Danny Gokey led off the singing on “American Idol” on May 12th with “Dance Little Sister” on May 12th, which caused Judge Randy Jackson to say, “That was dope for me, dude.” Kara said, “The dancing was a little gyrating for me,” but was quickly contradicted by Paula who said, “I’m a choreographer and I thought you did great. I thought you did a fantastic job.” Simon felt that Danny’s performance was “vocally, very, very good, but the dancing was a bit desperate.” A comment was also made that the song, which Paula picked for Danny, was ‘the wrong song but the right track.” Paula and Simon seemed to be engaging in fisticuffs during their disagreement, causing Ryan Seacrest to say, “That’s either second base or harassment. I don’t know what it is,” as he urged Fox not to turn the camera on the feuding judges. Personally, I, too, find Danny Gokey’s voice to be good, but his dancing to be mediocre at best, as he, himself, once admitted to the judges. I fully expect the finalists to be Danny and Adam (which could be wrong), but I think Adam is in a league by himself and could have been proclaimed the most talented, vocally and in every other way, from the first time I saw him perform. That impression has only strengthened with time and with more performances.
Kris Allen performed next and sang “Apologize” by One Republic, which Kara and Randy selected for him. Randy said, “Nice, baby, nice” while Kara called the vocal “competent” and complained that he had performed behind the piano, suggesting that he should have used the acoustic guitar or come out without any instrument to perform. Paula pointed out ‘a bum note that was loud,” but said, “At this point, I’m proud of you.” Simon immediately wanted to know how she could be proud of him, if she had detected a loud ‘bum note,” which seemed a legitimate question. Simon also took Kara to task for her criticism of the song choice, since she had chosen it for Kris, calling it ‘a cop out.” “Choose a song and then blame him for singing the song? You didn’t hold up your responsibilities.” Simon’s point is well taken. If those who selected the song did not want an instrument to be used (or did), why not say so, rather than complain after the fact of the performance? It got so bad that, at one point, Paula could be heard saying: “La, la, la, la, la, good job” and Kara put her hands over Simon’s mouth from behind, also taking him to task for never having been a performer onstage.
Simon chose “One” by U2 for Adam Lambert and said, “I literally had a call on Saturday from Bono of U2 saying it would be their pleasure” (to have Adam sing the song on “American Idol.”). Later, Ryan would make some snide comments about asking Bono while in the Hamptons. Adam did his usual brilliant job vocally. Randy said, “You are definitely in the zone. Unbelievable vocals. It is a great song and you are a really, really good singer.” Kara declared Adam’s vocals to be “unbelievable” and declared Adam to be “a strategist.” Simon called the song, “A brilliant song choice” (he chose it) and said that, if Adam were not in the finals, “It will be one of the biggest upsets in “American Idol” history.”
Danny Gokey’s second song was “You Are So Beautiful” by Joe Cocker. The raspy quality of his voice suited this material better than his first song and his vocal performance was pronounced to be “stunning” by Kara and “mad” by Randy. Paula babbled on about “infusing your own thing into it. You nailed it. A brilliant, brave performance.” Simon said he didn’t think that the song arrangement needed to have been changed, but declared that Danny’s performance of the song constituted “a vocal Master’s class.”
Next up, Kris Allen performed “Heartless” by Kanye West with acoustic guitar. Randy liked it “better than the original” and Kara said Kris’ performance was “bold, brave and fearless. Perfect.” For me, Kris was the weak link again, and I definitely think that the two strongest performers in the competition should be Adam and Danny. Therefore, I would expect us to bid a fond farewell to Kris on Wednesday, but I’ve been wrong before.
Adam Lambert sang “Crying” b y Aerosmith and, before singing, said, “Steven Tyler is the man, and I want to do him proud.” There was no question that he had done just that after he was done singing. Randy declared Adam to be “One of the most charismatic, one of the best’ contestants that the show has ever had, and this was not just hyperbole. It was truth, plain and simple. Kara said, “Who hits those notes? We’ll see you in the finals. You’ve set the bar incredibly high.” Simon cautioned everyone that, to be in the finals, the contestant must receive the most votes and spent his time encouraging at-home viewers to vote, other than saying, “I’m not gonna’ suck up quite as much as the others” before adding his praise of Adam’s performance to that of the others.
Finals night, if there is any justice, should be Wisconsin church choral director versus Broadway baby. Stay tuned on Wednesday to see if “the dark horse” (i.e., Kris Allen) ruins that prediction.