American Idol, 2009 – Episode 31 (4/21/09)

Idol LogoA note to readers–these American Idol posts get a lot of hits. They are routinely in the WordPress top fifty, not bad for a little blog like ours in its first season covering the show. So thank you!

Because of this, I’m going to try something new and add a couple of polls beneath the fold (after the show is over). Please do participate.

Also, don’t be shy about commenting! Unlike a lot of sites covering AI, we don’t require registration

To recap, last week the judges used their “judges’ save” on Matt Giraud. I think this was a stupid decision, because I don’t think Matt was good enough to warrant it.

But what’s done is done, which means tomorrow, two contestants go. I’m not sure what the rule is, here. In similar situations (“Idol Gives Back”) the lowest vote-getters from the two weeks combined go the following week, but it’s possible that it’s just the two lowest vote-getters for this week. I suppose they’ll explain.

This week’s theme is disco. Live blogging and spoilers below the fold, as per usual.

This is American Idol!” is said with Ryan standing in front of a wall of flames. I didn’t think it was possible for him to look like the devil (act like the devil, sure), but here he does.

Oh, no. Lil Rounds is going to do Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman.” Has this song ever worked for anyone?

I’m pleasantly surprised that it’s not a total mess. Actually pretty good for a Lil Rounds performance. She more-or-less stays with the song, looks great, and sounds confident. She hits her notes for the most part. All in all, not bad! Maybe there’s life in her yet.

The audience, cognizant of how bad she’s been slammed lately, is enthusiastic.

Randy says she didn’t show vocal control. Kara says she wasn’t herself. What? Obviously, she wants to be Chaka Khan, so she was herself. Paula brings the backhanded compliment. Simon says she’s going home, because she wasn’t original and it was copycat.

I think the judges are just gunning to get rid of her at this point, because while it wasn’t brilliant, this week Lil did not deserve that kind of abuse.

Kris Allen is forgoing Michael Jackson, which is a good thing because it means he’s not repeating himself (it would have been #3, for those keeping track). He’s doing Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money,” which I like because it’s a big risk. He’s been good enough all season that I bet he doesn’t crash and burn. Let’s find out of I’m right.

He’s doing it with a strummy acoustic guitar, a couple of percussionists, and a bassist. It’s not a success in my mind, sounding more like a novelty cover I’d hear at some open-mic night than something anyone would go out of their way to listen to. But it’s a nice vocal and different enough from the original that I imagine quite a few people liked it. As for me, I’m in the “meh” category.

Kara says he took a risk and it paid off big time and thinks it could go on his record. Paula says that Kris is shopping in the women’s department and means that as a compliment. Simon thinks it was original and not karaoke. No, it was open-mic night, which is also not a good thing, but Simon says it was a fantastic performance. Randy says Kris knows who he is, and he’s right about that. So I’m outvoted four-to-one.

The judges and I aren’t getting along tonight, are we?

Danny Gokey‘s got Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September.” Now this is karaoke. It’s completely boring, and the arrangement makes Lil’s sound original. As is his usual boring M.O., he brings nothing up front and everything to the end.

I’m starting to get really sick of this guy. Slam him, judges, slam him! But of course they won’t.

Randy says he turned it into something that really worked for him. Ugh. Kara says he is an incredible vocalist and never has an issue with pitch? I can remember some, Kara. Paula likes his range, which, OK, I can agree with. Simon got no star power from the performance. Not that much of a slam, but I’ll take it.

Allison Iraheta returns to the Donna Summer well for “Hot Stuff,” a song which is incredibly tough to pull off. Allison fans (of which I am one) should be very nervous about this.

Nice, slow, guitar-driven opening, with Allison wearing a ridiculous latex outfit and sitting on a staircase.

As usual, her vocal is great, and she’s trying some neat stuff with the vocal and the arrangement, but the whole thing just isn’t doing it for me tonight. That song requires every element to be in place to be successful, and every element was not in place. Bad song choice means a bad night for Allison.

Randy doesn’t love the arrangement, but says she’s one of the best singers in the competition to pimp her. Kara thinks she picked the right song because Donna Summer won a Grammy. Huh? Without actually doing any research, I’m willing to bet that people singing Grammy-winning songs have been slammed for song choice in the past. Paula is incomprehensible but seems positive. Simon thought it was brilliant, “taking everything into account.”

She should have done the Afghan Whigs version. Unfortunately, I can’t find a video of that so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

The Bee Gee’s “If I Can’t Have You” will be performed by Adam Lambert. True to form, he’s back in ballad-singer mode, singing in front of strings and piano.

He’s note-perfect. The major change, other than slowing it down, is delivering the chorus  big-style, like “Without You.” He brings it down for a nice, sensitive ending, and it’s another winner from Adam.

It’s rave, rave, rave from the judges. No real need to summarize their comments. You can imagine them.

Adam credits Michael Orland for helping him come up with the arrangement. Smart politics.

Matt Giraud goes for the metaphor with “Stayin’ Alive.” He’s firmly embraced his inner New Kid on the Block. Whether or not you like it depends on your tolerance for the New Kids on the Block. I’ll rate it above average for Matt, for what that’s worth. The judges will rave, since they used their save on him.

Randy didn’t like the song choice or the arrangement, but says Matt can “really sing.” His body language is more enthusiastic than his actual words. Kara likes to see him move. Paula says it was a strike (in bowling terms).

Simon didn’t like the performance, calling it desperate and unoriginal. I’m a bit surprised at the lack of pimping from Simon, but I don’t think he was wild about saving Matt anyway.

Anoop Desai takes us to Donna Summer again with “Dim All the Lights.” He’s grown some cheese above his lip.

He opens in typical Anoop ballad mode, but quickly moves midtempo, so it’s at least a little different from his usual fare. He goes for a big note two-thirds through, and hits it nicely. He’s weak at the very end, like his voice is wearing out, but it was good on the whole.

Randy is positive. Kara loves the song choice and the pacing. I tend to agree. Paula talks some fashion which ordinarily would make me roll my eyes but Anoop could use the advice.

Simon completely disagrees and calls it his worst performance. Ouch.

So that wraps things up for this week, except for the polls.

Happy voting! See you tomorrow.


Unfortunately, WordPress doesn’t allow me to close the polls, so they’ll be there for eternity. Here are the official results:


  1. Adam Lambert (57%)
  2. Kris Allen (21%)
  3. Danny Gokey (11%)
  4. Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud (T-4%)


  1. Lil Rounds (52%)
  2. Anoop Desai (20%)
  3. Danny Gokey (12%)
  4. Matt Giraud (8%)
  5. Allison Iraheta, Adam Lambert (T-4%)


One Response to American Idol, 2009 – Episode 31 (4/21/09)

  1. Kyle says:

    Kara’s comment was that Donna Summer won the Grammy for best female ROCK vocal performance and it was smart of Allison to pick a song that was disco and rock.

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