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American Idol – The Finals Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Posted by JB* in American Idol, DougOLis, JB*, jerkwheat, matt_T, Television, TV.
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In the words of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Once More, With Feeling” – this is your American Idol Finalists Roundtable Recap.  Adam and Kris – Who Ya Got?

JB*

One last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer. 

So long as we’re closing this place down, let’s get some last shots in at the judges and the bizarre season which has passed.  THIS… is your American Idol recap.

Seacrest tried hard to drum up some drama and competition – the line of Conway versus California was the best – before introducing the judges, including the oddly orange Paula and Randy’s ugly tie.  At least there is no Michael Buffer and boxing montage.

OMG!  CARLY!!!!!!  If nothing else good comes from this site, maybe she’ll call me.  After the quick commercial break, – and a montage of Adam screaming – the finalists do their favorite performance of the season.

Adam Lambert – Mad World
Instant cool points for the “Rise-through-the-floor” rock show entrance, straight into line of the overwhelming blue light behind him.  This was a very subdued performance for Adam, but he is – just as the first time – perfect in the delivery.  Randy thought it was great to do one from the season, but wasn’t that the point of this segment?!?  A great performance, but it still strikes me as a song that doesn’t resonate with the majority of voters who have to get Mom’s permission to stay up for the three minutes of overrun of American Idol.  It didn’t matter last time, and likely won’t tonight, either.  I am happiest to not hear a shriek.

Kris Allen – Ain’t No Sunshine
Looking back at our notes from the Top 9 show, he was solid when performing it, earning such rave reviews from us as “This was good, not much else to say.”  Once again, that sums this up – he is behind the piano, doing the bulldance, feeling the music.  It is heart felt, it is great vocally, but it is not an ear grabbing tune.  I’d give a nod to Adam for the first performances, but Simon disagrees.

After commercials, they will perform creator Simon Fuller’s picks.  Night at the Museum 2 cannot be released soon enough.

Adam Lambert – A Change is Gonna Come
All suited up, this starts out much, much differently than we have heard Adam most of the season.  He is soulful (well, as soulful as a white boy can be), and I am enjoying his performance until he starts at it AGAIN, downright mocking himself with a few shrill notes, an O face or three, and some odd squatting thing in the middle of one of the last ‘comes” (no homo).  To boot, he looks punch-a-kitten angry with his delivery of the last line.

Kris Allen – What’s Going On?
Nice that Fuller kept them both in the R&B genre, unlike the crap judge’s picks last week.  Kris opens seated, acoustic guitar in hand, surrounded by select guys from the band playing guitar, the box, and giant bongos.  His use of a set-up similar to the Disco Week performance of “She Works Hard For The Money” serves him well – it “Allen-izes”, as Paula called it, the song, and let’s his YouthPastorness shine through.  A better job of “making it his own” than Adam did, though Simon again disagrees with me, referencing it to buddies strumming along at home.

At this point, does Paula serve any real value as a judge?  She is applauding everything as the best performance ever and spews her randomness.  She is just comedic value and knows Marvin Gaye is dead right?

Third and final round – Winner’s First Single, co-written by Kara.  This went disastrously two years ago, with the song selected handing the win to Jordin Sparks.  This year, it is a ditty called “No Boundaries”.

That is just the kind of song that leaves none of us surprised.  It is generic, vague, no message, random wordy lyrics about stepping forward and mountains and hurricanes and dreams and making it be and no limits to life.  I swear, next year I am predicting the actual words to the song and will probably get sixty percent right.

Adam Lambert – “No Boundaries”
This was generic, Creed-like, and I had no real connection to this performance.  The song was too little for him to perform in a rocking manner.  The best comparison I have would be if his dad picked a “rock” song for him to do tonight.  Plus, he may be wearing acid-wash jeans.  Kara just looks like she is afterglowing.  Clearly, the song was written with him in mind, and Simon does all but crown his ass with a reference to finding a real worldwide star. 

Kris Allen  – “No Boundaries”
Solo in front of the mic stand – not even a guitar – and he gives it an almost country-rocking feel (the new country, which is like weak rock, not real country).  He is well-suited to the verses, but he sounds like he is coming up short on the chorus.  His rendition is probably a better arrangement overall for the song – see the above on Adam – just not quite as polished.  Kara’s comments to say that he shouldn’t be judged on just this performance because it was too high is rather ridiculous since she wrote the freaking thing.  He is getting the brush-off from all of the judges – “take it in, enjoy this moment, you’ve built a great body of work this season”.  I know how that goes after my interview last week.

