"American Idol": The Three Amigos


We're down to three guy singers on "American Idol" -- The Three Amigos, show host Ryan Seacrest calls them. This is the week each of the judges gets to choose a tune for one of the Idolettes to perform. But this year there are four judges -- The Four Locos, we call them.

How, oh how, will the "American Idol" producers get themselves out of this jam?

Judge Paula Abdul sticks Danny Gokey with the repetitive, generic, four-note Terence Trent D'Arby tune, "Dance Little Sister," which has him singing at the top of his range over a too loud band.

Judge Kara DioGuardi praises Paula for keeping Danny in his "money zone" with the tune choice but nicks Danny for his dancing -- "a little too gyrating for me," Kara says, revealing herself to be the secret head of the American Idol Decency Police.

But Paula fights back, saying she's the choreographer of the bunch and she believes Danny did a "fantastic job." Judge Randy Jackson digs deep into his book of "Snappy TV Lines" and comes up with "Let the games begin!" Simon also disses the dancing as "desperate" but only after nicking the judge-chicks for having discussed Danny's dancing at such length. More important, he's the only judge who notices Danny can't scat sing, correctly pegging him as having sounded like a kid going toot-toot-toot during the "toy saxophone solo."

Danny explains to the judges that he's not really a dancer and that when he "dances" he's feeling the pressure and shaking it off and "going ahead all the way forward." But the judges are not paying as close attention as Danny might have liked because Simon is now trying to wrestle Paula onto the judges' table and has clapped his hand over her mouth, which Seacrest declares "either second base or sexual harassment." We call it a free-speech violation.

While Seacrest begs the cameraman not to train the camera on the fracas, Paula is heard shouting "Help! Help!" Seacrest updates the audience, reporting Paula has just punched Simon in his left breast. Danny stands up on stage looking like he wants to smack them all into next week, which we would have cheered.

Poor Randy is forced to share Kris Allen's tune-picking with Kara because math is not the "Idol" producers' strong suit.

They've picked another generic four-note tune -- "Apologize" by OneRepublic -- because, Kara says, it's "dark" and has a "beautiful melodic line." It's pretty ho-hum stuff, with Kris at the piano. Kara nicks Kris for not playing the guitar and not making the song totally different. Simon savages Kara, calling her comment "a cop out...You can't choose a song for him, then blame him for doing the song."

"You're going to tell me about interpreting songs?!" Kara huffs. "Have you ever interpreted a song in your life?!"

"You didn't hold up to your responsibilities," Simon snaps back.

"He's just trying to make us crazy," Kara concludes, then moves behind Simon and claps her hand over his mouth, leaving him looking genuinely uncomfortable -- like a man being kidnapped by mediocrity. All the while, Kris is standing quietly on stage, staring at the judges as if he would like to join Danny in smacking them into next week.

Simon picks U2's "One" for Adam Lambert and prattles on happily about how he had to ask his good friend Bono for permission to use the tune and Bono said he would be delighted to have Adam sing it.

"I had lunch with Bono," Paula interjects.

The performance puts Adam back in his comfort zone: blue light. It starts off "Mad World" quiet but moves into major theatrics. Non-Adam-fans hate it; Adam fans find it just okay but decide even at his second best he's still more than competition for the other two.

"You're a strategist...You did your own version," Kara begins, in re Adam's performance, then turns and coos, "See what I mean, Simon?"

Suddenly, Kara erupts into some strange, bad Brit-speak -- a sort of beery Mary Poppins imitation -- and says, "I guess our boy's little point maybe wasn't proven!" And Paula begins to complain to Adam about how "miserable" she is sitting next to Simon "gloating." Simon declares it a brilliant song choice -- and a brilliant performance -- while Adam looks like he'd like to join Danny and Kris in smacking the judges into next week.

Things get only slightly better in Round 2 when the Idolettes pick their own tunes.

Danny Gokey shrewdly covers Billy Preston/Joe Cocker's "You Are So Beautiful" while Danny non-fans try not to think about who he's singing the tune to, and Danny fans wallow in it. It's one of Danny's best performances in this competition; Simon declares it a "vocal master class."

