NEW YORK — Allison Iraheta's funky outfit got more attention than her performance on "American Idol." The judges' panel seemed too distracted by what she was wearing to offer much criticism of her performance. The 16-year-old rock prodigy belted the No Doubt hit "Don't Speak" _ not that it mattered.
Judge Simon Cowell said Iraheta's look resembled "something out of `The Addams Family.'" Her poofy red dress, black leggings, white heels and spiky magenta hair led Cowell to joke that the night's theme must be Halloween.
For Tuesday night's performance show, the nine remaining contestants were asked to choose from the most popular downloaded songs on iTunes.
Most failed to win over judges. Cowell said Anoop Desai's take on Usher's "Caught Up" gave him a headache. Randy Jackson compared Megan Joy's reggae-lite performance of "Turn Your Lights Down Low" to "watching paint dry." The foursome brought Lil Rounds to tears after criticizing the soul singer for playing it safe with a Celine Dion song.
It wasn't all gloom and doom. Adam Lambert, the 26-year-old theater actor who defies labels and vocal limits, continued his hot streak with a not-so-corny rendition of "Play That Funky Music." Paula Abdul called Lambert a "genius" in the vein of Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler.
Cowell told Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Scott MacIntyre they gave their best performances so far in the top-rated Fox singing contest.
MacIntyre, from Scottsdale, Ariz., stuck to the piano again, tickling the ivories for Billy Joel's "Just The Way You Are."
"Of all the contestants that have graced the stage, I am most proud of you," Abdul told MacIntyre, who is legally blind.
The fate of these singers will be determined during Wednesday's results show. One will be sent packing _ unless judges choose to use a new rule that allows them to save someone they feel has been wrongly booted by voting viewers.