American Idol Season 8- Rock Performances Review

What happened tonight?  Debbie Williams, the American Idol stage  manager was injured and taken to the hospital when those retractable stairs retracted while she was on them.  Early reports are that her injuries were minor.  Then the stage started falling and one of the giant American Idol orbs and columns partially collapsed.  Dress rehearsal was cancelled.  MJ’s blog crashed and the MTV live blog stopped at 8:38 edt (I later read the rest of it).  I am grateful that no one was hurt tonight.

I am at a loss for words to describe how much I hated American Idol tonight.  I hated the duets.  I think Slash was a waste.  I thought the judging tonight was meaningless jabber.  The song choices, for the most part. were terrible.  I thought the American Idol rock song performances were vapid.  The arrangements were cookie cutter.  I was so disgusted with American Idol tonight that I went to my office, made a mix of my American Idol Rock Song predictions and played them at a disturbing volume.  That would have made for a fascinating show.

Now that my temper tantrum is over, time for a little empathy.  Missing the dress rehearsal obviously bothered the performers.  We don’t know how much of the dress rehearsal was completed before the accidents but some of the American Idol performers looked uncharacteristically uncomfortable.  Also, someone they know was injured and taken to the hospital before their eyes.  Allison was timid in her performance and then argumentative during her judging.  That is just the opposite of her usual demeanor.  Kris Allen seemed mad the whole night.  Danny Gokey was irritated during the judges comments.  I must believe that they were shaken and concerned about their friend and maybe a little nervous about the set. Too bad we can’t give the American Idol performers a pass tonight.

American Idol Season 8 Rock Song Performance Ratings
I am ignoring the duets tonight. They were meaningless filler. Really, what did you learn about Christina music performers Danny Gokey or Kris Allen from “Renegade”? What did “Slow Ride” tell you about Adam Lambert or Allison Iraheta, other than 17 year old girls singing inappropriate lyrics at 9 edt on national television is apparently something to be applauded? The only time rockers did these stupid duets was on stupid 70′s variety shows.  “The Weight” is cycling through my song preview mix for the second time.  I am feeling better. Remember last week when I said all of the performers earned an “A” in my Rat Pack performance review, well everyone gets no more than a “C” tonight so I am ranking on a curve.

  1. Danny Gokey, yep, that mess Danny Gokey threw out there tonight was my favorite Americna Idol rock  performance.  Why?  The opening to “Dream On” looked to be a struggle for him, his breathing seemed off and he fought to find a groove.  Toward the middle he cut loose with his voice and then he built the song until–The Scream.  So far, everyone hates it.  I liked it.  I don’t know how many notes he stumbled through on that final scream but we could probably score a few scrabble points with those letters.  But I don’t care, it is was guttural, primal, cathartic and insane.
  2. Allison Iraheta picked the right song but she held back.  “Cry Baby” is an angry, hurting rant at a former boyfriend.  Allison need to wring the emotion out of the song but, instead she sang the set-ups and transitions while avoiding the meat of the song.  I had high hopes but Allison played this American Idol performance uncharacteristically safe.
  3. Adam Lambert took the show by storm by cranking through Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”.  I am sorry, from the first moment all I could hear was Robert Plant screaming through he phone to Jimmy Page, “NEVER AGAIN WILL WE ALLOW THAT BLOODY, LAME SHOW TO GUT ONE OF OUR SONGS”.  I played the original for my wife and then replayed Adam’s American Idol version and she nailed it.  “He doesn’t believe in the emotion of the song.”  This was another in a long line of big, loud, brassy empty American Idol performances by Adam Lambert.  I don’t know what everyone is buying but I am not interested.
  4. Kris Allen seemed off tonight.  From the opening verse of his duet with Danny to his placid walk through of “Come Together”, Kris seemed angry and uninterested.  “Come Together” was a terrible song choice.  For the second week in a row, Kris Allen has kept his magical arranging skills under wraps.  There is just very little you can do with this song.  We have seen many others fail (isn’t this song the last one Carly Smithson did last year) with “Come Together”.  Kris sang well but you did not get the feeling he really cared that much.

Just in case you did not notice, I was disappointed by American Idol tonight.

