"American Idol" Rocks On
The "American Idol" set is cursed on Rocker Week, show host Ryan Seacrest says at the top of Tuesday's show.
First they had an accident on the stage. According to TMZ, the Staircase to Paradise -- it retracts after Seacrest descends it at the start of each show -- retracted too soon during rehearsal and injured the stage manager who was following Seacrest down the stairs, presumably holding his train.
Then, Seacrest tells viewers at home, one of the stage's American Idol Towers collapsed at the top during rehearsal; Seacrest points out the Leaning Tower of Idol.
Idolette Adam Lambert will be tonight's first performer. Adam has chosen to sing Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." Tonight's mentor, Slash -- aka Saul Hudson, Guns N' Roses's lead guitarist -- notes Adam has "got some pipes....and so much range and it comes to him so effortlessly."
Slash gives Lambert the best advice any mentor has ever given him: "Maybe just don't improvise so much in the high register." This is rocker-speak for "enough with the screaming!" Which, while a surprising pointer from a heavy metal guitarist, is what we've been praying all season someone would whisper in Adam's ear. Because Slash is, as Adam says, a "rock god," he takes the advice, pleasantly surprising millions of "Idol" viewers.
We go back and listen to the original on YouTube. Adam's better -- better tone. And who but Adam would have the guts to go up against Led Zeppelin and not rethink the tune, but straight ahead cover it like the original. Adam is fearless.
All the Idolettes are dressed in heavy rocker gear tonight -- rocker is apparently the most heavily costumed music genre ever. For his opening number, Adam is decked out in a studded black leather jacket, gobs of silver chains around his neck and he's upped the eyeliner about 50 percent -- only now it's heavy-metal eyeliner. The judges are getting into the spirit, too -- Randy Jackson has chosen a sequined T-shirt and 60's love beads, and Kara DioGuardi is wearing something from the Mad Max collection. Paula has gone with some very low cut number and Simon has chosen his grey T-shirt.
"Nobody gonna ever think about 'Broadway' or any of that stuff...you are a rock star waiting to happen!" roars judge Randy Jackson after Adam's performance.
"You're more than a rock star -- you are a rock god! It's your night -- kill it! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!" judge Kara DioGuardi screams orgasmically.
"You're a whole lotta perfect," adds Paula Abdul, a little weakly we think.
"The only problem is, nobody can top that now," judge Simon Cowell observes. He is, of course, absolutely right.
Allison Iraheta tells Seacrest excitedly that she has gone to Adam's hairstylist. "She's been doing his hair for, like, two years!" Allison gushes. Adam is generous in addition to talented. We try to get the picture of Adam and Allison, side by side under the hair dryers, dishing about Danny Gokey and Kris Allen, out of our head.
Slash notes that while Allison has got all the rock-and-roll mannerisms down, she has to get past "the fear part." But Allison, performing "Cry Baby," is in way over her head going up against Janis Joplin -- she's short several tanker loads of whiskey and one tortured life. Allison's dressed in a black T-shirt, black jeans, and black spike-heeled pirate boots. RanKara does not like it, but Paula thinks if they ever do a biopic on Janis Joplin, Allison's a slam dunk to get the role. Didn't Bette Midler already do that one?
Simon says it's "staggering" how far Allison has come in this competition considering she's only 17, but she's not up to this tune, and she should have gone with her first song choice: Queen's "Somebody to Love." Allison corrects him, saying it's Jefferson Airplane's "Somebody to Love." You and I are mature enough to know there are enough "Somebody to Love's" for both Queen and Jefferson Airplane. Simon, however, turns on Allison for correcting him, snapping "Just beg" as in: "You are not going to survive the voting this week, girlie!" But it's Tongues Untied Night for Allison, who finally goes after Simon, and we get a sudden flash of her 20 years into the future, and now a cast member on "The View." Allison wraps up her Simon tear with, "You're always saying I don't talk enough, so maybe I should just talk a lot!" and throws her arms up in the air.
The "Idol" producers have decided Rocker Week is the perfect week to starting having the Idolettes sing duets. No, I can't explain it.
Duet No. 1: Styx's "Renegade" as sung by Kris Allen and Danny Gokey. Their harmonizing is heavily covered by the backup singers, but Randy singles it out for praise anyway. You could have run their performance on a split screen, the two were so not-connected. Kara and Paula don't quite know what to say, and Simon pronounces Danny better than Kris, but with no enthusiasm -- like some producer told him he had to pick a winner.
Kris now gets to perform alone. He's chosen the Beatles "Come Together" after deciding against his first choice, "Revolution."
Kris says it was so amazing meeting Slash he nearly wet his pants. Slash confirms that when he loaned Kris his guitar "that made him a little nervous." Slash tells Kris he can't actually have his guitar. Slash also tells Kris if he can manage to pick up the actual live-performance part of the number "that will help," but without any real conviction.
The performance lyrics include: "He shoot coca-cola" and while we confess we've never known exactly what that line means for sure, if it's some kind of anti-product placement, we're all for it.
Kris ignores Slash's advice, except to clap his hands over his head once and tap one foot a few times. Big mistake. RanKara doesn't love his performance; Paula says it had his "signature all over it" and that he's an artist who deserves to be here -- guess she hated it. Simon says it was "rather like eating ice for lunch." Hey, smarty pants -- who's reading prepared remarks now?
Danny Gokey has decided to sing Aerosmith's "Dream On." Slash -- who is by now my favorite "Idol" mentor of all time -- notes Danny is "naturally gifted" but has picked a tough song and seems skeptical about Danny pulling off the tune's Big Finish. "It's really going to depend on the moment -- it could go either way," Slash smirks.
Danny's dressed like a regular on "The Lawrence Welk Show": pinstriped pants and vest, and a purple shirt. You can almost see what's going on in his head as he performs: "Scream coming up next; gotta get ready for the scream; gotta get into kneeling position for the scream. Scream!"
Simon notes, correctly, it was like watching a horror movie. The other judges don't think much better of it, but they give him an A+ anyway -- for "effort," which reminds me of when my nephew went to summer camp and the counselors, who were determined to give every child a prize for something, finally came up with a prize for Best Bed-Making to give to little Wes.
Danny is, once again, dismissive of the judges, who were actually too kind to him, saying he'll have to go back and listen to his performance because "they could be right" but "I don't think it was as bad as they said it was."
And, finally, it's time for Rocker Duet No. 2. It's Allison and Adam -- the hair buddies! We think they may be wearing matching nail polish too. Allison is in a black rocker-tutu and army boots; Adam has added a few more chains and some padlocks to his neck wear. Allison and Adam sing Foghat's "Slow Ride" and they look like they actually want to sing together, unlike Danny and Kris, who just shared a stage. The "Idol" fraudience seems genuinely stirred by their performance. Rankarapau loves it; Simon thinks Adam may have given "this one" (that's Allison) a chance at staying in the competition this week, their performance together was that good.
"She's like my little sister," Adam says. This has been a real image-boosting night for Adam. Besides the singing -- he's a mensch. And, of course, it was a breakthrough night for Allison what with her Simon-baiting -- a proven popularity builder, based on past seasons.
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