American Idol, 2009 – Episode 33 (4/28/09)

Idol LogoA touch late on the “live” blog due to unforeseen circumstances, but I’m here now and I’ll beat the west coast feed, anyway.

After the deserved elimination of Lil Rounds and the undeserved elimination of Anoop Desai, we’re down to our top five.

The theme is “The Rat Pack,” which essentially just means jazz standards, as between the five members (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop) they’ve likely hit most of them. How will this go? I’m not going to lie–I think she can do it but I’m a bit nervous about Allison, who’s one of my favorites.

All of the remaining males, with the possible exception of Matt Giraud, are likely fine.

Let’s get on with it! Spoilers, plus our weekly best/worst poll, below the fold.

They have a mystery mentor, who they are building up to to the strains of the theme from The Pink Panther–and it’s…Jamie Foxx? What’s he got to do with the Rat Pack? Ray Charles was not a member. Confusing.

Kris Allen will be opening tonight. Tough slot, but the style is probably more naturally suited to him than any of the others so he’s got a real opportunity to distinguish himself here. And after the break, we’ll find out how he does.

Kris is going with something completely obvious and singing “The Way You Look Tonight.” An obvious pick, but a good one.

Somewhat surprisingly, Kris is not playing piano. I don’t blame him, but I thought he might try to show off a bit.

It’s a nice, pure vocal. The song feels a bit old for him–I’ve always thought of this as a song for older lovers. I suppose that’s to be expected with this theme, though, so it’s hard to fault him too much. I don’t know if I’m crazy about the shift to mid-tempo in the middle, but it ends with a great note, and by-and-large is a big success.

Randy thinks it’s his best performance to date. Kara thinks he has set the technical standard with his phrasing, diction, timing, et cetera. Paula likes his quiet confidence and thinks the performance was nearly impeccable. Simon likes it but thinks it was “wet,” and fails to explain what on earth that means despite saying something about a spaniel. Has he switched brains with Paula?

Ooh, yuk. Allison Iraheta is next in a lousy slot. I could be very right in fearing the worst for her.

Oh, and she turned 17 yesterday! Happy birthday, Allison!

Allison is siging “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Great pick, Allison! I think she can nail this one.

Love the tempo–slow as molasses, giving her time to enunciate each word. She does it straight, but still imbues it with her Allison-ness. It’s really quite lovely. She goes for a little bigness (is that contradictory?) at the end, then brings it down again. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. A terrific performance.

Randy thought it was da bomb! And he loved it. Kara is not nervous this week after that performance, and thought it was gut-wrenching and deeply emotional, and thinks she should be in the finals. You’re right, Kara! Paula thought the vocal was alluring and tender, and was very proud. Simon doesn’t think she believes she can win and has a horrible feeling that she may be in trouble. Kara and Randy jump in to pimp her, and they are right to do so.

Here comes Matt Giraud with “My Funny Valentine.” Regular viewers may recall that Melinda Doolittle took this on in Season Six, and it was one of the best performances in the history of the show. If you don’t recall it, the judges certainly do, so this is a big risk for Matt as he is following in some big footsteps.

The opening is a bit weak–the notes are fine, but it lacks confidence. He seems to click pretty quickly, though. Unfortunately, it just isn’t that interesting. This is a very difficult song to pull off, and I don’t think he did. I think the judges will agree with me.

Randy thought he was pitchy and gives it a six out of ten. Kara didn’t feel the emotional connection. Paula loved what he did with the song and did feel the emotional connection. Simon thought it was believable and authentic and calls it brilliant.

Wow, Simon. I didn’t see that coming.

Coming up next is Danny Gokey singing “Come Rain or Come Shine.”

The staging for this is quite nice, with the trombone player standing just to Danny’s right as he enters. He’s really quite good at the beginning, but he goes a little too big with it too early, and then at the end he goes totally Gokey with it, stripping all subtlety out of it in pursuit of places to insert big notes. The crowd loves it. I did not, although in fairness I should mention that it’s better than he has been in weeks.

Randy thinks he could have an album of songs like that, and for the millionth time, tells Danny, “You can sing!” Kara steals Randy’s other catchphrase and says he had “swagger.” Paula thought it was stellar. Please bring them back to reality, Simon!

Nope. Simon loved it, too.

Everyone wants to know what trick Adam Lambert has up his sleeve this week, and that everyone most definitely includes me.

He’s going to do a rock-edged version of “Feeling Good.” Only Adam would have the slightest chance of pulling something like that off.

And he starts from the top of the stairs in a white Elvis suit. After a straight opening, he brings the James Bond string section starting with “….good! It’s all very rock opera, which is fine by me, but I know a lot of people hate that so this is going to get some mixed reviews. Penultimate note is in his patented big screech, but he ends it with a perfect “…good.”

I’m extremely curious as to what the judges are going to make of that.

Randy thought it was a little too theatrical, but still thought it was a great performance. Kara’s mouth has dropped open and thought he was sleazy and superb. Paula thinks he’s like Michael Phelps. Simon doesn’t say much about the performance but loves that Adam is clearly trying to win.

I usually don’t rank week-to-week in favor of my cumulative power rankings (that I’ll post late tonight or early tomorrow), but this week it’s easy:

  1. Allison
  2. Kris
  3. Adam
  4. Danny
  5. Matt

Let’s see what you guys think.

Power rankings when I write them and results tomorrow!

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One Response to American Idol, 2009 – Episode 33 (4/28/09)

  1. Danny McCasland says:

    Shame one you. Jamie Foxx on your show. What a farce. What he said about Mylie Cyrus on his radio show is a crime. You just had Mylie Cyrus on your show and then you have this creep. He should be fired from his position on the radio and you applaud him on your show. I have watched the last American Idol – you hypecrites. I hope your show fails – it should.

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