May 6, 2009

Was it fair to introduce duets when there were 4 contestants left and 3 were males?

It meant — on "American Idol" last night — that one of the male contestants would have the advantage of singing with the lone female and the other 2 males would have to sing with each other. An added complexity is that one of the males is perceived as gay.

Is Adam Lambert openly gay? It's never talked about or alluded to on the show. And — the theme was rock — when he sang "Whole Lotta Love" for his solo last night the line "Way down inside, woman, you need me" was utterly convincing — thrilling, even.

But the perceived gayness of Adam made it a special disadvantage — or should I say a special problem — for him to be paired with one of the other males, and I think that was what determined that Kris Allen and Danny Gokey would need to be the male pair, and that Adam would go with Allison Iraheta.

Or do you think that the producers put Allison with Adam to hurt Kris/Danny? The theory is: Either Danny/Kris must go this week, because you want to keep the only female and you can't lose the truly exciting Adam. (Is Adam in danger? He was in the bottom 2 last week in a shocker, but he probably wasn't anywhere near the actual last-place finisher, Matt Giraud. And the seeming close call lit a fire under his fans, so they'd call like mad this week.)

So, put Danny and Kris side by side and let people judge who is better. In the duet, it was clear that Danny was better. Unfortunately for Danny, he subsequently performed solo, attempted to sing "Dream On," and was perfectly awful. Painful, really. What happened?
The whole point of "Dream On" are the screams Steven Tyler pulls off at the end, the ones that Adam Lambert could have pulled off at the end ... and as Gokey was going through this song, it seemed like he was just going to rearrange the song to avoid them. Jen and I kept looking at each other -- now will he? -- and then, when he did, it missed as much as Scott Macintyre missed everything on "The Search Is Over," as much as Corey Clark on "Against All Odds." It was brutal. Both on his cumulative downwards slide and especially on tonight, he deserves to go home now.
Spooked by Adam's superiority, then?

Speaking of "Dream On," I dreamed I was watching the results show — yes, lame of me to dream I'm watching "American Idol" — and Danny lost — not only lost, but they ran out of time and deprived him of the farewell video montage.

Here, now be careful:

AND: It's viral!


rhhardin said...

Bach had 4 duets which are actually keyboard solos.

They could each have done one.

vet66 said...

I wonder if there is a correlation between the Miss America judges and American Idol judges. They seem to be attempting to mainstream gays at every turn.

bagoh20 said...

These Idol posts make me feel funny. I'm gonna call my mom.

SteveR said...

Adam wasn't in the bottom two last week, he was in the bottom three and was not called safe. Numerically he was probably much much closer to the top vote getter than either of the other two in the bottom three.

They will do that without clarification to create faux drama. He wasn't in any danger then or now.

Yeah Dream On... bad, but he's safe. Did you know his wife died?

Anonymous said...

I thought at the time that they paired Allison with Adam because she's the only one of the other three that can keep up with him vocally. Adam would have made Kris or Danny look awful in comparison. Allison actually has the chops to sing with him, as she demonstrated so well.

Zachary Sire said...

I wonder if there is a correlation between the Miss America judges and American Idol judges. They seem to be attempting to mainstream gays at every turn.How disgusting of them.

Anonymous said...

I agree with 2yellowdogs- Professor, I think that you're reading too much into the gayness thing- Adam simply would have made either of the "nice boys" look absolutely awful if he had to stand next to them and sing a rock song. It's bad enough during the group sings. Even with Allison (who I love), the contrast was stark, but at least the fact that she was a girl and that she has a complementary style made it less jarring.

If they were singing love songs, it would have been odder, but this was rock- traditionally the province of same sex groups, so I don't think that it was a problem for the 2 boys to have to duo.

traditionalguy said...

Since when is AI fair to contestants?

Adam said...

For what it's worth, there's no reason why Adam couldn't have been paired up with one of the other gentlemen on "Under Pressure" or the Jagger/Bowie "Dancing in the Streets," say.

Thank goodness they put Team Jebus together. Time for Hokey Gokey to go home.

PatCA said...

I think they put Allison and Adam together, yes, because they were both such strong rockers.

I'm also glad Slash told Adam to cool it with the upper register screeching--so Slash and I think alike! Should I be worried?

I think Cara is getting a little critical of the guys because she wants to save Allison. Save the Girl Singer, Save the World!

Maybe we should have a question in case of a tie: what do you think of gay marriage. Just an idea

Joan said...

Only slightly on-topic... I haven't been watching this year, except the occasional clip on YouTube, and I was very hard on Adam after he mutilated "Ring of Fire." I just want to say that his "Whole Lotta Love" was awesome.

