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American Idol Recap: The Top Nine Performances

American Idol Rundown: The Top Nine Rock the Downloads

I think the top nine on American Idol are having a collective identity crisis this year. Each week seems to be the same: The singers pick songs that will show a particular side of them to the judges, then the judges tell them they picked the wrong songs and they should be doing something more like _____. The next week, the singers do that, and the judges tell them it's wrong, too. It's got to be confusing, and I have to say, it's making for some awkward television.

This might have been most evident on Tuesday, when the singers sang any songs that were popular on iTunes. (I'm pretty sure "popular" was never really defined; I don't think it was this top 100.) They all tried to be modern, but most of them missed the particular kind of modern the judges hoped they'd be. A couple singers were exceptions, though. Tell me which singer you think is headed home, and to chat about the night, just


Anoop Desai — It's nice to see Anoop doing something high-energy again with "Caught Up." But I'm starting to understand why Anoop's good at a cappella: He doesn't seem to know quite how to sing with a backing track. Kara said it was like someone had dared him to sing Usher, Simon said it was an unoriginal mess, but Randy said the vocals were good.

Megan Joy — I disagree with the judges here. Bob Marley and Lauryn Hill's "Turn the Lights Down Low" is the kind of song I've been wanting to hear from Megan, and while I'll grant that it wasn't surprising, it did showcase her voice in a way we haven't heard recently. Also wise of her not to dance. But the judges said she picked the wrong song, was dull, and is in trouble.

Danny Gokey — "What Hurts the Most" was a good choice for him; he's good when he stands still and belts one out. I liked the verses better than the chorus, though, because at that point he seemed to pull back and stop selling the song as much. Still, I could hear it on the radio. Simon said he was miles ahead of the first two, and Paula said he thrives on this kind of song.

Allison Iraheta — First, whoever's doing her hair needs to take a step back. On a more relevant note, "Don't Speak" was definitely in her wheelhouse, but she didn't hit her groove until about 2/3 of the way through; the first verse, in particular, sounded awfully wobbly. The judges liked her rock vibe but not the "dressy-uppy" outfit and hairdo; Simon also said she shouted the song.

Scott MacIntyre — Singing the Piano Man was probably a good idea for Idol's own piano man, and "Just the Way You Are" is the kind of adult-contemporary fare Scott should be able to rock. It was probably his best performance on the big stage, but I thought he got wail-y on the high notes. Randy called it among the night's best, and Kara said it was emotional.

Matt Giraud — I was afraid this would be another Coldplay disaster, but "You Found Me" was a slightly better take on modern for him. Thing is, though, I still like him better when he's being jazzy. Could he just not have a great voice for pop-rock? He can't quite do gravelly, and the weird stage setup didn't help. Simon said he seemed uptight, and Paula missed the old Matt.

Lil Rounds — I thought Lil might be able to pull off Celine, but "I Surrender" taught me something interesting: I don't think she has as big a voice as we all thought she did. She had some great power notes in the back half of the song, but the first half was kind of thin. Kara wants more wow, Paula wants more joy, Simon wants more risk, and Randy wants more Mary J.

Adam Lambert — Sorry, not even Adam Lambert's power-voice can make "Play That Funky Music" anything more than above-average karaoke. But here's the thing: He's darn entertaining. He's the only singer who's really keeping me guessing this season; I'm always excited to see what he does next. Paula put him in the same league as Steven Tyler, and Kara likes his surprises.

Kris Allen — Kris wanted to make "Ain't No Sunshine" modern, and between his voice and the pretty awesome strings arrangement, I'd say he nailed it. I didn't even know he played piano, and yet his keyboard performance rocketed above both Scott and Matt in my book. Randy said he slayed it, Paula said it could be his first single, and Simon liked his confidence.

Best of the night: Kris, then Adam, and then . . . um, Danny, maybe?

In trouble: Megan, maybe Lil, maybe Allison, maybe Anoop. I think Scott probably did just enough to be safe this week, and Matt's fans should be out in droves.

Going home: Seems like it's gonna be Megan's turn.

