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American Idol Recap: Kris Allen and Adam Lambert Compete for the Title

American Idol Rundown: The Final Showdown

Tuesday's final American Idol performance show was, as Ryan Seacrest said, "the acoustic rocker vs. the glam rocker, Conway vs. California, the guy next door vs. the guyliner." It was a battle between two musicians with different looks, different styles, and different sounds. And in the end, I'm not sure whether Kris Allen or Adam Lambert is going to come away the winner.

As Idol finales go, this one was relatively strong, with each contestant revisiting a favorite song from earlier in the competition, singing a song chosen by producer Simon Fuller, and closed with one co-written by Kara DioGuardi. (That song, by the way, seemed to hold to the standard of Idol coronation songs that must be about moving mountains and scaling obstacles and overcoming odds. How about one year, they just sing an unsappy pop song? It's a thought.) In the midst of the competition, Simon called round one for Kris, round two for Adam, and left round three up in the air — so, who will it be? Don't forget to cast your vote, and to see my take on the songs, just


Adam Lambert
"Mad World" — Adam picked this for his repeat performance, this time donning a trench coat and descending the stairs in a cloud of fog. This time around, he seemed to change the melody a bit more and amp up the theatrical element — for better or for worse. It was confident and solid, especially for the night's first song. Randy gave it an A+, Kara liked seeing him return to the song that made him stand out as an artist, but Simon said it reminded him of Phantom of the Opera.

"A Change is Gonna Come" — Simon Fuller picked a song that let Adam show off his soulful side, and while I wasn't sure about it at first, there's no denying his range. It was loud and powerful when it needed to be, then softer and restrained — and was that a little bit of an Elvis lip curl I saw? "You can sing your face off," said Randy. Kara said it was Adam's best of the season, and Paula — not to be outdone — said that was the best he'd done "ever ever ever." Simon said it got him back in the game.

"No Boundaries" — Man, this is not Adam's kind of song at all. It seemed almost like he was fighting it: He wanted to get a little screamy, but the song kept saying no. He didn't seem totally comfortable, either — maybe the first and only time I've said that about him all season. Randy said it was "just a'ight" and a little pitchy, Kara said she was proud to have Adam sing her song, and Simon basically offered no critique and just said he believes they've found a worldwide star.

Kris Allen
"Ain't No Sunshine" — I would have guessed he'd pick "Heartless" or even "Falling Slowly," but behind the piano, Kris really worked this song. He got a little bit of a beat going behind it, but when he slowed down to hit the final notes, the whole crowd fell silent. It was one of his most passionate performances — and the camera lingered on Simon's applause. Randy said that's the kind of record Kris should make, Kara said he's a moving performer, and Simon said Kris proved he belonged in the finals.

"What's Going On" — This is pretty much exactly the kind of song I can imagine Kris recording, right down to the foot stomping and clapping and washboard rhythm. That said, it wasn't particularly captivating or exciting or unique, just very relaxed. Too relaxed? Randy thought it was "a little bit light" for the finale, Kara said he's the kind of singer who should be taking on songs with social messages (?), and Simon said it was too much like "three friends in their bedroom strumming along to Marvin Gaye."

"No Boundaries" — This song was a better fit for Kris than for Adam, but even he couldn't do much with it. While the style seemed to mesh with his voice and aesthetic, he didn't have the power to make the chorus soar. If you could merge both versions of the song, maybe you'd have the ideal recording, but as it was, I didn't think either one stood out. Randy said the song suited Kris better, Kara thought the key was too high and didn't want him to be judged on that (huh?), and Simon just said it was great to see him feeling confident.

The best: Both contestants had high points, but I thought the night actually hit its peak in round one, with "Mad World" vs. "Ain't No Sunshine." (As, it turns out, so did the contestants themselves.)

The worst: Both versions of "No Boundaries." If neither of them could make that song work, I wonder whose voice, exactly, could make it good.

The winner: Based on the season as a whole, it should be Adam. But something deep down tells me it's Kris. Wednesday should be a fun night!

