American Idol Season 8- Crown The American Idol

Tonight is the night and we are live blogging the American Idol Season 8 Finale..  The votes are in and we find out if Kris Allen or Adam Lambert is the Season 8 American Idol.  Last night’s performance show proved nothing and everything (see our Top 2 Performance Review).  Adam Lambert had more good performances and Kris Allen’s “Ain’t No Sunshine” was the best of the night.  According to dialidol, the voting is a virtual dead heat, the closest final vote since dialidol started tracking votes.

Rod Stewart, Steve Martin,, Queen Latifah, Black Eyed Peas, Carlos Santanta and Jason Mraz are rumored to perform .

According to MJ, Idol duets will feature Allison Iraheta with Cyndi Lauper, Kris Allen with Keith Urban, Danny Gokey with Lionel Richie..  There is a rumor that Adam Lambert will perform with Kiss.

David Cook is set to perform “Permanent” as a tribute to his late brother Adam.  The single will be released right after after the finale. The proceeds will fund David’s cancer charity.

It will be a long night, let’s hope it is fun.  We are here until the end.

We start the night with both Kris and Adam in all white. Are they doing a duet or do they have a pact?   Many celebrities in the house and I don’t recognize many of them. Just under 100 million votes last night.  It was a record setting 624 million votes this year.

Randy looks extra goofy tonight with a red velvet bow tie.  They are doing a collage of each of the judges.  Randy says “for you/for me”.  Kara uses “sweety/honey”.  Paula has huge vocabulary of words we don’t know.  Simon doesn’t pay attention so we have a train of “what?”

We can’t here the interviews of Kris and Adam because their mikes don’t work so we go to the watch parties in Conway and San Diego.

We kick off the might with a Top 13 performance of Pink’s “So What”. The group seems very loose tonight and they having fun.  That wasn’t bad, except when Adam Lambert lost Scott MacIntyre in the middle of the stage.

David Cook is singing a tribute to his brother “Permanent”.  Bathed in green and white light, with a black armband, David Cook delivers a moving tribute to his brother.  This will be available later tonight on iTunes.  See our icon below.  It will benefit David Cook’s cancer foundation ABC2.

Now we pay tribute for the making fun of bad audition awards.  No point in writing about this.  Except they put Norman Gentle in this category.  Of course, Norman Gentle wins.  Encore, encore!  Yes, he is singing THIS IS AWESOME.

Lil rounds is doing a duet with Queen Latifah.  Lil Rounds looks like a child next to Queen Latifah.   I think the song is “Que The Rain”?  Big, fun, funky, R&B number with dancers and Lil Rounds is singing pretty well.  It is the most relaxed we have seen Lil Rounds.

Anoop Desai and Alexis Grace are singing “I’m Yours” with Jason Mraz.  Here come the rest of the American Idol Season 8 Top 13 to act as back-up singers.

We now see Kris Allen’s journey from his Churchill Downs audition to the Top 2.  It looks like he is goinf to fulfill his dream of playing to huge crowds in big stadiums.  Kris Allen is singing “Kiss A Girl” with Keith Urban.  This is perfect song for Kris and he seems very happy.  Urban is ripping off a guitar solo, he is considered one of the best guitar players in country music.

The girls of the Top 13 are doing their Pussycat Dolls impression singing “Glamorous” and Fergie joins them.  She can’t sing very well and then the Black Eyed Peas take the stage.  I can’t keep up and we lost the feed for a second.  This song is “Boom Boom Pow”.  This is more visual than musical.

Another Golden Idol moment.  Bikini Girl is a nominee.  Of course she wins and accepts the award in a bikini.  She sings Vision of lOve and Kara comes out and joins her and takes over the song.  This is fun and funny.

Time for Allison Iraheta to sing with Cindy Lauper.  Allison has a better vocie than Cindy Lauper.  Sitting around a group of acoustic instruments, this is a quiet but spirited cover of “Time After Time”.  Very cool vocal interaction between the two.  Cindy doesn’t hold back, does she?  That was the best of the night.

Danny Gokey takes the stage singing Lionel Richie’s “Hello” and then Lionel richie joins him to sing some song I have never heard.  Good singing but not my cup of tea.  They break inot the calypso beat of “All Night Long” and Danny gets to let loose his vocals.  That was fun.

We now follow Adam’s journey from his audition in San Francisco.  In Hollywood he promised to surprise.  He did that didn’t he?  Here is in some leather outfit with cagey thingies on his shoulders.  He is singing “Beth” so tonight he is a part of Kiss.  This will be the best vocals they have ever had on ther songs.  Full Kiss treament with smoke and explosions singing a medley of Kiss hits.   Adam fits with Kiss.  if you consider Kiss a legitamite rock band then Adam is a rocker.  I am having fun tonight.

The best moment of the night so far is the Cindy Lauper/Allison Iraheta duet.  True rock artistry.  Download that performance.

Carlos Santana is starting a 2 year run at the Hard Rock in Vegas, but tonight he is playing “Black Magic Woman”.  I love this guy.  Matt Giraud is singing the song with Santana.  The rest of the Top 13 join him for “Hold On”.  Jorge is loving this.

David Cooke give Adam and Kris a car.

Meagan and Michael sing with Steve Martin, playing his banjo.  There is a full bluegrass band backing them.  Listne to Meagan singing the back country.  She sounds really good.  Michael carries the song and Meagan was rich.

The Top 13 guys are busting out Rod Stewart’s “Do Ya think I’am Sexy” so Rod can’t be far behind.  Matt Giraud is really good.  He stands out in this crowd.  Here comes Rod and they are singing his best song ever “Maggie May”.  It is odd to hear a 60 year old man sining about his cougar girlfriend.  Rod seems as old as he is. This would have been better as a group song.

One more Golden Idol.  Outstanding female and this has to be Tatiana.  Of course it is.   The, “I won’t stop singing” skit is not that funny.

Before we get to the results they will sing “We Are The Champions” together, with Queen and a big choir and the Top 13.  Kris really held his own in this song.

