Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

American Idol: Seven Finalists Compete (Again)

Illustration for article titled American Idol: Seven Finalists Compete (Again)

Tonight's Idol felt a little off tonight, maybe because one less contestant should have been on the stage, or maybe because, really, three less contestants should be there. I'm ready just to see Adam, Danny, Allison and Kris battle it out onstage but we have to sort through the other contestants, first. The episode cut back on any frills like package material or mentors or even a little look back at tonight's genre, disco, let alone an explanation of why it was chosen. We just got right to it (which I'm not complaining about).

Lil got us started with "I'm Every Woman" and before she even sang I knew it wouldn't be good. Every time Lil changes her look I don't expect much from her: it's like she's thinking, "This time, with the long hair/big makeup/boobies/tight outfit they'll like me!" Her whole presence in the competition can be summed up by her jumpsuit: nice body, wrong outfit. Her performance sounded like the proverbial wedding singer and all the judges agreed with me—Paula tried to get an out by saying that Lil had been on vocal rest the day before, but Simon summed it up: this is probably her last week. Lil looked incredibly salty as the judges gave her their verdicts and then tried to save herself by saying that she had fun, but nobody cares about that. There's no point in saying the judges are wrong when three out of four of them are saying the same thing and the fourth is just too much of a sissy to say what she's really thinking.

Kris sang "She Works Hard for the Money" which, despite being by Donna Summer, is not really disco to me. He slowed it down and did his acoustic singer/songwriter thing and while it wasn't my favorite arrangement ever it was a smart move for him—he definitely showed off his voice and who he would be as a performer outside Idol. Kara told Kris he took a big risk, and while she did so Simon gave her the old "I'm just scratching my eye with my middle finger.” Paula, in a strangely lucid comment, praised Kris for taking on a woman’s song, but her metaphor got immaturely tossed around and ruined. Simon said Kris' performance was the polar opposite to Lil's: it was original and well thought-out. I'm just happy that Kris, the most conventionally good-looking of the group (despite his sometimes-disappearing lips), isn't just coasting on cuteness. The guy can sing. He might not be the best but it doesn't fill me with rage that he's there.

Danny sang "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire, once again channeling Michael McDonald. I like that song a lot and he did his Gokey thing. I can't really fault his voice too much (although the arrangement seemed a tad high for him) but I just can't imagine anyone in Idol's true demographic buying his albums.  He is not so much Dead Wife Guy to me as he is Taylor Too. The judges loved his performance but Simon, being awesome, questioned Danny's star power.

Allison performed "Hot Stuff" in a rubber-type outfit, this time taking on the responsibility of wearing the worst jacket of the night. The tune was rearranged so she could dramatically belt it out and she basically wiped the floor with Lil. Allison can certainly be convincing as a rock diva. Randy found the arrangement a little overindulgent, which is fair. Paula mixed about forty-five metaphors in her effusive praise of Allison while Simon had "WTF" written on his face as he watched her talk. He did agree with her, nonetheless, finding Allison’s performance brilliant. That little girl is a pro.

Adam did not dress like Rick James or one of his ladies tonight—he came in a nice black suit, his hair off his face, handsome, even. He sang "If I Can't Have You" which was slowed down way too much for my taste. This was the one performance where I didn't agree with the judges so much, since I thought the song  was so slow that it lacked much spark but I will say that Adam did rein in his Adam-ness, at least to a certain extent. Paula practically cried as she said, "I felt your pain" and Simon blinked in disbelief. He didn't quite feel Adam's pain but he was happy with his surprising (I read to mean non-fabulous) performance.


Matt Giraud sang "Stayin' Alive," at his most Justin Timberlakeyish, wearing the hat, the members-only type jacket, dancin' and hitting the high notes and riffing the night away. I found it pretty boring, and I like that song. He didn't come across as being worthy of the save at all. Kara, Randy and Paula all liked it (Paula compared it to a strike in bowling, of all sports to reference) but Simon, happily, heard what I heard—a performance that wouldn't be much in the "real world."

Finally Anoop sang, wearing a bit of a beard and something of an Easterish outfit but I'll leave it alone since he was wearing a normal jacket for once. He performed "Dim All the Lights" and I found the performance lacking any fun, soul, or catchiness. It picked up a little bit in the middle when Anoop hit a nice strong note but he was clearly out of tune on his second-to-last note. I was getting annoyed with the judges at this point, as Randy, Kara and Paula all loved it. Why don't any of them have the balls to pit the contestants against each other? None of those three jokers would ever say "Hmm, that's OK but not so great compared to Adam" or what have you. But guess who did find it "Mediocre at best?" Simon. I love you, Simon.


Tomorrow Lil and Matt and/or Anoop should be heading home.

Grade: B-

Stray observations:

—None. That's what happens when an Idol episode is as lean as tonight's.