Photos courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
Allyace Allyace 8 years
Kara (who has written some good songs) should be embarrassed that her name is attached to that song... I really hope that the winner gets to record a different song for their first single or it is going to be a major flop. Sure it isn't the best song ever written, but I still listen to David Cook's "Time of my Life".
missbrooke09 missbrooke09 8 years
Neither FTW. I don't want either one of them to have to sing that awful song. I'm not surprised Kris didn't do Heartless. I mean, he just sang that last week so it makes sense to me that he didn't want to do it two weeks in a row. I was hoping he'd do Falling Slowly, but now I'm glad he sang Ain't No Sunshine. He was incredible. Mad World kind of lost a bit of its magic for me. I was completely mesmerized the first time Adam sang it, but there was something off about the reprise. I don't know. He was still great though. I wish they could've chosen their own songs for round 2. I don't really get the point of Simon Fuller choosing their songs for them. And well, the coronation sucked. I feel bad for whoever wins because they're stuck with it. I'll take David Cook's magic rainbows any day. It really doesn't matter to me who wins. I love them both. They've both had really strong seasons. Kris is more my style and I've preferred his song choices, but Adam is mad talented and he's been amazing all season. I'm really looking forward to both of their CDs.
misscococherie misscococherie 8 years
That song SUCKED!, Kara should go! But i thought Kris version was slightly better than Adam. In my heart i want Kris to win (I Voted like 30 times lol) but something tells me Adam will win. I really don't like his voice, the only song i can hear and that i absolutely love is Mad World. Other than that he's always shouting and there's no way to relate to the moment while he's singing it. Kris Allen's Ain't No Sunshine was amazing, it took my breath away. KRIS FTW!
care0531 care0531 8 years
Dial Idol has Kris in the lead but by the tiniest of margins. I think when Idol was looking to make some changes one of them should have been that last song. Last year weren't the contestants given songs to choose from and they each picked something different? We don't need to hear anymore lame songs about climing mountains and reaching dreams. My husband thought the same thing as you annebrel- he thinks its fixed and they were thinking it would be Gokey and Adam in the finals and that song would have been more suited for the pop styles of Gokey.
rainonme224 rainonme224 8 years
What a boring finale! At this point I really don't care who wins, I'd prefer Kris over Adam, but I honestly thought this entire season was pretty lame.
Curlywhirl Curlywhirl 8 years
annebreal - I completly agree with you on the Taylor Hicks comparison. The differance is that Adam is an entertainer,and has had a whole other career, so he can be a big star on broadway or tv. Taylor had nothing else going for him. So I think if he does win, his album will be a bust!
annebreal annebreal 8 years
What the hell was going on with that song? Did Kara write it for Danny or Scott? It was sooooo corny. I do think it totally highlighted why Adam really shouldn't win - his AI winner album would be a disaster. He wouldn't have enough creative control, and I still don't get how 70s rock gone Broadway is going to be at all radio friendly. He's so the next Taylor Hicks - beloved by his fans, a trainwreck for Idol. Too bad the producers and judges have been too busy throwing themselves at him to get it. Kris has had good moments and forgettable moments, but really I can't get over how ridiculous this show has been this season with how blatantly the producers flaunted their picks for the finals.
raieven raieven 8 years
It took three writers to pen that piece of crap song?! A lot of lyric indeed! Kara needs to GO, stat. At least Paula knows she's ridiculous.
piper23 piper23 8 years
I've been pulling for Adam but the look on the judges faces if Kris wins will be fun to watch. It irks me how much they want Adam to win. Total bias from all of them.
Entertainment Entertainment 8 years
About that last song — when they came into the press room, someone asked how they felt about singing it. They said all the "right" things (like that it was a beautiful song with a great message, etc.) but Adam also said it was "a lot of lyric" and that they didn't have very long to work on it. Neither one of them mentioned it as a favorite performance of the night.
cherrygirl143 cherrygirl143 8 years
I still would rather see Motley Crue up there singing Home Sweet Home...sorry I like Carrie buy not singing my Crue!
khameel khameel 8 years
"No Boundaries" was painful to watch. I really like both of them, so I'm guessing it's going to be a close win...
the-afterlife the-afterlife 8 years
Eeeee!! I hate how they're airing the performances tomorrow night in India.. by tomorrow morning I shall have already found out who won. I'm trying not to google it but restraint won't prevail. I WANT KRIS TO WIN!! Adam's unique.. but just one kind of unique. The screamy shouty kind and we already have a "scene" full of those guys.
Curlywhirl Curlywhirl 8 years
The final song was horrible! I think they wrote it for Danny. Really I do, think about it. It would have fit him perfectly. Now, I love both boys... but I would never buy an album by Adam, and my question is, what kind of music is he going to sing? 80's Glam Rock. I think he's going to be a big star, but not in music... I think he'll be kind of like Jennifer Hudson is. Kris on the other hand, I think he will have a great album and he's shown me what kind of artist he is, and I love the way he arranges music. I like his laid back style! Adam screams to much. That said, I kind of wish both of them could win because I love both of them. I HOPE the producers don't make whoever wins sing that awful song.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
This song proves my dislike of Kara.
mrscharles-2007 mrscharles-2007 8 years
No matter who wins, the song is terrible. I wouldn't listen to it no matter who sings it. It wasn't a good song in general and it definitely did not fit Adam or Kris. I didn't feel like either of them really liked it. If I were Adam and Kris, I don't think I'd want to win if I had to sing "No Boundaries"
Briandiesel Briandiesel 8 years
I tried to vote for Kris 17 times- not 1 of them was counted.. The show overall was kinda eh. The second songs were such annoying choices because Adams was such a better song and he was able to blow and scream where Kris' song, I mean what else can you do with that? It's not like its a loud song to begin with... so boo on that. The final song was terrible and I was frustrated as hell at what Kara said about not judging Kris off of this song because the key was too high.. it's like, couldn't anyone have told anyone to lower the key.. pretty much proves that they had like an hour to get it together- but Adam's was not much better. Kris for the win- even though its soooo clear the judges want Adam to win
Yv Yv 8 years
Simon Fuller's song choices were boring, not suited for the finale. Each year the idol coronation song is sooo awful I myself feel embarrassed... and really bad for the contestants that they have to sing it. And this year's composition just killed Kris. And it didn't do any good for Adam either. I agree with everything Buzz said about it. His performance wasn't pitchy at all (never is!) but he couldn't keep up with the pace. I don't care who wins, I love both of them. Adam is a performer with incredible and impeccable voice, and Kris is a musician with great taste. They both are original, intelligent and uncompromising. This twosome is the best there can be in the AI final.
acemonkey acemonkey 8 years
I wish they would have shown more of Carrie's performance instead of highlights from the show.
care0531 care0531 8 years
I don't really care who wins because they will both sell albums. That last song was HORRIBLE! SO BAD!
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
I was hoping for a better show too. The songs were all SOOO slow. THe last song sucked so bad.
piper23 piper23 8 years
When it comes to song choices (producer and contestants), I thought it was a very boring show. I was hoping for some rock out performances from Adam but he didn't deliver. Kris may win this thing after all.
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