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Idol Worship: Best To Worst Of Disco Night

All things considered, the dreaded disco night wasn't as painful as we anticipated. For one thing, it went by pretty quickly and, with the exception of Lil Rounds' opening number, didn't really have any major stumbles. Furthermore, it showed more guts from this group of hopefuls than we've seen in some time — Adam Lambert's twist on the Saturday Night Fever classic was ambitious beyond compare, while Kris Allen's take on Donna Summer worked surprisingly well. But with two contestants' futures on the line, it's anyone's game for the rest of season 8. Sure, Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta pulled off competent performances, but will good enough win American Idol? We think not. As for the rest, they rated pretty low on our excitement scale. Read on for this week's best to worst rankings... 

Kris-disco 1. Kris Allen - "She Works Hard For The Money"
Not to get all nit-picky, but "She Works Hard For The Money" came out in 1983, which, as we see it, is at least a couple years past the end of the disco era. Nevertheless, Donna Summer is the OG disco queen, and Kris Allen is quickly becoming Idol's king of rearrangements. This acoustic guitar-driven re-tune with its Latin-flavored vibe may have catapulted Kris to the final three. It was creative, well-executed, and undoubtedly smart on a night that was sure to be challenging for him. Of all the songs performed on Tuesday, it's the one we could most see radio stations playing — and that's saying a lot in today's tight-fisted climate. 

2. Adam Lambert - "If I Can't Have You"
At this point, we know to expect the unexpected from Adam Lambert, and to that end, he didn't disappoint on disco night. In fact, Adam outdid himself yet again, taking this classic from Saturday Night Fever, to which John Travolta boogied his ass around a dingy Brooklyn dance studio, and slowing it down to a ballad. Our only problem with his reinterpretation was that we completely lost the song in the second half. And beyond being unrecognizable, the howling at the end was a bit unnecessary and over-the-top. Or, as Simon likes to say in that oh-so-sexy British accent, overindulgent. Also, with all the inexplicable Susan Boyle chatter this past week, we couldn't help but notice a Les Mis-iness to his performance. But hey, what do we know?

3. Danny Gokey - "September"
We have to hand it to Danny this week: of all the contestants, he looked like he was actually having fun, rather than trying too hard. In fact, his performance of the Earth, Wind and Fire staple looked and sounded effortless. Still, we got that cruise line sensation which never sits well with our already queasy stomach. Danny needs to keep turning it up, while toning down the cheese factor.  

4. Allison Iraheta - "Hot Stuff"
First off, Allison should get some sort of prize for navigating those slippery stage stairs wearing six-inch stripper heels. Talk about hot stuff! Now only if her performance matched the fierceness of her outfit. To us, it felt more like hot air with the occasional grunt. Like we say every week, the girl can sing, but is she Idol material? We're still not convinced.

5. Matt Giraud - "Staying Alive"
There was a time when we wanted Matt Giraud to whip out the falsetto at every opportunity, if only to show the rest of the Top 12 what a guy who's comfortable with his upper register should sound like. But now, we just want to say, "Stop it!" Because every time Matt goes high, we feel like curling up in a fetal position under our desk. But someone had to do the Bee Gees, and other than a couple of missed notes, it was a totally solid performance and one that should squeak him through to next week. At the same time, it was far from memorable. Sniff.

6. Anoop Desai - "Dim All The Lights"
Anoop Desai had the best slot of the night and, for most of his performance, delivered a strong, controlled and even tone on his Donna Summer pick (the third and last of the evening). But just as Adam had done, somewhere along the way, he lost the song. Unlike Adam, however, Anoop failed to deliver a grand finale, instead he hit a bum note. There's no doubt it'll be Matt and Anoop neck and neck for this elimination, but we're giving Matt an ever-so-slight advantage based purely on looks. Yeah, we know. We're so vain.

7. Lil Rounds - "I'm Every Woman"
The two words that best describe Lil's disco diva number? Wedding singer. The only thing missing was Lil dragging a grandma from the audience to the dance floor. And it's not like Chaka Khan was a bad choice. It could have had the let's-get-the-party-started effect she'd hoped for had it been sung well and not all over the place. It pains us to say this, because it wasn't all that long ago when we were convinced she was one of the best season 8 had to offer, but we're coming to the bottom of a downward spiral and it's time for us to part ways with Lil. Get ready for another long-winded, tearful goodbye on Wednesday night.

April 22, 2009 in American Idol | Permalink


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I was worried for many of the Idol contestants because Disco Week can be a total train wreck. I was especially worried for two of my favorites Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta. I wasn't worried for Adam, because I believe this week would actually help him in the comptition, but I was pleasantly surprised that both Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta, not only stepped up the plate on Disco week, but knocked it out of the ball park.

This shows me that these two, Kris and Allison, can stand up and make things happen for themselves in a genre that has been sudden death to previous contestants in past years.

Kudos for both of them and of course for Adam Lambert for surprising all the people who assumed he was going to play it safe and do a regular Disco song.

Posted by: Sasha | Apr 22, 2009 8:32:14 AM

USA Today reports that AI producer Ken Warwick says about Kris Allen:

"Kris is a really, really nice guy -- helps everybody. He's a brilliant guitarist; he's got incredible music knowledge. Any kid who's having trouble picking a song, he's there to help. He's great."

Kris Allen helps out the other Idol contestants with their songs and arrangements.

Now THAT is a great guy.

Posted by: Cakenbake | Apr 22, 2009 10:29:47 AM

Erm... in an Idol Extra interview, Anoop singled out Adam as the one who helped him with song selections. They all unanimously pointed to Adam as the "camp counselor" who everyone went to when they have personal troubles.

That is a great role model guy.

Adam won the night for me. It takes great courage and skills to completely rearrange and reinvent a classic mega-hit and make it amazing. Kris sings the same type of slow, boring songs over and over again. Creative? Seriously? And i've heard that acoustic type of arrangement before in Adam's Track of My Tears. Kris can pass off as a 2nd or 3rd rate Santana impersonation.

Posted by: Michelle | Apr 22, 2009 1:46:04 PM

You know I can't believe I'm saying this but I've totally gone from being a big Matt fan to being a big Kris fan... and I didn't even like Kris at all in the beginning! That kid has grown and grown on me and I feel so at ease when he's singing like he just knows what he's doing and is so comfortable up there. I LOVE what he did last night, it was so amazing and the whole time he sang that and the song from Movie theme night, all I could think of is that I can hear this now on the radio. I'm still a Matt fan but Kris just mesmerizes me.

Posted by: Billie | Apr 22, 2009 7:13:19 PM

The damask rose.

Often, when
a green and
delicate rose
appears near an
hopeful hedge,
a passing cloud
invents an emotion,
and even a smile,
like beautiful
thoughts in the
sun of your song.

Francesco Sinibaldi

Posted by: Francesco Sinibaldi | Apr 25, 2009 3:04:42 PM

at this point in the season with hardly anybody left it'll be difficult to see any more of them go

Posted by: nomad | Apr 25, 2009 9:41:42 PM

Are you kidding?
He's extremely forgetful!
After Lil, he wons the prize for the most commom and annoying contestant!
I don't even know why he still is on AI.
Kris' version was extremely painful, and wasn't creative at all!

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I'm every woman ia a amazing song! And so easy to sing. I loved that music...make me remember to Whitney Houston...good times.
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