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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: True Colors

Adam-Lambert2.jpgI have to admit something; I love 80s music. I have CDs crammed full of the stuff lying around my apartment. I'll stick around till the bitter end of "The Breakfast Club" just to hear Simple Minds' "Don't You Forget About Me." And yes, a good portion of the songs in heavy rotation on my iPod have the words 'Phil Collins' or 'Huey Lewis & The News' in them. (I mean, what's better than Huey's "The Power of Love?" Nothing, that's what!) So when I heard that this week's episode of "American Idol" was going to be Songs From the Year They Were Born, I knew that a good portion of the songs would be from the 1980s. And I was psyched.

I started scanning the Internet, searching for songs that were popular in the years each of our final eight contestants were born. I found plenty, from Lionel Richie to Michael Jackson to Wham! and Tears for Fears, and the possibilities seemed endless. So I was little disappointed when I actually heard what some of them chose, while others gave me hope the night wasn't a complete loss. Though I can't say I was happy no one chose "The Power of Love." Here's how the night went:

1980- Danny Gokey- I was reminiscent when Danny's song took us back to the year I was born as well. I don't remember much about that year, other than being hungry and a little sleepy, but from what I hear the music was pretty good. Disco was almost dead, and acts like Billy Joel, Kenny Rogers and Michael Jackson were racking up hits. So why then did Danny choose a remake of "Stand By Me." He chose a strange arrangement of the song, and it seemed off-kilter, but in the end his vocals brought it together. I didn't think it was his greatest performance, and neither did the judges, but we all agree that his singing is still top-notch. I think Mr. Gokey could probably sing the phone book and make it sound good, but he needs to try something a little different next week. Maybe something more fast-paced, or with an edge, just to show his range.

1985- Kris Allen- Singing "All She Wants to do is Dance" from Don Henley, Kris tried something different by singing in the audience. But based on the fact that it didn't really work with Matt last week, he shouldn't have tried it. He seemed to be working too hard, and his vocals just weren't as good this time around. I kept waiting for a break out moment like he had last week, which was awesome by the way, but it was just so-so. Paula said he was likable and unique, but Simon called it boring and forgettable. I think he needs to go back to putting his unique take on his songs.

1984- Lil Rounds- Zooming all the way back to 1984 was Lil and her cover of Tina Tuner's "What's Love Got to Do With It." You could tell she spent some time on her performance, from the Tina-like dancing to almost the exact same vocal inflections at points during the song. But since this isn't Copycat Idol, I'm guessing this was why the judges had a hard time with the performance. Simon said "we've lost you" and wanted to know where the Lil they had loved had gone. It's been several weeks since she received a good comment from the judges, so Lil may need to strategize what to do next if she makes it through another round. It sounds like what could help is if she started picking songs that suit her register. (P.S. And remember Lil, don't ever dance like Tina again! The judges hate that.)

1986- Anoop Desai- Stepping out from my Delorean Time Machine, I'm standing in 1986 and listening to another rendition of "True Colors." Anoop scaled it back, put some nice runs and inflections throughout the song and made it sound really cool. Plus, he humbled himself and apologized to Kara for acting cocky last week. Add all that up, and I think Anoop-Dogg may have earned himself some votes. Was he the best tonight? No. But he was one of the better performers of the night.

1985- Scott MacIntyre- What can you say about a guy who used to have train conductor aspirations and who likes to surprise the judges and audience every week? He absolutely wowed everyone last week with an impressive vocal, and the return of his confidence, so everyone was hoping he'd ride the momentum. I'm not quite sure he did that, but he did earn some cool points. First, he stood in the middle of the stage, without the piano. Second, he busted out his electric guitar and attempted to rock the house (which happened only slightly). But the effect was a little dampened by his unsuccessful attempt to hit some crazy high notes, and the overwhelming power from his guitar. And the judges did not like his song, "The Search Is Over." It's possible he may travel to the bottom three again this week.

1992- Allison Iraheta - Have you ever had that feeling that someone reminds you of somebody else, but you just can't place them? Well, I've had that feeling all season with Allison Iraheta. I guess the rocker vibe and pink hair were throwing me off, but now I see it. After her performance tonight, the judges drew comparisons between "Idol's" resident teenager and the first American Idol, Kelly Clarkson. And you know what, they're right! The similarities are definitely there, though I'm not sure her performance of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" was as good as the original Idol could've sung it. She's got a great voice, but she many need to work on her stage presence. The big difference is that Kelly has a well-defined personality, whereas Allison is still a mystery. That could hurt her once she starts going up against people like Danny or Adam.

1985- Matt Giraud- Dressed from head to toe in clothes he stole from J. Tim's House of Style, Matt redeemed himself with a cover of "Part Time Lover." It was just jazzy and R&B-ish enough to suit his vocal style, and he did some fun things with his voice as he changed some of the melodies. I can see this guy playing smaller venues, sitting at a piano and really working the crowd. Paula gave him a standing ovation, and the other judges really liked him. I hope Matt gets a chance to stick around past this week.

1982- Adam Lambert- A funny thing happened in 1982; the strangest contestant to ever grace the "Idol" stage was born. He likes to buck the trends and he also likes to grab an audience by the collar and hold them in suspense until his songs are over. And while he may not be my favorite contestant, I do have to give him credit for two things: 1) He can sing! Like, really sing! He may be the most technically perfect performer on the show. 2) He is a great performer, in that he holds everyone's attention and gets people talking, which is what he did with his take on "Mad World" tonight (which included backlit blue lights, a chair, and another quiet performance). I'm predicting Adam will most likely make it to at least the Final Three.

Bottom Line: I think the Top Three tonight are Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey and Matt Giraud, with Allison nipping close at their heels. In the bottom three will probably be Lil, Scott and Anoop.

How did you think everyone did tonight? What songs from each year would you have chosen for the contestants? Did Adam win the night, or does that honor belong to someone else? And who do you think is getting a pink slip Wednesday night? Post your comments below.

So, while you all discuss your comments below, I'm going to pop my "Back to the Future" soundtrack into my computer and listen to the song that someone should've sung tonight. ("Don't need money...don't need fame...don't need no credit card to ride this train...") See you back here Wednesday night for the results show, and the strangest combination of guest performers ever announced, with Flo Rida and Kellie Pickler!-Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on April 8, 2009 9:29 AM
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