Given all of the accidents and distractions tonight and given that Slash was such a terrible mentor, I think we should skip elimination this week and eliminate two next week. American Idol producers, don’t you agree? Just in case 19 Entertainment does not clip this blog for the producers, here are my predictions:

Bottom two Allison Iraheta Kris Allen

Going home Allison Iraheta

On Thursday morning the studio performances will be available for iTunes and we will be able to see how much of tonight’s show was attributable to the dress rehearsal accidents and how much was Slash’s fault.  In the meantime download some of the great performances dating all the way back to Felicia Barton and Mishavonna Henson from the Top 36.

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8-Rock Night Live Blog

American Idol Season 8 strolls through the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as Slash mentors Adam Lambert, Allison Iraheta, Danny Gokey and Kris Allen through the classic rcok songs of the 70′s and 80′s.  There are rumors and secrets around the show’s format tonight, with the biggest being that the American Idols will sing duets tonight.  I hope not.  I have predicted (Rock Songs Preview)  that the American Idol Season 8 performers will sing songs of Queen, The Rolling Stones, U2, Janis Joplin, The Band, Elvis Costello and Led Zeppelin.  It will be just like my TimeLife classic rock boxed set.

The competition to win American Idol Season 8 is  wide open and intense.  Kris Allen, Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta and Adam Lambert can all win (see our Top 4 Power Rankings) and any one of them could go home tomorrow night.  Many are calling this the best Top4 ever.  These are four supremely talented, focused performers.  We are so pleased that two of the final four are Christian music performers.  We wish you the best Danny Gokey and Kris Allen.

So everybody let’s Rock & Roll!

They have really made the stage smaller.  They had an accident earlier.  The stage is falling apart.  There was no dress rehersal.  Rumors had that the stage manager went to the hospital.

The American Idol performers are going to sing duets tonight.  Double yuk!  Slash of Guns n’ Roses and Velvet Revolver is the mentor tonight.  He mentored the performers at the Roxy on Sunset Strip.   Allison Iraheta looks terrified.

Adam Lambert starts us off singing Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love”.  This is a great song from my teen years.  From the first note Adam’s singing does not carry the weight and danger of the young Robert Plant.  This is a parody of a rock band.  He has just proven he is not a rocker.  That was his worst performance of the year.

Randy I so disagree with you.  He said no one will think of Broadway when they hear that.  That was all I could think of.  Kara is falling over him.  Simon let’s me down and agrees with the other judges.  He said no one can top that?  Sorry I so disagree.

Yes!  I called it.  Allison Irhaeta is doing Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby”.  I guess we will see what this girl’s got.  This is a big hill to climb.  I think she can do it and when she does…

Allison is sporting blue streaks in her hair. The mentor session sounds great.  She skipped the hardest parts of the song.  She sang it pretty well, but not spectacular.  She did not seem on her game tonight.

Randy did not like the song choice because there was not a lot of melody.  Kara agrees.  Paula, too late for the Joplin bio pic.  They are filming it now.  Simon liked the singing but did not like the orginality.  Allison gets feisty with the judges.  She seemed really irritated with the judges.

We go to a duet, Danny Gokey & Kris Allen doing “Renegade” by Styx.  I don’t like this song very much and Kris seems to be struggling with the vocals.  Danny seems bigger on stage and he does have the bigger voice.

Randy loved the harmonies.  Kara agreed with Randy, again.  Simon does not like the duets.  The judges did not know how to judge the duet.

Kris Allen is singing “Come Together”   by The Beatles.  This is hard.  Kris wanted to wet himself during the mentor session.  As I suspected, what can you do with this song?  Kris has kind of lost his mojo tonight.  Very good singing and some nice changes at the end.

Randy liked the vocals but loved the guitar work.  Lukewarm praise from Randy.  Kara did not like it.  Paula liked the imprint he put on the song.  Simon did not like it that much.  He compared it to “eating ice for lunch”.

Danny Gokey is doing Aerosmith’s “Dream On”.  At least everyone is swinging for the fences.  He si going for the big scream at the end.  What was that!  He wailed.  That was awesome!

Randy didn’t like it.  Kara thinks he took the swagger a little to far.  Paula did not even like it.  Simon hated the end and thought it was over the top.

