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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: The Battle for the Finals

On the 300th episode of "Idol" that featured Carrie Underwood traveling to Africa to raise awareness about malaria, as well as intense bickering between Simon and Kara, we saw our Top Three contestants vie for the top spot with two song selections. This week saw Adam, Kris and Danny sing a song of the judges' choosing, as well as being allowed to choose a selection of their own. This is pretty standard at this point in the game, but what happened to footage from the hometown visits? Usually we get to see the contestants chat with their local mayors and drive in parades as crowds of fans chase after them. No such luck this year. So either no one showed up, or the visits were just really boring.

Here's how the night's remaining contestants handled their dual song responsibilities:

Danny Gokey:

Judges' Choice: For this song, Paula chose Terence Trent D'Arby's "Dance Little Sister," which at first seemed like a great choice for Mr. Gokey. He desperately needed to break out of his sappy love-song streak, so this could've been the runaway hit to bring him to the finals. But despite some nice Elliot Yamin-esque notes, this selection was a bit repetitive and almost boring. Randy said he loved his "hoarse tone," Kara said he was "in the money spot" and Simon said his vocals were very good. Of course, everyone agreed that the dance moves had to go.

Danny's selection: For his personal choice, Danny picked "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker. I think this was meant to be his true breakout song, and you could tell he had packed it full of emotion. Unfortunately, I found myself flipping through my mail and getting up for a snack during his song, both of which are not good signs. The notes seemed too low for both his voice and for the song, and it all came off as a little boring. But I guess my TV's speakers probably weren't working because the judges absolutely loved it, with Kara calling it "stunning" and Paula saying it was "breathless."

Kris Allen:

Judges' Choice: Kara and Randy picked an odd selection for Kris, "Apologize" by One Republic. This worried me, mostly because you may remember that David Archuleta sang this with the actual band around this same time last year (though it was in the finals.) I wondered why the judges would've picked this ditty for Kris, especially when he needs a "moment" more than anyone else. His piano playing was pretty good, but the beginning of the song was a little rough. I'm not sure if it was the "bum note" that Paula pointed out, or just the crummy arrangement, but nothing seemed to work until the middle of the song when Kris really started singing. Kara said it was "competent" but got on Kris' case for choosing that arrangement, to which Simon said that Kara can't complain about a song she chose. Despite all the bickering, Kris did not apologize.

Kris' selection: This was the most stunning moment of the night. After being written off by Simon after his first song, it appeared that Kris didn't have a shot in the world of making it to the finals. And then came his rendition of Kanye West's "Heartless." With just his acoustic guitar, Kris gave one of those performances that remind you how good he actually is. Much like he did on "Falling Slowly" during Movie Music Week and "Ain't No Sunshine" during iTunes Downloads week, Kris injected some melodic soul into this song. And I think he won bonus points by figuring out melodies for all the rap portions of the song. The judges seemed completely stunned, and Randy said Kris' version was better than the original. Kara and Paula both called him brave, while Simon admitted that he had all but written Kris off and now had changed his mind. Even Ryan said he had no idea how the voting was going to turn out.

Adam Lambert:

Judges' Choice: With a quick call to Bono, Simon received the rights to U2's "One" and found a great song to suit Adam's voice. But while Adam has an awesome voice, and displays a great amount of control over it, I've been experiencing some déjà vu over the last few weeks while watching his performances. This week was no exception. The producers once again bathed Adam in blue light and gave him the plum final song of the night (which has to be some sort of record, because he's been there more than once over the last month). As for his actual performance, I'll admit Adam hit some amazing notes, but his treatment of the song just seemed familiar. And I wasn't crazy about how he changed the melody to the song.

Adam's selection: Proving that he could probably be an awesome emo-rocker when he graduates from "Idol," Adam sang an exciting version of "Cryin'" by Aerosmith. His vocal runs are nothing short of amazing, and he always seems to know how to work a crowd. The only complaint about this performance would be the volume level on those backup singers. For awhile, all I could hear was them. Most of the judges implied that Adam would be in the finals, though Simon warned people not to be too complacent.

So, what do you think? Did all three contestants rock the house with their dual musical selections, or did only one singer shine tonight? Will the finals feature Danny and Adam, or did Kris wake enough people up with his second song? Post your comments below and tune in for the results show on Wednesday night with musical guests Jordin Sparks and Katy Perry.-Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on May 12, 2009 11:56 PM
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Well I've been saying for weeks its obvious the show is propping Adam up to win. I am no longer surprised on Tuesday nights when he gets to sing last. Its quite funny now.

Danny has to be the low man on the totem pole this week. His first song was just a mess, and while I wanted to like his second, it just didn't get there for me. It was good, and I appreciated his touch to the arrangement, but it was all a bit left wanting.

Kris is my last hope. While his first song was a bit boring, it wasn't bad. I agree with Kara, it could have been much better if he had twisted it up more. I was thinking he should have his acoustic out for it, but it became obvious why he didn't when he got to his second song. Wow, is all I can say. That was a top 5 EVER performance on the show from anyone for me. It was totally awesome, and its the bravest thing I've seen this late in the season since Bo Bice went occapello way back when.

Adam oh Adam. We know you are a good singer, with an incredible high. How's it feel to be pushed toward the win by the show unlike any other? I thought his first song was the better of the two. I didn't like how high he got, it was distracting from the beauty of the song and arrangement. And the second song was just horrible for me. That's not the greatest Aerosmith song anyway, but he totally destroyed anything that was good in it. He was much too high, and the background singers out sung him on the simple melody parts.

It doesn't really matter who we want to win, the show has already decided its Adam's crown.

And Chris, I believe they said we'd see more of the hometown visits on tonight's show.

-- 1. Posted by: Andy at May 13, 2009 2:45 PM

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