American Idol Season 8- Movie Songs Performance Review

I am ready to kick it into gear.   It seems for the past few weeks American Idol Season 8 has been repeats of each other.  Danny Gokey does his thing week after week.  Adam Lambert flies from great to annoying.  Kris Allen quietly slays the show just about every week.  Matt Giraud and Anoop Desai press to prove themselves.  Lil Rounds struggles to find herself as a performer.  Quentin Tarantino was fun.  I don’t think the American Idol contestants were quite ready for his intensity.  I didn’t really like limiting the judges’ critiques.  This show needs to be 90 minutes.

Did it feel like Adam Lambert’s song lasted longer than Kris Allen’s song?  It felt that way to me.

Before we get into the American Idol Top 7 performance rankings, I want to promote the song the Kris Allen sang, “Falling Slowly”, from the movie Once.  Kara called it an obscure song?  What is up with that? First of all, it won the Acadamy Award for Best Song of 2007.   Second, this is a really great movie of a man and a woman who form a strong, truely platonic, friendship.  It is also the best movie I have ever seem about the creation of music.  Here is a snippet of the review from Christian Spotlight on Entertainment:

“The Girl leads the Guy to a music store to play piano for him. It is there that one of the most honest and incredible moments in modern cinema takes place. The guy teaches her one of his songs, and in the solitude of the little music shop, they create truly beautiful music.”

The movie is shot on the streets of Dublin so there is a significant amount of profanity.  It is concentrated at the first of the movie and trails off once the characters move out of the street settings.  If you can get over the profanity, this is a movie worth watching.

Once

American Idol Season 8 Top 7 Performance Rankings

After watching the performances again, I had a few mild surprises (see the Movie Song Live Blog).  I liked Kris Allen and Matt Giraud better than I did orignally.  I liked Allison Iraheta less than my first viewing and I continued to be perplexed by Lil Rounds.  The performances are closely grouped.  There is a signifcant gap between Kris Allen at number 1 and the next group of four performers and then another gap before we get to the bottom two.  For the most part, I disagreed with the judges.  Here are the American Idol Movie Song Perfomance Rankings:

  1. Kris Allen took my breath away.  He made subtle changes to the arrangement of this Acadamy award winning song and he sent chills down my spine.  “Falling Slowly” is one of those songs my entire family stops and listens to any time we hear it, anywhere we are.  I was worried when he said this was the song.  It is just two years old and Glen Hassard sang it with a capital S.  But Kris did it.  Without his guitar, he stood in the middle of the stage and proved he is one of the best singers on Ameican Idol Season 8.  Without dancing, he delivered a performance that drilled the song home.  Fantastic.  My wife turned to me and said, “He may win American Idol”.
  2. Matt Giraud sat at the piano and delivered my favorite Matt Giraud performance of American Idol Season 8.  First of all, “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” is a beautiful song.  Secondly, Matt’s piano playing was spectacular.  Third, except for the break down of his falsetto at the end, I thought his vocal delivery was dead-on.  He played some parts straight and he added R&B runs to some parts and he did both well.  I disagree with the judges.  I think this worked.
  3. Danny Gokey performed Lionel Richie’s song “Endless Love”.  I don’t really like this song.  At first I thought the beginning was rough, but when I went back and listened again, Danny Gokey sang this song perfectly.  He sang a weird low register at the beginning, he blasted the big notes and he hit the falsetto beautifully.  Another great performance from Danny Gokey.
    During the mentoring session Quentin Tarantino worked with him to bring more power to the performance by controlling his hands.  It was great directing and it worked, except you could see Danny purposely battling his desire to throw his hands up.  It was subtle but the battle was raging.
    There was an odd moment during the judging when Simon was trying to criticize Danny but in a rare moment of Simon Cowell tenderness he was tring to comfort Danny through his emotional reaction to the song.  I am certain the conspiracy mongers will say that the judges are trying to fix American Idol Season 8, but this felt genuine.
  4. Adam Lambert tried to modernize  Steppenwolf’s “Born To Be Wild” with an electronic arrangement that did not work for me.  The arrangement needed to be more industrial than dance pop.  Adam has emerged as a big, confident stage performer, but he is overpraised.  He continues to “put on a show” rather than deliver a song. His singing was spectacular, if over the top, but there was no sense of danger or defiance in his delivery.
  5. Allison Iraheta sang Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”.  One of my measures of American Idol performances is, does the performance make me forget the original? I heard Steven Tyler in my head throughout the Allison’s delivery.  She garbled lyrics at spots throughout the song and she really struggled with the pitch in the middle.  Allison was able to deliver some big notes and I love her stage presence but tonight was not on par with most of what we have seen from Allison Iraheta throughout American Idol Season 8.
  6. Anoop Desai sang “(Everything I Do) I Do For You”, a Bryan Adams song from Robin Hood: Men In Tights. I think it was Anoop’s best performance of the season.  What does that tell you about Anoop Desai’s chances to win American Idol Season 8? The singing was impeccable.  The delivery was boring.  Anoop just does not have the stage presence to measure up to the American Idol performers above.
  7. Lil Rounds had the closing spot, a great song and she tried really hard.  She was just not able to pull it off.  Lil sang “The Rose” made famous by Bette Midler in the movie of the same name.  I don’t know if it was the singing or the arrangment, but it was just off.  I thought she was off key though most of the song, but my wife (who actually knows how to sing) thinks she was trying to do what she did.  What ever the reason, I didn’t enjoy it. I felt uncomfortable, even more so when Lil argued with Simon until Ryan had to cut her off.  A producer is going to take Lil Rounds and create something spectacular but American Idol Season 8 is not her time.

American Idol Season 8 Top 7 Predictions

This is really hard.  I think Matt Giraud will be safe because he will pick up mant of Scot MacIntyre’s votes.  I have a hard time beliving that both Allison Iraheta and Lil Rounds would be in the bottom 3.  Kris Allen delivered the best performance of the night.  Most people believe Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert are untouchable. But I guess now is the time for hard choices and surprises.

Bottom Three: Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds ,Allison Iraheta

Bottom Two : Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds

Going home: Anoop Desai

The judges will not use their “save” on Anoop or Lil.  I think they would use it on anyone else that was elminated.

I know you had your favorite moments from tonight.  Download them from iTunes below

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- Movie Music Live Blog

One21music is covering the Christian music artists competing on American Idol Season 8.   Scott MacIntyre left the show last week so four of the top 7 American Idol performers are believers (Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds).  This morning we posted a review of the Christian music artists who performed for your votes this season.  We looked at their time on Idol and what they have been doing since they left the show.  Check out American Idol Season 8- Year of the Believers.

