[IMG:L]Below are my assessments of Tuesday night’s birth-year-themed performances on American Idol, followed by a sure-to-be-dead-wrong prediction of Wednesday night’s bottom three and elimination. (Scroll down to watch Adam Lambert's performance, which was cut off by TiVos and DVRs.)
Danny Gokey: “Stand By Me,” by Mickey Gilley
As much as I may personally want to find something wrong, for once, with a Gokey performance, his near flawlessness continues. The arrangement and some notes were cheesy, but the bespectacled soul man can really do no wrong -- regardless of the genre. And Gokey always closes out a song on such a high note, which tends to negate any minor hitches he had during the opening moments. Great show-starter.
Kris Allen: “All She Wants to Do Is Dance,” by Don Henley
Kris finally got a little annoying tonight, something he’d been threatening to do for the past few weeks. It seemed as though he over-rehearsed the nuances, from the intentional moans and groans to the vocal squeaks; it was (yes, Simon) highly indulgent, even if the girls in the audience were head-over-heels in love with it.
Lil Rounds: “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” by Tina Turner
Perfect song choice. I thought it was better than the judges’ take, but still, the performance was unimaginative and too faithful to the original (aka “karaoke”). Lil is known for her vocals, but there’s also a more passionate, attitudinal (for lack of a better word) side that has eluded her in recent weeks, including Tuesday night.
Anoop Desai: “True Colors,” by Cyndi Lauper
After unnecessarily apologizing for last week’s “reaction,” Anoop returned to his safety zone: soulful crooning -- and again, it worked for him. The guy’s got a great voice, and after weeks spent trying to showcase his personality over his tender vocals, it’s probably in Anoop’s best interest to take things slow from here on in, assuming he’s here next week …
Scott MacIntyre: “The Search Is Over,” by Survivor
Whoa -- he ditched the piano for the guitar! And, whoa, the results were atrocious! Serious kudos to Scott for taking a chance by stepping away from the piano and for his overall inspirational story, but he’s now the safest bet to go home Wednesday night. This was by far his corniest performance -- which is saying a lot! -- and he was waaaay off on most of the vocals, and the guitar for that matter. It was like Mr. Rogers doing punk.
Allison Iraheta: “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” by Bonnie Raitt
I didn’t thing Allison covering Bonnie Raitt would work out, but her softening act surprisingly paid off. She didn’t scream gratuitously, as is her tendency, and really showed off what an amazing, raw voice she has. She may not win the competition, but nobody’s voice (with respect to Lil) comes close to hers. And Randy is onto something with the Kelly Clarkson comparison.
Matt Giraud: “Part-Time Lover,” by Stevie Wonder
So what if he was desperately trying to look like Justin Timberlake? Matt sounded amazing, got the crowd going wild and hit some incredible notes in his return to form. All of which probably earned him a seat on one of the top-seven chairs instead of the bottom-three stools. Probably.
Adam Lambert: “Mad World,” by Gary Jules
Was the best saved for last? It seemed a certainty with Adam performing, and that’s exactly what happened. Perfect song choice, perfect amount of restraint for a guy who usually winds up on the floor belting after his performance has ended -- it must’ve killed him to hold it all in. Absolutely amazing, contemporary (even for an ‘80s song) and radio-ready, for what it’s worth. A standing ovation led by Simon is the highest praise imaginable, but Lambert deserved it for what was probably the best performance of the season!
Bottom Three: Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai
Eliminated: Scott MacIntyre