Trooper York said...

They had the matchup's because they wanted to help Allison. Even Simon admitted it when he said to close the show that the performance of the duet will help Allison survice to the next round.

Dead wife guy should be gone but it will most likely be Chris.

Trooper York said...

How cheezy is it that the stage is falling apart. Holy moly don't they make enough money to keep it safe!

MadisonMan said...

It's beyond lame that Danny wasn't raked over the coals by the judges for that last shriek.

If there is justice, he'll go home, but I've been waiting for him to leave all season. The only reason he is on the show is that his wife died. His voice is nice but each song sounds so much like the next when he sings it -- with the exception of last week. He'd have a good career singing RatPack standards at the Fireside in Fort Atkinson.

Hazy Dave said...

I thought Danny's screeches were a reasonable approximation of Steven Tyler's from what is it, 36 years ago? I doubt if Tyler can pull them off himself anymore, not that THAT means anything, but I thought Danny's voice was better suited to Aerosmith than Allison's was to Joplin.

Thus concludes my one and only Comment after watching American Idol on purpose. (The wife's office is gaga for it, so she felt she hadda watch to avoid social ostracization.)

Unknown said...

Bill O'Riley outed him on his show. He was quite upset that America was voting for a gay singer.

I don't think he'll win though. America is homophobic and the religious right will make sure he loses.

Trooper York said...

I think you are wrong downtownlad. Adam will win easily. He seems sincere and likeable and does more in one two minute song to mainstream gay people than most anything that has been around lately. Talent will win out.

Let's just see what happens.

sonicfrog said...

Should have had him do This Song! Throw it right back into Lambert's face. HA!

Ritmo Re-Animated said...

Utterly convinced and thrilled by "Way down inside, woman, you need me"?


A.W. said...

first Adam Lambert is about as openly gay as you could get w/o actually having a person follow him with a neon sign saying, "he's gay!" Not that there is anything wrong with that, but please, let's be real. He ain't in no closet. When the pics were released showing him kissing a dude, was ANYONE surprised?

What is wrong with lambert is his tendency to sing like the lead singer from one of those 80's hair bands that stopped being cool pretty much the moment Kurt Cobain opened his mouth. He is great when he is slow, but when he tries to "rock" and i am plugging up my ears. i think i love rock too much to stand his crud. His desecration of Zeppelin last night was the latest example. i really don't know if everyone was listening to the same show i was. he is like constantine with slightly more talent (and mascara).

And btw, will everyone stop calling him original every time? There was nothing original about last night's performance; it was just pretty much what you would hear if Cinderella or Ratt did Led Zeppelin, which is not a good thing. (Oy the bad memories.)

Gokey is definitely going to be in the top 2. This week was his first real stumble, and really he was fine until he hit that one note. and even then, it wasn't that he got the pitch wrong or anything like that, but that he just wasn't believable. He should have either turned the song into an R&B joint, or taken a song that was really an R&B song in disguise.

Allison has been the worst for several weeks now. its time she goes home.

My bets are Gokey v. Adam in the final, but i am much more sure of Gokey than Adam. But I won't try to guess who will take the crown. And you know what? i am not sure if winning is such gift anyway. these american idol albums are generally pretty forgettable. the only decent one i have heard was from Daughtry, and he lost. And a few albums later i have liked some of Kelly Clarkson's work. But i really think these producers tend to stomp the life out of the winners for a while.

And i keep saying that if Gokey wants to win, this is what he should do: he should sing Clapton's "tears in heaven." if he does it right, it would be downright transcendant, and he would walk away with the title. But we will see.

Christy said...

I've only watched the recommended clips the next day this year, a very satisfying way to watch AI.

How awful that first clip is for Danny Gokey. When the rest of us make a mistake we merely have to relive it forever waking up at 3 a.m. to revisit it again and again. He has a clip that loops those 6 seconds again and again.

I think DTL must be too young to remember how all those church ladies loved Liberace.

BJM said...

Whew! for a second there I thought you were referring to the search for Souter's replacement.

I thought Adam nailed "Whole Lotta Love", a very ballsy choice.

The "Slow Ride" duet was the better of the two, but Allison reverted to screaming, she so does not have Joplin chops. We saw Joplin often in local clubs and venues before she went mainstream and Joplin had incredible range and control even when she was almost too stoned to stand.

Danny and Kris's "Renegade" was so boy band that I glazed over and Kris' phrasing on "Come Together" was dreadful but he sort of sold it.

Gokey's shriek was painful and the duet wussy, but the biggest problem for me is that his stage craft has not improved. His body language is still awkward and his stamping around is a distraction. Taylor Hicks managed to sublimate his inner Joe Cocker, but Gokey can't seem to get a handle on a stage persona. Comparing the four performances, Danny's was definitely the weakest.