Tonight the American Idol Top 7 sing music from the movies.  I did not even attempt to predict songs.  All I can hope is that Lil Rounds stays away from The Bodyguard and Dreamgirls.  Quentin Tarantino will mentor the Idols and he quentin-tarantino3seems like an odd choice.  I did not realize that he was such a notoriously huge American Idol fan that even served as a celebrity judge in American Idol Season 3.  I don’t know if he will be able to help with the musical side of mentoring but he will have plenty of opinions about presentation, arrangement and delivery.  While I don’t endorse his movies, his enthusiasm for all thing pop culture make him highly entertaining.

Tonight is vital for just about everyone performing.  Lil Rounds desperately needs a strong performance to save herself for another week or two.  Matt Giraud needs a breakthrough performance to propel himself  into contention for the American Idol Season 8 title.  Kris Allen must regain his footing after a bad showing last week if he wants to contend for the Season 8 title.  Danny Gokey needs a change of pace to solidify his place in the final 3.  See my more detailed analysis on the Top 7  power rankings.

So exciting!  It is getting down to the real players.  Have the fashions gotten better?  Everyone looks good tonight.  I am glad we have eliminated the judges walk down the stairs.  They need to stay seated.

Another tight timeline tonight.  It will be tough to get seven songs and mentoring in.  Great idea, the judges are talking two at a time.  This should improve the time.

Little Steven in the house and Danny Gokey lost his glasses. Tarantino directs such violent movies.  You really need to suspend your humanity to watch them.

Allison Iraheta “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing”by Aerosmith (Armageddon).  Tough spot for her.  Sometimes when she sings the low, slow parts she slurs her words.  I can hear Steven Tyler singing this.  She is a really good stage performer but this is a little rough.   She can belt the big notes and the audience loved it.

Paula compares her vocal prowess to Adam Lambert and thinks she is remarkable and authentic.  Simon calls her the girls only hope.  Simon thinks she sang this song better than any girl he has ever heard.

I bet Adam Lambert is going to sing “Born To Be Wild” from Easy Rider.

Anoop Desai takes the second spot and is singing Bryan Adams “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You”.   This is a good song for him and he has slowed and softened the arrangement.  This is Anoop’s best performance of the season.  It is still a little boring.  Maybe I am sour on Anoop.

Randy is liking it.  He gives a lukewarm endorsement.  Kara agrees with me that it was one of his best.  Kara felt connected to him.

Adam Lambert must be giddy to meet Tarantino and, yes he is singing an electronic version of “Born To Be Wild” by Steppenwolf.   A big wild performance by Adam, but once again I am back to feeling completely disconnected to the song.  What is he singing about, does he know?  It is not the dangerous hippie rebellion anthem that was in the movie.  Of course the judges will go gaga.

Paula and Simon are smiling really big.  The audience goes wild!  Dancing in the path of greatness?  What is Paula talking about?  Simon thought it was great vocally but it was like watching the Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I agree with Simon.

My ears are still ringing from Adam’s screams.

Matt Giraud is up next, looking very slick, singing “Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” by Bryan Adams.  He is at the piano.  I think he has the best chance of taking Scott’s fans.  Matt has created a song moment for himself.  His arrangement works for his style and voice.  It got  away from him a little bit at the end, but a beautiful performance.  Good job, Matt.

Randy thinks the bridge was a little rough and he thought Matt stumbled a little with the melody.  Kara thinks it did not work to take this rock song and make it an R&B song.  I liked it better than the judges.

Danny Gokey, sans glasses, went shopping and bought a guitar.  He is singing “Endless Love” by Lionel Richie.  Tarantino’s direction was to try to get him to limit his hand gestures so the emotion could come out of his eyes.  Is that why he is without glasses?  He starts on the stool and then walks to the front of the stage.  Not a great song for his voice but he showed he can blow.

Paula questioned his key choice and feels like he pulled it together in the middle. Simon is disappointed with the traditional version and a little bored.  Simon did compliment his singing.  Weird critique from Simon.  He wanted to criticize but sympathized.

Kris Allen is performing Glen Hansard’s “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once.  He is without guitar but it will be tough to put his own spin on this beautiful song.  He is proving that, above all, he can sing.  He puts a little soul twist on the end.  Beautiful.

Randy doesn’t get it.  He thought it was pitchy.  I agree with Kara, she said it was one of his best performances.  Apparently, Paula agreed with Kara as she was shouting yes when Kara said one of his best.

At least Lil Rounds gets her best shot with the final slot.  She is singing “The Rose” by Bette Midler with a gospel twist.  Could be interesting. I love this song.  Nice start, quiet and subdued.  Oh she just missed the transition to the gospel part really badly.  She has lost the pitch.  I am afraid this may be the end of Lil.  I had such high hopes but she did not sing it.

Paula said nothing.  Simon hated it.  Lil really argued with him.

I am disappointed by tonight.  By now we should be blown away on a regular basis and that did not happen for me.  I will  review the performances later and deliver my performance reviews before you get to work.

Check out these performances on iTunes

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- Top 7 Power Rankings

Before we talk about American Idol Season 8, I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.  Many times holidays are consumed with the wonderful activities of family.  God gave us family to enjoy.  On this weekend,  the rush to gather and the pull to commune with loved ones causes us to miss very important moments to meditate on the one man historical revolution we celebrate at Easter.  If that is the case for you, take a few minutes today and find some silence to reflect on the man Jesus and the messiah Christ and his mission that was completed during Passover so many year ago.  Return to our Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter articles to relive these last three days again.

One21music is covering the Christian music artists on American Idol Season 8.  Four of the final seven performers are believers.

We lost Scott MacIntyre last week.  In a bizarre ending to the performance results show the American Idol American Idol judges agonized over whether to save Scott.  I did not understand their behaviour.  While may be the best musician to compete on , he is not a great singer.  Check in with us tomorrow when we review Scott’s exit and look back on all of the Christian’s who performed on live television in American Idol Season 8.

I said in last week’s Birth Year Songs Preview that competition is starting to come into focus.  Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Alllison Iraheta and Adam Lambert are the clear front runners for the American Idol Season 8 Top 3.  Matt Giraud has been solid through out the competition and he could have a breakthrough that would propel him to the Top 3.  Lil Rounds has struggled since the Top 36 eliminations and needs a huge turnaround to survive.  I would remind everyone that this time in American Idol Season 7, the judges had written Syesha Mercado off and she made it to the Top 3.   Anoop Desai has had his best performances of the season that last two weeks and has landed in the bottom 2 each time.

