Idol Thoughts — 05.19.09

Damn. Idol finale, already! This means when I wake up tomorrow, I will be an empty, lost man with nothing to obsess on or talk about. I’m joking, of course. Right there–saying “I’m joking” IS the joke! If you want skip the rest of this blog, here’s the nutshell. Close finale. Terrible ‘first single’ song. Adam will win.

ADAM LAMBERT: “Mad World” by Tears For Fears – Adam kicked the night off with the smartest choice he could’ve made. The finalists have to pick a song they performed earlier in the season. Adam went ballad. The results were haunting and exquisite. Adam reminded viewers and voters about this side of his talent, something that he’d gotten away from in recent, more rockous, weeks.

KRIS ALLEN: “Ain’t No Sunshine” by Bill Withers – But whoa, nelly! What’s this? Kris nailed this one. His at-the-piano rendering of this classic was “Allenized,” from the soul, and BETTER than the first time he performed it on the show. Great job of connecting with the song and connecting that song to all of us.

Round One: Kris Allen. Although scoring the Idol finale by “rounds” is one of the most irrelevant Idol traditions. Crowning an Idol is culmulative of what’s happened through the entire season, in addition to what happens on the finale.

ADAM LAMBERT: “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke – Now for the producers’ picks. Really? This song for Adam? I know what the producers doing–and I “get” the statement he’s putting in Adam’s mouth. And I support it 100 percent. But I wanted Adam to rock tonight. Seems to me, Adam’s been neutered for this finale! Nevertheless, Adam was strong on this one. There was a moment toward the end where he overstayed his welcome in “Shriekyville.” But Adam achieved the gravitas the producers were undoubtedly hoping for.

KRIS ALLEN: “What’s Going On?” by Marvin Gaye – Kris was definitely in his groove for his for two songs last night. Enjoyable performance of a song that’s hard not to love. Transcendent, like his first number? No. But so what?

Round Two: Gravitas wins the round for Adam, not whatever bullcrap the judges were putting out there. In my opinion, the judges critiques were unfair to Kris in order to heighten the drama of the finale. Oh, Kris wins first! Then Adam comes roaring back! The fact is both rounds, very close.

ADAM LAMBERT: “No Boudaries” written for the finale by Kara DioGuardi – Disappointed in this song. Disappointed to hear Kara thank her co-writers, one of which is the great Mitch Allan from Baltimore. Mitch, I have to assume your ideas must’ve been the ones that got left out. Lyrically, blah. But most of these finale songs have been no better. On the whole, Adam delivered the song. A couple pitchy moments.

KRIS ALLEN: “No Boudaries” written for the finale by Kara DioGuardi – Something was wrong here. It seemed (and sounded like) Kris was singing a a higher key that doesn’t work best for his voice. My guess is that the finalists aren’t allowed to play around with the arrangements of the song that was written for “them.” (Wait, they BOTH sang it. How can it be written for “them”??) Ironically, the song suits Kris’ voice better. If he could sing it his way. And I’m guessing the recorded version sounds a lot better. As performed last night, Kris was straining.

Round Three: Adam Lambert. But a disappointment. The song didn’t work that great for either.

If you want to hear the finale songs one more time, here they are:
Adam Lambert, “Mad World” ♫
Kris Allen, “Ain’t No Sunshine” ♫
Adam Lambert, “A Change Is Gonna Come” ♫
Kris Allen, “What’s Going On?” ♫
Adam Lambert, “No Boundaries” ♫
Kris Allen, “No Boundaries” ♫

Last night’s performances ranked:
1 – Kris Allen, “Ain’t No Sunshine”
2 – Adam Lambert, “Mad World”
3 – Adam Lambert, “A Change Is Gonna Come”
4 – Kris Allen, “What’s Going On?”
5 – Adam Lambert, “No Boundaries”
6 – Kris Allen, “No Boundaries”

The next American Idol is: Adam Lambert

Well, that’s what I think. What are your thoughts?

Greg Valentine
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