Kris Allen Gets Run Over By The Judges’ Bus, America Gets Hit By Danny Gokey’s Yawping

May 6th, 2009 // 13 Comments

Last night’s American Idol was Rock And Roll (All) Night, with the contestants muscling through songs that are older than all of them in the hopes of riding the Guitar Hero train, or at least giving Adam a chance to shine. It was preceded by no dress rehearsal, thanks to a crazy on-set accident in which one of the globes onstage exploded–which itself was preceded by the show’s stage manager falling down a 20-foot staircase and exiting the Idol studio via stretcher. And then there were the on-stage disasters! After the jump, Danny Gokey wails, Kris Allen gets pissed, Allison Iraheta gets sassy, and Adam Lambert starts the show on a lot of high notes.

Given the awkward duets-and-solos nature of the show tonight, I figured we’d look at the duets first, and then grade the solo performances…

Kris Allen and Danny Gokey. How pissed did Kris look to be on that stage? The harmonizing on their version of Styx’s “Renegade” sounded pretty OK, but the two of them had zero chemistry, and their voices didn’t mesh well together when they were trading off verses; Kris seemed completely out of his element, while Danny did his trademark Sensitive-ish Yarl. And I’m sure you all saw Kris’ eye-roll when Simon did his whole toeing the party line and tossed off a “Danny, you were better than Kris” instead of anything resembling a critique? Poor Kris. But more importantly, poor us, for probably having to sit through another week of Danny despite… well, we’ll get to that in a minute.

Allison Iraheta and Adam Lambert. Hands up if the first time you ever heard of Foghat was during the Beastie Boys’ “Hey Ladies” video. Me too! Although I’d heard “Slow Ride” before, on the rock station that blankets Long Island and of course on the early levels of Guitar Hero: World Tour. All of this is to say that their duet was fine, and it was definitely the better of the duets, thanks in large part to the two performers actually being OK with sharing the stage. (The hug at the end was so cute.)

And now–your Top Four:

4. Danny Gokey. Oh good Lord, please take me away from the Gokester’s screech at the end of “Dream On,” which was coupled with strobe lights in such a way that I wouldn’t be surprised if it induced seizures across America. Perhaps this is why Kara DioGuardi, during the Judging On A Big Curve Because We Need Our Red Vs. Blue State Finale segment, said that “Crazy” and “Cryin’” were “early” Aerosmith? At least Simon threw out the whole “I think you’re safe tonight” thing, which maybe will result in people staying away from the phones. Dare to dream.

3. Kris Allen. The arrangements on tonight’s show were very straightforward, and as such Kris’ “Come Together”–on which he played guitar–didn’t veer from Aerosmith’s take on it all that much, but he did growl through the song pretty ably. I thought his annoyance at the duet segment, which immediately preceded his solo performance, helped fire him up quite a bit, and his irritation seemed to continue through the judges’ inane “we have to prop up Gokey as much as we can during what’s going to be a sucky week for him” non-critiques.

2. Allison Iraheta. Her version of “Cry Baby” was fantastic, and I found it curious that the judges were lukewarm about it. (Again, I think there’s a lot of expectation-managing going on here, and it is really aggravating.) “If they do a biopic on Janis, you’ve got the role,” Paula said, no doubt upsetting Jenna Maroney. Also, I liked when she got a little sassy at the end. You tell ‘em that they don’t know which “Somebody To Love” they’re talking about, honey!

1. Adam Lambert. In the package, he said “This is by far my favorite of all the theme weeks, and I want to go out there and kill it.” Well, surprise, he did, matching Robert Plant’s octave leaps on “Whole Lotta Love” while clad in a lot of studs and leather; it was the first time American Idol had used a Led Zeppelin song, and I doubt it’ll be the last. (Randy, in his effusive praising of Adam, said “Nobody’s gonna think about Broadway tonight”–was that a subtle Constantine diss?)

WHO I WOULD HAVE VOTED FOR: Allison and Adam, more for the former than the latter.


WHO WILL PROBABLY GO HOME: Oh, poor Kris. You looked so pissed and really, who could blame you? Even the hormones of a million crazed 13-year-olds can’t come to your rescue when the judges won’t stop driving the Adam-And-Danny Finale Train over you.

REVEALING DIOGUARDISM OF THE NIGHT: You already know. (I wonder if the whole Platinum Weird thing messed up her sense of time? It’s possible.)

American Idol [Official site]

  1. I have to think that it was so hamfistedly obvious that they were in the tank for Gokey (TO EVEN TYPE HIS NAME BURNS MY SPIRIT) that there might be a backlash, VFTW-backing notwithstanding, and people might actually just go, “No, you know what, judges and producers? That shit was awful.” I mean, just fantastically bad. The sort of bad that wouldn’t have gotten him through the audition door.

