American Idol: Top 4 Perform
by Kona Gallagher, posted May 6th 2009 12:08AM
With this particular final 4, you know that Rock Night is going to be interesting -- and they don't disappoint. Adam and Allison are definitely suited for this, while Kris and especially Danny have a bit of an uphill battle. Slash is the mentor, which sounds exciting, but we don't really see a whole lot of him. I have no idea if this is what actually happened or not, but we definitely get the impression that he didn't work with the contestants as much as some of the other mentors did.
Also this week we have something new: duets. Frankly, I thought the idea was going to be kind of a train wreck, but they turned out to be really interesting. Pairing Allison and Adam together makes sense, but it left the odd couple of Danny and Kris. It was really kind of hilarious, and I'm sad that they won't be able to do it again this season (unless they do it tomorrow during the results show), because it was a lot of fun.
Adam Lambert, "Whole Lotta Love"
This is a good song choice for him; Zeppelin is somewhat theatrical, and I think he could take it to an interesting level. The vocals are impressive, and he stays pretty close to the original version while still managing to add his own flair, plus he really stuck the ending. He's also got the androgynous rock god thing down, but that's also my problem with this performance, and really, Adam in general. I just watch this and feel like he's playing an androgynous rock god instead of being an androgynous rock god. He's got the attitude; he's got the clothes; he's got the makeup, but it just seems inauthentic to me, like he's playing a role. I also wish he would stop pointing his junk at me.
As for the judges, I have to laugh, because the first thing that Randy says is that nobody's going to be talking about Broadway after that performance (except for me, I guess). Hilariously, Kara actually uses the words, "rock god" in regards to him. Get out of my head, Idol judges! Paula calls him a "whole lotta perfect," and Simon says that it could have been a disaster, but was actually one of his favorite performances he's ever done, even going so far as to say no one can top it tonight.
Allison Iraheta, "Cry Baby"
Janis Joplin is the perfect choice for Allison. The tone in her voice is perfect for this song, so I'm really excited to hear what she does with it. Like Adam, she stays pretty faithful to the original version, without making it a "sound-alike." My only criticism is that she doesn't quite have the anguish behind the lyrics that the Joplin version does. Other than that, it's spot-on.
Randy disagrees with me and says that he didn't love it. Kara thinks "Piece of my Heart" would have been better, and I can see that. I actually like that she chose a less well-known song. Kara does say, however, that she sees Allison's personality in that song. Paula calls her "fearless," and Simon is really impressed with how far she's come in the past eight weeks, but he actually calls it a sound-alike.
Duet: Kris and Danny, "Renegade"
I love this song, in general -- the a capella opening has always gotten me, and I love what Kris and Danny do with it. It kind of falls apart in the middle, though. Danny growls his way through it, and Kris isn't quite powerful enough for the song. However, they pull it back together when they sing the end. Overall, Kris and Danny are an odd pairing, but I enjoy the result.
They're apparently judging this part, and Randy agrees with me completely. He says the individual vocals were okay, but that the harmonies were amazing. Kara says that it was "united and strong," while Paula calls it "powerful and compelling." Simon says that Danny was better than Kris.
Kris Allen, "Come Together"
Fact: The guy I briefly dated as a high school freshman and had a mad crush on for years afterward sang this song with his band at the school talent show, so I am predisposed to love this. Kris is also my favorite contestant, so he doesn't get more than three words in before I'm reduced to a giggly fourteen-year-old. I was going to be objective and say that he didn't make it original enough, but he switched it up halfway through and made the song really interesting.
Randy appreciates that he can pick a song that allows him to be himself and loves what he did on the guitar. Kara says that it was "trying too hard," while Paula says that doing a Beatles song was risky, but that his signature is all over it. Simon didn't like it that much and compares it to "eating ice for lunch."
Danny Gokey, "Dream On"
I don't go into this with high hopes, and my opinion doesn't change. I am really getting tired of the way Danny just growls his way through songs. He even seems to go off beat at one point. Oh, and the "do doo doo" things he added? Made me want to barf. The entire thing just devolves into madness when he tries to hit those high notes at the end. I hated every second of this performance -- it is by far the worst of the night.
Randy says it was alright, but gives him an A+ for effort. Kara thinks he took the "swagger and edge" comments a little too far. Paula doesn't know if this was the right song for him, but says that she's a huge fan of his, while Simon says the last note was like "watching a horror movie," but he thinks he's going to be safe tonight.
Duet: Allison and Adam, "Slow Ride"
I've played this song so much on Guitar Hero, that that's really all I can think of when I hear it. Video games aside, this is a stupid song choice for these two. It doesn't fit either of them and just seems really karaoke to me. I'm obviously not much of an Adam fan, but I like Allison and I still think this kind of sucks. It's not horrible, but it does not make me happy either.
Randy calls them "seasoned rock stars," and Kara calls them "rock god" and "rock goddess." Paula wants them to do a duet for real, while Simon tells them that in the battle of the duets, they win the show tonight. Simon even says that Adam has given Allison a chance of staying in the competition. Personally, I think Allison has gotten where she is on her own, but I guess that's just me.
Overall, Rock night was a lot of fun. I love that they've introduced duets. It allows us to see how the singers work together outside of the cheesy and embarrassing group sings. I hope this is a trend they'll stick with, because wouldn't you love to see what Adam and Kris would sing together? I know I would.