CAN WE PLEASE GET SOME RESULTS? No, we get commercials.

Okay so here we go.  Simon says both were both brilliant and he thinks both should both be proud of their journey.  A new world record with almost 100 million votes.  Christian music artist Kris Allen comes from nowhere to win Americam Idol Season 8.  Kris is flabbergasted.

Kris won this with heart and sensitivity.

A very good show tonight.  Download tonight’s performances and all of this season’s best on iTunes.

Apple iTunes

American Idol Season 8- Kris vs. Adam The Finale

The American Idol Season 8 finale could not be any more different in style and persona.  The wild, and wildly popular, Adam Lambert with more than a decade of professional and amateur stage and singing experience comes into tonight’s show as the favorite.  Christian music artist Kris Allen, the business major from Conway, Arkansas whose experience has been limited to leading worship in his church, in his fraternity and on overseas mission trips rose from obscurity through American Idol’s eighth season.   Both have taken risks with arrangements and performances.  The question will be: Does America love Adam Lambert’s mad vocals and flamboyant performance style or does America love Kris Allen’s uncanny song selection and arrangement skills and his insightful ability to interpret songs?

The American Idol Season 8 final performance show will have Kris Allen and Adam Lambert perform three songs each.  American Idol creator, Simon Fuller will pick a song for Adam and a song for Kris.  Then, Kris and Adam will perform a song they select of the themselves.  There are rumors that they will be limited to songs already performed on American Idol Season 8, but that would be lame.  See my article Top 2 Fighting Songs to see what I would like for them to sing.  The final performance could be very telling.  Kris Allen and Adam Lambert will both sing a song that will become the American Idol Season 8 winner’s first single.  Will Adam’s superior singing talent impress the voters or will Kris’s ability to infuse meaning into a song win America’s heart?

This has been a fun season with a crew of really talented performers.  See my American Idol Season 8 year in review for some fun memories and my Top 15 performances.  Tonight should action packed and exciting, so let’s get to it.

We are at the Kodak Theater and the crowd is huge.  Simon and Randy are both wearing jackets, amazing.  Kris won a coin toss last week and has chosen to perform second.  Both guys are wearing leather jackets.  Kris and Adam were limited on their song choice to songs performed during the season.

PROGRAMMING NOTE. IF YOU PLAN TO RECORD TOMORROW NIGHT’S SHOW, SET YOU DVR FOR AN EXTRA HOUR.  THEY PLAN FOR THE TWO HOUR SHOW TO GO LONG.

Adam Lambert starts off the performances.  According to his parents he would scream all through the night as a baby.  Adam is performing “Mad World” from Tears For Fears.  This was his breakthrough moment during the season.  He is singing well, but the magic from the previous performance seems to be missing. This version seems a little bland compared to the first time I saw it.

Randy loves Adam showing his sensitive side and gives him an A+.  Kara gushes.   Of course, Paula calls the performance haunting.  Simon thought this was his best performance during the season.  He thinks tonight was a little over theatrical.

We go straight to Kris Allen.  As a kid his family had to pay him to sing, a business major all the way.  Kris is singing Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine”.  He is playing the baby grand Steinway.  Very slow, soulful opening.  As the band picks up the beat he picks up his singing.  This is brilliant again.  Incredible command of this song.  Beautiful singing.  That was special.

Randy calls it one if his best performances ever and Kara agrees.  She says he creates an intimate bond with the audience.  Paula calls him a great artist.  Simon takes back all of doubts about Kris back after that performance.  Simon calls Kris the winner of round 1.

Now they sing songs selected by Simon Fuller.  Adam Lambert is singing “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.   This is very, very good.  A little over the top, but good.  This guy surely can sing.  He picked up his game.

Randy thinks it was unbelievable.  Kara thinks it was his best performance of the season.  Her comments on how he interpreted the song by taking us up high then pulling back to connect with emotion of the song was the best comment by a judge all season.  Paula thinks it was the best she has ever heard him sing.  Simon says he is 100% back in the game.

Kris Allen has his work cut out for himself.  Kris is singing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”.  He is back with his percussionists, bongos and a beat box.  The arrangement doesn’t seem to fit the sentiment of the song, but the original version was similar.  Very good but not great.

Randy thinks his arrangement was a little light.  Kara is glad he sang a socially conscious song.  Paula loved it.  Simon thinks it was too laid back for tonight.  I think I agree with Simon.  Round 2 to Adam.

Final performances, we get to see Kris Allen and Adam Lambert interpret the same song.  It is down to this.

The song is “No Boundries” co-written by Kara.  Adam Lambert is first.  He gives it a synth pop arrangement.  Adam is wearing snake skin pants.   This is a typical big, loud Adam Lambert performance.  He sings it well, but I don’t really feel it. The judges will eat this up.

The crowd goes crazy.  Randy thinks he can sing great but did not like the performance.  Kara is moved and proud.  Paula finishes her season long gushing.  Simon thinks he has been one of the best, most original contestants of the season.  It is interesting that none of the judges says anything good about his performance.

I am not sure what Kris Allen can do with this song that will not reveal its maltziness.

Okay so Kris let’s see what you got. Interesting he takes a straight forward big backing band approach to the song.  He performs well but struggles with the singing.  Not my favorite Kris Allen performance.

Randy liked it better than Adam.  Kara thinks the song was too high for him.  Paula does not mention the performance at all.  Simon calls watching him on the stage tonight incredible.   Simon says Kris deserves to be on this stage.

Vote, vote, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE , VOTE.

See you later with my review and predictions.  Vote for Kris Allen.

American Idol Season 8- The Year In Review

It would be a short article if we did an American Idol Season 8 Top 2 Power Ranking, so I thought we could take a look back at the Season 8.  The top story of the year is the very visual presence of Christian music artists in American Idol Season 8, followed by the emergence of Christian music artist, star Kris Allen.  I will also share a couple of my favorite moments.  We will finish the article with the Top 15 Performances of American Idol Season 8.