    Even if he doesn’t go home tonight, the transparent attempt to push Gokey into the final after such a jaw-droppingly bad performance will make him a paper tiger at best. The desperation and panic in his eyes, as his confidence immolates, will only make him even more and more angry, more and more crazy, until he finally blows his own head off in the finals, making for some outstanding TV viewing.

    I think it’s hysterical how much it doesn’t matter if Adam actually wins at this point. The dude’s still going to sell a bazillion records, and I am still kinda embarrassed I didn’t pick up on the potential Robert Plant comparisons until yesterday. (Not quite a golden god – gothed-out god?) Although this might be indicative of how much Rock Band I’ve played, but the whole time with Adam’s wardrobe, I was wondering if they were from the Rock or Metal sections of the game…

    Alison was fine, but again, she sings every song as if she’s an American Idol contestant. (She should have smoked a pack of Marlboros before the show for verisimilitude.) Points to her, though, for not choosing “Piece of My Heart,” esp. for the reasons she stated.

    I had no real problem with Kris’ take on it, but it did reveal once more his “stretch the week’s theme as much as I can to get to something even remotely near my comfort zone from which I shall not stray” strategy. He really shouldn’t go home tonight, but it’s more a matter of if it’s this week or next. I’m pulling for an Adam-Alison final, and I really do not understand the Gokey push unless it really is for a lame American Culture War moment (that’s already way dated).

    Kara is a worthless sack of skin.

  2. i have been searching in vain for that clip from who framed roger rabbit where eddie gives roger a whiskey and then he blasts into the air and screams like a train whistle so i could post it here and caption it EXCLUSIVE MUST CREDIT IDOLATOR SLASH AND GOKEY GO TO BAR TOGETHER – VIDEO!! but unfortunately disney are assholes and have removed all signs of this video from the internet. but just imagine that here and you’ll get the idea.

  3. My comment could use a copyeditor.

  4. You don’t need me to tell you this, but you are absolutely correct with everything here. Critique, ranking, and prediction.

    Interesting moment that will have all the “Idol is rigged!” crowd yapping: after Adam and Allison performed “Slow Ride”, Simon told Adam that “you may have given this one a chance of staying in the competition because of that”, followed up by the camera showing Adam saying “I hope so”…(discuss…P.S. “this one”???)

  5. I spent a significant portion of the evening weighing whether or not the judges were strategically tearing Allison down so as to light a fire under her fanbase. Or if they are just collectively retarded. I am leaning towards the latter option.

  6. I actually lol’ed at Randy’s “Nobody’s gonna think about Broadway tonight”, since that’s exactly what I was thought it looked liked, especially with Adam’s overemphasized facial tics: a Broadway version of a rock concert, more than an actual rock concert.

  7. Your ranking is dead-on, but did anyone else think Adam produced a totally flawless but not-that-different performance? (You imply as much with your comparison to Plant’s octaves.) It was a superb recreation, but it wasn’t a reinvention, contrary to some of the judges’ comments (including Simon).

    That said, maybe I should be grateful he didn’t try to reinvent the song. I was among those puzzled and left cold by the reinvention of “If I Can’t Have You” two weeks ago.

    Finally, don’t worry about Jenna — she’s already starring in the biopic of Jackie Jormp-Jomp.

  8. Why can’t they just forgo the duets and let the contestants sing longer versions of their songs? I am getting so sick of the verse – chorus – bridge- chorus arrangements.

    The energy build feels completely artificial 99% of the time and I would love to see the singers take their time working the songs.

    Case in point:

  9. thanks for confirming that Kara DID say he should have picked an early Aerosmith song, i was having trouble beleiving that was what i heard… picking something earlier than their first single off their first album would be kinda difficult.

  10. i believe that apparatus gokey has on is the very useful ‘choke chain’ device we midwesterners use to train our dogs. THE IRONY.

  11. Okay, I’ll take my lumps. Gokey’s last note was as bad as a note can get from anyone. Everyone has an off night, but that was legendary. You could tell that Slash kind of knew it was going to be a disaster. I didn’t think the duet with Kris was that bad. Not having a proper rehearsal probably hurt Kris and definitely Danny the most. Adam opening and closing the show seemed to be very convenient. I think the judges know that love him or hate him, Gokey is not just going to roll over for Adam the way Allison and Kris probably would. Sicksteanein is right about the song lengths. They need to skip the banter and duets and let them do the full songs.

  12. My favorite part of the show was Slash’s smirk during his critique of Gokey while he was saying, “It could go either way.”

    He was simply awful.

    I hear Kara is a fan of Slash’s early work, back with Velvet Revolver.

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