Last week, history was made when the American Idol judges used their save and sent no one home. But that means the fate of two are on the line this week. And disco definitely set apart the real contenders from those just hanging on.
Originality was the name of the game tonight and you can expect to find those that came out big this week among the final three.
Kris Allen was channeling a little Dave Matthews tonight as he added a cool funky beat to Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard for the Money.” This outing was the most original performance we’ve seen from Kris and I have to say that he nailed it. That is how you reinvent a song. I can so see this song being a single on his first album. I’d buy it.
Likewise, Allison Iraheta took some liberties with another Donna Summer tune. Her rendition of “Hot Stuff” was definitely hot tonight with that cool old school rock twist she added. I would never have picked a Donna Summer song out for Allison, but let me tell you the girl made it work and work well.
Slowing things down, Adam Lambert showed us that disco could have a softer side with “If I Can’t Have You” from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. It was not my favorite of his performances, but you can miss the emotion that came through with the song. As always, Adam delivers with originality. This guy knows how to win over a crowd and he knows how to perform.
However, hose that stuck with the pure disco theme struggled this week. At this point in the competition, uniqueness went a long way and not everyone had it this week.
It was nice to see Danny Gokey try something other than a ballad/tribute to someone. He looked like he was having a good time out there instead of ready to weep. But given his competition, Danny’s version of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” just didn’t measure up. I expected showgirls to come out any moment. The song just had too much of a Las Vegas strip feel to it for my tastes.
Even the double meaning of Matt Giraud’s song choice wasn’t enough for him to standout. I felt the energy and gusto behind his rendition of the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” but it wasn’t enough to impress me amongst all the other stars shining this week.
While two of the contestants hit big this week with Donna Summer numbers, the momentum did not carry over to Anoop Desai. I honestly did not see what the judges liked in that performance. I thought it was lackluster and boring. Normally I like Anoop’s ballads, but this one was missing something.
I’ve lost my enthusiasm for Lil Rounds so it’s really hard for me to stay objective about her performances lately. But I can say that this week, she seemed more confident and enthusiastic, so maybe venting last week helped her. Unfortunately, her rendition of “I’m Every Woman” by Chaka Khan came across as very dated. While I enjoyed her passion, I wouldn’t care to hear the performance again.
For me, the Top 3 are very clear cut – Kris, Allison and Adam. However, the order depends on the week. I also find the bottom three to be very clear cut – Matt, Anoop and Lil. And it a very distinct difference between the two groups – and that is the willingness to venture from the norm.
The wild card is Danny. For me, I tend to pair him with the bottom group. However, he has a big following and seems to be a favorite with the judges, so where he ends up is still up for grabs.