Christian Music Artists on American Idol Season 8

Season 8 enjoyed the largest, most visible group of Christian music artists in the history of American Idol. There was much attention in the press about their participation in American Idol and Christian music artists experienced unprecedented success with two of the Top 3, three of the Top 5 and four of the Top 7.   See our mid-season update in American Idol Season 8- The Christians. Here are the Christian music artists, in order of finish, who competed on live television of American Idol Season 8:

  • Kris Allen (he is gonna win)
  • Danny Gokey (3rd)
  • Matt Giraud (5th)
  • Lil Rounds (6th)
  • Scott MacIntyre (8th)
  • Michael Sarver (10th)
  • Ricky Braddy (semi’s)
  • Felicia Barton (semi’s)
  • Mishavonna Henson (semi’s)
  • Kristen McNamara (semi’s)

American Idols Season 8- Favorite Moments

Norman Gentle

A two stories stood out for me this season. The first was the the surge of Norman Gentle (played by Nick Western) into the Top 36. He was an unlikely candidate to move this far, because his campy, over the top performances seemed to mock American Idoland few competitors achieve success with that strategy. However, Western was so unrelenting in his commitment to the Norman Gentle character that he could not be denied. Here is his audition

The best part was that he neverrelented. WithSimon trying to run him off the show, he continued into Hollywood Week with crazier performances and in his brief stint on live television he called Simon “sassy pants”. Classic.

Michael Sarver’s Back-story

There were some very compelling back-stories on American Idol Season 8, but Michael Sarver’s transcended all. We heard about his dream to sing his way out of one of the most dangerous jobs in America, oilfield widcatter. What most of America did not see was the impact he was having on his hometown of Jasper, Texas. For 10 years Jasper had been the national symbol for bigotry and racial hatred because of the horrible murder of James Byrd Jr. Michael Sarver’s success on American Idol Season 8created a rallying point for the citizens of Jasper, Tx and Michael took on that responsibility and is using his new fame to try to bring healing. See our article American Idol Season 8- Michael Sarver.. Here is a funny clip of one of Michael’s post Idol promotional activities. He is in a TV studio in a mall in Beaumont, Texas, there is a crowed watching them.

Top 15 Performance of American Idol Season 8

I guess if you receive virtually no coverage during the auditions or Hollywood Week you really need to bring it when you get your chance. Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta did just that during American Idol Season 8. Kris Allen snuck into the Top 12 with the 3rd place spot in Round 2 of the Top 36.   Kris proceeded to deliver 4 of the Top 6 performances of the Season 8.  Each performance was fearless, with unfathomable arrangements, cool soulful vocals and a compelling ,if understated, stage presence. Allison Iraheta, on the other hand, used a huge, mature, powerful, bluesy voice to establish herself from the start then continually surprise everyone with her roof raising vocals and creative arrangements. Danny Gokey is well represented with four songs in Top 15.  The two performances that should be in the American Idol Season 8 Top 15 , but aren’t, are Adam Lambert’s “Tracks of My Tears” and Danny Gokey’s “Stand By Me”.

  • Kris Allen-”Heartless” (May 12-Top 3)
  • Kris Allen- “Ain’t No Sunshine” (March 31-Top 9, iTune Top 100)
  • Danny Gokey- “You Are So Beautiful” (May 12- Top3)
  • Adam Lambert-”Mad World” (April 7- Top 8, Year of Birth Songs)
  • Kris Allen- “She Works Hard For The Money” (April 21- Top 7 II- Disco Songs)
  • Kris Allen-”Falling Slowly” (April 14-Top 7- Movie Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta- “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (March 24-Top 10, Songs of Motown)
  • Danny Gokey-”Come Rain or Shine” (April 28- Top 5, Rat Pack Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta- “Hot Stuff “(April 21-Top 7 II- Disco Night)
  • Danny Gokey-”Hero” (February 17th-Top 36 Round 1)
  • Adam Lambert- “Feeling Good” (April 28-Top 5, Rat Pack Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta-”Alone” (February 25th-Top 36 Round 2)
  • Danny Gokey- “Stand By Me” (April 7-Top 8, Year of Birth Songs)
  • Matt Giraud-”Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” (April 15-Top 7 Save, Movie Songs)
  • Lil Rounds- “The Way You Make Me Feel” (March 10-Top 13, Michael Jackson Songs)
  • Download these songs or make you own best of American Idol Season 8 mix from iTunes

    Apple iTunes

    American Idol Season 8 Finale- Top 2 Fighting Songs

    Here it is.  American Idol Season 8 Top 2 go at it on Tuesday night to be crowned 2009 American Idol.  Christian music artist Kris Allen, the underdog innovator, challenges the edgy, bodacious Adam Lambert in a three song face off.

    American Idol Season 8-Kris Allen & Adam Lamber

    Creator of the Idol franchise, Simon Fuller will select a song for each of them, rumor is Kara Diogaurdi wrote the American Idol winner’s first single and they will both perform that song.

    Season 8 has had solid performances throughout, few true voting mistakes and just enough controversy to make it interesting.  We are changing our coverage a little this week.  Today we are going preview the performance show, predict song selections and offer some thoughts on the voting odds.  Tomorrow, we will review the season and present our American Idol Season 8 Chucky Awards.

    American Idol Season 8 Songs for The Win

    We have no idea what song Kara will come up but the commentary on the Internet, I think, misses the whole point of these two artists. Most are saying Kris Allen is at a disadvantage if he is not allowed to rearrange the song because Adam Lambert is such a superior singer.  All season long we have contrasted Adam and Kris in their ability to interpret and emotionally connect with the song.  If they sing the same arrangement, I think we will see Kris’s superior performance capabilities.

    We think we know a song Simon will have Adam Lambert sing and we are taking a guess about what he will pick for Kris Allen.  The interesting choice is what Kris and Adam will select to finally win the hearts of American Idol Season 8 voters.  Remember Ryan said that only 1 million of 80 million votes separated Kris and Adam last week.