Damnit – Carrie Underwood comes on just as my DVR cuts off. 

The voters are almost certain to be out for Adam tonight, though DialIdol (as of 1 am) shows a very, very, very slight edge to Kris.  Much like most of the people I know, I find Adam to be the better performer, Kris the better singer, and according to Simon, it is a SINGING competition.  That said – Adam is the walking away winner tomorrow night.

DougOLis

Adam1 – I’m glad he chose “Mad World” as his song because it was by far my favorite performance by anyone this season. Haunting, beautiful and he sufficiently toned back the Adam falsetto whackiness. I’m not sure if it was better than the first time he did it but it was at least just as good.

Kris1 – Should have done “Falling Slowly.” Maybe I take that back; it was very good but it was a bit mush-mouthed. I really don’t have any major complaints other than that and it could be a successful single; maybe he actually has a chance at winning this thing but I still think this round easily goes to Adam.

Adam2 – Nice slow start and he destroyed that big glory note and the bridge. It was a bit over the top and shrieky for a couple of notes but he nailed it. I actually got a few chills when listening.

Kris2 – First reaction at the very start is complete cheese. I guess it wasn’t bad by any means but I never got over that initial “cheese-dick” reaction and I had the constant urge to slap him.

Adam3 – It was actually a bit pitchy for me in certain parts. And apparently Kara can’t even save the coronation song from being cheesy as all fuck; you m’am have not redeemed herself. He did fine with it; I’m not going to hold it against him.

Kris3 – Kind of boring and had an awkward pacing. Tough song for him as it seems to be more suited to Adam. He should have stripped it way down (ala Ted Leo on Since U Been Gone), but I’m really not going to hold it against him.

Adam was better on the night and better on the season as a whole (he really never had any horrible moments). Adam needs the Idol title way more than Kris, who should be fine and likely more commercially successful, and I think he’ll get it. I still think his future is better suited to Broadway than the radio though; I just can’t hear him being successful on stations that cater to the Idol base (they’ll get annoyed quickly) or rock stations where he might actually be successful (annoyed going in). I see positive things for Kris and Allison though.

I gotta say that even though Carrie Underwood was hot as always, that performance and song kind of sucked. Thanks all for letting me participate in these recaps and reading along, it’s been a blast.

Matt_T

First, let me say, it was a pleasure doing these roundtables with you guys.  You are gentlemen and scholars.

Adam 1 – I was guessing he’d do Zepplin again so he could do the rock scream thing, but Mad World was a great choice.  I wonder if he thought that would win him more votes?  But a good performance, other than the super emo goth trenchcoat and dry ice, but whatever, he’s camp, so that’s that.

Kris 1 – Heartless was his best song all season, but I guess 2 weeks in a row would have been too much.  This was my second favorite Kris performance of the year, so a good choice.  I don’t think it was as good as the first time he did it, but it doesn’t really matter.  At this point people know who they want to win.

Adam 2 – Interesting song choice from Mr. Fuller.  Adam did his usual thing with this, sounded good, did his yelling and fin. 

Kris 2 – What’s Going On is I can see Kris having a pretty big following with the Jack Johnson crowd.  I could see this being a hit amongst the college set, put on the Kris Allen record and play some ultimate frisbee.

So, the whole point of bringing Kara in was to make the show more modern and pop relevent.  Well I’d say that was a big fat FAIL.  Her and the cowriters, managed to write a song just as bad as the past couple years.  Shouldn’t when they get down to the last 6 or so, maybe write songs for each performer’s style?  These stupid inspirational ballads don’t work for guys like Adam or Blake Lewis. 

Adam 3 – This wasn’t a very good performance, but I can’t totally blame him, the song sucks.  He did with it what he could, but he did have some pitch issues.  Which is to be somewhat expected on the third song, in front of millions of folks

Kris 3 – Kris did better with this song, but its more in his wheelhouse.

I’m with JB*, Adam needs the win more than Kris does.  The judges think that Adam is what they need to stay current, so it will be interesting to see what happens if he does win. We could see a similar situation to last year, when we all thought Archie had it won and Cook surprised everyone.

Wrap-Up

The consensus appears to be Adam; DialIdol still gives this nod by a point to Kris, but everytime Mrs.JB called for him, she got through with no problem.

Thank you all for joining us this year – though it was another season which dragged on at times, we’ve all enjoyed bringing the recaps and a LiveBlog full of in-jokes and random shouts of BEWBS!  Most of us can be found on the InterWebs elsewhere, so let’s make the jokes all over again next year.

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