Photos courtesy of Fox

Join The Conversation
emalove emalove 8 years
I've only watched this show 3 times this whole season, but that Megan girl is HORRIBLE. I can't even believe she got on the show.
missbrooke09 missbrooke09 8 years
Danny's peformance was overrated. It was good, but it wasn't great. I don't know. He's only okay for me. I don't get the whole Danny hype. I kinda liked Allison. Matt wasn't that bad. It wasn't my favorite Matt performance, but he wasn't terrible. I still love him. He doesn't deserve to go home yet. Adam is awesome. I hated his song choice, but I still love him. And his performance was fun. :) Kris was my favorite last night. He's actually been consistantly good every week and he keeps getting better. I've always had a soft spot for him, but I never thought he'd even make the top 12/13. If he keeps this up, I think he could possibly crack the top 3. The thing with Lil is that I don't think she's a power, belty singer. She's a wannabe power, belty singer. She's overestimating her abilities. Scott is so freaking boring. I can't tell the difference between any of his peformances. He sounds the same every week. Megan is waaaaaay out of her league. She's unique. And she's pretty, but that's not enough to carry her anymore. Anoop was just okay. He's better at the slower stuff... Kara is not good with numbers at all. Last week 6 was really 8. This week, Studio 57? What? I'm really getting annoyed at this lady. Ugh.
cherrygirl143 cherrygirl143 8 years
I guess I'll just repeat others, Adam is awesome and I am on the edge of my seat every time he steps on the stage. Where there other performers?
raieven raieven 8 years
I think Kara was spot on when she said that Megan's singing was irritating. Why was she warbling like that? I admit I have missed a couple episodes but does she ALWAYS just stand there and swing her arms awkwardly like that? To me she is just TOO Amy Winehouse wannabe. Sorry-I don't like her. She needs to go. Anoop also needs to go next. I just don't get his appeal. He seems so full of himself. Is it just me? I think Scott might have peaked last night, but thats okay because I really enjoyed his performance. For me, it was just want I wanted-the artist, and one (or maybe two) instruments, just singing their heart out. It was refreshing. Adam's arrangement was awesome! I like him. Don't get the hate. Am I the only one who thinks Kris' arrangement was awfully similar to what David Cook did last season with Mariah's "Always Be My Baby"?
care0531 care0531 8 years
I actually agree with most of you disappointed in this season. They are all good but I don't see anyone as GREAT. I like Matt the best and don't see the intrest in Adam. Yes he is entertaining and puts on a good show on stage but that is for Broadway and that is where he should be. Let's be realistic all those people who like Danny and Adam (who seem to be the top vote getters) are you really going to buy and enjoy the type of album they will put out? I can't even tell what type of album Danny would want to do with the song choices he is making.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Megan needs to go home yesterday. IMO her voice is suited to a very narrow range of music and it is not suited for a competition like this where versatility is what's going to score points. As an artist Adam has my up most respect he is clearly in charge of his instrument and sings like a master. I really liked his performance last night and until Kris sang it was my favorite. However Kris' not only wowed me it made my eyes water he was beautiful and in the zone. I love it when people grow like he did, IMO he was clearly the best performance last night.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Oh, and Danny? someone please kick him. He is so transparently manipulating the audience with his song choices, it makes me sick.
lemuse20 lemuse20 8 years
This season is such a disappointment to me... Matt is the only one who's able to hold my interest.
princess_eab princess_eab 8 years
Gosh, this season SUCKS. Last night was painful. Lil was so off-key, how could the judges not hear that??! Honestly I've watched every episode of AI and voted, and there's not one person I care about voting for. Possibly the last dude, because he actually did a good job, but it was still boring as hell. Blech.
nikecold nikecold 8 years
I love love love Turn the lights down low, but Megan beyond butchered it. The second seacrest said Bob Marley was coming our way I was excited and then he said Megan's name and it all went away, how sad is it that i KNEW she was going to ruin it? Even Jason Castro did better Bob M renditions las season...
reesiekitty reesiekitty 8 years
I just wonder how much each contestant is allowed to insist on a certain look or outfit. I mean, since AI is paying for the clothes, maybe there is a lot of pressure on contestants to take the stylist's 'advice'. Also, there just seems to be a lot of dangling chains this season!! I like some chain or a nice belt or necklace as much as anyone, but Megan for example, was draped up like crazy. And on the closeups you could see that they were just really tacky plastic fake pearls and faux-gold chains... I just thought it looked cheap and not cool.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
