Evidently pressure is a good thing. Two people go home this week so everyone had to bring their “A” and they did. I think this was the best night so far of American Idol Season 8. The two people that go home tomorrow night did not lose, five music artists won on American Idol tonight. We reaped the benefits.
Two things happened tonight. Everyone but Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey delivered radical arrangements of these familiar disco songs. Randy criticized just about everyone for changing the arrangements and shame on him. The American Idol performers were daring tonight and it was fun.
The second thing that happened tonight- every American Idol performer sang tonight with a capital S-A-N-G. If you can, go back and listen. Not only was the singing virtually flawless, but it was dead-on interpretively and it was from the gut. The American Idol contestants brung it tonight. After watching it again, this was the most consistently great night I have experienced with American Idol.
I hate to rank these performances because from one to the next there is very little difference. Two stood out for me. Kris Allen, for the third week of the past four he re-arranged a great song, one we would never expect him to do, and delivered a performance that could work on today’s charts. Allison Iraheta, my goodness. Not a great song for a 16 year old girl to sing, but I no longer believe she is 16. I will rave in detail below, but I saw Kelly Clarkson on stage tonight in a bright red wig.
American Idol Season 8- Disco Performance Rankings
- Kris Allen flabbergasted us all tonight. The judges were stammering that Kris was able to take the iconic Donna Summer song “She Works Hard For the Money” and turn it into a cool 21st century Spanish tinged jive number. Kris’s guitar created a rhythm of sound, the bongos and box punctuated the groove and the bass was spectacular. Kris’s vocals showed power, range and sensitivity. Kris Allen is hitting his stride and everyone better prepare themselves for Kris Allen to win American Idol Season 8.
- Allison Iraheta truly wowed me tonight. I have re-watched the performance three times now and I am amazed at her performance maturity. She does not so much dance as she moves naturally with the lyrics of the song. Her vocal choices were dead-on. She looked great, her singing was fantastic and her stage presence was incredible. Allison Iraheta has found herself as a performer on American Idol Season 8. We will enjoy her for many years.
- Matt Giraud finally let loose and had fun. This is the Matt we saw beat boxing and dancing in American Idol Season 8 Hollywood Week. He could have crashed with “Stayin Alive” by the Bee Gees, but he made it work. He funkified the arrangement, added some modern R&B riffs and he danced. This is the first time we have seen Matt Giraud sing as if he were completely relaxed and I liked it. He topped his results show performance last week and gave his best vocal of the year.
- Adam Lambert almost pulled off another moment. He took the Bee Gees “If I Can’t Have You” and slowed it to an achingly slow ballad. The emotional connection was there, the singing was fantastic, the choice to stand still in the middle of the stage was right; and then he just had to get flashy. When he slipped in those high pitched screams it ruined the moment. This went from a heartbreaking cry to a well crafted American Idol performance.
- Danny Gokey can really, really sing. In this group of singers singing their best tonight, he really out sang everyone. Did you hear him blast those opening notes of EWF’s “September”. Wow. The funky breakdown in the middle showed off his shuffle singing skills. Danny Gokey just overwhelmed this song with his vocals. My issue with Danny’s performance was the arrangement. On a night when Kris, Allison, Matt and Adam took some cool arrangement risks, Danny played it safe. We know Danny has the skills to bend these songs into something cool and if he doesn’t start using them now his American Idol journey will be over too soon.
- Lil Rounds delivered her best performance of American Idol’s Season 8, at least her best since the semi-finals. I think the judges unfairly skewered her. Watching her sing Chaka Kahn’s “I’m Every Woman” her vocals were solid and exciting, she commanded the stage and she layed herself out. She looked like a confident star tonight. If Lil Rounds goes home tomorrow night she will have left us with a peek into her future after American Idol.
- Anoop Desai started right. He opened Donna Summers‘ “Dim All the Lights” as a slow, mournful ballad. It was working. His vocals were beautiful and soaring. Then the beat picked up and all his flaws came out. The song overwhelmed him and he was lost on the stage. His vocals continued to be spectacular but his performance was amateurish. It will probably be his last night on American Idol.
It is really tough to think anyone will be going home from American Idol tomorrow night but two must go. Anyone who goes tomorrow night can leave on a highnote. Here are my predictions:
Bottom 3: Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds, Danny Gokey
Bottom 2: Anoop Desai, Lil Rounds
Everyone will be outraged that Danny is in bottom 3, but Matt Giraud will have enough rally votes to keep him safe this week.
This week is going to cost me some money. There are several download worthy songs. Check them out at iTunes.