Remember when the night of the final three on American Idol used to have three songs per contestant? When the producers got to pick a song for the contestants in addition to the judges' and singers' picks? When the top priority in this competition was, y'know, singing?
Given the timing problems Idol's had all season, I suppose it's not surprising that the contestants sang just two songs each on Tuesday's performance show. (Seriously, though — they couldn't have held the Idol Gives Back update for Wednesday?) Overall, though, I thought it was a pretty solid night, with a couple of songs that I'd actually consider buying on iTunes. Don't forget to cast your vote for who's heading home, and to see my thoughts, just
Danny — Paula's choice — "Dance Little Sister" is the kind of song that's right in Danny's zone, with the gruffness and the growling and the grooving. It's also when he reminds me the most of Taylor Hicks, so take that as you will. Randy said it was a good start, Kara thought the dancing was a bit much, and Simon didn't like the song choice or the arrangement but praised the vocals.
Kris — Kara and Randy's choice — I would have thought that "Apologize" would have been perfect for Kris . . . and I would have thought wrong. He seemed to be working so hard — whether to remember the words or play piano or whatever — which killed the energy of the performance. Also, his falsetto isn't the best, and he seemed hesitant to commit to it. Kara called it competent but uninteresting, while Simon just bickered with the other judges.
Adam — Simon's choice — About 20 seconds into Adam's performance of "One," I wondered aloud why anyone else is even still in this competition. Adam has incredible control of his voice, and that was made crystal clear at the start of this song. Granted, it eventually turned into a wail-y arrangement that I could imagine at a junior high formal, but that's mostly beside the point. Kara praised Adam's unique take on the song, Paula said it was superb, and Simon said it'll be crazy if he's not in the final.
Danny — his choice — Danny slowed it down for "You Are So Beautiful," sitting at center stage and singing on top of a quiet arrangement. He changed the melody to suit his voice and sang it nearly rasp-free. I'm pretty bored with Danny at this point, but that might be his best performance of the season. Randy said he had "mad vocals," Kara called it stunning, and Simon said it was a vocal master class.
Kris — his choice — Well, that was unexpected. If you took my reaction to Kris singing One Republic and flipped it 180 degrees, that would be what I thought about him singing Kanye's "Heartless." And I gotta say, he blew me away. This acoustic version was different, modern, and very much his style. Kara said that's the kind of risk she wanted to see him take, and Simon said he was no longer writing Kris off as a potential finalist.
Adam — his choice — Adam closed the show out with a pretty glam rock-y take on Aerosmith's "Cryin'," with the unfortunate addition of a background vocalist who seemed to be wildly off pitch. It was one of his screamier performances — and thus not one of my favorites — but there's no denying that he carries himself like a rock star. Kara was baffled by his range, Paula said he did Steven Tyler proud, and Simon gave a warning to Adam's fans that they still need to vote.
Best of the night — Overall Adam was the most solid, but each contestant had at least one outstanding performance. My favorite of the night was either Adam's "One" or Kris's "Heartless."
Going home — I really have no idea. The only situation where I'd be upset, I think, is a Kris/Danny final. Adam seems to have earned a spot for sure, but I think it'll be awfully close between the other two.
Photos courtesy of Fox