Kris goes with Kanye West's "Heartless" while strumming the guitar -- think hootenanny hip hop. Kris does the tune a huge favor with his performance, causing Randy to pronounce it better than Kanye's version -- duh -- and better than The Fray's take. Kara calls him "bold" and "fearless" and it appears that finally the judges have settled down and are focusing on the Idolettes's performances. Oops -- too soon! Paula makes a stupid joke about how brave Kris is for singing a song about Simon Cowell and we're right back where we started:

"After the lame song choice [by Karandy]...I had written you out of this competition," Simon sneers. "That has all changed after that performance."

Thanks to the judges's antics, it's past 9 by the time Adam Lambert begins to explain his song choice to Seacrest -- Aerosmith's "Crying." We assume he's inviting comparison to Danny's mangling of Aerosmith's "Dream On" last week. Only Adam's performance doesn't go so well -- an over-miked backup singer is louder than he is and the two of them are locked in a deathmatch over who gets to pick the key.

Nonetheless, Pakarandy declare him a shoo-in for the Final Two. But Simon, the only "American Idol" judges worth listening to, worries people (like the nincompoops with whom he is forced to share the table) will assume Adam will sail through to the final round.

"I want everyone not to assume you are going to be [in the final week], but to vote for you because you deserve it based on talent," he says. Simon's clearly worried the other two guys are just flat out more popular.

By Lisa de Moraes  |  May 13, 2009; 8:41 AM ET "American Idol"
Previous: "American Idol" Top 3 Unveiled | Next: Goodbye to Danny on "American Idol"

Comments

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Can't Adam control that voice at least once? "One" isn't a wailing type of song. Admittedly, I'm a card carrying member of the U2 Hate Club, so with the first note I was done with the performance. But I think he changed it up too much. I need a term stronger than "over the top" when describing him. I thought he should have done "Dream On" to show Danny how to hit that note.

I like Kris's style the most. I thought his second performance was awesome. I haven't had the displeasure of hearing The Fray's version of the song, so I can't compare.

I didn't really care for Danny. I hate it when he throws the gospel/R&B stuff in. I've been calling Joe Cocker for him forever and when he finally does it, it disappoints. It started off very well and then just went the wrong way for me.

The judges were super annoying last night. My wife has had it with them giving conflicting advice about "making it your own" and "singing the melody". I don't think they know what they want. Wait, yes I do. It's whatever Adam does.

Danny kind of talked back last night, so I'm picking him to get the boot and I'm OK with that.

Posted by: MaltyCharacter | May 13, 2009 9:28 AM

Could last night been any better of an example of this entire season in a nutshell?

1. Adam took two Rock Classics and turned them into cringe-worthy musical theater disaters....

2. Danny Gokey reminded us all a little too much of Taylor Hicks and sang a song to his dead wife....and...

3. I've already forgotten what Kris Allen did.

Posted by: VTDuffman | May 13, 2009 9:30 AM

The judges' behavior last night was complete atrocious. They should all really be ashamed of themselves. Especially Kara (calling Kris's performance just "competent"? She should not be discussing competence. She is devoid of any appeal or purpose.) Only redemption was their praise of Kris's "Heartless" because I was sure they were starting up the bus and it was headed for him.

Color me surprised that Gokey sang "You Are So Beautiful" and made it all church-choiry. Good grief. He is just not that good and if he wins, will be the least successful Idol ever (yes, worse than Hicks).

And that backup singer really destroyed Adam's "Cryin". I continue to be amazed at how poorly run this show is. The sound mix has never been good and the direction is for crap. Some may recall David Cook's "Hungry Like the Wolf" which was saddled with the worst sound mix I've ever heard on that show.

Posted by: jljardon2 | May 13, 2009 9:33 AM

The judges continue to suck.

In all the years of watching Idol the sound has been an issue so many times.

Why (oh why) can they not get that right?

The backup singer louder than Adam was a total distraction. He must have been getting blown out in his ear piece.

Good thing it's not close.

Posted by: idolguy1000 | May 13, 2009 9:34 AM

How great would it have been if - instead of "Crying" - Adam performed Aerosmith's "Dude Looks Like a Lady?"

