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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Just a Girl

I expected many things out of tonight's episode of "Idol." First, I expected a cheesy group number. I also expected a great song out of Daughtry. But what I definitely expected to see was last night's strongest singers make it into the Top 3. Though, it wouldn't be the final rounds of "Idol" if there weren't a surprise or two.

The episode began with the always hokey Ford music video, followed by the group number. But tonight's performance of "School's Out" had an extra surprise, as guest mentor Slash joined the singers on stage. Danny rocked out a little bit, Adam strutted his stuff on stage and Allison showed some confidence, though Kris sounded a bit out of his element. And Slash topped it all off with an awesome guitar solo. All in all, not a bad rock number.

After the group song, but before tonight's guest singers and the all-important elimination, Ryan had a chance to speak with the contestants about their thoughts on last night's episode. Humble Kris started to explain how surprised he is that he's made it this far, when Simon interrupted and told him "we don't want humble anymore." We also got to hear Danny's impression of his rock performance from last night (you know, the one with the serial killer scream at the end). The Downey Jr. clone said he laughed all night after watching his performance back, and said he'd heard that people were now converting the suddenly infamous scream into ringtones. Yikes, when did this guy fall from frontrunner territory to Sanjaya-level embarrassment? One final note: Am I wrong, or did the censors mute something Allison said during her interview? Did she swear or was it just a technical malfunction?

Next up was tonight's first guest performance, from our very own eloquent Paula Abdul! After a brief bio we were reminded about Paula's humble beginnings as a Laker Girl and her fast rise to an artist who's sold 53 million records (Really??!!! Wow! Who knew that song where she sings with the animated cat was so popular? Who am I's on my iPod! You know why? "Cause opposites attract..." By I digress....) Abdul was premiering her new song "I'm Just Here For the Music," which suspiciously sounded like a cross between a T-Pain ditty and Paula's last new song "Dance Like There's No Tomorrow." As expected there was plenty of dance numbers and expert choreography, and a little less of actual singing. I guess much like the performances Kanye West and Jamie Foxx have given this season where their voices were all digitized, it's a little hard to sing their songs live. So Paula made the best of things, and used all her extra lung power for strutting down stairs, crawling through wind machines, stage diving and being careful not to catch on fire from the pyrotechnics. And even though she didn't really sing, and it was most likely a pre-taped performance, Paula told Ryan that this is a "happy place to be."

Up next, in a rare back-to-back performance, were rockers No Doubt. I was pretty excited going into this song, mainly because I've been a fan of the band ever since I heard one of their first singles "Just a Girl" on my bedroom stereo way back in high school. And since lead singer Gewn Stefani went solo a few years ago, I haven't seen the band back together. But somehow I must've jumped in my time-traveling Delorean and headed back to 1995, because No Doubt seemed to have regressed to their early days. Gwen, who had been significantly glammed up over the last few years, was suddenly back in her white undershirt, strutting around the stage singing "Just a Girl." (As she explained later, they have no new album because it's "all her fault," and she didn't feel like sitting around the house, so they decided to get back together. Um, OK.) Her voice sounded way too low, and pretty soon I wondered if she had forgotten to sing. Then things got weird, and for no reason she got down on the stage and did pushups for five seconds. Then she screamed "Am I making myself clear?" a few times before awkwardly pushing her way through the crowd. I'd bet money that a lot of this was unplanned and probably had some "Idol" producers sweating up in the booth.

But enough of all that craziness! Ryan dimmed the lights and it was time once again to visit the Stools of Doom, except now they were the Stools of Safety! So Ryan lined everyone up: Allison, Danny, Adam and Kris. I was pretty sure Kris was probably going to be sent home, so I was floored (and pleasantly surprised!) that Kris was declared the first safe contestant of the night! I need to find a recording of the show and play that moment back, because it looked like Kris was more floored than I was!

To make the other three sweat it out, it was time to put the brakes on the results, and to welcome back former Season 5 contestant Chris Daughtry!! He is one of my favorite former contestants, and I was psyched to hear his new song "No Surprise." But there was no surprise here as I rocked along with him and his band. He sounded just as good as always and eventually earned a standing ovation from Simon and the judges. Then Chris flashed an unexpected smile, before being handed a plaque celebrating 5 million sales of the band's first album. Glad to have you back Chris, and I'm looking forward to the new CD!

We were running out of airtime, so it was up to Ryan to fill those last two stools. The three contestants came back to center stage, and Ryan relieved Adam's fanbase by sending him to safety. This left Danny and Allison. Who would it be? In the end, it was Danny who was saved and Allison who was sent home. This means that Kris, Adam and Danny will round out the Top 3 in the much-predicted all-male finals. Next week they become Hometown Heroes, and will sing two songs- one is judge's choice, while the other is a choice by the contestants. Should be an interesting experience. (Weigh in below on which songs they should choose!)

So, here's to you Allison Iraheta! The 17-year-old with the pink hair who rocked the house and reminded us of Kelly Clarkson! You may have started a $6,000 cake fight, but Simon once called you the "girl's only hope" in the competition. Here's hoping we'll see your CD soon! (Just try not to be too feisty. Simon hates that.)

What did you think of tonight's results? Were you shocked by Kris's inclusion in the Top Three? Were you bummed that Allison was kicked to the curb? And is Adam going to cruise towards the "Idol" crown, or is it anyone's game? Post your comments below and don't miss next week's episode when the Idols head back to their hometowns! -Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on May 6, 2009 11:58 PM
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The only upside of the evening was to see the re-run of daughtrys expression when he got the "boot" I only hope that Allison will follow in his footsteps and receive an even greater reward in the future---till then---GO ADAM!!

-- 1. Posted by: ronn at May 7, 2009 11:45 AM

Well, Paula's performance was entertaining, but I'm really tired of lip-synched performances on the show this year. No Doubt is nothing but a pop band, so I didn't expect much. It was fun to watch, singing wasn't great, but at least she actually sang. Daughtrey was awesome. Easily the best contestant this show has ever had, and truly a travesty when he was eliminated.

I was pleased Kris made it, I've always wanted him in the final. I was really crossing my fingers that Adam would get the boot, but as expected, his bottom 3 last week got everyone voting extra for him this week. I thought for sure based on performances Danny would be the one gone, so I was surprised when he made it. Allison was my 2nd favorite, so I'm sad to see her go. I'd love to see her become the frontperson in a band and release a rock album. Good luck Allison.

-- 2. Posted by: Andy at May 8, 2009 1:16 PM

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