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

American Idol: Top Three Perform

Illustration for article titled American Idol: Top Three Perform

I'm not going to try to be impartial in tonight's evaluation of the top three. After all, I do honestly think Adam, Danny and Kris are all good singers. But two of those guys tend to annoy the crap out of me when they're onstage and I am not enough of an objective journalist to get around this bias.

Anyway. Tonight each contestant performed two songs, one chosen by the judges (who all sucked in their song choices, in my opinion) and one by the guys themselves. Danny, whilst in Milwaukee, learned via text that Paula wanted him to sing "Dance Little Sister" by Terence Trent D'Arby. Danny didn’t know it and neither did I, which to me meant he got a bad song recommendation. He was Gokeyesque in his singing but what was really exciting was when he scatted with a big fellow in a colorful silk vest playing a saxophone. That was really neato. Randy considered it dope for him but Kara found it forgettable and thought Danny's dancing was (as it tends to be) unfortunate. Paula gave a big ol' fuck-you to Kara with "Well I'm a CHOREOGRAPHER and I think you did really good." Simon hated the dancing, was OK with the singing and, like me, hated the saxamophone solo. The judges started bickering. Tediously.

Kara and Randy chose the song "Apologize" by One Republic for Kris which I thought was a weak choice since I feel that song is way too omnipresent for how mediocre it is. Kris played  a baby grand and put his little yodely flourishes on the notes, which to me was sort of his “take” on it, although he didn't sound completely strong. Randy liked it but Kara only thought it was competent, wishing that he had picked a more unusual arrangement. Paula heard a bad note (which I missed) and then Simon called Kara out for bitching about the arrangement when she chose the song. The judges started yelling at each other about arrangements and other things. Kara put her hand over Simon's mouth and he looked less than thrilled.

Not terribly surprisingly, Simon chose the song for Adam, going with "One" by U2 and bragging about how he got permission from Bono himself for the song. Adam, who trimmed back the bangs a little bit, which looks good, sounded very pretty and scaled back at the beginning of the song, but then we got the obligatory big build and the arrangement went around, but didn't exactly hit the original melody, which was a little odd. However, with or without (no pun intended) that arrangement, Adam still would have sounded like a crying woman and stuck his tongue out and out-Bono'ed the shit out of Bono. It was wildly over-the-top. The judges loved it and kissed Adam's many rings.

Getting to the self-chosen songs, Gokey went with "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker, a song that makes me think of cheesier-than-usual weddings. Danny whisper-sung it at the beginning and then opened up and belted and did runs all over the place and whatnot.  You know, this is Danny Gokey: he picked what he thinks best shows him off and he went with this. Did he sing well? Sure. Do we really need him around? Are people going to buy as many records of his as they would of either Kris or Adam? I don't think so. The judges loved it, however, and Simon called it a "vocal mahsterclahss."

Kris surely could not top either of his competitors. Or could he? He sang "Heartless" by Kanye West which I thought was a cool idea—not only is it a contemporary song, he looks like a genius by "interpreting" it when all he's really doing is singing live what Kanye sung with an autotuner (I'm aware that Kris didn't invent this cover: apparently the Fray had also done this but I hadn't heard their version before tonight.). Kris started off a cappella and then just accompanied himself on guitar. It was a great choice because it seemed to encapsulate what Kris would be like as a recording artist, that John Mayer/Jack Johnson thing which I am personally not a fan of but I like it for the purposes of Idol. Kara loved it and said she wished Kris had done something like that when she made him sing One Republic. Simon admitted that he had written Kris off after his previous performance but that "Heartless" had changed his mind.


Adam finished off the night singing "Crying" by Aerosmith, promising not to go too far off Steven Tyler's original. I think Adam seems like a really nice guy and if he wins the competition I won't be filled with anger the way I would be if Danny won, but I have little use for his rock-on-Broadway singing. However this was a good song choice for him because the flourishes Adam puts on his songs that tend to irritate me were drowned out by the instruments and the backup singers so it actually sounded a little restrained for him. Again, the judges adored him, to the point where Simon asked America to vote for him in order to ensure that people didn't assume Adam would make it through and thus not vote. Quite the endorsement, Simon.

I do think it'll be Kris and Adam for the finale.

Grade: B

Stray observations:

—It was kind of funny to hear Kris sing “though” as “doh” (or however you spell it) in “Heartless.” I wish though that he had sung that "Talkin talkin talkin talk” bridge—that’s my favorite part of the song.


—I loved the face Simon made when Paula said that “Heartless” is about him.

—Tonight’s was the 300th episode of the show. I’d estimate that I’ve seen, in one form or another, probably at least 290 of those episodes. That is sad.