There can only be one explanation for the unmitigated praise that the American Idol judges bestowed on Adam and Danny last night: crack. Well, I suppose there’s a second explanation: the music must just sound different live. Danny and Adam, who admittedly have very powerful voices, must translate stupendously well in person because on TV, I just didn’t get all the adoration spewed their way. Similarly, I didn’t necessarily understand the lack of enthusiasm directed at Kris Allen (at least his first song). There’s some sort of topsy-turvy thing going on that makes crappy music sound good to them and vice versa. Whatever it is, I’m here to pipe in and say that no, Danny and Adam were not God’s gifts to music Tuesday night. In fact, they were rather ordinary. THERE. I said it.

First, let me get three things out of the way. A) I am a Danny hater. I admit that I have bias against him and his smug attitude and his predilection for adult contemporary interpretations that may never find a mainstream audience. B) I’m a light Adam hater, but truth is that he’s impressed me with his stage presence and attitude and technical ability enough that I must concede that he is very talented. As such, I’ve adopted the stance that he’s very good, just not my cup of tea. I don’t have a bias against him necessarily, but I do have a bias against the unchecked hype that flows his way. C) I like Kris the most. It’s not that he’s so amazing, but he’s very good, and while his vocal abilities may not be the strongest, he has the most commercial sound, and I can imagine him having a hit on the radio starting tomorrow.
So these are my biases.
That being said, I feel like I give credit where credit is due — and I’ve praised both Adam and Danny in the past, despite not loving them. Tonight, however, I truly felt like the two of them received unwarranted praise — especially Danny who seems to have convinced the judges that he’s wearing the emperors new clothes (did I just force that metaphor? It felt a little forced).
You see, Danny definitely has a husky, soulful voice. His only problem is that while he has husk, he has no soul. I mean, not LITERALLY no soul (wouldn’t want to piss off his congregation). What I’m saying is that he brings nothing emotionally exciting or noteworthy to the table. In his first tune, an obscure Terrence Trent D’Arby song selected by Paula (love the artist choice, but c’mon. Give us at least “Wishing Well!”), Danny danced around the stage in an unsettling way and forced the notes out with the subtlety of a jackhammer. He’s all power and nothing else, and as such, the song was just… forgettable. Plus, the arrangement was just stupid. You know, Kris got some flack about his arrangement of “Apologize” (more on that later), but at least it sounded current and radio-friendly. Gokey was just razzmatazz and bounciness — something I’d expect to see on a cruise ship, not Seacrest’s radio show. And yet, the judges barely said a word about it. Simon faulted the sax solo, but in general, the judges really praised Danny and his singing. Thankfully, there were some negative remarks — Kara and Simon did comment that it was a tad unmemorable (AMEN), and they both dissed his dancing, which was amusing since Simon literally spent twenty seconds complaining that this wasn’t a dancing show before he too critiqued the aforementioned footwork. Still, I feared the panel was giving Gokey way more credit than he deserved.
Later in the show, they all but jerked him off after he took on Joe Cocker’s “You Are So Beautiful.” This was truly more of the offensive situation because while the performance may have seemed awesome in person, at home it was a complete and utter snoozefest. It felt like dentist music (no disrespect to dentists). The arrangement was slow, old-fashioned, and shockingly boring. As usual, Danny cranked it up at the end, screaming to the heavens with the sort of gusto that might cause ten hernias to pop out of his sides. And as usual, the judges totally fell for it. Kara called it “unbelievable,” which in and of itself was unbelievable, and Simon labeled the performance a vocal master class (this despite Danny’s warbly voice in the first half of the song). He must really be fantastic live because both IndianJones and I were not feelin’ it, dawg. I don’t think this is my bias speaking. It was boring. I defy anyone to listen back to the performance and first imagine it on the radio in your car and then imagine it at a dentist office. Which environment seems more fitting? I suppose there’s nothing wrong with electing an Easy Listening Idol, but didn’t we do that with Taylor Hicks already?
As for Adam, I just didn’t think he was anything special tonight. His performance of “One” by U2 was a bit blah for me. Usually I like it when he slows things down, but this time, the quiet first half of the song sounded derivative of Adam’s previous slow arrangements. With a solitary, contemplative piano backing Adam, I couldn’t help but feel a tad bit manipulated by this return to “Mad World” territory. Adam did break out of the doldrums as the beat kicked in during the second half of the song, but that didn’t make things much better. He changed the melody too much, and it all sounded kind of generic. Adam tried to inject some life into the tune by letting out his trademark squeals, but I didn’t feel the passion (despite what his histrionic face was attempting to sell me). Once again though, the judges loved it. Only Randy made a passing negative remark about the arrangement, but the rest of them simply gushed. Truth was it was good, but not as good as it should have been for this stage of the competition. Five weeks ago? It would have been an eye-opener.
Same goes for Adam’s second song, “Crying” by Aerosmith. When he announced he’d be taking on Steven Tyler, I think everyone quietly chuckled to themselves. Gokey tried to step into Lambert territory last week with a phenomenally bad “Dream On” rendition. Now Adam was ready to show us all how it’s really done. I admit that a part of me was hoping he’d sing “Dream On” too. It would be such a dick move, but so great.
Nevertheless, Adam sang “Crying,” (or is it “Cryin'”?), and he again was fine, but nothing special. Actually, I’m gonna say that he was less than fine because the entire second half of the song was totally over the top. And not in a “Oh, but it’s Adam Lambert” kind of way. I mean, he sounded like a cat getting its tail repeatedly stepped on. There’s musical squealing, and then there’s anal-violation screaming, and this sounded like the latter. Granted, he did hit his notes (unlike Gokey last week), but Adam really went overboard. He looked like he was constantly on the verge of barfing.
I suppose that’s what you get with Adam, and honestly, my larger problem with his second performance was that it kind of lacked anything special. There wasn’t a whole lot of rock swagger, and honestly, the song itself isn’t terribly melodic. I can’t put my finger on it, but I simply thought Adam was just okay tonight (even IndianJones agreed, and he’s an Adam fan).
But of course, the judges thought he was fantastic. Simon literally urged people to vote for him. I don’t know. I’d prefer Adam in the finals over Gokey — that’s for sure — but people need to calm down.
As for Kris, I actually really liked his cover of OneRepublic’s “Apologize.” I didn’t mind that he maintained the original arrangement, mostly because I like that arrangement and even more importantly because it demonstrated how current and radio-friendly Kris’s style is. I was fairly upset when the judges gave Kris middling marks, calling him “competent” at best, and Paula criticizing a “bum note” was kind of bullshit compared to her lack of criticism of last week’s Gokey slaughtering (must I point you to the video again? Okay, I will. Check it out here). I genuinely thought Kris sounded great, even if his voice doesn’t have the same range as his competitors. Furthermore, he brought emotion to the song in a way that Gokey couldn’t all night.
Kris also spurred on a rather vicious tiff between Simon and Kara after the latter judge complained that he hadn’t been creative enough with the arrangement. Simon, of all people, attacked Kara for making a baseless accusation, and she turned on her anti-Bikini Girl, head-swiveling bitch mode (which I love) and bickered with him, ultimately covering his mouth with her hands and later doing a very bizarre and incomprehensible British accent. It made no sense.
Anyway, say what you will about Kris’s first song, his second performance was by far the best of the night. He covered Kanye’s “Heartless,” and like Randy later said, I liked it better than the original (of course, it helps that I don’t like the original at all). Still, I heard the Fray’s version last week, and I agree also that this was better than The Fray’s. Kris was totally in his element, he sounded great, he did something original, and basically, he put out something that again could totally be heard and do well on the radio. Thankfully, he received the sort of praise he deserved; although, I must admit that compared to the high praise that the other two always get, it did feel a bit tempered (but there, I concede, my bias may be kicking in). Honestly, I truly felt that Kris was the best of the night, and I can only hope his army of tween girls will send him onto the next round. Might be difficult. It’s hard to deny the Heartland that is Danny’s fan base…
As for the rest of the show, I don’t remember much. The Kardashians were in attendance tonight, as was Audrina Patridge and some other celebs who I can’t seem to remember at the moment. There was also a dumb segment about Carrie Underwood in Africa. I happily fast forwarded over that. Anything else? Don’t remember. Maybe you do. What were your thoughts on the show? Who do you want to see in the finals? What song was best? What was worst? And who else was distracted by the big stain on Simon’s shirt? (I think it came from Paula’s cheek)

