Danny proved he’s got some ability to interpret a song. Even when he went OTT at the end, it was just the right amount of gospel without going overboard. Less is more Danny!
And finally, Adam Lambert. His was the performance of the night if your talking incredible spectacle. And there’s no arguing the guy is a master vocalist with superb control. But what I want is a performance, not an exercise in vocal gymnastics. Adam had me in the palm of his hand until he unleashed that giant glory note. It took me right out of the moment. It was all “Look ma! No hands!” It felt empty, meaningless and conveyed nothing other than prowess. The performance would have felt more authentic without it.
But, before ya kill me, I will admit, overall, it was pretty spectacular. Taking it all–vocal ability, stage presence, charisma–into account, Adam is the entire package. He will–and deserves to–win Idol.