[IMG:L]Below is our rundown of Tuesday night’s performances by American Idol’s top three finalists, who sang tunes selected for them by the judges, as well as their own picks, followed by a prediction of Wednesday night’s elimination. But a note about that prediction: This may be the toughest final two to predict since Elliott Yamin narrowly lost out to Katharine McPhee and eventual champion Taylor Hicks in season 5 ...
Danny Gokey: “Dance Little Sister,” by Terence Trent D'Arby (chosen by Paula Abdul)
A D'Arby tune seemed like a good idea, as Danny's voice certainly matches up perfectly with the smooth-throated D'Arby. Buuuut … it wasn't the right Terence Trent D'Arby song. "Dance Little Sister" is a funky number, and Terence knows how to bring the funk. Danny is many things ("smarmy" is one of the words we keep seeing on message boards), but funky isn't one of them. Whatever you may think of his propensity for singing ballads that always seem to remind us that his wife died, those are the songs Danny sings really well. His voice was OK on "Dance Little Sister," but another D'Arby song, the ballad "Sign Your Name," would have been a better selection.
Kris Allen: “Apologize,” by One Republic (chosen by Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi)
Kris is a likable enough guy and his looks would have made him perfect for any number of boy-band positions several years ago, but that's the problem: Kris could be any random guy in any random boy band -- except Justin Timberlake, of course -- and that's because watching Kris perform (anything) is like eating a mayonnaise-and-Kraft-cheese sandwich on two pieces of Wonder Bread -- it’s bland! "Apologize" is an emotional, kinda haunting song. Bland just doesn't cut the mustard (or the Miracle Whip, as the case may be) on a song like that.
Adam Lambert: “One,” by U2 (chosen by Simon Cowell)
Didn't actually think this was a great choice for Adam when Simon announced it, and that unfortunately proved to be the case. It wasn't bad, of course -- Adam hasn't turned in a single bad performance all season. It just wasn't great, either (certainly not "brilliant," as Simon called it), because it was an example of the one legitimate criticism people have about Adam when it comes to a potential recording career: There are times when he's too theatrical. This was one of those times. "One" is a big, beautiful song, with beautiful lyrics, but Bono's much more subtle in his delivery of it, which is what makes it work. Again, not a bad performance by Adam, just not one of his best.
Danny Gokey: “You Are So Beautiful,” by Joe Cocker (chosen by Danny)
Yes, this is exactly the kind of song Danny should be singing; he should be singing it a little better than he did tonight, though. The first half was pitchy, the arrangement stripped it of its emotion, and Danny has, for a few weeks now, been a little too self-satisfied relative to how well his self has been singing. Should be enough to take him to the finale, though.
Kris Allen: “Heartless,” by Kanye West (chosen by Kris)
And then suddenly, a new contender has emerged. Kris Allen singing Kanye West … that's like, well, Kris Allen singing Kanye West -- yet, it worked. The unplugged folky thing is what Kris does best, and it was that spin on Kanye's "Heartless" -- with Kris strumming his guitar and crooning perfectly in tune -- that may have cost Mr. Gokey a spot in the finals.
Adam Lambert: “Cryin',” by Aerosmith (chosen by Adam)
Yup. If Adam is not in next week's finale, it will be a shocker on a scale that will force you to question the whole point of this show and whether or not it should continue for another season. This is the kind of rock-out tune that fits perfectly with Adam's style, and he did indeed rock out with his, um, full talent, out.
Eliminated: Kris Allen