American Idol Top 7 Power Rankings

  1. Danny Gokey- Consistency, consistency.  That may be the Greek translation of Gokey.  Last week he showed-off with a fascinating arrangement of  “Stand By Me”.  He took a 50 year old song me and made it modern.  Danny’s gravel filled vocals and joyful performances have captured the hearts of everyone I know.  The real magic for Danny Gokey his the emotional connection to his music, demonstrated in every performance in American Idol Season 8.  It has enabled Danny Gokey to capture the hearts of American Idol fans.
  2. Kris Allen- For the first time in American Idol Season 8, Kris Allen stumbled.  He took a dark protest song “All She Wants To Do Is Dance” by Don Henley and performed it as a jazzy, bouncy pop song.  Kris seemed to be going through the motions last week, smiling and dancing but not really delivering the song.  With that said, Kris has had more higher highs (“Aint’ No Sunshine”) than Danny Gokey and more top notch performances than Adam Lambert.  Kris has proven to be a great interpreter of song and we expect him to return to excellence this week.
  3. Adam Lambert-  With his performance of “Mad World” last week, Adam Lambert demonstrated the potential that the American Idol judges have been raving about all season.  For the first time in American Idol’s Season 8, Adam stopped competing and he just performed.  It was unpretentious and heart felt.  It was spectacular.  He now needs to be consistent.
  4. Allison Iraheta- With her performance of  “I Can’t Make You Love Me” Allison not only recovered from her previous week’s fall, she also delivered a performance she has needed all season.  Her first ballad of the American Idol’s Season 8 showed that she is a great singer.  She restrained herself, brought texture to her performance and built on her reputation as a precocious talent who has a long career in the music business.
  5. Matt Giraud- He also had a comeback this week when he went back to his R&B style, singing Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover”.  Matt did everything right with great dancing, an insightful interpretation and an amazing falsetto.  With all of that, he was still overshadowed by Danny, Adam and Allison.  He has been too inconsistent and has not delivered a breakthrough moment in American Idol Season 8.  With all of that said, he is still capable of making something big happen.
  6. Lil Rounds-  What has happened to Lil Rounds?  Where did the American Idol Season 8 front runner go?  I said early on that she may struggle with arrangements and creativity as the season went on, but she is now struggling to sing well.  You can see the frustration on her face.  If she does not deliver this week, I think her fate is sealed.
  7. Anoop Desai-  He has reached the limit of American idol Season 8 experience.  Anoop’s last two performance have been his best, yet he landed in the bottom 2 each time.  Last week he beat out Scott MacIntyre by only 30,000 votes.  That is less than a hair.  His fate has been cast.  His will be gone this week or next.

The American Idol theme this week is “Songs of the Movies”.  The mentor will be Quentin Tarntino?  He is a director but I don’t know what he has to offer the American Idol Season 8 Top 7 when it comes to developing as a music artist.  We will see.

Check us out tomorrow as we review the Chrsitian music artists who made it to the Top 36 on American Idol Season 8.

American Idol Season 8- Top 8 Results Live Blog

I told you. In my Birth Year Songs Preview I said last night’s show would be a minefield and it was.  I am afraid that Scott MacIntyre may have ended his American Idol Season 8 run.  Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai may have permantly damaged their chances.  Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey probably solidified their place in the American Idol Season 8 Top 3.  Kris Allen fell back while Allison Iraheta and Matt Giraud rebounded to create a three way race for the final spot in the American Idol Season 8 Top 3.  See my full analysis in the Top 8 Performance Review.

Before we get to the results show let’s reflect on the 5 Christian music artists who have made it to the top 8 of American Idol Season 8Danny Gokey and Kris Allen, both worship leaders, have consistently delivered interesting arrangements and rousing singing performances.  Matt Giraud’s mad falsetto and R&B skills have enabled him to deliver some of the best performances of the season.  Lil Round’s huge voice has thrilled us.  Scott MacIntyre, a true music genius, has captured the hearts of America and the American Idol judges.  Other than a couple of sketchy song selections by Matt, this group of young artists have represented our faith with joy, discernment and humility.

Recap of Lie To Me.  The mayor did it.  She lied. They caught her.  They told how they knew she was lying.  Face!

Yes, whose dream is on the line?  This is American Idol Does it seem Lil Rounds is about to break?  Flo Rida in the house and Kellie Pickler.  Are they doing a duet?  Paula is wearing creepy rubber nurse nightmare gloves.  I agree with Randy, last night was a little disappointing.

Okay Paul Anka just showed up a surprise guest!  he is singing the number one song form Simon’s birth year, “Venus”.  Did Bananarama cover that song?  Okay, so it is Frankie Avalon.  They all look alike.

The group song is “Can’t Get You Out of My Head” from 2002, the birth year of American Idol.  Icky song.  Bad choreography.  Yuk, make it stop.

Kris Allen is on the bottom of the DialIdol predictions.  I think they are wrong, that would be a travesty.  Regardless, the judges would have to save him.  Let’s get to the results.

But no, first we are getting a Ford video documentary.  We don’t like the commercials why do we care how they are made?  I wouldn’t spend my money on these videos.  Hey, we are spending my money!  Stop it.

Results, now.  Adam Lambert, Kris Allen and Anoop Desai up first.  Adam is safe, shocker.  Kris Allen is safe, take that DialIdol.  Anoop Desai is back in the bottom three.  It is bad when you have two good weeks and they both land you in the bottom 3.

This new movie, 17 Again, hasn’t that story been told, every year since I was born!  How about a new idea Hollywood?

Ryan is up on the balcony so that must be Flo Rida is up.  Who is this guy?  I kinda like this. It is kind of hoppy and fun.  Where do the judges go during the guest performances?  Isn’t that kind of rude?  Flo Rida is done?  Does that mean no Flo Rida Pickler duet?  Disappointed!

Back with more results.  Any surprises?  Danny Gokey up next and he is safe.

Matt Giraud, I don’t know, but he is safe after Ryan really jacked with him.  Scott MacIntyre, he must be in the bottom 3, and he is.  First time in the bottom for Scott.  Allison Iraheta and Lil Rounds revealed together.  One of them gotta be there.  Tonight it is Lil Rounds in the bottom 3.  What I thought.

Simon says that he thinks the save matters this week and there is one they would consider saving.

Bottom 3: Anoop Desai, Scott MacIntyre and Lil Rounds.

Here comes Kellie Pickler.  I think she is funny but I am pretty sure I don’t like her music.  Yep, not so much.  Time to find out the results.

Let’s send Lil Rounds back to safety.  Time to live up to your promise from last night.

Anoop Desai and Scott MacIntyre standing in the middle of the stage.  Only 30,00 vote separate these two. It looks like Scott is singing for his life tonight.  Are the judges really considering saving him?   He is singing pretty well tonight.

The judges are split.  I thought this had to be unanimous?  Simon decides to pass.  Scott MacIntyre is gone.