    Simon Fuller Songs

    Last week Simon Cowell picked two songs for Adam Lambert to sing.  He informed Adam of the songs on Friday morning during Adam’s homecoming.  Simon wanted Adam to perform U2′s “One”, but as we learned last Tuesday night, he did not receive U2′s permission to use the song until Saturday.  With that in mind Simon also revealed that he wanted Adam to perform Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Games”.  We thought Adam Lambert would sing “Wicked Games”  as his American Idol Season 8 Top 3 song so we discussed that song in last week’s Top 3 Song Choices. I suspect that Simon Fuller will pick the same song.

    For Kris Allen, we believe Simon Fuller will try to find a song that Kris could record for his first CD.  We have seen that Kris Allen can take just about any song and turn it to his own, so that should not be a problem.  One of Kris’s greatest moments of American Idol Season 8 was when he took a little known song from a virtually unknown Irish singer songwriter and sent “Falling Slowly” back into the iTunes Top 30 downloads.  We think Simon Fuller will try to recreate that magic with Damien Rice’s “The Blowers Daughter”.  This song has similar harmonics as Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”,  so Kris should have a great opportunity to create a special moment with “The Blower’s Daughter”

    Kris Allen and Adam Lambert Song Choices

    Adam Lambert has a tough dilemma.  He is facing an American Idol competitor who has taken the country by storm with savvy rearrangements of modern songs and revelatory retellings of classic soul, rock and big band songs.  Does Adam live up to his image and perform a modern, dark, edgy song or does he continue on the path he has chosen each time he has had a choice, which is to take a well known song and perform it as a big rock anthem.  We have found a song that fits both bills.  Limp Bizkit interpretation of Peter Townshend’s “Behind Blue Eyes” fits Adam Lambert’s pattern of song selection perfectly.

    Christian music artist Kris Allen just needs to continue aggressively imposing his musical taste on America.  We think Kris can reveal another beautiful song to the American public by performing Bright Eye’s “First Day of My Life”.  This beautiful indie love song takes us back to the first moment’s of love.   To show you the power of this song, I wanted to share this beautiful DIY cover performed by Meghan Julius (we don’t know who she is either)

    There is a rumor that that Kris Allen and Adam Lambert’s choices will be limited to songs performed during American Idol Season 8.  If that is the case expect Kris Allen to perform “Ain’t No Sunshine” and Adam Lambert will perform “Mad World”.

    American Idol Season 8 Finale Voting Predictions

    Tuesday’s night’s performances are vitally important to the ultimate outcome, but I fully expect Kris Allen to win American Idol Season 8. Remember that Ryan Seacrest said on the Top 3 Results show that only 1 million votes separated Kris Allen and Adam Lambert.  Kris and Danny Gokey were the only two Christian music artists left and Kris’s image is much closer to Danny’s,  so I expect virtually all of Danny’s votes to shift to Kris Allen.  Voters who loved Danny’s singing prowess could turn to Adam Lambert but I suspect that there will be only a few Gokey fans who shift to Adam Lambert.   Adam received his last real voting block bump when Allison Iraheta departed.  Unless he stumbles on Tuesday night, I fully expect a Kris Allen to win American Idol Season 8.

    Before it is too late, make sure to put your American Idol Season 8 highlights mix by downloading your favorite songs from iTunes.

    Apple iTunes

    American Idol Season 8- Top 3 Results Live Blog

    Who’s it gonna be?  American Idol Season 8 is too close to call.  Most people expect Kris Allen to go home and are outraged.   Kris’s reimagining of  Kanye West’s “Heartless” caused rapturous responses from American Idol reviewers, me inlcuded (see Top 3 Performance Review).  Danny Gokey showed off his great singing voice, like no other time on American Idol Season 8. Adam Lambert ruined “One” and strolled through “Crazy” to the judges unexplainable gushing and vote schilling.

    Tonight Jordin Sparks performs her new single (yeah!) and Katy Perry show up (ugh!).  Before we find out who makes it to the American Idol Season 8 Top 2 we will slug through a Ford video, a group song and videos of Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert basking in their rightfully earned hometown adulation.  Oh yeah,Ryan will announce about four times that you can download all of this year’s performances and studio recordings on iTunes. So just do it now and you can gloss over those parts.

    Apple iTunes

    Did the Christian nation turn out to push a Kris/Danny finale?   Did Simon Cowell’s “Lambert Nation” save their guy?  How many of the judges will leave on stretchers if Adam is voted off? Will Simon demand an immediate modification to his contract enabling him to save Adam and sacrifice Kris?  Will Simon have Bono show up to push for Adam next week?  Will Kara punch Simon tonight?  Will they separate the judges tonight until they can prove they will behave and allow the show to be about the American Idol performers?  Let’s see.

    Ben Stiller opens the show with a promo for his new movie “Night At The Museum: Battle at The Smithsonian”, just like last year when Jack Black, Robert Downey Jr and Gladys Knight did their take “Midnight Train to Georgia”.  Fergie is here but where is Paula?

    There were 88 million votes last night and less than 1 million separated the Top 2.  I will be ignoring the Ford video.

    Alicia Keys is here.  Well not here, she is on the American Idol stage to ask for donations to help children impacted by AIDS.  text the word ALIVE to 90999 and donate $5.  A Rawandan teen Noah is performing a song to promote Idol Gives Back.  Donate people, it is a Latte.

    Oh yeah, Paula showed up.

    Now we head to San Diego, Milwaukee and Conway.  I enjoy these videos, call me a sap.  First, Ryan calls Danny Gokey onto the stage.  We get a Jamar sighting and screaming girls.  Lots of screaming girls. Milwaukee loves them some Danny Gokey.

    Kris Allen comes out next so I guess we are headed to Arkansas and we will visit his favorite restaurant Stobies and he gets free cheese dip for life.  See, there are benefits from American Idol.  There are a lot of people coming to see Kris, a lot of people.  Dad and son shared a cry.  Oh yeah, there were many screaming girls.