reesikitty I was wondering the same on the wardrobe.
reesiekitty reesiekitty 8 years
I also thought they gave Scott sort of an Eraserhead hair do!! His hair is too curly to pull of the faux-hawk. But I thought it looked bad before, so maybe this is an improvement. What is up with the judges always critisizing the way people look? Does anyone know- how much input do the contestants actually get in their outfits, hair, etc? Do the AI stylists work with them and let them pick things or do the wardrobe people just select outfits for each person? Do they buy all those men's shirts and jackets with the faux-military look and the printed dragons and tribal stuff on them at the same shop or make them custom for AI? With all the talk of how important it is for each contestant to establish a unique identity that people will remember, I always feel like they are styled and dressed very similarly. Anyone else think this?
reesiekitty reesiekitty 8 years
Doesn't everyone - Megan herself, the judges, etc- know that Megan is the Vote for the Worst candidate right now and that is what is keeping her on the show? If they had not turned out in droves for her the past two weeks she would have been long gone. Here is my issue with Megan- she just sounds copycat to me. It cracked me up when Randy brought up Adele, Duffy, Amy Winehouse, because when Megan opens her mouth, she just sounds to me like a not too great copycat of all those singers. Someone who listens to their cds over and over and tries to sing into her mirror and sound like each of them and has no ACTUAL real style of her own. It's a mark of how incredibly homogenized AI is that a contestant like Megan is supposed to get originality points just for TRYING to sort of copy other singers who do have a unique style. Duffy and Adele have that sewn up- Megan needs to go, but probably won't because of VFTW- but no one ever talks about that. I liked Anoop ok, but in the end he was sort of forgettable for me tonight and I think he's going home :/ Danny was totally in his zone. I think he has a nice voice and he is not my favorite- but he is VERY sincere and that is what totally sells his performance to me. Knowing what's going on with him and feeling like it was all very real for him made me relate to this song, and as the judges are always telling us, that is so important. I hate whoever is dressing Allison and doing her hair. Again- how out of touch AI can be. Just because she likes to do a sort of punky/rock/power-pop, you don't have to hang chains and lace and crap off of her every week. Let her have dyed hair if that's her thing, sure. But don't STYLE it up all the time and quit making her look heavier than she is with the weird fake Lolita-goth/Hannah Montanna outfits. Allison always looks much better in the cut away scenes where she just has on jeans and a t shirt or something like that and her hair isn't teased all to heck and gone. That said- I thought this was a great song. She made it her own- did NOT copy cat Gwen Stefani and that is a big challenge for a girl her age. Scott... sigh. I think he made a good choice, but has a weak, pretty voice. HOWEVER- I totally think he could have a career in the industry. I could easily see him as a professional arranger, pianist, back-up singer, working in the music industry. Just not front man material. I just don't get Matt. He sort of wants to be cooler than he is. Simon not thinking the Frey was recognizable was hysterical- again, AI, there is more to music than Mariah and Whitney, etc. But Matt just can't quite pull that stuff off for me and it always ends up with me having an impression that he did ok, but not really remembering much about him. I just don't think he has star power or something. I love Lil, but again, hated the song. I think she WAS trying to diva it up and please the judges and can you blame her? Normally if anyone even half way decent tries to do the diva they respond like Pavlov's dogs. But her dress looked weird in the back (needed to smooth it- I don't mind the junk in the trunk at all, but a smooth pantyline was needed for that) but her makeup looked great. The hair made her look old- Paula nailed it with her 'adult contemp Lil' remark. I DO think she has a big ole voice- but it was a bad song for her. What was it that Cara ( who I actually agreed with most of the night, unusual for me) and Randy suggested she do? Anyway, I remember thinking ' Oh yeah, Lil could have rocked that' The adorable kid probably did clench her, though. I don't want her to go home, just to sing the right stuff. And wasn't Randy CUTE??? Does he have kids?? I love Adam every time even when I don't totally like what he's doing. He connects with the audience, rock-solid EVERY SINGLE TIME and they respond to