American Idol: Top 5 Perform

by Jane Boursaw, posted Apr 29th 2009 12:22AM
American Idol - Top 5 PerformThe theme on this week's American Idol is songs from the Rat Pack era, and the five remaining contestants are mentored by Jamie Foxx. I get that he's a classically-trained musician who also starred in Ray and Dreamgirls, but is he the best person to mentor on this genre? I get the feeling that whomever is getting bad press calls up the Idol producers and begs to be on the show. Well, that and I'm sure he's plugging The Soloist, in theaters right now. Anyhoo ...

Kris Allen starts things off with "The Way You Look Tonight," one of my favorite songs from that era. It's really nice having Ricky Miner and the band onstage, because it helps to put you in that era. The tune starts off slow, then picks up with a jazzy beat in the middle. Really, really nice.

The Judges: Randy says it's his best performance to date; Kris took his time, told a story, and added some R&B stylings. Kara agrees, saying Kris set the technical standard high for the evening. "You are truly a dark horse in this competition," says Kara. Paula says he's made an amazing transition from boy-next-door to sophisticated gentleman. Simon isn't quite as enthusiastic, saying it's "wet" and like "taking a well-trained spaniel for a walk." He doesn't feel like Kris can win the competition.

Allison Iraheta sings "Someone to Watch Over Me," and it makes me forget that she's known as a rocker chick. The song really works for her. Plus, she looks magnificent, and celebrated her 17th birthday yesterday.

The Judges: Randy says she looks like Brittney Murphy and sings like Pink. Kara says she's not nervous for Allison anymore, that she's not just a one-trick pony or rock chick. Paula says it was alluring and tender. Simon thinks she might be in trouble tonight and called the song "mechanical." Allison mentions something about trying to be more "likeable," probably because that's been the Internet buzz for her this week.

Matt Giraud is next with "My Funny Valentine." He says he loves jazz and studied it at Western Michigan University. Jamie Foxx doesn't have much to say during rehearsals, but then calls Matt back into the room for more feedback. Weird that it wasn't edited out. The performance starts off slow and picks up steam along the way, with Matt adding some nice runs and power. Not my favorite performance tonight, but nice job.

The Judges: Randy says it's probably one of the hardest songs to sing, and it was a little pitchy. He gives it a 6 out of 10. Kara agrees, saying she appreciates all the runs, but didn't feel like he was emotionally connected to the song. Paula did feel the connection and thinks he did an excellent job. Simon agrees with Paula, saying it's the only believable, authentic song he's heard tonight. He heard Nat King Cole phrasing and says it was "absolutely brilliant." It really makes me wonder if they hear something different in the studio audience than what we hear, but maybe not, since the judges were divided.

Danny Gokey is next, singing "Come Rain or Come Shine." During rehearsals, Jamie Foxx kind of intimidates Danny by looking at him intensely about one inch from his face. Yikes, that would scare the living crap out of me. Foxx says it's like working with director Michael Mann, whom I'm sure is an intense guy. The performance is good, with Danny wearing these beautifully dorky Mad Men-type, black-rimmed glasses. Great job overall, ending with some power notes.

The Judges: Randy says that Danny is the only singer tonight who could actually put out an album of Rat Pack songs. Kara loved his Rat Pack swagger. Paula calls it "stellar." Simon also loves the swagger and confidence, calling the performance "outstanding."

Adam Lambert sings "Feeling Good." Jamie Foxx says he'll knock everybody's head off, and "you don't care about who I am at all." I can appreciate that from Foxx, who probably has a huge ego. The performance stats with a white-suited Adam descending a pink-lighted staircase. This guy has no confidence issues at all. The song goes into a jazzy-rock beat, and he hits some of his famous power high-notes – one that lasts for about 20 seconds – then brings it down to a subtle ending.

The Judges: Randy says it was a little too theatrical for him, but Adam is "in the zone consistently." Kara says it's shocking and confusing and sleazy and superb, but "I like you!" Paula likens him to Michael Phelps in the Olympics. Simon loves the showmanship, especially Adam's entrance on the staircase.

Tomorrow: Taylor Hicks and Natalie Cole perform.

I'm thinking maybe Matt Giraud might go home this week. What about you?

Who will go home on American Idol this week?
Danny Gokey88 (4.1%)
Adam Lambert77 (3.6%)
Allison Iraheta322 (15.1%)
Kris Allen89 (4.2%)
Matt Giraud1562 (73.1%)

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OK. So I keep hearing about this tongue thing of Adam. I've read from people who are in the theatre that it's a technique singers use so they don't lock up their jaw and kill the back of their throats when they hit the big notes... and hit the big ones he does! I love his singing on Idol, too. I just wish he would give the same gusto to his recordings as he does in person. It's probably a learning experience for him, too. I'm rooting for him all the way but honestly don't know if America is ready for someone so obviously set on entertaining rather than just appeasing a mass audience. We'll see. Go Adam!!

May 02 2009 at 7:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anyone but me think that the reason they save Adam Lambert for last is because they are forcing us to sit and watch the rest of the group - boring as they may be. I usually do laundry till Adam comes on. I know, Im very mean. Actually they are a bunch of very talented kids who will find their way given this great opportunity. I myself am an Adam fan and I'm hoping he records a cd of all the songs he sang on AI this year. He's is the most exciting contestant they've had in a long time. ALSO: Im very happy to be seeing Taylor Hicks tonight. I've seen him in concert, I've seen him in Grease on Broadway and he's adorable. I hope he rocks the stage tonight. SOUL PATROL!!!!!!!!!!