Like MaltyCharacter noted above, I too prefer Kris' style over the other two. His second performance was by far the best of that round. Adam screeches (is it just me or does anyone else find his mouth and tongue annoying when he's hittin' the high notes?) and Danny proved once again that he is the King of Mediocrity. Wasn't great, wasn't horrible. Just sadly middle of the road. Please let him go home tonight.

Posted by: jpstang | May 13, 2009 9:38 AM

I continue to be amazed that Randy thinks Adam is a "rock star". He butchered both songs. Complete theater.

Kris' Heartless was the best song, but I fear the Adam/Danny voting camps are going to be too strong.

Posted by: RockDer | May 13, 2009 9:50 AM

I have to be honest, for a split second last night, I thought Adam had clinched the title. When he stepped up to sing One by U2 - and it was just him, a pair of jeans, and a mic - and he started singing in that soft, calm manner that let the audience truly hear his voice, I thought to myself, “THIS IS EXACTLY what he needs to do!”

But then he Glamberted. And it all went down hill from there.

Of course, he will still make it through to the final, as will Gokey. Despite LOVING Kris's Kayne interpretation, I think he is going home.

Posted by: AmuseMe | May 13, 2009 9:53 AM

Couldn't bear to watch last night, just ... too ... boring anymore. I don't care who wins. The show is most interesting in the beginning and into the middle. It becomes way too formulaic late into the game. Catch you next year. Yawn . . .

Posted by: itsmyparty | May 13, 2009 9:54 AM

This was the first time I really didn't like Adam much at all and I think it is unfortunate because it may have not been his fault. That loud back up singer was awful. I thought it was my TV. Apparently it sounds different in the theatre itself because the judges thought everything was just peachy.
I missed the first 3 performances but not sad about it at all. I DVR'd it but decided not to watch after seeing the snippets and now after reading this column and everyone's opinion, I know I won't.
From the last 3 numbers, I would say Kris won the night but overall I was disappointed.
Unlike many of you who like to complain about the lack of talent, I think this season has been one of the best and think at this point they should have blown my socks off. Sadly, it didn't happen last night. Oh well, I'm hoping the Gokey Pass his blocked.

Posted by: hodie | May 13, 2009 9:58 AM

Weird night. Wasn't overly please with Adam's stylings on these two particular songs, but I liked Crying better than One. Danny was very, very good on the Joe Cocker piece and sucked at the Dance Little Sister.

Wait, did I hear that right? Kris was doing a Kanye West song? I'm sorry, I do not see what all the hub-bub was all about. He took a very good HipHop song and squeezed a folksy ballad out of it? For God's sake, leave HipHop to HipHop artists. Kris was better than Kanye? Stop the ride...I need to get off and regurgitate.

Adam is still my favorite because I have to take into consideration the whole season and he has consistently shown us he is not only the most talented but has the biggest chance to be a successful recording artist, internationally, not just here in the U.S.

Posted by: chick1 | May 13, 2009 10:07 AM

I can see that Adam has incredible vocal range. I can see that he is handsome and has stage presence. However, that is not what I look for in a singer. He is too dramatic, and he screeches too much. To me he is a spectacle. I prefer the way Kris sings much more than the other two. I'm glad to see others posting in this column agree with me. Still, I'm curious to see what Adam will do in the finale, so I hope Danny is the one who goes home.

Posted by: nthwoods1 | May 13, 2009 10:52 AM

Honestly, would anyone buy an album where Adam screeches like that on 12 consecutive songs? You'd probably want to stab yourself in the eye by track 6.

He's got vocal range. Good for him. But nobody wants to listen to that crap song after song after song after song. He ruined a fantastic U2 song last night.

Posted by: jonathonbinet | May 13, 2009 11:25 AM

I think it's safe to say that most people are firmly comitted to an entrenched camp at this point (unfortuantely Allison is gone so I have no idol to stubbornly root for).

Although I would identify with the people that think Adam has had great nights "Mad World" "whole lotta love" but also ridiculous and unappealing nights
"ring of fire" "satisfaction"- I think most fairly objective people would agree that he consistently brings a high level of ability/charisma to each performance.

So I was dissapointed when Adam seemed less than his usual self last night. The backup singer for his aerosmith song was too loud sure- but he didn't really bring anything to either of the songs last night.