    Jordin Sparks is performing her new single “Battlefield”.  I haven’t heard it but I didn’t like much from her first CD.  This is a One Republic penned song. American Idol likes those guys. Jordin has grown up.  This voice sounds like “Apologize” so far her career is wasting her voice.  It is okay and Jordin is pretty edgy.  I like the second half better than the first.  Why are they turning American Idol’s sweetheart into scary diva?

    Adam Lambert time takes us to San Diego. Why did he fly from L.A. to San Diego?  It is a 90 minute drive.  Adam applies eyeliner to the weather lady and signs autographs.  There are many screaming girls in San Diego too.   Yes, they showed footage of the streaking stage jumper.

    What do you bet that we listen to Katy Perry before we hear the results? Fifteen minutes until we find out.  Are you nervous?  Katy is singing “Waking Up In Vegas”.  Forget all the controversy surronding Katy Perry, I don’t like her very much.

    It is time, who are our Top 2?  Who is going home? Kris Allen has made it to the Top 2.  He will win next week.  It is down to Danny and Adam.  Adam lambert is in the Top 2.  Danny Gokey goes home.

    Great job on Season 8, Danny Gokey.

    If there are only 1 milllion votes separating Kris and Adam, Kris Allen will win American Idol Season 8.   He gets all of Danny’s votes.

    American Idol Season 8- Top 3 Performance Review

    It is funny as I read a few of the other American Idol blogs tonight.  Most of the other blogs hate Danny Gokey so nothing he did tonight was good.  I am not an Adam Lambert so I did not like much of what he brought to show tonight.  It seems we are all fully entrenched into our preferences by now.  I suspect the American Idol fans are in the same boat.  It would take a mind boggling performance to change voters minds tonight and I think we had one.  The question is: would it be enough and whose voters would be swayed?

    Kris Allen delivered arguably the most creative, fearless performance of the season.  Danny Gokey’s two super performances make him the overall winner for the evening.  Adam Lambert had his worst night of American Idol Season 8, despite the inexplicable fawning by the judges.

    It is clear that the judges want Adam Lambert to win American Idol Season 8; so much so that Simon was begging Adam Lambert’s fans to vote.  Their dismissive treatment of Kris Allen offended me.

    Performance Ratings

    1. Kris Allen: “Heartless” by Kanye West- When Kris said this to Ryan my jaw dropped.  This is the rap/autotune mess that Kanye West dropped on the world in 2008. Let me just summarize my opinion of this performance by saying: crazy, mad, reckless, fearless, amazing, wonderful, fantastic.  His beautiful singing on this song was soulful and rhythmic.  We see these type of breakthrough arrangements occasionally, only to find that the American Idol performer borrowed the arrangement from someone else (David Cook from Chris Cornell and Adam Lambert from Muse).  Kris Allen did not copy this from anyone.  He turned a deep, stylized R&B/Rap song into a modern rock classic.
    2. Danny Gokey:”You Are So Beautiful” by Billy Preston- I was heartbroken when I heard Danny Gokey was doing this 70′s ballad made famous by Joe Cocker.  It so feeds into the worst stereotype of Danny Gokey and I was hoping for a more bold choice.  I will just shut-up now.  His arrangement, with a cool gospel/worship section in the middle was wonderful.  It made me hear this song as a worship song.  But we can forget all of that and focus on the singing, which was simply brilliant.  Everyone in America, is in the American Idol Season 8 Top 3 because really, really sing.  That was a tour de force in powerful, emotional, expressive singing.
    3. Danny Gokey: “Dance Little Sister” by Terence Trent D’Arby- I was a big TTD fan and I cannot think of afunky singer better suited to Danny Gokey’s voice.  Good choice Paula!  He unleashed his big, growling, soulful voice on this funky, uptempo R&B song.  I liked the scatting in the middle of the song, I thought that added a nice jazzy touch to make this more than a straight forward pop song.
    4. Kris Allen: “Apologize” by One Republic-  Kris Allen played the big piano for the first time on American Idol Season 8 and we heard his falsetto for the first time as well.  He sang the song beautifully and added some nice soul phrasing.  Overall, I was pleased with the singing but let down by the bland arrangement.  If Kris Allen could have done to “Apologize” what he did to “Heartless” he would have won American Idol Season 8 tonight.
    5. Adam Lambert: “Crazy” by Aerosmith-  I know that some will accuse me of bias toward Adam Lambert but, come on this was his most pedestrian performance on American Idol Season 8.  He walked through the arrangement with few variations, he copied Steven Tyler’s vocal runs and the back-up singers drowned him out at times.  The worst thing for me was his smiling, winking, head nodding performance of a song about the agony a lover is causing you.  As with many of his songs, my question is, how can you memorize the lyrics but not understand them?
    6. Adam Lambert: “One”" by U2- Horrifying.  I sat their watching the flat-screen with my jaw hanging open.  I hated the arrangement, I hated the over-singing and I hated the manic performance.  This is an important song that should be sang with longing and questioning and confusion; not with wide-eyed ranting.  This was so bad that my wife and I started debating that she new the song (she has heard it hundreds of times in my car), so I played it for her during the commercial.  Her reaction (with confusion and disgust) “that was what he was singing?”  Did they say that Simon spent the weekend with Adam working on the arrangement?  Who does American Idol want to see win Season 8?

    Who Is Going Home

    According to the judges, Kris Allen come into the night with little chance to advance, but he pulled off another in a series of brilliant show stopping performances.  Danny Gokey has never been in the Bottom 2 and he had his best night of American Idol Season 8. The show’s pre-ordained winner, Adam Lambert, was predictable but below par tonight.

    If I went with my head I would say that Kris Allen is going home tonight, but I cannot say he will leave after that performance of “Heartless”.

    I am going with my opinion of tonight’s performances and saying Adam Lambert goes home tonight and the Danny Gokey and Kris Allen will be the final two on American Idol Season 8.

    Be sure to grab all of your favorite American Idol Season 8 performances from iTunes

    Apple iTunes

    American Idol Season 8: Top 3 Live Blog

    As we enter the night of the American Idol Season 8 Top 3, it is anybody’s  contest to win.  As much as ever, tonight’s performances are critical.  Did the judges saddle Danny Gokey, Kris Allen or Adam Lambert with a bad song?  Who will pick the best song for themselves. See our American Idol Season 8 Top 3 Song Choices for our predictions and analysis.