23 replies on “Call The DEA — The Idol Judges Are On CRACK!!!”

  1. Ugh. Bad-am Lambert. That was a horrorshow.
    Gokey was pretty pathetic also.
    Kris, although not awful, was, as usual, completely forgettable.
    The end of this Idol season is unwatchable.

  2. Amen Brother! You said what I feel but you said it in a much funnier way than I could manage. Kris rocks, Adam has skills when he isn’t screeching but is not my cup of tea and Gokey outlived his welcome.

  3. I’ve never voted before for Idol, but I had to vote for Kris last night! Plus he is from my home state. Agree with you, B-Side, didn’t think Adam was impressive last night, and I really didn’t like his version of “One.”

  4. I just tried to reply and your comments section ate it and spit it somewhere else…my comments were brilliant and I cant duplicate so I will try again.
    Kris should win as he is the most marketable. Both his songs last night were well done and would be commercially successful. He is cute in a grown up David Archuletta way. If the tweens are voting and texting, he is a shoe in.
    Danny was amazing on his Joe Cocker song and will be an excellent Christian music star. I love his voice but he is not idol worthy. If the religious groups and grandmothers are voting, he might surprise us but I doubt it as he has no support from the idol machine.
    Adam is and should remain a musical theater performer. He is not a rocker but rather an actor who can play a rocker, (or a kd lang look alike – did anyone else notice?). I truly think he is talented but his fame will not be as a rocker as paula is so fond of saying. Real rockers will not buy his cd. Your basic tween demographic might at first but only because they dont get the gay factor yet. Adams rendition of U2’s One last night was horrible and his Cryin’ was jsut passable. I hope never to see that much of anyones dental work and tongue again!