Adam Lambert & Allison Iraheta ends the night (of course)singing  “Slow Ride” by Foghat.  This was the best performance of the night.  Allison Iraheta has no business singing this song.

Of course the judges loved it.  I don’t care.

Doesn’t look like Slash was a very good mentor.  This show was a real disappointment.  I think the pressure kind of got to the American Idol performers and maybe I am a rock snob.

Be sure to put together your American Idol Season 8 download mix at iTunes

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- Rock Songs Preview

We are down to the American Idol Season 8 Top 4.  There are only three shows left.  Where did the Season 8 go?  It seems only a few weeks ago when we were debating shocked that Alexis Grace did not make it to the Top 10.  One21music is covering Christian music artists performing in American Idol Season 8.  We started with 10, six made it to the Idol tour and two Christian music artists, Danny Gokey and Kris Allen, have made it to the Top 4.  I think either of them can and should win Season 8 (see Top 4 Power Rankings)

The American Idol Top 4 will be singing Classic Rock songs to earn their place in the Top 3.  Rumors are flying around the Internet about how many songs the performers will sing and there is even speculation that the American Idol Season 8 Top 4 will sing duets.  I hope not, so I am going to assume that each performer will sing two classic rock songs from the ’70′s and 80′s.

American Idol Season 8 Rock Song Projections

  • Kris Allen “The Weight”  The Band The Band - Music from Big Pink - The Weight “Blame It On Cain” Elvis Costello Elvis Costello - My Aim Is True - Blame It On Cain“The Weight” is a gorgeous song of self sacrifice and service originally sung by Levon Helm.  There is a breathtaking version of the song performed with The Band and The Staple Singers from the movie The Last Waltz.  The tone of the song, the lilt of the music and the message of the lyrics are completely congruent with Kris Allen the performer. 

  • “Blame I t On Cain” is a bouncy rocker that fits Kris’s style perfectly while giving him room to change the arrangement and add some vocal riffs.  To get a taste what it could be like with Kris singning this song, here is Christian music artist Dustin Kensrue singing “Blame It on Cain”

  • Danny Gokey “Somebody To Love”  Queen Queen - Queen: Greatest Hits I & II - Somebody to Love “When Love Comes To Town”  U2 U2 & B.B. King - Rattle and Hum - When Love Comes to TownHe has the arrangement from the group performance he arranged during American Idol Season 8 Hollywood week.  This a soaring, fun epic that enabled Freddy Mercury to throw his head back sing.  “Somebody To Love” should allow Danny Gokey to deliver on the promise he made with last week’s performance.”When Love Comes To Town” is another song suited to Danny’s big voice and U2′s message of redemption rings true to what we know about Danny Gokey

  • Allison Iraheta “Cry Baby”  Janis Joplin Janis Joplin - Pearl - Cry Baby “Gimme Shelter” The Rolling Stones The Rolling Stones - Hot Rocks 1964-1971 - Gimme ShelterShe is closest thing I have seen to Janis Joplin since, well Janis Joplin.  All season long we have waited for Allison Iraheta wrap her voice around a Joplin tune and this one from Pearl is a doozy.   It opens with a huge scream and then settles into mind blowing romp for her man.  Allison could make Simon cry with this song.We are suggesting two really old songs for the youngest singer in the competition but she does feel like a late sixties rocker. Not much in the way of lyrics here but “Gimme Shelter’s”  message is timely and the song gives her so much room to show off her voice. 

  • Adam Lambert “Rock and Roll”  Led Zeppelin Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin IV (Remastered) - Rock and Roll “Desire” U2 U2 - The Best of 1980-1990 - DesireCan Adam Lambert handle the Robert Plant wail?  We think so.  Big, brash, loud  this song roared off Zep’s fourth album and marked their transition to a great band.  This would be an exciting way to start the show with Adam roaring ‘been a long time since I rock and rolled”.  We will see if Adam Lambert is a rock and roll dude.
    Two rousing songs for Adam, less variety than he has shown this year, but U2′s warning of earthly desires does fit with Adam Lambert’s penchant for darker music. This song is big and fast.



The last two weeks have been great and there is no reason to think tonight will be any different.  Join us at 8 edt as we live blog rock night on American Idol Season 8.

In the meantime be sure to download some of the great Season 8 performances at iTunes

Apple iTunes