Ultimately, the winner will have the whole package, so Gokey may be gone tonight.

BJM said...

Christy @ 12:41 Yes! One can never under estimate the mom/grannie appeal.

My old-fashioned, stoutly Catholic Grandmother adored Liberace, watched his TV show without fail, had all his albums and mooned around dreamily listening to them.

Grandfather would roll his eyes, but upon reflection, I suspect he got some good action on Liberace night so kept quiet.

MadisonMan said...

The problem if Gokey wins (other than the screaming fit it will induce in me) is that there is that video of him absolutely butchering Aerosmith. It won't go away, however much the 4 tone-deaf judges on Idol try to ignore it.

If Gokey wins, he might outsell Taylor Hicks. But it'll be close.

Thomas Hogglestock said...

Was it just me or did Kara look like Johnny Depp from the movie Cry Baby last night?

I think the producers knew that Adam with either Danny or Kris would be an artistic travesty. I thought it was odd that they made Kris and Danny sing their duet before they had a chance to sing their solos. Seems a little unfair. But I am not sure I care. Danny has a decent voice but is boring as toast. Kris has kind of a sweet sound that could be kind of nice with the right material (see the week he did "Falling Slowly"), I worry that Allison's rasp at 17 will turn into real vocal problems later in life.

In the early days I didn't like Adam, but since he did "Ring of Fire" I have been a huge fan. I think the entertainment world could use a little more of his sensibility (Elton, Freddy, Rufus Wainwright, Mika--let's gay it up a bit)

I was disappointed that some of the iTune downloads of Adam have been studio versions that have not been as good as the live performances because they have amped up the instrumentals in a fairly cheesy way. Adam did "Tracks of My Tears" acoustic, the download version is a souped up Motown version. This worries me that his album (when he wins AI) is going to be too much AI and not enough Adam.

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

I picked Adam and Allison to be in the finals in Week One and I still think they are the two best.

Adam was dynamite last night, as usual.

I don't see why someone's sexual preference should have anything to do with how someone is judged on their singing and entertainment talent. Who cares, except those who want to throw gay in everyone else's face? I'm sick of it. And I'm sick and tired of everything being reduced to questions about or for gays. People of class don't discuss their sex lives in public and that is what the gay activist groups don't get. I don't give a damn what people do in their private lives, but I don't want to know what you do with your same sex partner anymore than I want to know what you do with your opposite sex partner.

Adam is in a class by himself. Danny and Kris should have been gone weeks ago. Allison has been underrated the whole season. I just wish she'd move on to someone other than Joplin, since I didn't even like Joplin doing Joplin. But, there just aren't that many female rockers from which to choose. Joan Jett, Melissa Etheridge, Grace Slick, Stevie Nicks, Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper, Lita Ford, Amy Lee, Pink? Are any of their songs compatible with Allison's voice and style?

Ann Althouse said...

Doesn't iTunes have both the studio and the performance version? Pick the one you want.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

iTunes just sells the studio versions.

Anyone who accuses Adam or Allison of "screaming" should have learned the difference last night between belting (which they do) and actually screaming (like what Danny did). I thought that episode could serve as a good lesson on the difference between singing that you perceive as screaming but is actually singing and non-musical screaming.

You could also compare Danny to the original version of Dream On, in which Steven Tyler's "scream" is subdued, on-pitch, an actual melody, quiet and musically effective.

Ann Althouse said...

Chris, search for "American Idol" on iTunes. I see 2 versions of each song.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

Thomas: I agree that it might hurt him to be too attached to American Idol. Some of that depends on what they allow him to do. They might decide that he is popular because he's outside of the norm and they need to allow him to do that. But he might be better off not winning the show, but it seems almost certain that he'll at least be in the top two, which is effectively the same as winning if you are pretty popular.

I didn't really like Kara's completely new personality that she introduced yesterday. Suddenly she's a 19-year-old rocker chick.

Ok, I need to not go online for the next couple hours to avoid having tonight's results spoiled before they air on the west coast.

Chris Althouse Cohen said...

They have a studio version and a video of the performance. If can't just buy the live version sound-only.

MadisonMan said...

Chris, call your mother this weekend. It's Mother's Day. I think she *really* wants some Gokey from iTunes. What better present could there be!

Danny will be singing the National Anthem at County Stadium, er, Miller Park on Sunday. I hope he doesn't botch the high note of Free.

Last year, Syesha got totally shafted by the Producers during hometown week. I'll be curious to see if they do the same thing to Kris this week.