Total Pageviews

July 2, 2009

Season 8: Final 3: Judge's Choice


Kristen The Yellow Lab and I are on a short, structured home visit from The Clay Aiken Memorial Fan Rage and Depression Treatment Center, which specializes in the care of American Idol devotees who are victims of "America Is Just So Stupid It's Not Even Funny Anymore syndrome." We were shipped off to the facility after it was discovered that Kristen and I were solely responsible for the flaming bags of dog poo left on the doorsteps of every resident in the entire state of Arkansas. Since we've been in treatment, we have learned that life doesn't always go the way one wants or expects it to go. But,the tenets of good sportsmanship dictate that we embrace the final outcome and move on. Which we plan to do. Right around the time we're able to build a snowmen in hell.

What has caused Kristen and I to behave so irrationally, you ask? Well, to fully understand the answer to that we need to blog you back in time. Back to a day when hope was still alive, and Adam Lambert was still the winner of American Idol. Back, back to the month of May and The Final Three....

As you may recall, Allison did not make the cut to the Final Three because America hates redheads. Adam,however, still remains. But, the joke is on you, America! Adam is actually a natural redhead! He announced this startling news in his Rolling Stone cover interview.
Danny and Kris made the finale. Neither is a redhead. Coincidence? Kristen and I think not.

Ryan roars into Final 3 night, ready for the snapping and biting that's going to take place amongst the judges later. He explains that, this week, each of the three finalists will sing two songs. One song was selected by a judge, while another was the choice of the contestant. (Handy Tip: If you're ever a contestant on American Idol, and the judge who picks your song's name starts with P and ends with aula, consider yourself a goner.)

Ladies and gents, say hi to your final three! Kristen and I note that Adam looks confident, Danny looks strange in Allison's Slow Ride boots, and Kris looks like his usual defeated self. Toughen up, kid! The business will prove to be much more heartless than your experience on a reality TV show.

First up is Danny Gokey. He learned, on his visit to his hometown of Milwaukee, that Judge Paula selected his tune. For Danny, Paula chose Terence Trent D'Arby's "Dance Little Sister." Wow, Paula! A dance tune for a guy who can't dance. Brilliant choice. The thing is, Danny has the right voice for TTD. But, Kristen and I agree that she should have offered up "Wishing Well." Danny gives it his all, which includes plenty of shouting and doot-dooting, but it's not quite enough. It was old-fashioned and Vegasy. Randy found it dope. (Or did he say "dopey?" Kristen and I aren't sure.) Kara hated his dancing. Paula thought he was magic. Simon agrees with Kristen and me. "Right artist, wrong song." Kristen and I give Danny 6 Three Blind Mice, for bringing the cheese.

Meanwhile, Simon has taken this opportunity to throw Paula on the floor and have his way with her.

With four judges and three performers, two of the judges have to share. That prize went to Kara and Randy, who got to pick for Kris. He learns on his home visit to Conway, Arkansas (home of the one traffic light) that they have selected One Republic's "Apologize." Kristen and I agreed that this was a most excellent choice. Kinda. Kris sings it straight while perched at the piano. The reason One Republic's "Apologize" was such a huge hit was because of Timbaland's production skills. His judicious use of Auto Tune gave it a haunting, desperate quality. Sung straight? Not so much. Kris falsetto is also not one of his vocal assets, and this song requires it. Still, it was current and Kris is charming.
Randy says he could sell a million records with a song like this. Kara says it was competent, but she would have preferred an accoustic performance. Paula was proud of his bum note. Simon blames Kara for not living up to her responsiblities. A battle ensues. There were no survivors. (Not really, but wouldn't that have been awesome?) Kristen and I give him 8 three stooges for a nice performance that got lost in the judges stoogery.

Kristen is on her back, and all is right with the world, because here comes Adam! For Adam, Simon has selected U2's "One." Adam is bathed in a soft blue light. His voice is clear and pure, and the opening is absolutely lovely. Then, there is a jarring break when he moves into the chorus. He churches it up, throwing his emotions on the stage, as he shouts to us that he just can't keep holding on. He hits his trademark power note, then gently lets it cascade down a full octave. Powerful performance, but was the change up at the chorus too much for the audience at home?
Randy says he's one of the hottest three in the competition. Kara says he did his own version. Paula says "One American Idol that I'm staring at right now!" (Thanks for jinxing things, PAULA!) Simon gloats that, per his usual, he picked the best song of the bunch, and says if Adam is not in the finale next week, it will be the biggest upset ever. (Agreed.) Kristen and I give him 9.5 My Three Sons for brilliant vocals, but are taking off points for an overwrought presentation. But, Adam doesn't need our approval, when he's got a father who gazes at him like this.

Back to Danny who has selected "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker. Except he sings it "Bee-yooo-tee-ful." It's actually one of Danny's best performances all season, as he seems to have gotten lost in the lyric. Randy says mad vocals. Kara and Paula are verklempt. Simon calls it a vocal masterclass. (Um.....okay???) Kristen and I give him 9 three bears for an excellent vocal and for not telling us that this is the song he sang to Sophia on their wedding day. (Hindsight: That might have been a wise strategic move.)

