'American Idol': Kris Allen plays his way into the finals

Krisallen_americanidol8_290 This week on "American Idol" we have judges' choice songs plus a song each contestant chooses. Are we finally going to see the giant nova of awesomeness that is Adam Lambert singing "Bohemian Rhapsody?" I certainly hope so.

Seacrest welcomes us to the stage with a "let's rock!" Because when I think of rocking, I think of American Idol. He also informs us that this is Idol's 300th episode. WOW. That is a lot. It doesn't seem like Idol's been around that long, but I suppose it has.

Danny Gokey, "Dance Little Sister" by Terence Trent D'arby
Paula got to pick Danny's song, which sounds about right. They're like magical little elves together. I have to confess, I don't know this song. The horn section is rocking, though, which I enjoy. Vocally, this is right in Danny's wheelhouse. He can be upbeat and dancey while only having to attempt about 5 different notes and repeat the phrase "dance little sister" 100 times in a row. There's also a dueling scat with the saxophonist. It's a very Danny performance. I didn't hate it, I didn't love it.

Randy calls it "dope," Kara says it kept him in his money spot (yes) but thought it wasn't memorable enough (also yes). She then suggests that he should've done earlier Terence Trent D'arby in "Wishing Well." Paula calls it  "really good." Simon says that vocally it was good but the saxophone part was weird.

Kris Allen, "Apologize" by OneRepublic
Kris is at the piano, which is nice. I wish Mr. Allen enunciated a little better, he's quite the mush-mouth sometimes. Also, the falsetto jump on "it's TOO LATE to apologize" is not completely comfortable for Kris. He's getting up there but it's very weak. Other than that, though, it's nice. Just that: nice. Nothing crazy-good but not bad. Much like Danny. Somebody wow me!

Randy says this shows who Kris could be in the music business. Kara calls it "confident" but not a home run because he didn't make it his own. She then suggests he had done some earlier OneRepublic in "Mercy." Paula cites a "bum note" but then says she's proud of him. It's a whole lot of nothing. Simon gets at Kara for suggesting a song for Kris, then criticizing him for actually doing the song. It's not about defending Kris, though, it's about picking on Kara and I'm tired of it. Seriously, can they just have hate-sex already and leave the poor contestants out of it? GOD.

Adam Lambert, "One" by U2
The light guy, much like the smoke machine guy previously, has fallen asleep at the switch, leaving Adam as a blob of blue on the stage for the opening bars. However, that is a mere quibble because vocally it's very good. He has one of his best big notes, though it did sound like a female diva for a second there. My boyfriend likened it to 1990s Cher singing U2. But once again... nobody has wowed me yet. Everybody's been good, with Adam as the best, but nobody has hit a home run yet.

Randy didn't like how he futzed with the melody in parts, but still loved it. Kara loved what he changed about it and calls it "un-be-lie-va-ble." She then suggests he try some earlier U2 with "Beautiful Day."  Paula and Simon both loved it too. It's a big love-fest.

Idol Gives Back Update: baby tiger, giraffe, weird acapella version of Toto's "Africa." No, but seriously, Idol Gives Back is great, good for them.

Danny Gokey, "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker
Sigh. I KNEW he'd pick some schmaltzy ballad. Danny is perched on the Anthony Fedorov Stool and I can barely hear him. Is anybody else having that problem? Also, this arrangement and his vocal embellishments are taking a nice song and turning it into some 80s power ballad. This sounds like it should be by Eric Carmen or REO Speedwagon or something. I am not a fan. Vocally, it wasn't anything special. Danny did not wow me tonight at all.

Randy says Danny can "really, really, really sing." Ummm... no. Kara says it was stunning. What? Were we listening to the same performance? Paula says it left her breathless and he infused his own elf magic into it. Simon didn't like the arrangement (YES), but he calls it a vocal master class. Oh, Simon. I used to like you so much, but this constant fellating of Danny is just gross.

Kris Allen, "Heartless" by Kanye West
Kris is singing all alone with just his guitar and a stark white light and it totally works. This is exactly the kind of acoustic jam Kris should be releasing on his album. His vocals are beautiful. I think this 100 times better than Danny's pooping on Joe Cocker. As far as I'm concerned, Kris played his way into the finals with that performance.

Randy says it'll be the toughest voting night because he liked Kris's version better than Kanye's version. Kara calls him bold, brave and fearless and wishes he'd done that with "Apologize." Paula cracks a terrible Simon joke. Moving on. Simon then says he had written Kris off but that it has all changed after this performance. Yes. Maybe I'll let Simon be my friend again.

Adam Lambert, "Cryin'" by Aerosmith
Hey, it's the earlier Aerosmith Kara wanted! It's interesting that Adam is doing Aerosmith, since Danny took Aerosmith and vomited all over it last week. You'd think after that debacle they would forbid Idols to perform their stuff.

Anyway, I'm a big "Cryin'" fan and I'm excited to hear Adam do it. But you know what? He embellishes it too much. The reason Steven Tyler works (most of the time) is because he has that rough, rocker voice. Adam's voice is almost... too pretty for this song. The bridge is great, the "now there's not even breathing room between pleasure and pain" part. I mean, it's good, but does anyone else know what I mean by his voice being too pretty for this song? It's just... weird.

Randy says he's one of the best ever on Idol. Kara marvels at the notes he hits and says "See you at the finals." Paula says he sets the bar so high that he should be collecting frequent flyer miles and that now he'll be flying for free everywhere. She's just... it's like a slot machine. Will it be three cherries that spew out or two oranges and a banana? Lord. Simon says it's safe to assume that he's sailing through to the finals, then cautions his fans not to be complacent with the voting or he won't be there next week.

Recap
Danny taking us to an 80s dance club and then an 80s power ballad, Kris outperforming Danny and it being a shame that he's going home, and Adam making them both look like amateurs even on a night where he doesn't wow me.