As for chick1 and her "leave hip hop to hip hop artist"- that seems like bizarre commentary considering what songs have really worked over the last two years of the show. David Cook and Adam have over and over been praised for taking various songs and reimaging them. Unlike Kris's cover (of the similarly awesome) "Falling Slowly" which didn't add much, Kris gave a new depth and energy to one of the most played songs of the past year. It was a bold and brilliant move by him and should justify his place a contender to win the entire competition.

Posted by: repricer | May 13, 2009 12:13 PM

Whoa, whoa, whoa—Lisa, what’s with the sudden chill for Adam? I thought you were a fan? (hard not to be at this point unless you share a demographic with Dubbya) I think Glambert, while not quite at his most startling best last night, hit some pretty incredible notes and kept the energy and drive up in his performances very well. (I can’t believe you didn’t comment on that show-stopping “one” he sang toward the end of “One”—dude, even the majority of female singers couldn’t hit that note w/o going into falsetto! He belted it exactly on key—amazing! )

The only reason Simon made his little plug was because it’s happened several times in the past when fans feel overly safe about the favorite’s performance/chances of advancing and don’t bother voting (re: Daughtry, Latoya London, etc). It seems people tend to forget that on this show, no matter how high the judges’ praise, it doesn’t count toward saving an Idolette from elimination like it does on DWTS. So since the underdogs’ fans will be voting like mad fearing their fave will be eliminated, Simon was just making sure Adam’s fans would be voting just as hard.

That said, I do wish Adam had chosen another Aerosmith song--something with a real glory note like "Fly Away From Here." Best of all would have been something by Kamelot, since Adam's one of the few male singers in this world who can match the Kamelot vocalist's insane range. (Wow, Adam on "Forever" or "Center of the Universe" would have been sublime...!)

Posted by: Kureno | May 13, 2009 12:28 PM


Well, MomWannaBe and I both would really like the piercing screeching goth queen to be gone...we're afraid he's damaging our expensive HDTV set. And, frankly, we're really tired of him. For us, everything sounds the same, extremely over-the-top with piercing screaming. And Kureno, I disagree...many people who do not like acid rock have absolutely no interest in Lambert regardless of their politics. It isn't only his flamboyance that some people dislike, but the fact that everything turns into a hard rock song, which isn't everyone's cup of tea (liberal or conservative).

I really thought that Allen was the best of the night with his "Heartless" cover which I thought showed who will be the best artist from this lot. I thought that Gokey's "You are so Beautiful" was the most original he's been all season and was good, possibly one of his best this season. I thought both of Lambert's numbers were mediocre as he turned them from rock classics to generic screaming rock. Both Gokey's first and Allen's first were forgettable performances.

Based on DialIdol, it looks like Gokey may be the one to go. Lambert has a smallish lead, Allen is in the middle and Gokeys is slightly in last. However, for six weeks running, Allen has skewed well above his DI ratings because he seems to have a big texting fan-base that always significantly raises him above his DI numbers. So, with Lambert about 2.5 points above Gokey and Allen above Gokey with only phone busy signals counted, my guess is that Gokey is likely to go. *sigh* Not that I'm that big a fan, but we would rather see Lambert go.

In any event, I would posit that if Kris Allen makes it to the final, he's pretty much a lock to win it. He has offended relatively few people. However the Lambert camp hates Gokey and the Gokey camp hates Lambert. Whichever one gets eliminated, the other will inherit most of the sizeable voting base of the other. If it is Lambert vs Gokey, then it's up-in-the air. The Allen fans are likely to wait to hear the performances and then may or may not vote, but will not vote loyally for or against either remaining candidate.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 13, 2009 12:46 PM

Adam is truly talented, but...*sigh* enough with the screeching. Seriously. Is is possible for him to sing a song without doing that? Or sticking out his tongue a la Gene Simmons? While I liked many of his past performances, I thought both kinda stunk last night. I'm over the theatrics.

I guess I'm just biased because I am a big fan of Kris Allen (more my type of music). All I have to say is please, please send Gokey home tonight. I want to see his smug face when Seacrest tell him it's over.