    Kris Allen, Danny GokeyAdam Lambert and Allison Iraheta, who left American Idol last week, all deserve to win.  Each one of them are great singers who bring unique skills to their performances.  What will determine the winner?  Tonight’s performances will play  a big part, but I think there are huge opportunities for voting block swings and rallies.  As I said in Who’s Gonna Win This Thing? , if  Kris Allen survives tonight, I think he wins.

    But enough speculation.  We have three very good singers, singing what I hope will be six really good songs, so let’s get to the American Idol Season 8 Top 3.

    The stage looks lonely with only three in the lights.  This is the 300th episode and we are only one week away from the finale.

    Danny Gokey leads the show off with “Dance Little Sister” by Terence Trent D’Arby.  This is a good song for Danny’s voice.  Boy this guy can sing.  I was a big TTD fan and he is blowing the doors off.  A little Gokey scatting in the middle.  This is really good.  Good job Paula and Danny.

    Randy thought it was dope but Kara hated the dancing.  Choreogropher Paula loved the dancing and singing.  Simon liked the singing but would have preferred he sing another TTD song.

    Kara and Randy chose “Apologize” by One Republic for Kris Allen.  He should do well with this song.  What is up with the blue nail polish. Kris is playing the piano.  I think this is the first time I have heard Kris sing falsetto.  He is bringing a nice soulful touch to his performance.   I like the ending.  Very, very nice.  Maybe should have done a little more with the arrangement.

    Randy thinks this song shows who he can be as an artist.  Kara does not like it, she wanted more of an arrangement risk.  The judges are treating him like he has already lost.  Simon criticizes Kara and tells her she copped out.  Are they throwing punches?  Is Kris there?  All of the focus is on the judges.

    Simon hands Adam Lambert “One” by U2.  It is one of Simon’s favorite and he got personal permission from Bono for Adam to sing the song.  What song did he just sing?  This is a screaming, frantic rendition of this song.  Hated it!  This song didn’t need to be changed.

    Randy tried to criticize him and Simon shut him down.  Shut-up Kara.  This stunk, quit fawning over him.  Did the judges even listen to this performance.  Simon thinks it was brilliant.  Why don’t the judges just override America’s vote and make him the winner?

    Well, I think Danny Gokey took round one.  Kris Allen was a little timid and Adam Lambert was too over the top.

    We get an Idol Gives Back and a film of Carrie Underwood’s Exxon Mobile sponsored trip to Angola where 300 bed nets have been distributed.

    Danny Gokey is doing his own song next and, unlike last week, we did not reverse the order in the second round.  Is that a surprise?

    Danny Gokey has a full string section.  He chose “You Are So Beautiful” by Billy Preston.  He has taken a slow, quiet song and made it slower and quieter.   I just keep coming back to this guy’s great voice.  Fantastic singing.  I don’t know if I like the song but the singing was awesome.

    Randy loves the singing, Kara calls it stunning, Paula says it left us breathless and Simon says Danny’s performance was a vocal master class.  I agree, that was crazy good.

    They are rushing and we find out Kris Allen is doing Kanye’s West “Heartless”.  Curious choice.  He is doing it with an acoustic guitar.  Wow, he is taking a big time rapper’s song and he has turned it into a Kris Allen rant.  This is amazing.  This ranks with his best performance of the year.  Crazy fantastic.  That was a game changer.

    Randy likes Kris’s version better than Kanye’s version.  Kara calls it bold, brave and fearless and perfect.  Simon says he has come back in the competition.

    They are running late.  Adam Lambert sings Aerosmith’s “Crying”.   This is a perfect song for him. I don’t know what to say.  He sings the song okay.  I am just bored.

    Randy calls Adam one of the best American Idol has ever seen, balh, blah, blah, fawn, fawn.  Simon is begging for votes for Adam?  What is this?

    This was a good show as expected with some really great performances.

    Grab those performances on iTunes

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    American Idol Season 8- Top 3 Song Choices

    Tonight is the night.  We are down to the American Idol Season 8 final 3 and they will be performing two songs each tonight.  Randy, Paul and Simon picked songs for Danny Gokey, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert to sing  and then each of them will pick a song for themselves.  It is too close to call the winner (see our Top 3 Power Rankings) so tonight’s performances are vital.

    Judge’s Selections

    Their are rumors all over the Internet about which songs the American Idol judges picked for tonight’s performances.  We don’t know if the rumors are correct but, rather than try to read the judges minds, we will go with the rumors:

    • Randy picked Terence Trent D’Arby’s song “Dance Little Sister” Terence Trent D'Arby - Introducing the Hardline According to Terence Trent D'Arby - Dance Little Sisterfor Danny Gokey.  TTD was a breakthrough R&B star in the late 80′s, touted as the next great soul star, who fell to Earth as quickly as he rose.   The lyrics have a nice positive message:

      Get up ‘outta’ your rockin’ chair grandma!
      Or rather would you care to dance grandmother?