More than any other American Idol, I think Scott MacIntyre is headed for bigger things.  On to your destiny, Scott MacIntyre.  Paula says he has been an inspiration and he is a unique and gifted artist.

American Idol Season 8- Top 8 Performance Review

Tonight was not as dramatic as I thought it would be (read our Top 8 Performance Live Blog for immediate reactions).  American Idol had to cut the length of the songs tonight so I think that hurt the dramatic impact of the performances, except for one.  Adam Lambert tonight gave the performance that delivered on the American Idol judges love for him.  He was spectacular tonight.  The only other real surprise was Kris Allen. I think he stumbled terribly tonight.

Allison Iraheta and Matt Giraud made nice comebacks from bad performances on American Idol’s Top 9 performance show.  But they both sang songs of questionable lyrics.  I am a little uncomfortable with a 16 year girl singing about spending one more night with someone who doesn’t love her.  This is the second time in three weeks that Matt Giraud has lyrics that conflict with his Christian beliefs.  I know Christians have affairs, but I don’t think we should romanticize them in song.

Before we get to the American Idol Season 8 Top 8 performances we must hand out American Idol baby picture awards.  I would not dare rate the baby photos, because hey, when were babies, we had no control over how we looked when we were photographed.  I will not judge anyone who is at the mercy of their parents.  So two awards:

No Shame Award (for allowing the most embarrassing moment of global television)

Matt Giraud for his stand-up routine in the Church pageant, dressed in full angel gear (with wings)

Cutest Baby Award ( a tie)

Scott MacIntyre in his train engineer hat

Randy Jackson with his bow tie

American Idol Season 8 Year of Birth Song Performance Rankings

  1. Adam Lambert has been at the bottom of my American Idol performance rankings for most of the season.  Not tonight.  He performed “Mad World” by Tears for Fears (I corrected the live blog where I said R.E.M.).  Bathed in blue light, while he set in a chair, in the middle of the stage Adam delivered the most emotionally charged, heartfelt performance of his season.  He sang the entire song in a high register and the performance was controlled and subtle.  I loved Kris’s performance of “Ain’t No Sunshine” last week, but this was the most stunning American Idol performance since Jordin Sparks sang “I (Who Have Nothing)” in Season 6.
  2. Allison Iraheta did exactly what she needed to do at this point of American Idol Season 8.  She stood in the middle of the stage a delivered a crushing ballad with a tender, slow, nearly perfect performance. The shortened performance time probably served Allison well tonight.  She did not have enough time to really let loose.  She showed a little bit of her roaring voice but pulled back to capture the intimacy of the song.  Tonight, Allison proved to American Idol fans that she is more than a big voice.  She is a tremendous singer who knows how to wrap herself around a song.
  3. Danny Gokey is virtually tied for second with Allison.  I was not thrilled when I heard his performance live, but when I went back I was mesmerized.  He put together a well structured, complex, three act arrangement of a very simple song, “Stand By Me”.  He put more into the 90 seconds of this American Idol performance than most good 3 to 5 minute pop songs have.  And he sang exceptionally well tonight.  I thought he struggled a little in the beginning , but when he took the microphone off of the stand and let his voice go, it was magical.  I cannot believe he showed so much range in only 90 seconds.
  4. Matt Giraud delivered his best performance of the American Idol’s Season 8, but I am still miffed.  He performed Stevie Wonder’s “Part Time Lover” and he nailed it.  I think it is safe to say  he created a new version of the song.  His falsetto was amazing and he hit every technical and emotional note.  His dancing was good and he looked great. Matt, there are R&B songs that cover less illicit subjects.
  5. Anoop Desai also delivered his best performance of American Idol’s Season 8 and it still did not show me much.  He sang Cindy Lauper’s “True Colors” beautifully but his performance revealed nothing for me about the song or Anoop.  I found my attention drifting during the song.  I really like this song, but I question whether Anoop had much idea what he was singing about.  I know I don’t.  After hearing Anoop sing his best, I am surprised to say I think he is the 7th best singing remaining.
  6. Kris Allen made his first misstep of his American Idol’s Season 8.  He performed Don Henley’s “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” as a funky, fun romp.   The song is actually a dark commentary on American’s narcissism and ignorance of their government’s policies around the world.  The image of Kris Allen, completely swallowed by a crowd of audience members as he performed, is a perfect visual for Kris’s performance.  We lost Kris Allen tonight in a crowd of noise.  Let’s hope he finds his way again next week.
  7. Lil Rounds, what happened to you?  She was a favorite out of the gate and was generally considered the best singer of the Top13.  The past two weeks she sang poorly and she seems to be trying to find out who she is.  Lil has been reduced to promising she will do better next time.  Tonight, she sang “What’s Love Got To Do With It” by Tina Turner and Lil Rounds was nowhere to be found.  You could see be her reaction tot he judges comments that she is highly frustrated right now.  She looked defeated tonight.   My only hope is that Syesha Mercado struggled through this stage of American Idol Season 7 and found herself enough to make it to the Top 3.  Lil Rounds is running out of chances.
  8. Scott MacIntyre, what can I say.  He chose a horrible 80′s power ballad “The Search Is Over” and sang it horribly.  This was his worst performance of the season.  Even though he has yet to be in the Bottom 2, this is the type of performance that gets you sent home.  An aside– the judges do know that Scott is a world class musician don’t they?  Where they really surprised he played guitar?  Really?  Were they?

Predictions for American Idol Season 8 Top 8 Results

Last week, Anoop and Allsion were in the bottom three.  Allison clearly proved she does not belong in the bottom, but I don’t think Anoop Desai showed enough to avoid the bottom this week.  The question is did Lil Rounds stumble into the bottom group or is the Scott MacIntyre magic over.

Bottom Three: Scott MacIntyre, Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds

Bottom Two: Scott MacIntyre, Anoop Desai

Going home: Scott MacIntyre

As much as I hate it, I don’t think Scott survives his American Idol performance on Tuesday night.

I don’t think the judges save any of these bottom three.

I urge you to download the performances by Danny Gokey, Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta by clicking on the icon below.  It may take a minute for your iTunes store to pop up but this link will take you straight to performances.

Apple iTunes

Join us tonight at 9e/8c as we live blog the results show.

American Idol Season 8- Top 8 Performance Live Blog

I can feel it.  Something crazy is going to happen tonight.  American Idol’s “songs from the year of your birth” is going to be a night where dreams are made and hopes are dashed.  Tonight  Anoop Desai, Scott MacIntyre or Lil Rounds could stumble to their exit or create enough buzz to stick around for a few more weeks.  Matt Giraud and Allison Iraheta could reveal themselves as pretenders tonight or they could hurdle themselves into the Top 3.  Front runners Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert could slip on their way to the Top 3 or separate themselves from the pack.  It is face off in the middle of the stage tonight on the American Idol Season Top 8 performance show.

