~April 7, 2009~

It was a great beginning and a great ending to the Idol's singing music from the year they were born.  Some good calls and some complete misses make the Bottom Three pretty obvious.

Danny Gokey (1980), the oldest in the bunch, kicked off the night with the Mickey Gilley version of "Stand By Me".  I had never heard this version of the song but Danny quickly won me over with a tender beginning and a nice tone.  I liked the jazzy feel and loved the scatting in the middle.  And then he took the mic off the stand and kicked it to a whole different level at the end.  And I thought, "Wow, I like this version!"  Paula marveled Danny set the bar so high and Kara said that at the end he just killed it and he set it on its head.  If I were the other contestants, I would have broken into a cold sweat by now.

Kris Allen (1985) put a very different twist on Don Henley's "All She Wants to Do is Dance".  The jazz beginning and the screaming brass gave the song a whole different feel.  I was certain Simon wouldn't like this.  The song had a good groove and I liked the middle drum part but Kris simply didn't shine.  Simon called it a stupid song choice and said Kris came across as a guitarist who wants to sing rather than a singer.  I agreed with Randy.  He said when something's already great, you don't need to change the arrangement.  He went on to say, "I lost you.  You're the competition, not the song."
Bottom Line: Don't choose songs that don't show you off.  You can work on interesting arrangements on your own time.  But in a cut-throat competition, there's too much at stake.

Lil Rounds (1984) channeled Tina Turner when she took on "what's Love Got to Do With It".  It was specifically those movements that drew Simon's ire.  He said, "We're not looking for a 2nd or 3rd rate Tina Turner" and called it a ghastly copycat performance.  I say her vibrato was all over the place at the beginning but I liked the liberties she took on the bridge.  But for much of the performance, it seemed like she was struggling.  It ended and I sighed, "She's still lost."  Lil's one for the chopping block.  It's been too many weeks with no signs of improvement.  

Anyone notice the creepy bald dude stoically sitting in the audience?  
The camera must have hit him three times which A-I never does, not even for massive stars.  Did you notice he's on Fringe?  (I saw it on the commercial.)  Clever marketing ploy, although still creepy.

Anoop Desai (1986) sang Cyndi Lauper's poignant and wistful ballad, "True Colors".  He started out onstage sitting on a stool and  I thought, What a perfect song to have a small  ensemble on stage--a guitar with a couple of violins maybe?  Anoop sounded good on the song and had a nice high note at the end but I didn't feel connected to him.  He didn't feel vulnerable enough to pull it off and I agree with a friend: He lost the magic of that song.  The judges liked this way better than I did--I agree with them that he had good vocals but I still felt something was missing.  Regardless though, he's safe to next week.

Scott MacIntyre (1985) did what Paula urged him to do weeks ago--he gave up the piano for a night.  He sang "The Search is Over" which is a great song.  While it was interesting to have him play guitar instead of piano, his vocals were not great.  The thing is, he has had one performance so far where his vocals have been great, so I  know he has it in him.  And that's what I want to see.  Simon completely slammed the song, calling it boring and horrible.  That's Simon-speak for "I  didn't  know that song".  Randy said he wants Scott to leap off the stage vocally.  I agree.  The judge's lukewarm reception to this performance could land Scott in the Bottom Three.

Allison Iraheta, the only 90's child in the bunch (1992) chose Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me".  Bonnie Raitt, what a great choice for her.  I liked how good she sounded on the first verse as well as the slightly revved up chorus.  But, like with Anoop, I found it to be lacking.  Kara thought Allison capably took adult content and made it believable.  I disagree.  I say this song requires a depth of feeling infused into each word and I didn't get that from Allison.  It left me wondering if the song simply wasn't too old for her.  Regardless of how much I disagree with Kara, Allison's safe.

Matt Giraud (1985) sang "Part Time Lover" by Stevie Wonder.  I have to say, I have never been into this song.  But I loved what Matt did with it.  I liked his falsetto as he started the song out slowly.  Then a funky groove kicked in and gave it a really nice feel.  The middle was also good with the band hits but I was disappointed Matt didn't continue to amp up from there.  The song was building and keeping the intensity instead of going back down to the chorus would have been the way to go.  The judges love him but the last two weeks Matt's fans have seemed to be fickle, so it's hard to say what the outcome will be.

Adam Lambert (1982) closed out the evening with an astounding performance.  He sang, "Mad World" by Tears for Fears.  The sign of a truly great singer is when they don't feel like they always have to belt it out to show how truly great they are.  His unbelievable control and the underlying current of subdued intensity led to an electric performance.  The build at the end took my breath away, even with almost losing the last note.  Simon gave Adam a standing ovation.  It was truly deserved!  

Flo Rida and Kellie Pickler grace the stage tomorrow night.  Catch the results then!