April 29 2009 at 2:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How funny, Michael and Dan, your comments about Adam are exactly my complaints about Danny. His initial vocals are rushed and raspy and he hurries to bellow out the power vocals. Last night was his best attempt at doing that, mind you, but every single performance up to this point has been executed the same way. Adam, on the other hand, puts melody into every word he sings. Of all the performers, Adam will have the stellar career. Allison will grow into a strong performer. Kris and Matt will have their followings. I see Danny in a Las Vegas cabaret bellowing out to the passerbys to coax them into spending some winnings on cocktails. Face it, you won't want his records unless he decides to go Christian rock and you are of strong faith.

April 29 2009 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to kedoku28's comment

I guess you assume by your comments that I'm a Danny fan but you'd be wrong. I feel that Danny doesn't have his heart into most of the material he's performing and it has really shown the last few weeks. I completely agree that he'd be a great Contemporary Christian artist - that seems to be where he's got his musical heritage anyway. He's just never really won me over since the Hollywood auditions and I moved on to my real favorites in the competition this year.

I don't necessarily disagree with your assessment of Adam. He's a polished performer to be sure but I think the polish feels too calculating to me and it comes off fake. I stand by what I said originally: each performance sounds the same and we're guaranteed certain elements no matter what the genre or tempo of the material. I think Adam would fare well as the front man for a rock band (think Freddie Mercury from Queen) where he can just put on a big show each night. As a solo artist however, I just don't see it. He'd do much better showcased as part of an ensemble than all by himself.

April 29 2009 at 2:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I hate Adam with a passion. I swear he's going to give me swine flu if I watch him too much.

Why the *@#% do singers that have already have a career in singing (aka Broadway ala Wicked) need to be on a competition to discover "hidden" talent? WHY?!

April 29 2009 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

ADAM LAMBERT is a near future question about it...ALLISON is also teriffic and KRIS has a certain cute something about him..MATT needs to take his hat and his wart and get out of town...
DANNY GOKEY is boring beyond belief with that Michael McDonald he is HOKEY HOKEY that GOKEY..cant stomach him anymore but you know those Christians like to band together...!

April 29 2009 at 11:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anyone notice that Allison does not enunciate her words when singing? Or is it just me? I think she is talented, but really needs some help in her presentation.

I am also tired of the tongue and though I appreciate that Adam has talent, I do not like the screechy style.

I thought Matt was almost un-listenable. I like him but he makes very poor choices in songs and in his arrangements. He just seems like the obvious one to go.

I like Kris alot, he's the one who has built up his own buzz, not by the producers. But I thought he was fair last night--not bad, certainly, but (to put it like Simon) not memorable.

I still love Danny Gokey and felt like he got back in the saddle last night after some 'safe' type performances.

Any but Matt seem to me to be able to win this show. Matt just doesn't have the judgement to be able to compete with the others. I think he'll be going...

April 29 2009 at 11:07 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Last night was a strong night for pretty much everyone. None of the final five cylons... ummm I mean contestants had a poor night either with their song selection or performances. That said, I think we're probably going to see the first three of them in the bottom this week - Kris, Allison and Matt. Sorry Matt but I think you're probably going to be the odd man out this time (again). If it's any consolation, I doubt that Anoop would have fared any better this week had it been Matt then Lil kicked out the past two elimination rounds.

On a side note, I've said it before and I'll say it again - Adam is just way too one dimensional a performer. Every freaking song he sings SOUNDS EXACTLY THE SAME! It doesn't matter if he sings fast, slow, loud or soft it just comes across the SAME. We are guaranteed he's going to squeal like a pig, stick that pointy little tongue out and hold some note for longer than we want to hear it every single performance. Frankly, he's a great performer but I can't imagine listening to a whole CD of his stuff. No way. I think that he's polarizing enough that if he is in the final two - regardless of who he's up against - that there will be tons of people who vote for his competition just to make sure he is NOT the next American Idol.

April 29 2009 at 10:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to Michael's comment

You are absolutely right about Adam, Michael. He alternates each week between Upper and Downer and always has a big show note near the end and he always wears some flamboyant costume/makeup. If you listened to his album, it'd be horrible because you'd get none of his theater showmanship and all of the wailing and screeching.

And why they still like Danny (or ever did for that matter, his friend was much better) is beyond me. That guy's best is still mediocre.

April 29 2009 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Phil Leitch

completely agree on the Adam remark. The guy deserves all the kudos for his voice and ability to perform. Does an awesome job but I can't for the life of me seeing him release a successful album. Massive theater star, sure but I don't think his theatrics transfer well to pop music.

April 29 2009 at 12:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I have the Muse version of Feeling Good on my iPOD so I recognized Adam's version immediately. It is a great song.

I was kind of over Danny, but I thought he did a great job last night.

I don't NOT like Matt, but he just doesn't compare to the others.

I do really like Allison though and cannot believe the people who said she made no emotional connection to that song. But I do thing she doesn't have the fan base. I wanted an Adam/Allison top two and still hope to have Adam/Allison/Kris top three, but she clearly can't win.

And Adam has the iTUNES sales to back up his being a recording artist. He outsells all of them by a longshot. These are video free, so it is on singing alone that people buy his songs. He'll do fine.

April 29 2009 at 10:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Adam is certainly talented but just so over the top. He belongs in musical theatre which he has done for more than ten years.

Danny hit the power notes last night and probably locked up his chances of making the top three.

Allison was not in her genre and its very difficult for a just turned 17-year old girl to do a torch song. It really is a song for a more mature person (no offense to Allison).

Kris and Matt...take your pick. I find Matt to be more interesting and multi-talented.

April 29 2009 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Again, I totally agree. I told my daughter that the tongue was going to come out, but I never expected it to happen in a close up....eeww! He might be talented and theatrical and interesting, but the guy!!

April 29 2009 at 9:35 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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