Well, American Idol Season 8 is done. All the auditions, good and bad; all the drama of Hollywood Week; all great, mediocre and (few) bad live performances are done. America has voted. It is all over but the counting.
The American Idol Season 8 finale was pretty good tonight. Not great, but pretty good. After we went back to back, with Kris Allen’s performance of “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Adam Lambert’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, I thought we may have a classic, but not so much. Adam Lambert was slightly better tonight but Kris Allen had the best performance of the night. I am adding several of these performances to my American Idol Season 8 playlist.
Three thoughts before I rate the performances:
- Did you hear Carrie Underwood sing “Home Sweet Home” at the end? I think that is the best vocal performance I have ever heard from her. I know it was better than anything I have heard from her since she became a country superstar. Beautiful nuanced, powerful, tender singing.
- Okay, so we watched Glee after the American Idol Season 8 final performances. Completely surreal, over the top weird in a wonderful kind of way. Like the best of Will Ferrell’s work without so much potty humor. That is until the schmaltzy ending made me want to take an insulin shot.
- Jim Richardson, thank you for helping me launch my American Idol blog. I know you sent a lot of visitors to the site and you comments made it fun for me. Cindy Swanson thanks for getting interested, the interview was fun. Martin, my buddy, thanks for jumping in at the end with some great insight.
American Idol Top 2 Performance Rankings
- Kris Allen gave us a longer mix of his “Ain’t No Sunshine” with a more passionate but quiet performance. It was captivating and enthralling. This small guy sat in the middle of the stage, dwarfed by his baby grand, and turned the Kodak Theater into his living room. It was masterful. Did you notice that he never looked at the audience throughout the entire performance?
- Don’t hate me. Adam Lambert’s performance of the American Idol Season 8 single “No Boundaries” was really, really good. His ambient, synth pop arrangement masked the song’s weaknesses. The thing is, I believe he really connected with the lyrics. He made me believe that he was singing of his journey.
- Adam Lambert’s performance of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” was an incredible vocal display. He took this song everywhere it could go and probably some places it hasn’t. It seemed he really found himself in the song. The performance was just a little too screamy for my taste.
- Kris Allen’s delivery of “No Boundaries” was a real struggle. It looked like he was straining throughout the song. However, Kris’s vocal struggle made the song about struggling to make it all that more believable. It was sort of like watching Neil Young deliver one of his agonizing classics like “Needle and The Damage Done” . It wasn’t his best vocal performance but he did deliver an emotional punch.
- Kris Allen took on Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”. I think he listened too much to the cool percussive rhythms of Gaye’s original. It came off as too laid back and light. He would have been much better served to slow it down and focus on the gut wrenching plea to turn our backs on hate and violence. Check out the Los Lobos cover of this song to see what I am talking about.
- Adam Lambert tried to recreate his breakthrough performance of “Mad World” but missed. Earlier in the season Adam made a deep emotional connection with his quiet, intimate delivery of this song. Tonight he was “big stage” Adam with a long leather jacket and dry ice smoke. The result was an empty performance.
American Idol Season 8 Winner Predictions
I think it was a close victory for Adam Lambert, but not enough to sway the season. Kris Allen’s re-telling of “Ain’t No Sunshine” was, by far, the most stunning moment of the night.
I think Kris Allen’s clean cut image, his faith background and less dramatic performance style will cause most of Danny Gokey’s voters to go him.
Kris Allen wins American Idol Season 8.
These performances and all of tomorrow night’s American Idol Season 8 performances will be available on Thursday morning on iTunes.