This season of American Idol has been the best for me. There were obvious underdogs, but there will be in every contest. There were no memorable train wrecks (aside from Danny Gokey’s “Scream On”). Kris Allen has been called the dark horse from early on, but after taking on Kanye West’s “Heartless” tonight he earned a spot in the finals.
Kris Allen has been hit or miss all season on AI. When he relies on the original melody of the song (no matter which song), he is so-so at best. When he takes full liberties with the song, he is amazing. Simon Cowell is completely right when he says that Kris Allen has got to have confidence. Every time Kris has had the guts to completely change the song, he hits a new high.
Tonight was no different, with two songs from each of the final three AI contestants. The AI judges chose the first song, the contestants chose the second. Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi split the honors with Kris Allen and chose “Apologize” by One Republic. The song is really too recent for Kris to take many liberties with. It started uneven, got a little better, then ended uneven and pitch-y. I was worried for Kris and felt bad for the song choice.
Here is what the AI judges:
Randy Jackson:”… this is the kind of artist you could be… nice”
Kara DioGuardi:”…I think it was a really competent performance… you gotta be hitting it out of the park…”
Paula Abdul: “… there was a bum note there that was loud… but I’m proud of you…”
Simon Cowell:”… it was a competent version of the original… you can’t blame him [talking to Kara] for not following through on your responsibilities…”
Simon continued to argue with Kara as she said she wished Kris Allen played his acoustic guitar. “If you wanted him to play the guitar, then it was your job to tell him that. Don’t choose a song for him, then criticize him for doing it.” Ryan Seacrest asked if Simon meant that Kara and Randy had not done their jobs…”That’s exactly what I’m saying…”, Simon responded.
Kris Allen chose “Heartless” by Kanye West for his second performance. My heart actually jumped when I heard this. I was so scared for him and excited for what might happen. It was tentative at first, I wasn’t sure what to make of Kris Allen with an acoustic guitar, but almost a cappella. Like a folk/rap… it was fantastic! I liked everything about this performance by Kris Allen. And it was a ballsy one, after Kanye himself had performed the song on the AI stage only a few weeks ago. It’s my favorite Kanye West song, so I was really skeptical, but Kris pulled it off by being so different.
Here is what the AI judges said:
Randy Jackson:”…dude, that was better than the original…”
Kara DioGuardi: “… loved it…”
Paula Abdul: “…you are the bravest artist because you sang a song about Simon Cowell…”
Simon Cowell: “… after a lame first song choice, I had literally written you off… that performance changed all that…”
There are three songs that I have downloaded and listened to by Kris Allen: “Ain’t No Sunshine”, “She Works Hard For the Money” and now “Heartless”. Well that puts him in a tie with Adam Lambert. Danny Gokey had a good second performance tonight. In fact, it was his best of the season, but that is only one. The final two for American Idol Season 8 should be Adam Lambert and Kris Allen. I still think Adam Lambert is a far better performer. A second place finish could give Kris Allen the confidence he needs to really put out some amazing music after American Idol.
For more info on all of tonight’s final three performances and videos check out: TV Review.