him and I think that is what wins this show. This was over the top and silly- but come on! It was one of the only non-sleepers of the night and just fun. I think Adam is the one to beat. He does need to work on his vocal control a little, but I have no doubt he can if he pays attention. Um... Kris. He seems like the nicest guy in the world, but I can barely remember his name. I LIKED this- and I think Simon was correct about the arrangement. Kris has a nice voice, but it was the arrangement that did a LOT of the work for him here and made him sound better. Bill Withers has such a more powerful, mellow voice that comparing the original vocal to Kris just made Kris wash right out for me. Same with the Lauryn Hill remake- if you listen to the original, Megan just sounds SO far down on the scale from it that you realize what a bad song it was for her. All in all, I liked Adam and Allison best tonight because they both ALWAYS look like they are having a good time. So many of the others looked clenched and tense and nervous from the minute they started singing. Even if Allison wobbled a bit on her opening, she sucks it all in and carries on and takes charge and Adam can do that too. They just look more professional and like they're having a better time than everyone else.
care0531 care0531 8 years
Kris is not as orginal as people think- that was a cover of what Justin Timberlake did at his concert last year.
Happsmjc Happsmjc 8 years
I thought: 1. Danny was screaming the whole time, I just don't know what the judges liked?? 2. I still like Meghan, I didn't hate the may have been boring but AT LEAST she can sing (in her own odd way!) 3. I thought Matt was much better than they gave him credit for--I hope he is safe! 4. Scott did give "his best performance" as the judges said, but he still really can't sing in my book. I love him though. 5. I loved Kris Allen. 6. How were ANY of these popular itunes downloads?? I think they should have had to pick from the list Buzz linked to above...these songs were outdated, some terrible! Who is downloading Play that Funky Music?!?! Terrible!
Elsa2 Elsa2 8 years
I love Adam the best, with Kris and Allison as close seconds ! I just don't understand the hype about Danny and Lil. They are both way overated in my opinion and never added anything special to their performances. I couldn't believe how they overpraised Danny last night !
annebreal annebreal 8 years
I thought the thing with Lil's kids was awful and awkward, not cute! I was yelling at the TV to just leave her kids alone. To put a small child on the spot after their mom got universally panned, then drag said child up to the judges table after Lil has started crying? Leave it alone, producers, don't scare small children! God.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
Lil has not brought it the entire time she has been here... I really wouldn't mind her going either. Megan IS big headed, she is cocky and thinks she can do no wrong.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
Elizabeth i forgot about her kids, they were so cute with grandpa Randy, lol.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
Lauren I would save Matt too, I used to really like Annop, but his wow factor is just not there anymore, and Megan has gotten so cocky and big headed, it's beyond her time to go and then Adam and then Anoop and then Scott and then Matt and then Lil and then Allison and then Kris and finally Danny wins.
ElizabethRae ElizabethRae 8 years
Ugh, I agree with whoever said this episode was blah. Adam and Kris were the highlights of the show for me. I usually hate Kris because I am so distracted by his facial expressions that I can't enjoy the music - but I happened to be doing something during the song and by the end, realized I really actually like his voice if I don't have to look at him. I usually love Anoop but he disappointed me last night. I am waaaaaay over Danny. Lil has sucked several weeks in a row, and I think it's time for us to forget that she used to be good and start voting on what she's doing now (but her kids were super cute). Megan was terrible, as usual, and I really hope she leaves. The rest were so-so.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
And, I hate the way Ryan acts toward and talks to Scott. As, if he wasn't human or something, jesus the guy is only blind.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
I think that if Anoop, Megan, or Matt or in the bottom three the judges MIGHT save Matt... not Anoop or Megan though. :shrug:
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
I take that as jokes, kind of like if you are going to laugh and make fun of me I will do it to myself first kind of thing, see this is where I don't get the crutch thing, I don't get it with Scott and I don't get it with Danny, how can you control what the judges say? Never once have I thought either one used their situation to further in the competition and that;s what I applauped the most.
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