Posted by: beaker1 | May 13, 2009 12:48 PM

Correction:
However the Lambert camp hates Gokey and the Gokey camp hates Lambert. Whichever one gets eliminated, KRIS ALLEN will inherit most of the sizeable voting base of THE ONE ELIMINATED.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | May 13, 2009 12:57 PM

I have a question for those that didn't like Adam's performance last night as much as other Adam performances:

Are you an Adam fan? I ask because I've always voted for Adam and only Adam. It didn't matter to me if last night wasn's as great a the week before. I'm voting based on the past and what I predict will be a great future for Adam.

Posted by: zzishate@yahoo.com | May 13, 2009 1:01 PM

There's an interesting article in the New York Times about how Idol is making more and more $$ each season, despite a drop in viewers. It talks a lot about product placement and so forth, and then it said that one of the things that Idol does not do particularly well is sell CDs.

I was wondering why that is -- and this morning was listening to David Cook's CD, and it kind of hit me. What I think is that the contestants all do covers on AI and you get to hear their voices and some minor amounts of creativity depending on what they've got to work with, but that's *not* what you're going to get on a CD.

Cook's CD is nothing like what he did on Idol. There are two or three good songs on it, but it suffers from overall sameness; it turns out he wrote the majority of the tunes, and they are produced in a way that doesn't allow for being able to distinguish too many of them. He's very talented and one of the most creative Idols, but it doesn't show up on this CD.

I wonder how we would be voting for these kids if there was a week or two where they had to sing their own stuff, or something by some crew of songwriters contracted to AI. Hey -- Kara's a songwriter, maybe she could provide some new tunes.

Really – I’m tired of hearing them do covers, over and over, especially those that are totally irrelevant to what they might produce for their fans (sheesh -- Rat Pack Week??). Let's make a REAL change in AI, and have the top 10 show us what they can do when they don't have the crutch of a cover.

I thought Kris would go home last week. Not sure he can pull it out again this week, though I thought both songs he did were really good.

Agree that Adam's best genre is rock; it’s not as if Steven Tyler, Mick, Bono, et al, haven’t screamed and screeched their way into fame. Gokey -- agree with jljardon2 that he will be the least successful Idol ever (I hope he doesn't win, but he'll still put out a CD).

The judges were beyond belief. What -- are they all reverting back to 8th grade? Paula was particularly offensive. Those kids are trying to get a jump-started career, and the judges are making the show about themselves. Disgusting. Hope the producers have a chat with them.

Posted by: lanehatcher | May 13, 2009 1:09 PM

zzishate@yahoo.com:

I like Adam OK, but he's not my favorite and never was. I've liked some of his past performances better than what he did last night. I think that he tried too hard to reinvent/reinterpret "One" and it just didn't do it for me. What I'm saying is, could it have killed him to sing it as the beautiful song it is without injecting the screeching into it?

Posted by: beaker1 | May 13, 2009 1:21 PM

I am really surprised at all the Adam hating out there. I just don't get it. I think he is fantastic. He is so versatile, from ballads to hard rock and everything in between...ALWAYS on key, polite, appreciative, respectful, and seems like a truly nice person. Did I mention he has a great voice and is gorgeous. (I am a straight upper-middle age, classic rock loving man, married with children so don't read anything into that last comment.) He may not have had his best night last night, there were too many factors working against him (band and backup singer, even song choice) but even at that is still way above the rest.
It is interesting how Simon felt it necessary to remind viewers to vote and not to assume anything. Obviously Adam is his (their) favorite and like it or not they (he) usually get it right. Again, Melinda Doolittle comes to mind. This is the week she was voted off despite being head and shoulders better than beat box boy and, whatshername, Jordin Snooze. When Melinda was axed I couldn't watch the final.

Kind of funny they gave a "dance" song to dance-impaired Danny. He is and has been for a couple of weeks now my least favorite. Having said that I thought his second song was the best he has done all year. If he survives, it is on the strength of that one performance.

Still, Kris is more versatile and ultimately more watchable than Danny. His decision to go acoustic with no band backup really was brave. There is no place to hide and no one to camouflage any mistakes out there by yourself like that and he aced it.

I put it in the perspective of who I could watch in concert for an hour and a half straight. Danny? OMG no. Kris? Maybe, but could be sleep inducing before too long. Adam? Never a dull moment. Definitely. Like him or not, he is the reason we watch this year.

