It was a very weak night for the Top 4. After everyone delivered a solid performance on Big Band Night last week, the Top 4 tackled rock n roll Tuesday...and came up short. Only Adam Lambert delivered the goods. The rest were weak vocally and/or chose the wrong song. Guest mentor was Slash, who proved coolly indifferent to most of them but admitted Adam had the vocal goods. Still, it's pretty hard to stay hip and indifferent when you're appearing on Idol and Ryan Seacrest slaps you five.
ADAM LAMBERT -- Sang Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love," the first time Led Zep had been done on Idol. Just as anyone will appear on Idol (who's next, Johnny Rotten?), clearly any song can now be cleared for performing on Idol. Saying "no" would be like refusing to have your song performed on the Grammys. They do so many genres it would be churlish to think your song would suffer by association. My main complaint with Adam was his look: he went back to the spiky hair and a collarless leather jacket opened to the waist. It all looked like a costume to me. Vocally he wailed away with aplomb. I certainly never expected to hear "I'm gonna give you every inch of my love!" sung on Idol. All the judges raved (though Kara seemed to be raving about her own rave as much as Adam).
ALLISON IRAHETA -- Sang Janis Joplin's 'Cry Baby," naturally. She caught fire on the chorus but when Joplin sang it every line was magnetic and wrenching. No drama here, really. I immediately wrote down "Uh oh." Randy bizarrely questioned the song choice. (Joplin makes perfect sense; she just didn't own it.) Kara rightly defended the song choice but also didn't like it. Paula avoided the issue by saying when they make a bio-pic about Joplin that Allison deserves the part. And Simon paid the compliment of saying how much Allison had grown. That's almost the kiss of death: Simon sometimes turns nice when he knows you're heading out the door. Allison chatted with them, which Simon took as her arguing with them, which she took issue with. She was arguing with Simon that she wasn't arguing earlier, if that makes any sense. Ryan called her feisty, but she really just looked frustrated. This could be it, I thought.
KRIS ALLEN AND DANNY GOKEY -- Sang a duet on the Styx song "Renegade." Their vocals really sounded great when they blended on this tune. One on one, I thought Kris sounded better and Danny weak when he slowed the tune down to a crawl. Simon disagreed and said Danny was better. The duet was fun, creating a little tension as the two guys sort of out-dueled each other and had to play cool while not wanting to be outshone.
KRIS ALLEN -- Sang "Come Together," which I immediately knew was a terrible song choice not just for him but almost anyone. His other choice was "Revolution" and that's not a great tune to cover either. Both are great records (trust me, you're not a bigger Beatle fan than I am) but not terribly interesting for others to sing. "Come Together" has that great "shuuummmmp!" sound at the beginning and some awesome lyrics but it's really just a jam, just a song with great feel. It was fun to hear Kris sing "You can feel his disease!" (another unexpected moment on Idol) and he kept his cool for a while. But while he used the backup singers well, he messed up a lyric and then slowed down the tune and lowered the key which made an already slow song seem draggy. By far his worst arrangement. Randy complimented his guitar playing and everyone else agreed this was not a good night for him. Ryan did the nicest thing for Kris that he could, taking the focus of this particular performance and asking viewers if they want to see Kris in the semi-finals. "Take a look at this face," said Ryan. That indeed might be the only thing to save him for another week. Before hearing Danny, I assume Kris and Allison will be the bottom two.
DANNY GOKEY -- Sang "Dream On" by Aerosmith, which again seems like a horrible song choice to me. I don't want to hear him wail away. Slash insists all that matters is that last scream, which is a dumb way to approach singing. It's not the Olympics. But Dany indeed just sort of sleepwalked through the tune, getting a little energy when the song started to move but basically just working his way up to the final note which he literally screamed. Awful, awful, awful. Anyone, like me, who has bemoaned some of Adam's wails in the past were surely regretting it, since Adam could have done that with ease while Danny sounded just miserable. Even his family was seen sitting down shortly after the tune was over. Now I'm thoroughly confused since you could make a good case for anyone but Adam going home. But since everyone thinks Adam will win this in a walk, that's what we're left with. Still, it would be nice to be arguing over who was better rather than who was not quite as bad. All the judges pan him, rightly so, though Simon thinks he'll still be safe -- not a bad guess since Danny is the only one never to be in the bottom three. Still it was awful and Vote For The Worst has dubbed Danny the weakest remaining Idol.
ADAM AND ALLISON -- Duet on Foghat's "Slow Ride." Again, not expecting to hear "Slow down, go down" on Idol, was I? They were good and Allison was indeed much better than in her solo spot. Did she save herself, I wonder? Simon gave the credit to Adam, but wondered the same thing.
THE BOTTOM THREE -- If Adam isn't the only one safe, I'll be as flummoxed as everyone else. (Dial Idol, which measures popularity by how often it's computerized dialing hits a busy signal, agrees.) But the rest is just a spin of the wheel. Since Danny's song was probably more known and loved than Kris's, I guess that will help hm a tad. Familiarity should do the trick. I think Kris and Allison will be in the bottom two and Allison is going home. The Associated Press sort of disagrees: they thought Allison's duet would be enough to keep her safe. What do you think?
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