      Hey you! Give up to the ghost
      That’s haunting you now
      Shout it out
      Don’t let it stay inside
      And eat you alive
      Make up your mind
      Don’t you want to stay
      This side of the line
      I can assure you
      When you’re my age
      You’ll learn
      From all you’ve left behind

      (You’ve got to)
      Dance little sister
      Don’t give up today
      Hang on till tomorrow
      I don’t wanna hear you’re late
      Dance little sister
      Don’t give up today
      Hang on till tomorrow
      Don’t give up your stay

      Say now share the weight
      And lay your cross down
      And let the long reaching arm
      Of hope bring you around
      It ain’t easy but giving up
      Is the easy thing to do
      Time is on your side
      Would you just watch the clock
      And let it tick for you

      (You’ve got to)
      Dance little sister
      Don’t give up today
      Hang on till tomorrow
      I don’t wanna hear you’re late
      Dance little sister
      Don’t give up today
      Hang on till tomorrow
      Don’t give up your stay

      I think the song is a little fast to be in Danny’s sweet spot but he I think Danny Gokey could do a lot with this song.  Here is a video of “Dance Little Sister”

    • There is some question about what Simon has picked for Adam Lambert.  Some believe he picked U2′s “One” and some think he picked Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game”.  I think it is “Wicked Game” Chris Isaak - Best of Chris Isaak (Remastered) - Wicked Game, which seems perfect for Adam’s style and there are several electronic remixes for him to use.  Here is a video of Chris Isaak performing “Wicked Game”

    • Paula selected One Republic’s “Apologize” OneRepublic - Dreaming Out Loud - Apologizefor Kris Allen and that seems to fit his style very well.  This is a contemporary, mid-tempo pop-rock song about a break-up. I listen to One Republic performing “Apologize”  and I can imagine Kris Allen.  Watch this video of the Timbaland re-mix and see what I mean

    Performer’s Choices

    Three good choices from the American Idol judges so we should have three really great performances of those songs.  Here is what I think Danny, Kris and Adam should choose for themselves:

    • It is time for Danny Gokey to step up and boldly declare his faith.  He has been slammed for it all season and he hasn’t had a chance to sing an openly Christian song.  Randy gave him the perfect opening with an uptempo judges’s choice.  The most openly Christian American Idol finalist ever should sing the most openly Christian rock ballad ever sung on American Idol: “Thief” by Third Day Third Day - Third Day - Thief.

    • Kris Allen should also fly his faith with a little less overt but equally powerful song from Seabird called “Rescue” Seabird - 'Til We See the Shore - Rescue. Here are the lyrics:

      I’m pushing up daisies, I wish they were roses
      I feel like I’m drowning but nobody knows it
      I’m pushing up daisies, I wish they were roses
      I feel like I’m dying, just want you to notice
      somehow the grave has captured me
      show me the man I used to be
      just when I feel my breath is running out

      the earth moves and you find me, alive but unworthy
      broken and empty, but you don’t care
      cuz you are my rapture, you are my savior
      when all my hope is gone, I reach for you
      you are my rescue
      you are my rescue

      I’m swimming to safety, but even with my best
      if I don’t see that rope soon, this might be my last breath

      somehow the grave has captured me
      show me the man I used to be
      just when I feel my breath is running out

      the earth moves and you find me, alive but unworthy
      broken and empty, but you don’t care
      because you are my rapture, you are my savior
      when all my hope is gone, I reach for you
      you are my rescue

      don’t let me drown
      can you hear me
      cuz I am
      “drawlin out” (not sure)
      I’m underground
      won’t you pull me out

      the earth moves and you find me, alive but unworthy
      broken and empty, but you don’t care
      because you are my rapture, you are my savior
      when all my hope is gone, I reach for you
      you are my rescue
      you are my rescue
      yeah, you are my REScue
      yeah! you are MY resCUE

      I’m pushing up daisies, I wish they were roses
      I feel like I’m dying, just want you to notice…

      Once you watch the video below you will see why I picked this for Kris Allen.  With these two songs Kris Allen could propel himself to the forefront of American Idol Season 8.

      httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_k6K_IdRgVE

    • Adam Lambert has done Robert Plant and he needs to take on Freddy Mercury by  performing the most theatrical rock song ever recorded (except maybe some Meatloaf) “Bohemian Rhaposdy” Queen - A Night at the Opera - Bohemian Rhapsody.  It has been done on American Idol several times, so it can be done.  Interestingly, it was performed by Constantine Maroulis, the American Idol Season 4 finalist who looked for all the world like a “rock god” but who has never charted a song or sustained an extended rock tour.  He has, however, been nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Rock of Ages. Hmmm.

    So there it is.  We go boldly into the last two shows of American Idol Season 8 with six good songs that can be well performed by three terrific singers; Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert.

    Be sure to put together your American Idol Season 8 by downloading any of the performances from iTunes

    Apple iTunes

    American Idol Season 8- Who’s Gonna Win This Thing?

    The American Idol Season 8 final three is here?  Where did the year go?  It seems only a few weeks ago I was grousing that the judges did not select Felicia Barton and Mishavonna Henson for the Wild Card Show.  We have been covering the Christian music performers on American Idol Season 8 and two have made it to the Top 3.  Danny Gokey and Kris Allen are both worship leaders who join Season 8 sensation Adam Lambert as the last American Idol performers standing.

    Danny Gokey, Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds were the early favorites to make it to this point but only Danny is left standing.  Allison Iraheta and Kris Allen have had the most consistently good performances of American Idol Season 8.  Allison left last week, but Kris remains.  Norman Gentle was the most colorful American Idol performer ever, or so we thought.  Adam Lambert has blasted through Season 8 with a natural flamboyance that has made him the most polarizing American Idol contestant this show has ever seen.

    American Idol Season 8 Top 3 Power Rankings

    Before we try to figure out who will win, we must just have one more power ranking:

    1. Kris Allen has simply had the best group of performances of any American Idol Season 8 contestant.  It started when he brought new meaning to Michael Jackson’s “Man In The Mirror”.  He then blew us away with a new revelation of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”.  He introduced some to the beauty of “Falling Slowly” from the movie Once.  He seemed off his game during American Idol Season 8 Rock Week, but his only really bad performance was Don Henley’s “She Works Hard for The Money” on the Birth Year Songs show. Kris Allen is a quiet, humble guy who has been goaded by the judges to be more aggressive and arrogant.  That seems unlikely.   Kris Allen has been solid all year long, he tells stories with his performances and he can really sing.  Many professional singers, including Jamie Foxx, point to Kris’s interpretative skills and rank him as the best of the season.
    2. Danny Gokey has been the front runner since his Kansas City audition.  He took Hollywood Week by storm with his group’s slamming arrangement of Queen’s “Somebody To Love” and he tore the house down with his semifinal performance of Mariah Carey’s “Hero”.  Since then he seems to have cruised through American Idol Season 8 with mostly great singing. but surprisingly bland arrangements and his “Dream On” is the lowest rated performance of any American Idol Top 3 finalist ever, but he is the only contestant in Season 8 to never be in the bottom two.   Danny Gokey has been eviscerated on the Internet and by the entertainment press, I think because he openly expresses his faith and because the show made a deal of him grieving his wife’s recent death.  I picked Danny Gokey as the winner on the night of his audition (I have witnesses who argued with me).  His Season 8 has been good if disappointing to me, but if can pull off four performances like “Hero” or “Come Rain or Come Shine” he could win.
    3. Adam Lambert possesses a rare voice that only surfaces once a decade.  He has been rightfully compared to Robert Plant, Freddy Mercury and Axel Rose (I would add Frankie Valli and Marvin Gaye).  That voice and Adam Lambert’s mature stage skills have dazzled the American Idol judges and have fooled many into thinking he is a “Rock God.”   His “Tracks of My Tears” was a tour de force of his vocal prowess.  However, Adam Lambert’s “Mad World” was the only of his performances with emotional depth.  Many, including the judges, believe Adam Lambert should win American Idol Season 8.  I do not believe Adam Lambert has the creative depth to be a successful recording artist.  I do think he has the performance skills be a respected stage actor.  If he wins American Idol Season 8 that will be okay but I do not think he is the best.

    Who is going to win?  This may be the closest vote we have ever had and if we continue this season’s trend we will have the largest number of votes of any American Idol season.  Let’s assume Kris, Danny and Adam will have great performances the next two weeks.  New voters and voting block shifts will determine the winner of American Idol Season 8.    Here are my predictions for how the voting blocks will move:

    • Adam will benefit most from the departure of Allison Iraheta, but I think Kris Allen will pick up a fair number of Allison’s followers who like her rock edge and do not like Adam’s flamboyance.  I will be surprised if both Danny Gokey and Kris Allen make it to the American Idol Season 8 final.
    • If Kris Allen leaves on Wednesday night, I think Danny will receive more than half of his voting support but Adam will benefit as well.  Believers supporting Kris will flock to Danny, but some non believers will take their rock leanings to Adam.
    • If Danny Gokey departs on Wednesday night, I think Kris Allen wins American Idol Season 8.
    • If somehow Adam Lambert leaves on Wednesday, I think virtually all of his followers flock to Kris Allen and he wins.

    The only way Adam Lambert leaves American Idol Season 8 on Wednesday night is if the Christian nation rises up and drives the vote total over 90 million in support of Kris Allen and Danny Gokey.  So, if Kris Allen survives this week, I think he wins.  If Danny Gokey and Adam Lambert face off in the final it is too close to call.

    Check out all of their great performances at iTunes and download yourself an American Idol Season 8 mix.

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    American Idol Season 8- Top 4 Results Live Blog

    I guess I am a strange cat.  I saw last night’s American Idol Season 8 rock performances differently than just about everybody on the Internet (see Rock Performances Review ).  Everyone hated Danny Gokey’s performance of “Dream On”, I didn’t.  Everyone thinks Adam Lambert is the next RobertPlant/Freddy Mercury/Axl Rose/Mick Jagger all rolled in one, I don’t.  You know I saw Colm Wilkerson play Jean Vallejean in Les Miserables but I did not think he was really a 19th century French fugitive industrialist.

    We are covering  Christian music artists performing on American Idol Season 8Danny Gokey and Kris Allen are the last two remaining in the final 4.  Most of the Internet buzz has Kris Allen going home tonight.  I don’t think so.  I predicted last night that Allsion Iraheta would leave and I still believe that.

    If all of the stars who the “spoilers” have leaked (Daughtry, No Doubt, Paula Abdul, Slash) actualy do performer we won’t have time for the Ford video (yeah) or the results (yeah, let’s leave them all here for another week.)  Enough of this babbling let’s get to the show.

    The lead in revealed a lot of frustration among Danny, Kris and Allison.  Looks liken they have the stage repaired.  Over 64 million votes lat night.  Are your fingers sore?

    I am ignoring the Ford video.  Slash is leading the American Idol Season 8 group through “School’s Out”.  Allison outsings them all on the song.  Slash was kind of cool on guitar.

    Let’s get some results.  The American Idol performers are pretty calm about the results.  Simon tells Kris “we don’t want humble”.  Sorry Simon, Kris is humble.  Let’s talk about the final note.  Danny tells of laughing through the playback.  Danny calls it his funniest moment on American Idol.  But let’s not do results.  It is Paula Abdul time.

    Does everyone use that autotune technology.  So she created that whole Britney Spears style. She doesn’t bust the moves the way she used to.  It is better than most of the American Idol Season 8 performances but a little clumsy.

    Now we get to see No Doubt going old school with “Just A Girl”.  It is so weird to see No Doubt going back to their roots.  I remember when we planted those roots.   The rock goddess is doing push-ups.  That is a new rock dance move.  That was okay.  They plan to write their no CD on their tour.  Christian music artists Paramore will open on the No Doubt tour.  That will be great exposure for this really wonderful Christian rock group.

    The first in the Top 3 is Kris Allen.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.  Jubilation prevails.  Accountants rule!

    It is time for Daughtry, the 4th place finisher from Season 5 to perform. He is a big star now.  He debuts the new single from his new CD, “No Surprise”.  This is a slow tempo rocker with a bug chorus.  Not really me favorite type of rock.  He has a great voice but the song does not excite me.  Daughtry’s debut CD has sold more than 5 million copies.

    Back with Allison, Adam and Danny waiting to find out who goes home.  Second person who is safe is Adam Lambert.   The final member of the Top 3 is Danny GokeyAllison Iraheta goes home.

    I really like her.  She is going to be a big star.   Where was that last night?  She sang the song how I wanted her to.  She goes out a star.

    Put together your Allison Iraheta mix on iTunes

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    I am so thrilled that two of the final three American Idol Season 8 performers are Christian music artists. Way to go Danny Gokey and Kris Allen.