And I agree 100 percent with the judge bashing. Can't they just observe and comment and stop with the 5th grade horseplay? They are getting worse each year. No touching! Do I have to separate you? Don't make me come over there.

Posted by: ZiggyZ | May 13, 2009 1:42 PM

First, I think most of us are outside the demo AI aims for and that accounts for the fact that we've never been die-hard Adam fans, zzishate.

In our world of "rock", if I may paraphrase Big & Rich, "We're all about tradition . . . We like it loud; we like it honkin'; The party won't be revin' 'til we crank it to elevent" . . . but, that said, it ISN'T ALWAYS ABOUT THE SCREECH.

"From out in California, New York to Tennessee; Come on if you're with us; let us hear you scream." The bloody monotonous screeching makes us want to s-c-r-e-a-m.

There's big and muscular; there's powerful and raw; and then there's bloody screeching. It's the pitch. It's the falsetto. Great for the Scissor Sisters pop rock dance music - not what the great big muscular powerful and raw rockers did.

And even my own 76 year old mother called me and said, "I thought Goth was over." Yup. So's Glam Rock - and I, for one, do not hear it making a comeback.

Adam has only showed us two modes - and he's showed them ad nauseum: 1 - tragic and 2 - musical theater rock.

Now Meatloaf appeared on the UK "Any Dream Will Do" the other night I watched just to see what that program was all about. All the Joseph wannabees could sing well and had pleasant tenor type voices.

Meatloaf sang (something fairly new I think) - and it was big and muscular, powerful and raw - even though he and Andrew Lloyd Webber talked about his background in musical rock operas.

That cat could wail about paradise by the dashboard light - but the contestants would have crooned it - albeit on key. They were Pat Boone to his Elvis.

There's wailing and there's caterwauling and there's no mistaking one for the other in most people's ears if they have a frame of reference.

And that is why I'd personally wish that Danny and Kris were in the final - but I think that the pimp machine is just too well oiled for that possibility.

Posted by: jqw3827 | May 13, 2009 1:44 PM

Glad you commented on the absolutely pathetic sound work for Adam's second song. Idol must be reducing their budget by having deaf 13-year old part-timers as sound engineers. It was totally amateurish - the overly loud backup singing at the beginning, the overly loud guitar in the middle and what sounded like overly loud harmonica at the end. If Adam loses, it will be at least in part because of technical sabotage by some idiot sound mixer who should have been fired instantly.

Posted by: hangjbat | May 13, 2009 1:53 PM

PS To those others who have commented on it - yes, Adam does do something disconcerting with his tongue when he goes for those high notes. It reminds me a lot of Eliza Dushku's commercial for Hulu - and not in a good way.

Posted by: jqw3827 | May 13, 2009 1:56 PM

"Pakarandy" -- love it. From now on that's what we should call them. We tuned in late (right before Adam sang his first song) and noticed the brown smudge on Simon's shirt. I thought it looked like make-up, but my teenage son said, "Why would there be make-up on his shirt?" Thanks to Lisa, now I know.

For what it's worth, my son really liked Kris's performance of "Heartless." I really do think Kris could be successful with that Jason Mraz/Jack Johnson style of music.

As for Adam, if the marketplace is any indication, according to http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30710864/ eBay has been inundated with Adam-related items (662) while the others trail at 53 and 68 apiece. I don't always love what he does (I agree with Lisa about last night) but I always look forward to it. It's amazing what he can do with his voice, even if I don't love the song -- I'm not big on Aerosmith and U2.

As for Idols selling CDs later, I've generally been underwhelmed by the material they sing. With a few exceptions -- Kelly Clarkson's "Since You've Been Gone" or Clay Aiken's "If I Was Invisible" -- the songs are just not great pop songs, very predictable musically and lyrically. I thought David Cook's might be the first Idol album I'd actually buy, until I heard him sing a couple of the songs on TV. They're not bad, they're just not anything I'd ever be excited to listen to again.

Posted by: owingsmills | May 13, 2009 3:11 PM

LOL jqw, I love those Hulu commercials. And yes our brains are turning into mmmm Mushy mush watching AI!

And right on, Ziggy. I agree w/most you said but I'm really at a I don't care point because Allison is gone.