Kris is up next. He tells us he has chosen Kanye West "Heartless." Kristen greets this news with a huge tail wag. For one thing, we love Kanye. For another, we know Kris will do some wonderful things with it. He does. He performs The Fray's version of the song, but adds a vulnerability they lack. Did you hear that squeak? That was the sound of the competition turning on its heel. Randy says it was dope. Kara tells him that's what she wanted him to do with "Apologize." Paula says he's the bravest. Simon says he'd given up on him, but not after that performance. And Kradam fans all over the country dare to hope, dare to dream. Maybe? Maybe an Adam/Kris finale? Kristen and I give him 9.5 Three Amigos in the hope that he ends up in the finale with his best amigo, Adam.

Adam takes the stage for the last time until the finale. He has chosen Aerosmith's "Cry." It starts off great, with Adam's powerful rocker voice giving the song exactly the right amount of ooomph it requires. Then, a near-disaster. Something is wrong with the sound mix, and a very off-key, very loud background singer drowns out the vocals, throwing Adam off the pitch. He yanks out his ear piece, gets back on track, and finishes the song with his trade-mark piercing wail. (See, that's how it's done, Danny!) Randy says he should be a rock star. Kara wonders who hits those kinds of notes. Than reminds us, "Adam hits those notes!" Paula says Adam has set the bar so high, she hopes he's collecting frequent flyer miles. Simon says no one should assume Adam will sail through to the finale. But, he does deserve to be there, based on talent. That is absolute truth. Kristen and I give Adam a 9.0 Sex and Drugs and Rock N Roll for this. For Adam, the performance was a bit off. Although, the truth is, "off" for Adam would be "brilliant" for any of the other competitors. Nevertheless, the voting public has expectations, and they are high for Adam.

Kristen and my rankings:

Three Tenor Worthy:

Kris - Heartless
Adam - One

Peter Paul and Mary Worthy:

Danny - Endless Love
Adam - Crying

Alvin and the Chipmunks Worthy

Kris - Apologize
Danny - Dance Little Sister


For some inexplicable reason, Ben Stiller is on our TV screen. What does he have to do with American Idol? Oh wait. He has a new movie to promote. Carry on.

It's down to these three young gents.

Because Idol was too cheap to put on Idol Gives Back this season, they give us tiny mini segments where they ask us to give money to various causes. This week, Alicia Keyes takes the stage to explain to us that we can help save the lives of children dying from malaria in effected regions of the world with a small donation. (Fact: The most deadly animal on the planet is the lowly mosquito.) To entice us, she presents us with this adorable child who lip syncs to something or other and bops around the stage.

Next, we're treated to "Ye Olde Hometowne Visits." This is the part of the show where the Top 3 gets to experience what it would be like if they'd landed on the moon, won the World Series, or defeated the Axis Powers. They are flown, via private jet, to the towns that nurtured their talent. There, they are greeted by bands, mayors, and shrieking fans.

Here's Danny's visit to Milwaukee. Danny gets the "Emotional Edit."

Here is Danny, emotionally reunited with best friend, Jamal!

Here are Danny's fans, emotionally showing their sense of humor!

Here is Danny, emotionall overwhelmed!

And even more emotionally overwhelmed!

Onto Kris' visit to his hometown of Conway, Arkansas, population 38 million text votes. Kris gets the "Mom and Apple Pie" edit.

Here is Kris, all American as apple pie!

Here is Small Town, USA, greeting Kris, their hero - totally apple pie!

And here's Kris' proud parents, including Mom!

As a show of solidarity with Adam, Kris painted one of his thumbnails. Cutie pie!

And, now for Adam's. Oh wait. They're not showing Adam's, yet. Uh-oh. Kristen and I don't like this. (Sense of doom.)

Jordin Sparks drifts out in a sea of dry ice to sing some new song or other, probably about promise rings and Jonas Brothers, but no one cares because we haven't seen Adam's Hometown Visit, and we're all nervous and in state of angst. So, go away, Jordin Sparks. (You stole Melinda Doolittle's rightful title, anyway.)

OK. Finally! It's Adam's turn to visit his hometown of San Diego, California. He gets the "Rock Star" edit.

Here's Adam being a rock star in a limo. (Kind of a wide-eyed rock star, but still...)

Here's Adam's stalkerish fans gaping into his rock star limo.

Here's a semi-naked girl jumping on stage with Adam as if she were at a rock star concert.

Here's Adam protected by a gigantic rock-star style body guard.

Next, Katy Perry enters the stage to perform "Waking Up In Vegas." Hmmm. I wonder who Katy Perry wants to win American Idol 8? Gosh. I guess we'll never know.

Time for Results! But first, Kradam gives us one more show of solidarity. Kris painted one thumbnail, while Adam removed the polish from one of his. Kristen and I find that adorable! In a junior highish sort of way. Poor Danny's all, "When will I ever be invited to the cool kids' lunch table?"

Moment of truth. Take the stage, fellas.

First guy to make the finale? KRIS ALLEN!!

Uh-oh. Simon's worried. Will his boy, Adam, take the final spot?

Simon can barely stand to watch. Neither can Kristen nor I.

And the next person in the finale is.......................

ADAM!!!!!!!! Simon has a happy!

Oh ho!! Kara has a mad!

Adam's on emotion overload:

Farewell, Danny. It's been a long, wonderful journey. You're a good guy. Kristen and I wish you well in your career. *sniffle*

Onto the finale with these two. Uh...boys? Maybe you'd care to get a room?

Best finale pair ever. Kradam:

Kristen and I will recap the finale next week. Please! It's not like you all don't know who won.