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American Idol Season 8 (2009)

 

April 7 - It's a mad world (thankfully) (The Year You Were Born)

 

Tonight could otherwise be called "80s Night + 1."  It's also the night where I'm reminded that five out of eight of these kids were born when I was in college.  Talk about feeling old.  You'd better do me proud, you young whipper-snappers!  [*shakes cane from rocking chair on the front porch*]

 

We start off showing baby/little kid pictures of the judges and Ryan.  Why is it not surprising that Simon's shows him dressed in red and pointing a toy gun at the camera?

 

Danny Gokey (born 1980, sings Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," covered by Mickey Gilley in 1980):  It starts off slow then goes into this dance song thing, which isn't exactly Mickey Gilley's country version, but whatever.  Danny's gospel-y voice suits it, and he doesn't shout at me, so I grit my teeth and bear the weird arrangement.  Randy doesn't love the arrangement, but he loves Danny's vocals.  Kara says he killed it at the end and made it his own.  All Paula can say is wow.  Well, it's not all she says, but the rest is incomprehensible.  Simon calls the performance great overall, even though he thought the middle was "lazy."

 

Kris Allen (born 1985, sings Don Henley's "All She Wants To Do Is Dance"):  Kris is in the mosh pit with an electric guitar, which I barely hear.  I'm not a fan of this arrangement, either, which is kind of an overwrought soul version with massive bass and horns.  What the...?  This is not the fun Kris I like.  Meh.  Kara likes that he picked an up-tempo song, but she felt that the song lost a lot of its youth in the arrangement.  Paula calls him one of the most likeable contestants they have.  Simon says the performance is indulgent, boring, and forgettable.  He calls it a stupid song choice.  Randy says he lost Kris in the middle of the band.

 

Lil Rounds (born 1984, sings Tina Turner's "What's Love Got To Do With It"):  She comes out trying to walk like Tina.  Honey, you don't have her legs, so don't even try.  In fact, the whole interpretation says karaoke, until the second half, when she starts changing the notes some so she can belt a little more.  Paula says Lil looks hot tonight, but she felt that the performance was just a beautiful karaoke edition.  Simon says they aren't looking for a second- or third-rate copy of Tina Turner, and he tells Lil that she's got to start becoming original.  Randy believes she's not listening to their critiques.  Kara says she's not making the leap from singer to artist.

 

Anoop Desai (born 1986, sings Cyndi Lauper's "True Colors"): He's wearing a pink tie, a light blue oxford shirt, jeans, and a light green striped sweater.  Are these his true colors?  Um...zzzzz.  But the song performance is very sweet and heartfelt, with a nice falsetto at the end.  About a hundred times better than last week.  I just wish he could do up-tempo pieces this well.  Randy says it was a very nice vocal and seems surprised that Anoop can actually sing.  Kara said that he controlled the song and didn't let the song control him.  Paula calls his choice of song flawless and calls him a rainbow, blah, blah, blah.  Simon, on the other hand, calls him a singing yo-yo - down one week and up the next. 

 

Scott MacIntyre (born 1985, sings Survivor's "The Search Is Over"):  Scott plays electric guitar, rather unnecessarily.  I crack up at the blind guy singing, "Love was right before my eyes," which keeps me from crying over the horrible, horrible vocals.  Trainwreck doesn't even come close to describing it.  Boy needs to stick to bland AC arrangements.  He's not a power ballad guy.  At.  All.  Blech.  Kara commends him for playing the guitar and taking on a very difficult song, but he had some off moments.  Paula gives him credit for getting away from the comfort zone of the piano, and gives him an overall bravo.  Simon suggests that Scott go back to the piano next week, and he calls the song atrocious.  Randy says the song was just okay, and then he tells Scott that he wants to see him leap off the stage.  Vocally, that is.  Heh.

 

Allison Iraheta (born 1992, sings Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me"):  The song is well-suited for her voice, and she gives a lot of emotion to it, but again, I'm not digging the arrangement.  The backing music should be more tender than that.  But Allison is very, very good, even though she doesn't have the life experience to really make me believe the performance.  If I close my eyes, though, I'm fine.  Paula says that Allison gave all of her heart to the song.  Simon calls it very good, but he doesn't think her personality is coming out enough, and that's why she's not gaining fans.  Randy says she reminds him of Kelly Clarkson, and she needs to be more chatty like Kelly.  Kara calls her truly talented and wants to make a record with her, regardless of what the others say.

 

Matt Giraud (born 1985, sings Stevie Wonder's "Part-Time Lover"):  Oh, jeez, I'm so tired of Stevie Wonder on Idol.  Matt's voice is suited for it, and this version is more jazzy than the original, but this song is just like nails on a chalkboard for me.  A really good vocal with a really sucky song.  The judges rush through their comments because they're running out of time.  Randy says that vocally, Matt was one of the best of the night.  Kara calls him incredible.  Paula gives him "a standing O."  Simon says it's a million times better than last week and tells him, "Well done."  Zoom!  On to the ads!

 

Adam Lambert (born 1982, sings Tears for Fears' "Mad World"):  This is the haunting Gary Jules version used in Donnie Darko.  And it's just...just...  I don't know.  I love it.  I love him.  I swoon.  The judges swoon.  No, wait, that's not quite right.  I don't know what the judges do at first, because when I fall over, I land on the TV remote, temporarily cutting the feed.  I fumble with the controls until I get back to the show.  But I guess I didn't miss much.  According to Simon, the judges have no time to say anything, so Simon speaks for all of them by giving Adam a standing ovation.  Let me say that again:  Simon Cowell gave Adam a standing ovation.  Has that ever happened at any time other than the final two on this show?  I fall over again.  I'm going to be so bruised in the morning.

 

My ranking:

 

1.  Adam Lambert - once again proving that he's too frickin' good for this show.

 

Big gap.

 

2.  Matt Giraud - I hate to put him this high with that song, but I have to confess he had one of the best vocals of the night.

3.  Anoop Desai - very touching.  Awww.

4.  Allison Iraheta - I like her voice, but she's not quite seasoned enough to pull off the performance.

5.  Danny Gokey - weird arrangement, and I think the judges praised him too much, but vocally he was fine.

6.  Kris Allen - I was too distracted by the band to pay much attention to his vocals, but at least he wasn't karaoke like...

7.  Lil Rounds - Just.  No.

8.  Scott MacIntyre -  Really, really no.  I mean it.

 

Bottom 3 (announced on April 8 results show):  Anoop Desai, Scott MacIntyre, Lil Rounds

Eliminated:  Scott MacIntyre

 

Review 2009 by Patricia Lowhorn.  For comments, e-mail tricia@lowhorn.org.

 

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