Posted by: hodie | May 13, 2009 3:11 PM

OMG, I'm still cracking up at the "beery Mary Poppins" description of Kara.

Hilarious!

The judges must have had some immature disagreement just before the show began, and chose to resolve it by shooting snark and insults at each other. I always feel terrible for the Idolettes at that time, because they have to stand there awkwardly and wait. And wait. And wait.

Regarding Paula-has anyone noticed a few things about her the past few weeks...she is relatively sober (at least her eyes are open and she isn't giving comments to the wrong contestant, etc.). She was on some interview (like 20/20, Nightline) saying that she has NEVER EVER had vicodin, and takes nerve medicine and NSAIDS. She also said it was due to an accident she had that required surgery on her neck. Funny, I have an article from about a year or so ago where she says she DID have to take Vicodin from a cheerleading mishap for many years.

Anyway, then her shameful I'm-too-old-but-need-to-try-really-hard-for-a-comeback-and-sing-and-dance-and-choreograph-for-the-Idolettes-one-week.

What I'm getting at, is she trying to set herself up for alternate employment since this is her last contracted season?

BTW-does Kara STILL have to insist and prove to the world that she has a legitimate singing background?!

About Glambert (even as a fan, I LOVE that name): he seemed a bit off. Nervous, perhaps? Usually, he is easily confident. I wasn't amazed by either song, and found the first one to be totally NOT his performance style.

I think Danny did a fantastic job with his "Beautiful" arrangement. I know you guys hate him because his wife died, but he has a valid background in musical training! He didn't just get on Idol because his Dad made him sing his homework! I was curious though-why haven't we seen his very best friend forever in an ETERNITY?

Kris's first song made me bored and distracted. I actually had to rewind on his second song because it caught my attention and I wanted to watch. I really like Kris-I always felt like he was stunned to make it to the top 13 (after they tore him apart for his "Man in the Mirror" rendition), but I find him to be very Dave Matthews-ish.

It's going to be interesting.

Posted by: Iteachmusic | May 13, 2009 3:16 PM

Adam's screaming the songs is just so awful. He reminds me of that guy who sang "Over the Rainbow" in such an over the top way on Star Search like 20 years ago. Truly excruciating.

Go Kris!

Posted by: declaire | May 13, 2009 3:33 PM

If Lambert leaves, next week is a snorefest. Danny and Kris are two competent singers (especially Kris), but have no pizazz whatsoever. Simon obviously knows that. Whether he wins or loses, Lambert will be a superstar - the distinctive voice, looks, and charisma are his tickets to fame (including his ability to interpret songs - not always to everyone's liking, of course, but still an unusual quality). Some have found Lambert's performances offputting in some respects, but Kris's mouth movements are extremely distasteful and, for that reason, he's listenable but unwatchable. What's wrong with Gokey goes without saying. To sum up - with all his supposed flaws - Lambert is at a level the other two can never achieve. Even those who dislike Lambert know in their hearts that's true.

Posted by: rraustin1 | May 13, 2009 3:38 PM

I agree with you rraustin1 about Lambert's talent. I would appreciate him much more if he would present his songs with more subtlety. Mad World was well-done, but most of the time it feels like he is trying too hard. His slow songs are too tragic, and his fast songs are too loud.

Posted by: nthwoods1 | May 13, 2009 3:48 PM

As to the quality of the CDs the Idol alums put out - the key lies in that word that is bandied about so much by the judges, "artistry". But they seem to be using it usually like a jelly bean or gold star reward to a preschooler.

At ages 17-20, the Beatles went to Hamburg. They seriously played the club gigs there and honed their skills. They were not working by day at the autoparts dealership and singing in bars by night.

Kara actually had something right last night. Most of the amateurs who come on AI are "competent". Most are not "artists" who will ever write a note of music or attract the attenion of artist/songwriters who'd otherwise bring music to them.

I like the word "competent" a lot better (and it's far less perjorative) than the usual "cruise ship", "Six Flags show", "karaoke", "cabaret" "wedding singer" descriptions Simon bandies about - but the truth is that they are fairly accurate about the skill level of contestants who come on "talent shows".

"Star Search", "America's Got Talent" or "The Ted Mack Amateur Hour" was not really the place that artists go to get discovered or make a name for themselves. They do that in the school of hard knocks - or Hamburg dives.

