American Idol | 09.15

american-idol_sm.jpg"There but for the Grace of God goes Alexis!"







Dear SCOTT MacINTYRE… I was sad to see you go last week. Don’t get me wrong: While you didn’t actually suck, for me, you never lived up to the beautiful purity you brought to Billy Joel’s "And So It Goes" at the Phoenix audition. Week after week, your song choices and their arrangements underwhelmed. The praises awarded to you by Paula, Kara, Randy and Simon were patronizing and made for a disservice. Their comments that you inspired, that you rose above your sight impairment, while well intentioned, did not challenge you to step up your game; therefore, to me, you were never more than a blind guy who sang alright, played the piano great and the guitar not-so-great. You or Mike Sarver absconded with the Top Ten placement that rightfully belonged to Alexis Grace. I am sorry to see you go, because I know you must be a nice guy, and I love your left-field reactions to the judges, and you clean up awesome, but you had the soul of an elevator ride. And so it goes…

That leaves the most talented group of seven (in my opinion) in American Idol history to duke it out.

ADAM LAMBERT. It’s not that I don’t get him. I get him. There’s absolutely nothing to not get. I just don’t want to get him. Short of dismissing the season rigged to its very core to seduce viewers to express-serving him the crown-and-sash—from Simon’s standing-o last week to the none-too-subtle pyrotechnics last night—Adam Lambert is a lot overproduced for my taste. Michael Bay’s films strung together and overlapped and Dolby’d contain more restraint.

ALLISON IRAHETA. She is not solely the only hope for a female Idol this season, she is the only hope for a true rank-and-file to take the entire competition. My hope is that the momentum that has been building in her favor will neither flag nor stall, and will do enough damage to the Adam Lambert juggernaut to render it a flash-in-the-pan, egg-in-the-face, dollar-store Goo Goo Dolls novelty that it is. Now if only I can say what I really mean…

KRIS ALLEN. The Anti-Lambert. Quiet. Understated. Masculine. It is no secret I hold a tween-sized pinker-than-pink man-crush on the guy, but that aside, Kris sings with a stripped-down approach that could easily have gotten lost in the frenzy. It is to his credit that he stopped a barful of screaming-drunk Castro clones (The Midnight Sun, on 18th, near Hartford) with a tune Kara DioGuardi described as obscure (for the record, the 2008 Oscar-winning song is "Falling Slowly," from the must-not-miss film Once). That was not only an intelligent choice, but the bravest choice in an evening of mostly overworked standards. Oh, and one more thing (again): Shut up, Randy!

ANOOP DESAI. Damn that lip gloss! It’s so mesmerizing, it’s convincing me that Anoop has a chance in hell to make it to next week. Must. Learn. To. Resist.

DANNY GOKEY. If there were any lips that need re-glossing, they would be his. The indisputably fine vocal chops and respectable song choices keep him from slipping from favor as dramatically as Lil’ Rounds has. However, his decision to cover "Endless Love" foreshadows a renewed attempt to employ his dead wife to buy him more time: "Before she passed on, Ryan, she whispered to me, she said, ‘Daniel… Daniel, my love. I may be a ghost of myself, but I will always have enough faith in God and His red-white-and-blues. I know America will not let you down.’ I am doing this for her, Ryan. I miss her. Very much…" Did you get all that?"

LIL ROUNDS. If I were given the closing slot for the night and I heard Simon Cowell assess the competition not ten minutes into the show as the only hope for the girls, I would have thrown up. Wait: I would have thrown up, held it in my mouth, floated out of the green room to the foot of the stage, and dropped the special delivery onto the Eurotrash’s lap. Yeah, that’s what I would do. I really hurt for Lil Rounds. To be set up as an early favorite really took its toll on her. Her situation has been compared to the one Carly Smithson found herself in last year: feverishly attempting to live up to the expectation and coming up short.

MATT GIRAUD. In the apt circumstance that Lil Rounds’ fans would not abandon her, then another piano man is going to decrescendo. He shares too many supporters with Kris Allen and Danny Gokey to afford a misstep at this leg of the race. We may find ourselves saying goodbye to Matt Giraud and the pod-creature on his forehead. Both will be missed. | Alan Quisimorio

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