Idol Thoughts — 05.05.09

Okay, so the thing that rocked the hardest last night was…the commercial for “Star Trek.” And I’m sure a lot of rock purists were pretty skeptical that there should even be a Rock Week on American Idol. Clearly the show has excelled at producing pop and country stars. Chris Daughtry being the one credible rocker to emerge. Nevertheless, some things went right last night. Not all of them were planned.

The show opened with Ryan Seacrest relating the news that a couple of stage mishaps had occured at the start of dress rehearsal. A stage manager was injured on the staircase, and one of the two side towers that hold the giant AI logos toppled over. End result, one stage manager shuttled to the hospital, one tower haphazardly repaired with upside-down logo, and no pre-show run-through (which Idol does before every show). So, yeah, VERY rock and roll!!

The fact that things would be less rehearsed could only help on Rock Night. That, and snagging Slash as this week’s mentor. I’m not sure the full extent of the guitar hero’s interaction with the finalists. His on-camera mentoring was less about “advice” and more about “jammin’.” But that felt right. Especially cool for Idol was getting the finalists out of the mansion, hooking up with Slash at the Roxy, one of L.A.’s most fabled rock clubs.

Take all that, and add the new twist of pairing finalists to perform duets, and there was a good amount of new stuff goin’ on last night.

About those duets. I like the idea of them. I liked watching them. But I try not to think about the implications on the competition too much. Because the duets seem unfair. How were the duet partners chosen? By random drawing? Doubtful. Pairing Adam and Allsion, the duet that made the most sense, the one that viewers probably wanted to see the most, conveniently took place at the end of the show, the “big finish” spot. That hardly feels random. Big win for Adam and Allison. Big win for AI ratings. Fair to Danny and Kris? I say no. And that’s coming from someone who’s favorites are Adam and Allison.

The performances:

Adam Lambert: Led Zeppelin’s, “Whole Lotta Love” – Clearly the right song choice…for Adam to sing. Is it one of the viewers fave songs to hear? We’ll know better during the results show tonight. I say a portion of the audience doesn’t “get” Led Zeppelin. And a “safer” classic rock song might have been a smarter choice. I hate being the guy suggesting taking the safe route. And I only reason I do is to speculate on the best road to take to win the show. The high praise from the judges felt a little like they wanna make sure he makes it through after last week’s appearance in the Bottom Two.

Allsion Iraheta: Janis Joplin’s, “Cry Baby” – Wow. I’m totally NOT vibin’ with the judges on this one. I felt that Allsion did everything right this week. Starting with the taped segment, she was more lively and persoanable than she’s ever been. Big improvements on hair, makeup and outfit. And she sounded great. One of her best yet. The judges tore her apart. I say I’m right. Guess they all dipped into Paula’s pill stash.

Danny Gokey and Kris Allen: Styx’s, “Renegade” – Sorry, guys, this did NOT blow my mind. Not your fault, though. These two were forced together as duet partners — and it showed. I actually dissent for Simon on this one, too. Kris sounded better. Danny’s not a rocker. Kris looked unhappy afterwards. I don’t blame him.

Kris Allen: The Beatles’, “Come Together” – Kris delivered a easy-going, funky-lite, rock-substitute version of this classic. It was…”pleasant.” On Rock Week, that’s not the biggest compliment.

Danny Gokey: Aerosmith’s, “Dream On” – Gokey had the ball (best song choice of the night), was running for the end zone (a chance to show off a full range of singing talents), and he fumbled (he just didn’t sound good). Another sports analogy, Danny failed to “stick the landing” on the famous high notes that bring this rock classic to a crescendo. Good thing for Danny that he appears to have the fans to get him to the final three.

Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta: Foghat’s, “Slow Ride” – It wasn’t perfect. But neither is the best rock and roll. But it kicked butt on the night’s other duet. I wondered if these duets would impact voting in any way. I think they will. Helps both Adam and Allison. Allison more so.

The night’s performaces ranked:
1 – Adam
2 – Allsion
3 – Kris
4 – Danny

The duets:
1- Adam & Allison
2 – Danny & Kris

Bottom Two tonight: Danny and Kris

Viewers sending home: Kris

That’s what I think. What about you? Let me know.

Greg Valentine
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