David Cook was smart and a good researcher. Most of those "unique" stylings he did were covers of what other artists had already recorded. So was Jason Dreadlocks' "Over the Rainbow". They didn't think of it; they researched and found it and covered it. So I never particularly expected something original and brilliant to come out of them.

To be perfectly fair, some of the world's most brilliant singers probably never wrote a note of music either. I doubt Maria Callas did. But also a singer of her caliber would not have had to appear on a talent show. Neither did Patti Lupone. (I'm just trying to name some singers in various genres to illustrate.)

"Pop" music is a lot like "airport" books to me. There's literature; and there's airport books. It's not that the writers of airport books can't write - but they are called Ludlum or Brown, not Dostoyevsky. You may find a copy of "The Da Vinci Code" in a lending library; but you are unlikely to find "Crime and Punishment" in the airport bookstore. It's about mass appeal and mass marketing there.

The same, I think, is true in the music industry. "Pop" means mass appeal and mass marketing - and "artistry" is just incidental - a nice plus, but not absolutely necessary. When the artistry is there - then you get staying power - and that's why, in 2009 we still talk about the Beatles and their Hamburg days - but why 40 years from now NOBODY will be thinking about an AI CD!!!!

Posted by: jqw3827 | May 13, 2009 3:51 PM

I can't help but notice that Ryan Seacrest and Adam Lambert share the same stiff fake smile at times. I call it the Lamcrest grin and it DEFINITELY showed up last night.

I LIKE Kris the best, and yet Adam sings better. I wish sometimes he would cut back on the screeching but I am still a fan and have been since day one. However, for a guy who seems to care a lot about how he looks, would it kill him to smear on some chapstick? Those dry lips are grossing me out.

Gokey has to go. Joe Cocker was appropriate for him and he ruined it. It is the best he will be, and it's not good enough. Bye-bye Danny.

Posted by: raquel2 | May 13, 2009 4:06 PM

See raquel2 is looking closely at Lambert's lips. Don't blame her.

Posted by: rraustin1 | May 13, 2009 4:25 PM

Who should be voted off tonight? The 3 judges sitting to the left of Randy. Guys, get a hold of yourselves, this show is not about you. The Three Stooges deliberately acted like idiots because that was their schtick. What's your excuse?

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | May 13, 2009 7:34 PM

The judges' fracas was strictly for ratings, since they haven't a Bash-Each-Other fest this entire season.

Does Carrie Underwood ever NOT look pretty?

They need to move the AI stage to a venue with better acoustics, and preferably one that isn't cursed with set and sound malfunctions. (Paula probably needs another seat cushion after the cover of "You Are So Beautiful" anyway, so just move the entire locale and be done with it.)

Last night's performances? Eh. My world wasn't rocked.

Gokey and Lambert in the final next week. Should be interesting.

Posted by: AmericanIdolHoopla | May 13, 2009 7:48 PM

jqw3827, I don't know if you will come back to see this, but your last entry was brilliant and made for very enjoyable reading. Well done!

Posted by: ILoveToSinga | May 13, 2009 7:57 PM

And I agree 100 percent with the judge bashing. Can't they just observe and comment and stop with the 5th grade horseplay? They are getting worse each year. No touching! Do I have to separate you? Don't make me come over there.

Posted by: ZiggyZ | May 13, 2009 1:42 PM

-------------------------------------------

ZiggyZ - You crack me up!

Lisa's column and these comments are far more entertaining than Idol could ever be.

Posted by: waterfrontproperty | May 13, 2009 9:03 PM

Dialidol has Gokey going home. We'll know in a few minutes.

Posted by: ArlingtonGay | May 13, 2009 9:48 PM

ILoveToSinga -

Thanks for the compliment. In a previous incarnation, I covered "World Beat" ("world" music and dance) - and I miss it. Miss it terribly.

Please oh please WaPO - hire me as a blogger for a real blogger paycheck. I am so bored with what I'm doing at present - as my many, and lengthy, posts and musings on the likes of "American Idol" and "Lost" should indicate.

I'd be purrrfect for it. (that's me indicating the contended sound I would make if I got the gig)

Posted by: jqw3827 | May 14, 2009 10:15 AM

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