  5. Hi, I don’t watch AI anymore (I usually watch at the very beginning), but I also HAAATE Danny Gokey! OMG, I hate him sooo much. I hated him from the first second I saw him. Ugh.
    Anyway, you wrote this: “He’s all power and nothing else, and as such, the song was just… unforgettable.” About DG. Did you mean “forgettable”?

  6. So yeah, I’m a Kris fan and I think I’m now rooting for him to get the hell out of there. It’s the same song and dance of the runner-ups getting the success and I think that Kris will fall in perfectly with the current musical environment of today. If it were 1992, then The Lamb would fit. Gokey? I don’t think we’ve gotten to a 1-out-of-3 talents ain’t too bad type of environment yet. God willing we never will!

  7. I am not sure which I enjoy more – listening to Adam or watching the judges gag & punch each other.

  8. I am not sure which I enjoy more – listening to Adam or watching the judges gag & punch each other.

  9. Firstly, Allison should have been the one on stage tonight. Not Gokey.
    Secondly, I pretty much agree although I thought Adam was a little better than what you thought. Kris was by far the best of the night, and of course his praise was muted. The fix has been in for a while, for some reason they want an Adam-Danny final. This was most evident during Rock Week.

  10. I totally agree with Firecat. It is blatantly obvious that they (the judges) want a Danny vs. Adam final. The hypocrisy is ridiculous…..Danny butchers a song last week and gets a pass, Kris sings great and they give him a lukewarm review. Disgusting.
    I am not on the Adam Love Train. He just bugs me with his screeching. Enough already! He sounds best on his slower songs. However, it is rare for him NOT to scream in a song. And he reminds me of Constantine with the looks he gives the camera. Ew….no one should have to reminded of Constantine.

  11. I am so glad you noticed the stain on Simon’s shirt–it was driving me crazy! I wondered aloud if you would comment on it . . . and you did not let me down. Thanks, B! 🙂

  12. hey danny gokey, michael macdonald called and said the 80’s adult contemporary isnt back.
    and i love love loved the terrible production values of having that backup singer totally overpower adam lambert, TERRIBLY in his second song.

  13. Yes, I was distracted by that stupid stain on Simon’s shirt and it did come from Paula’s face! I couldn’t understand why he wasn’t changing shirts in the commercial break-I am sure a white undershirt is easy to come by!

  14. Sorry but I have to disagree with you. I’m not sure why you hate Danny so much but I have been his fan from the gitgo. I’ve been reading your blogs for a few weeks (courtesy of SD) so I’ve been looking for Dannny’s smugness but have yet to see it.
    As to Adam … I agree with you completely.
    I would love to see Kris/Danny in the final. I think Kris is wonderful and whether he wins or not I hope he has a wonderful career ahead of him.

  15. This show is such a joke. Talk about suggestive sales…. why the FUCK are they pushing Glambert down everyone’s throats? I totally agree with jellepair in that this guy is NOT a rocker, as they are pushing him to be. He is a performer. I would be surprised if there was a record company out there that would be willing to market him as such. There is no way any “rockers” I know would go buy his CD. They would make fun of it.
    Kris Allen is definitely the best of the bunch… and yet they bestow all of the praise on Danny and Adam. I don’t get this show at all.
    And I don’t care what ANYONE says, Glambert butchered both of those songs. BUTCHERED THEM, I SAY!

  16. Love the recap, totally how I felt about last night. And I think jelliepair said it perfectly: “[Adam] is not a rocker but rather an actor who can play a rocker”, though I would add that he plays more a caricature of a rocker–what a young broadway-ista thinks a rocker should be. From the 70s.
    Basically, I think Kris is the most marketable and the only one left whose album I would buy, but I also think he’s screwed for tonight cos for whatever reason, the judges hate him. Ah well…he did make me vote for the first time ever, so consider me a tween!

  17. agreed! and this is why i voted for kris 139 times. ok, i’m not that nuts and stalkerish. or am i…

  18. I have watched maybe 10 minutes total of AI this year, but because I live near Milwaukee, Danny Gokey is pretty much being jammed down our throats. I was on the Milw. Journal-Sentinel website a few minuts ago, and this link was posted:
    It’s an article from the MTv website by James Montgomery, who is a Danny-hater & is just wondering why. What I enjoyed was the essays that were left in the comments-way too long to read all of them at work, but I did see Jesus, evil, Red States, lederhosen, & Milwaukee’s Socialist history all mentioned. Now I want to see Danny in lederhosen.

  19. Thank you for saying this. I could not agree with you more. Too much praise for Adam and Danny – no where near enough for Kris. I loved Kris’s performances last night and I hate that they picked the other two to support. I was so annoyed I actually voted for Kris last night which I never do! I hope Kris makes final two – he totally deserves it.

  20. Jeez I thought I was the only one who wasn’t in love with Adam Lambert. His last song was SHARP (or pitchy, dawg) and the background singer totally overpowered him on the chorus. He was over-the-top on the whole freaking thing…
    Danny needs to cut a cd more suited to his voice…or do MCI commercials.
    I LOVE KRIS!!! He’s original and on-key and not in your face, which is why I think some people forget about him. But I bet you’d be singing along with his song on the radio…

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