At One21music we are covering Christian music artists performing on Season 8.  Tonight five of the final eight competitors, Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds and Scott MacIntyre, are Christians making music on American Idol Season 8.  They will be joined by Allison IrahetaAdam Lambert and Anoop Desai singing songs mostly form the mid-80′s tonight.  See my Birth Year Songs Preview to laugh at my song predictions.

This is the first one hour performance show so it should move quickly.  It will be tough for the judges to get all of the comments on the air.

We start with the American Idols on the stairs and what is up with black tonight?  Don’t they know it is the 80′s?  Sweet, baby pictures of the judges!  Who is that Lurch looking character on the front row?  I am afraid.

We start with Danny Gokey who will be singing “Stand By Me”, Mickey Gilley version, good choice.  It starts a little rough and I don’t like the Nashville orchestration at the first.  I think it is different than Mikey Gilley’s version.  Danny is so cool and comfortable as a performer.  He adds some riffing at the end.  Interesting but I don’t love it.

Randy and Kara hate the arrangement but love where he took it.  Paula thinks he set the bar very high.  I need to see this again.  Good commentary again from Paula.  Simon says great.  The commentary is abbreviated tonight.

Kris Allen sitting on the stools talking about his day at the beach.  Kris is singing  Don Henley’s “All She Wants to Do Is Dance”  Standing in the audience, his own personal mosh pit.  I think he is missing the point of the song.  His arrangement is super funky and I like funk as much as anyone, but this is a little light for me.  He sings it great, though.   A little bit disappointing.  It feels like he missed tonight.

Kara didn’t like it. The judges think the arrangement did not work.  Simon says indulgent and boring.  Randy is right, we lost Kris Allen.

We learn the story behind Lil Rounds‘ name, it was from her grandmother.  Singing “What’s Love Got to Do With It” by Tina Turner and what has happened to Lil Rounds?  The start is very rough.  She sounds like a lounge singer and she is off key.  I don’t like this very much.  Lil is in trouble and I hate that.

Paula thinks she missed and did not display herself as an artist.  Simon calls her a second rate Tina Turner and he is right, we have lost Lil Rounds.  Right Kara, she is struggling to make the leap from singer to performer.

So far, this is a rough start to the show.  I need to watch Danny’s again but Kris disappointed and Lil continues to struggle.

Scary dude in the front row is in Fringe tonight.  Beware.

They are making Anoop Desai grovel in front of Kara because he was a naughty boy last week.  He is singing “True Colors” by Cindy Lauper.  Once again pretty vocals from Anoop, but something is missing. What is he singing about?  Is he feeling anything or is he just singing.  Am I in a bad mood?  Ho hum.

Randy loves it? Kara thinks he interpreted the song with soul.  The judges love it. Even Simon. Not fantastic but good.

I said tonight could be a minefield and, by my count, we have three casualties out of four performances.  I looked at the songs Kris and Anoop sang and talked myself out of predicting them because I did not think they would work,  I wish I had not been right.

Scott MacIntyre is up singing “The Search Is Over” by Survivor and he is wearing a guitar.  Yep, Scott has dug into the dregs of 80′s music.  I don’t like this at all.  I am sorry Scott, I like you but this is a bad song sung badly.

Kara tries way to hard to be nice.  Paula gives him credit for stepping away from the piano but nobody talks about his singing.  Simon suggests he go back to the piano and, thank you Simon, the song is horrible.

Allison Iraheta used to talk too much.  Is that a surprise?  She is singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt.  Could be good.  Perfect song choice.  Nice slow start with great phrasing and here she goes lifting the middle on her husky voice.  Really nice, she controlled the pace of the song and she did not over sing. Nice comeback.

Paula complimented the tenderness of her singing tonight.  Simon agrees about the song but tells her to lighten up.  Randy compares her to Kelly Clarkson.  All the judges agree, she was really good tonight.  Allison is back.

Matt Giraud did stand up as an angel in the church pagent.  He is doing Stevie Wonder’s ” Part Time Lover”.  He throws down with his falsetto right from the start.  Very funky, nice dancing, this may be Matt’s  best performance of the year.

Randy calls it vocally one of the best of the night and the judges are going crazy.  Standing ovation and incredible from the judges.

Adam Lambert sings in overtime.  The show is supposed to be over now so we are infringing on “Fringe”.  Adam is singing ” Mad World ” by Tear for Fears.  He sings  on a chair bathed in blue light.  For the most part he uses a well controlled falsetto only screaming once.  Very well done.

The judges are flabbergasted.  Simon gives him a standing ovation.

I will go back and watch the performances again and give you my assessment over night.

If you want your own copies of these performances or the stage performances you can download them from iTunes

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- Birth Year Songs Preview

Minefield ahead!  As last week proved, too much American Idol freedom results in bad song choices.   Last week’s “iTunes Top Downloads”  theme fueled the weakest show since the Top 13 was selected.  Combine that with the reality that all but two of the American Idol Season 8 contestants were born in the mid-80′s and you have a recipe for disaster.

With all apologies to Randy and Paula, the period between end of true new wave and the birth of grunge was possibly the worst era of pop music in the 20th century.  This was the era that took new wave to synth pop and soul to R&B . Once I remind you that the super group of Dionne Warwick, Elton John and Gladys Knight had the number 1 song of all of 1986, I think you must agree with me that the mid-’80′s were difficult for radio listeners. For me, the only real musical genius to come out of the era came from Prince, REM and U2.  Even Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen struggled during those years. If you don’t believe me, try to sell your LP’s from the mid-80′s.  It could be one really bad American Idol show, but the American Idol Season 8 group has surprised us before.

As I said yesterday in my American Idol Season 8 Top 8 Power Rankings, the competition is tightening up and I think five of the top eight are at risk this week if they have a bad performance.  It is also time to start watching the competition for the Final 3.  The front runners right now are Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert.  I don’t think they will be the Top 3 but I do think two of them will make it to the American Idol Season 8 final trio.  Allison Iraheta has the best shot at breaking into the top 3 but she needs to get back to blowing us away with her huge voice.  Lil Rounds and Matt Giraud could also make a big push in the next few weeks to jump into the finals.

Now to American Idol’s Season 8tour of the  mid-80′s:

1980 was the year that Danny Gokey came bouncing into the world.  The number 1 song of 1980 was Blondie’s “Call Me”, and then new wave died.  Bette Midler reached the height of her popularity in 1980 as she starred in her first movie, The Rose, a loose bio-pic of Janis Joplin that denied any similarities to Joplin’s life.  The title song from that movie, “The Rose” provides a wonderful platform for Danny Gokey’s singing and arranging skills.  This is the type of platform Danny could use to create his American Idol moment.

