Using the Microsoft Word thesaurus I found 17 synonyms for the word brilliant and it’s synonyms. I may use them all in this post. I am an American Idol neophyte, but this was as spectacular an American Idol show as I have seen.
The five American Idol performers took 50 year old songs, performed them magnificently and made them current without destroying the melody of the songs. Danny Gokey and Matt Giraud delivered their best performance of American Idol Season 8. Kris Allen and Adam Lambert rivaled their best performances. Allison Iraheta showed us unanticipated versatility in mastering a style that should cause her to stumble.
In addition to the stunning performances here are five things about tonight’s American Idol Season 8 Rat Pack night excellent:
- “Surprise mentor” Jamie Foxx was genius. His musical advice was perfect. His performance advice was insightful. He was enthusiastic and encouraging. I think he had a hand in inspiring these virtuoso performances.
- The American Idol judges were engaging and enthusiastic tonight. It was almost as if Simon had watched the dress rehearsals. His critiques of Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta seemed to anticipate what we were about to see. I liked Kara’s effusive praise and I liked Simon and Randy’s contrasting reviews.
- The decision for the American Idol performers to sing only one song enabled us to really listen to the performances. Ten songs would have been too rushed. They were able to sing more of each song.
- I don’t care if these were songs from a different time. These are extraordinary, timeless songs.
- Loved, loved the suits. The guys looked like men not little boys. I am sorry California (where office casual started) men look best in a coat, matching slacks, polished shoes and a tie. Watch Mad Men and argue with me.
The American Idol Season 8 Rat Pack performance show was dazzling.
American Idol Season 8 Rat Performance Rankings
I don’t want to rate these Rat Pack performances. They were all too good to put in order. To prepare for this article I go back, re-watch the performances and grade them A, B or C. Everyone one of these were in the A category. But the performance rankings would not be very much fun if I dd not rank, so here goes:
- Adam Lambert sang “Feeling Good” with such virtuosity that my jaw dropped when I saw it the first time. His wide ranging but controlled vocal took this song through an octave busting roller coaster ride through the scales. Yet, unlike most of his performances, he wasn’t showing off, he was singing this song like it maybe has never been sung before. He had a few chances to throw down his best Vince Neil but he held back and the power of the song carried him to a higher plane.
Adam’s stage performance said. “I don’t care if I win American Idol Season 8, I am a star”. He was mesmerizing. I think Jennifer Hudson is the only one to have matched Adam’s star power tonight. I don’t usually like Adam’s performance. Tonight I was flabbergasted.
- Danny Gokey delivered his best performance of the American Idol Season 8 finals. We have been asking him to breakout and with “Come Rain or Come Shine” he did. I thought the first part of the song, quiet and slow, got a little lost in the band. After watching a second time, he was doing some interesting phrasing and runs during this part. Then, wow happened. Danny grabbed the song by the throat and just went on a growling, belting romp through the final verses.
The way Danny ended this song was astonishing. This was the most praise Danny has received from the judges all year. Tonight Danny Gokey announced his return with a swaggering roar.
- Matt Giraud proved tonight he is more than a R&B singer. With his interpretation of “My Funny Valentine” he showed us he has a career as a jazz musician. Matt listened to Jamie Foxx’s advice to change the key of this performance. The result was an gorgeous low register beginning that enable him to play with his phrasing and diction. Where Danny and Adam’s performances were jaw dropping, Matt’s interpretation called you to lean forward and observe what he was doing.Matt’s performance tonight was mesmerizing. I think it could be on the radio tomorrow and people would eat it up.
This was Matt Giraud’s best performance of American Idol Season 8.
- Kris Allen sang “The Way You Look Tonight”. I hate to place him fourth out of five. I will buy this song to add to my Kris Allen cover EP (see Top 5 Power Rankings). Kris expertly controlled the pace of the song, sang beautifully, utilized unique phrasing and really told the story of the lyric. It was truly a gorgeous performance.
I did not like the arrangement. He had the band pick up the song in the bridge by speeding up the tempo and volume. I think he would have been better served by using his singing to change the harmonic dynamic while keeping the tension of the lyric.
- Allison Iraheta sang “Someone To Watch Over Me” with vulnerability and sensitivity. Kara called it gut wrenching. Allison’s vocals were stunning. The contrast of her raspy voice with the deliberate phrasing caused me to believe we were watching a tough girl daring to be sensitive. Stunning.
I just don’t believe that Allison enjoyed the performance. She seemed to be fighting her desire to let loose with her vocals. While this struggle may fit the mood she was trying to create, this performance did not feel as triumphant as Adam’s, Danny’s or Matt’s.
One final word from my thesaurus research to describe American Idol Season 8 Rat Pack performances- Wow!
No one deserves to go home this week. If the American Idol Season 8 performers are going to keep delivering like they have for the past few weeks, can we just extend the show through July?
If I must:
Bottom 3: Kris (because he went first), Matt (because he has been here before), Allison (because she has been here before)
Bottom 2: Matt and Allison
Going home: Matt (which is a crime since he just started gaining his momentum. I just don’t think he can survive the Danny/Kris/Matt voting log jam)
Join us tomorrow night as we live blog the American Idol Season 8 Results show.
I will download everyone of these songs. You should as well: