“Songs from the Year You Were Born” was the premise on last night’s episode of American Idol. It’s a popular theme that has been on nearly every season of the singing competition, and it’s become well known for producing some of Idol’s best performances. While most of the contestants gave decent performances, it was clear that only one would contribute to the fame of this memorable Idol theme.
Season 8’s Top 8: Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai, Scott MacIntyre, Allison Iraheta, Matt Giraud, and Adam Lambert.
· 01 Danny Gokey- "Stand By Me"
Though a version of this classic tune was released in 1980, this song choice felt like a violation of the theme. Despite that, Danny’s performance was solid, and the vocals were improved over past weeks. The great thing is that he didn’t dance. The bad thing is the judges are still over praising him.
· 02 Kris Allen- "All She Wants To Do Is Dance” (1985)
After Kris’ sultry, soulful rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine” last week, this performance was disappointing. Kris is still talented, but Simon called the performance “indulgent, boring, and forgettable.” He added that Kris “came over as a guitarist who wanted to sing, rather than a singer.”
· 03 Lil Rounds- "What’s Love Go To Do With It"(1984)
As the fastest fading star, it now seems a distant memory when Lil first rocked the stage with R&B flavor. Now her vocal prowess is falling victim to poor song choice, week after week. Simon said it was a “ghastly, copy-cat performance.” Adding that, “We’ve lost you. You’re not making the impact you should be.”
· 04 Anoop Desai- "True Colors"
Anoop’s take on the Cyndi Lauper tune was smart, as its slower tempo allowed him to do more vocally with the piece. Randy said it was “a very nice vocal, and very controlled.” Kara commented, “You interpreted it with soul without being someone that you’re not.” Simon thought it was good, but he called Anoop—whose performance has been up and down the past few weeks—a “singing yo-yo.” Fun fact: Anoop’s birthday, Dec. 20, 1986, is the same as Idol winner David Cook’s.
· 05 Scott MacIntyre- "The Search Is Over" (1985)
Scott stepped back from the piano and strapped on an electric guitar. Odd? Yes. Effective? No. Scott’s a nice guy, but his vocal abilities just aren’t on par with the rest of the group. In fact, the judges spent more time discussing his instrument choice than his singing.
· 06 Allison Iraheta– "I Can’t Make You Love Me" (1992)
While the song fit Allison’s voice very well, and she continues to offer solid performances, the song choice was just way too predictable (and overused). Despite this, Paula’s critique was spot on when she discussed the gift that Allison possesses: “We hear one note, and it’s undeniably Allison.” Paula went on to commend Allison for using the same song arrangement, but still managing to make the song her own.
· 07 Matt Giraud- "Part Time Lover" (1985)
Rebounding from last week’s unfortunate attempt at The Fray, Matt’s performance of the Stevie Wonder song was upbeat, bluesy, and enjoyable. Though he still hasn’t convinced me that he’s as good as Adam, Kris, or even Anoop, hopefully, he’s heading back in the right direction. Kara called the performance “incredible, on every level.” Simon said it was “a million times better than last week. Well done.”
· 08 Adam Lambert- "Mad World” (1982)
In the pivotal last position of the night, Adam easily gave the best performance of the show (and perhaps of the entire season thus far). It was understated and masterful. It was tender yet powerful. Unfortunately for those with TiVo or DVR, it was also cut off early since the show was running over its allotted time. Simon was the only judge permitted to comment. His response: “I think words are unnecessary, but I want to give you a standing ovation.”
Who Stays & Who Goes
· Adam Lambert’s stage presence and vocal chops made everyone else look like amateurs. Despite his performance being cut off on TiVos and DVRS, it’s safe to say that the theatrical pop rocker is safe. Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta, and Matt Giraud should also be just fine.
· Anoop Desai technically gave the second-best vocal performance of the evening. However, his “yo-yo” antics might hurt him and land him in dangerous territory. Kris Allen wasn’t at the top of his game, but will viewers forgive and forget? Or will poor song selection lead him to the dreaded silver stools?
· Lil Rounds is fading, and Scott MacIntyre was easily the weakest contestant of the night. However, we’ve all learned that that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re heading home. Scott will be in the bottom three, and I predict he will be joined by Anoop, Kris, or Lil.
Tune in at 9pm tonight for the results on FOX.