Danny Gokey- “The Rose”    Download the original Bette Midler - The Rose (The Original Soundtrack Recording) - The Rose

In 1982 Adam Lambert came screaming into this world.  Olivia Newton John topped the charts in 1982 with “Physical” and pop music was in full decline.  Adam  has two good choices.  Journey dropped the American Idol untouchable “Don’t Stop” in 1982.  Soft Cell twisted Grace Jones’ “Tainted Love” into a synth pop American Idol booby trap. Expect Lambert to latch onto the freedom of arrangement that “Tainted Love” affords and drop on us a version closer to Marilyn Manson than anything we have ever seen on American Idol.  Expect drooling Nine Inch Nails references from the judges.

Adam Lambert- “Tainted Love”  Download the original Soft Cell - The Very Best of Soft Cell - Tainted Love

Lil Rounds may be in trouble.  She was born in 1984 and that was not a good year for big-voiced  R&B singers.  Prince ruled the R&B charts that year and his best song ever “When Doves Cry” was the number one song of 1984.  If Lil could get the rights to “Purple Rain” she should give that a shot, but I think she will sing Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It”.  I promise, that is all I could find.  Good luck Lil.

Lil Rounds- “What’s Love Got to Do With It”  Download the originalTina Turner - Private Dancer - What's Love Got to Do With It

1985 was a banner year for American Idol Season 8Kris Allen, Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre were all born that year.  Maybe Live Aid inspired musicians to write some good songs  but regardless, 1985 was a bright spot in the 80′s so there is plenty of good material for these three guys.  Kris Allen can take on the British pop superstar Paul Young and arrange his ballad “Everytime You Go Away” into a modern hit.  I hope Matt Giraud can turn Wham’s “Careless Whisper”, the overall number 1 song of 1985, into a cool 21st century R&B rave.  Scott MacIntyre should choose Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is” and made it his own keyborad driven anthem of love.

Kris Allen- “Everytime You Go Away”  Download the original Paul Young - From Time to Time - The Singles Collection - Every Time You Go Away

Matt Giraud- “Careless Whisper”  Download the original Wham! - Make It Big

Scott MacIntyre- “I Want to Know What Love Is” Download the original  Foreigner - Agent Provocateur - I Want to Know What Love Is

Anoop Desai joined us in 1986, just in time for Elton John to join Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight for the number one song of the year, “That’s What Friends Are For”.  I beg you Anoopdawg, don’t sing that song on American Idol.   Luckily, Anoop has a few choices that are more appropriate for him.  If he wants t bring his attitude he can take on Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love”.  I think he will stick with R&B and sing Simply Red’s “Holding Back the Years”.  If he is ready to go back to North Carolina he can fool himself into thinking he has as much soul as Tom Jones and perform Prince’s “Kiss”.  That would be the kiss of death.  I hope you are having as good a time as me.

Anoop Desai- “Holding Back the Years”  Download the original Simply Red - Simply Red: 25 Greatest Hits - Holding Back the Years

That brings us to 1992, the year Allison Iraheta and grunge were born. We were all amazed when the opening chords of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” burned out of the radio and we realized that rock could be rejuvenated. The problem for Allison is that grunge does not really lend itself to her big bluesy rock voice and the best of the rest is Elton John’s “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down on Me” which charted in a duet with George Michael.  The exception is a little gunge number, off a tribute album, sung by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell called “Hunger Strike”.  If she was able to find the song, she will be able to tear tiles off the American Idol roof with this song about the unfair distribution of wealth in America.

Allison Iraheta- “Hunger Strike”  Download this song  Temple of the Dog - Temple of the Dog - Hunger Strike

If my predictions are correct it will be a night of ballads.  Join us as we live blog the tonight at 8e/7c.

If you want to check out the past performances on American Idol Season 8 just download songs and videos from iTunes

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- Top 8 Power Rankings

It is unprecedented.  Of the Top 8 performers on American Idol Season 8, five are Christian music artists.  Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre are all still standing and Michael Sarver is the only Christian music artist to be voted off so far.  What is going on?  I would like hear what you think.

I think there are a couple of factors.  First of all, these guys are very good, if not great, music artists who just happen to be Christians.  Secondly, the American Idol judges seem to be more supportive of the artists of faith than in the past.  I don’t think it has anything to do with their faith but the judges seem to be more open to a variety of artists than in past years.  The judges support of Scott MacIntyre has helped him and Simon practically called on America to keep Michael Sarver on American Idol Season 8.

The third reason Christian music artists are doing so well on American Idol Season 8 is the experience they have singing on stage.  If is most evident with Kris Allen and Danny Gokey, both worship leaders, as they make great song selections, create interesting arrangements and deliver the emotional center of the songs in their performances.  You can also see that Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre were comfortable when they stepped on the American Idol stage.  They are used to singing to large groups of people with a band.  Finally, have we ever dug this deeply to identify the Chrsitian music artists on American Idol?  In the past two years, I saw some sites who identified Jordan Sparks and Chris Sligh as Christian music artists, but not so much as this year.

Regardless, we, at One21music, are enjoying the emergence of these believers who make great music.  We look forward to following their careers.

On to other things.  If you read my Top 9 Performance Recap you know that I was surprised by Meagan Joy’s departure.  I thought the three voting constituencies supporting her would keep her in for a few more weeks.  In my Top 9 power ranking I said she needed to go straight one week and just sing a song.  She never did and I think that cost her.  We overheard her talking to Simon after the she was eliminated and she admitted to him that she had never held a microphone before stepping onto the  American Idol stage.

American Idol Top 8 Power Rankings

If you read my  Top 9 Performance Recap you know that I think Kris Allen had an American Idol break out performance and established himself as a serious contender.  The blogosphere agreed with me as blogger after blogger raved about Kris Allen’s take on “Ain’t No Sunshine”.  I urge you to go to iTunes, through the icon below, and download that performance.  It was masterful.

That was the best performance of American Idol Season 8 and it has vaulted Kris Allen from third (see Top 9 power rankings) to first in the One21music American Idol Season 8 Power Rankings.   Allison Iraheta, last week’s number two had her first stumble and I worry about her ability to pick a great song for herself this week.   Scott MacIntyre moves up based on last week’s performance of “Just The Way You Are”.  Lil Rounds needs a strong performance this week and I think it will difficult for here to find a great song.  American Idol Season 8 remains fluid with a strong group of contenders, so week to week  performances are increasingly crucial.

  1. Kris Allen- I said it in last week’s power rankings and he went out and did again.  Week after week Kris Allen has taken well known songs by Michael Jackson, Marvin Gaye, James Taylor, Garth Brooks and, last week, Bill Withers and created completely new versions.  Last week was the topper.  “Ain’t No Sunshine” is fully ingrained into the fabric of America’s soundtrack and has been covered by dozens of artists.  Kris Allen’sAmerican Idol version on , is arguably my favorite version of this song.  Kris made me believe he wrote this song about a loss in his life.  Until March 31, 2009, Kris Allen was flying under the radar on American Idol.  He is firmly on America’s radar now.
  2. Danny Gokey- Danny’s stripped down performance of “What Hurts Most” was typical of all his American Idol Season 8 performances: cool arrangement, emotionally connected and well sung.  Danny has performed at the highest level all season long.  I worry that he has set a bar of expectation that he cannot exceed.  I think Danny Gokey has proven he was a fully baked pop star when he auditioned.  I don’t know what he can do for a break out performance to separate himself from the pack.
  3. Allison Iraheta- She stumbled last week and looked like a 16 year old on American Idol.  The judges were correct in telling her she looked like a kid dressing up to look like a rock star, when she is a rock star.  No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” was too small a song for her and the guitar was an obvious prop.  It pushed her back into the bottom 3 of the voting.  Allison needs to another rocking, blues performance to right her journey on American Idol. Check out our Top 8 performance preview tomorrow to see what I would have Allison sing.
  4. Lil Rounds-  I may have been the only one in the media to have enjoyed Lil’s performance last week.  I thought it was a soulful take on Celine Dion’s “I Surrender”.  She has had three week’s in a row of well sung songs, but she has not been able to put her stamp on a song yet.  Lil needs a performance this week to get the American Idol judges singing her praises again.  Does anyone have a suggestion for Lil Rounds from 1984?
  5. Matt Giraud- He is the poster boy for American Idol inconsistency this year.  When he picks R&B songs he delivers.  When he chooses piano driven rock songs like “You Found Me” and “Viva La Vida” he loses his identity.  Matt is starting to remind me of Michael Johns.  The judges are telling him what to sing to soar and he stubbornly clings to his image of himself as a rocker.  He has a ton of good songs to choose form this week, let’s see if he makes the right choice.
  6. Scott MacIntyre- If Scott were to pursue a career in pop music, and let’s hope that he pursues his true talent as a jazz or classical musician, we saw last week what he will be like.  Scott recaptured his magic with “Just The Way You Are”.  He is a fair singer and a wonderful performer.  His fate depends on his performances each week.
  7. Adam Lambert-  I cannot begin to describe my difficulty with his stiff, screaming, staged performance of “Play The Funky Music”.  It showed everything I dislike about Adam as a performer.  He is a great singer, but he panders to the American Idol judges.  Each week’s performance becomes an amalgamation of all the compliments he has received in previous week’s.  I do not want to paint Adam Lambert two dimensionally, he is a young man feverishly pursing his dream.  I just do not connect with him as a singer and I think the judges are wowed by his technical excellence.
  8. Anoop Desai-  It is funny that Anoop came out of Hollywood as a favorite to win it all and, over his past six performances he has proven that he does not have the charisma to be an American Idol.  Anoop is a fine singer who does not have the soul to be the R&B singer he wants to be.

There are two voting blocks to watch.  The blue-eyed soul singer group of Kris Allen, Matt Giraud and Anoop Desai may hurt one of them this week.  I question whether Matt or Anoop can survive a bad performance.  The second group is the “pure in spirit” group of Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and Scott MacIntyre.  These three tend to all react with humility, respect and sometimes humor to the judges criticism and praises.  I don’t think this will impact the voting too much this week, but let’s see.

Everyone but Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert could go home on a bad performance.  I think only two of that group make it to the Top 3.  Everyone needs to bring it.

Check out the performance that drove these power rankings by downloading full song recordings and the live performances at iTunes.

Apple iTunes

Join us again in the morning as I preview the Top 8 performance show.  The American Idol performers will be singing songs from the year of their birth (1980 to 1992).  I have some interesting song predictions.

American Idol Season 8- Top 9 Results Live Blog

I said I wouldn’t but I can’t help myself.  Yes, I will live blog the American Idol Season 8 Top 9 results show tonight. I am a live blog addict. I need help.

Are we going to see our first shocker tonight?  Will the judges be forced to use their “save”.  I think Matt Giraud is on the cutting block tonight and I don’t think the American Idol judges will save him.  However, there are several sites on the Internet suggesting that Allison Iraheta is in trouble. If Allison is voted off I think the American Idol judges will be forced to use the “save” Despite what many hope, I will be shocked if Meagan Joy goes home tonight.  See our American Idol Top 9 performance review.

David Cook and Lady GaGa will perform tonight.  David Cook should be okay.  I did not know Lady GaGa (girl or group?) until I just saw a blurb about her (girl) on Entertainment Tonight.  I am not sure I will enjoy her perorfmance but we will wait and see.

The time is now so let’s get us some results!  Well maybe not now.  Let’s wait an hour so Fox can present the show with an asterick Lie To Me*.  See you in an hour.

That was a wasted hour.  Lie To Me is funny, but I don’t think it is a comedy.

The just went through a montage of last night and they did not include Kara’s reference to Studio 57.  Jason Castro and Alexis Grace.  They were happy that 36 million people voted.  They are making Kara apologize to the audience for arguing with them last night.  Keep up with Adam!  Did American Idol just set Adam Lambert as the standard to judge the others by? Oh my gosh!

The Ford commercial used that whole face mixey uppy thing that Michael Jackson did 15 years ago.  The Top 9 are lip synching Journey’s “Don’t Stop” and they are letting Scott MacIntyre pretend he is playing the piano.  Will Adam Lambert do his hair metal scream?  Almost, yep, there it is.  Adam delivers the same old thing.

Back to the results?  Ryan has his results stand out.  Ryan, they are not singing for their lives.  Alexis Grace is proof that there is no firing squad behind the set.  Girls are swooning all over the country as Kris Allen goes through his photo sexy faces.  I can hear girls screaming up and down the street.

LOLOLOL! at Gokey’s impersonation of Giraud.

No more laughing.  Meagan Joy, Matt Giraud and Kris Allen are the first three up to the far side of the stage.  Then Ryan calls  Adam Lambert, Lil Rounds and Allison Iraheta to the center of the stage.  Is everybody going home?!   Anoop Desai is by himself.  Three groups of three.  Who is in the botom 3?  We must endure Lady GaGa first.

No, first we get David Cook.  I like David Cook.  I liked him all year last year.  This song is a little slow.  This song is a little bland.  I am glad he is having some success. I hope he will be able to break out of this soft rock straight jacket.  But the drummer is having a really good time.  At least the boy can sing.

David Cook get his first platinum album.  Congratulations David.  I like him more everytime I see him.

Who is in the bottom 3?  Kris Allen up first and he is safe, go sit down.  Matt Giraud is safe.  Ryan did one of his mean misdirection things.  Mean Ryan.  Megan Joy is the last of her group and she does a stupid bird impersonation to the bottom 3.  What was that?

To the next group and Lil Rounds and she is safe to sing only Mary J Blige songs in the future.  Allison Iraheta is up next and she is in the bottom 3.  Of, course Adam Lambert is safe.   Meagan quit with the bird dance.

Next group and first is Danny Gokey, who is safe.  The last spot in the bottom 3 is to Scott MacIntyre and Anoop Desai. Scott is safe and Anoop is on the bottom 3.

Anoop, Allison and Megan, the bird lady, are our bottom 3.  We wait until after Lady GaGa to find out the results.

Lady GaGa is number one on the charts.  She is showing some chops but the song is a little weird.  Is that bubbles or balloons in her piano?  This song is okay.  It is dance pop with a lot of dancers and a big sound. Better than Britany Spears. That was pretty crazy.  Old zipper eye is pretty wild.

Allison is safe.  Good.  She does not deserve to be in the bottom Two.

Meagan Joy was voted off.  Will the judges save her.  They told her she will not be saved before she sings.  Thank you, at least she can finish her last performance with dignity.

Be sure to grab your favorite American Idol performances and the the full studio recordings on iTunes.

Apple iTunes

Way to leave Meagan Joy. Good luck on your future.

American Idol Season 8- Top 9 Performance Wrap-up

We saw a star birthed tonight.  More than a star, I think we saw a music artist emerge tonight.   Tonight we saw a college student from Arkansas assert himself as a music artist, arranger, performer to be reckoned with.  Forget American Idol, I want to hear this guy’s songs.  Worship leader Kris Allen, in the midst of the Adam Lambert mania, took an iconic soul song “Ain’t No Sunshine” and dropped a completely new version on us that was as more soulful than the original.  If you DVR’d American Idol, go back and watch this performance.  If not, go to the iTunes icon below and download the video of this performance.  Kris Allen took one of my favorite songs, a song that has been covered in dozens of styles, and re-imagined the song into a modern soul rave.  That was blazing hot, baby!

I closed my American Idol Top 9 live blog with the comment that Tuesday night was separation night.  Anoop Desai, Meagan Joy, Matt Giraud showed they don’t have the “It”  to compete.  Scott MacIntyre reminded us why we fell in love with him.  That may keep him in the competition for a while, or, at the least, it will enable him to leave appreciated.  Lil Rounds and Allison Iraheta showed themselves as extremely talented singers who made need a little more help to be fully formed music stars.  Adam Lambert once again showed himself as a show pony who can consistently overwhelm us with vocal histrionics to distract us from his lack of substance.  Danny Gokey and Kris Allen proved themselves as masterful music artists and arrangers who deserve, and will experience, more than American Idol.

Here are the performance rankings:

  1. Kris Allen-  As you might suspect, this is not even close.  Tonight we saw an American Idol moment.  EW needs to make room on their Top 10 all time American Idol performances.  Kris Allen proved tonight he is the real deal.
  2. Danny Gokey- Danny took the opportunity to strip down his performance tonight.  He stood in the middle of the stage with the mike on a stand and just sang Rascal Flats‘ “What Hurts Most”.  The performance was restrained, emotional and powerful.  It was a perfect move my Danny Gokey.  He showed a quiet side we have not seen in a while.  Danny Gokey presents himself as a man of depth and substance and a performer who can deliver that gravitas to his performances.   This performance will Danny enable to power through the next few weeks with big songs and goofy dance moves.
  3. Lil Rounds- I am sorry, I cannot disagree more with the judges.  She sang “I Surrender” by Celine Dion.  The judges said she have sang a Mary J Blige or Mariah Carey song, but I a listen to this performance I hear soul singer Lil Rounds obliterate Celine Dion out of my mind when I hear the song.  For that I will be etenrally grateful.  This was a magnificent, soulful performance.
  4. Scott MacIntyre- He made the best song choice of the night by singing Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”.  By stripping the song down to voice and piano he was able to control the song for his voice.  It was beautiful, honest performance.

    This ends the good performances.

  5. Allison Iraheta- She made her first misstep.  Tonight she looked like an over-matched 16 year old.  Allison sang No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”.  This is a highly syncopated song and that undermines Allison’s skills.  She tried to unleash her big bluesy voice but she would lose the pacing of the song and fall back into the small vocals this song was built on.  For the first time, she did not look comfortable.
  6. Meagan Joy- I hope she listens to Paula and, next week, sits on a stool, stops all of the goofiness and just sings a song.  Tonight she sang Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low”.  She delivered the quirky, tone-tweaked, round pronunciated bouncy vocal the judges applauded early on.  The judges hated it and destroyed her.  I did not hate it, I was just bored.  If this is all she has, she should be grateful for Anoop and Matt.
  7. Anoop Desai-  It was quite telling for Anoop tonight.  He sang some Usher song and his performance demonstrate a substantial lack of soul.  He is Stax records funky in his glee club, but when compared to Usher he is decidedly adult contemporary.  The judges told him tonight that he did not have chops to be a R&B singer and he argues with them that his goal was to become an R&B singer.  That is the problem with Anoop.
  8. Matt Giraud- Matt, Matt, Matt I was afraid this would happen.  You forgot your hideous performance of “Viva La Vida” and went back for more.  You chose The Fray’s “You Found Me” the week after you were in the bottom two.  Again, the song stripped you of all your skills and revealed the weaknesses in your voice.  You have the Anoop disease.  You want to be a different type of performer than your skills dictate.  I am afraid we may lose you this week.
  9. Adam Lambert- I am sorry, I know the whole world loves this guy, but I cannot take it.  Adam’s take on “Play That Funky Music”  was the worst performance I have seen from him in American Idol’s Season 8.  There was a lot of posing, screaming and bad dancing but there was no funk.  There was zero funk.  It reminded me of this variety shows in the 60′s and 70′s.  They would try to pair a soul singer like Joe Tex with a popular easy listening singer like Robert Guoilet.  It was a train wreck because the easy listening guy knew he had no funk so he would ratchet up his singing to make up for his funklessness.  The result was an uncomfortable combination of frantic dance moves and screams.

Predictions:

Probable bottom two: Anoop Desai and Matt Giraud

Going home: Matt Giraud

Possible alternatives in bottom two: Allison Iraheta or Scott MacIntyre

Judges save: only if Allison Iraheta is voted off.

Download the performances and the full length recordings of these songs at iTunes

Apple iTunes

Don’t forget to join us tomorrow night as we begin live blogging the American Idol results shows.