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Haterade's Idol Anal-ysis: Round of 4

Now that Matt is gone (again), it's time to Rock and Roll. Gordon and Jason let you know who Rocked and who's going to get Rick-Rolled.

So this week is Rock and Roll. The perfect week for Adam and Allison to shine, and a perfect place for everyone to become self-indulgent. The round of 4 has always been a death trap to the favorites, and no one is safe right now. Here's why:

Danny Gokey: Could be in big trouble if the audience assumes he's safe because he's never been in the bottom 2 and produces a mediocre performance that causes people to not vote for him.
Adam Lambert: As long as Allison is in this competition, the rock vote is going to be split. I don't see 2 rockers making the final 3, and this week, it will probably boil down between Adam and Allison. If Allison tramples Adam, and the voters place Allison again over him, there's no Matt Giraud to save him this time.
Kris Allen: He's clearly going to be out of his element this week, and he was not good last week. A second straight dud against 3 powerhouses could cause the upset that Allison needs to escape.
Allison Iraheta: I think she's in the greatest danger because Adam's vote base is going to come back real strong after seeing him in the bottom two. She needs to outperform Adam tonight if she has any chance of sticking around.

Now a number of people over the season has asked me what 'self-indulgent' means. Since I expect that we may be hearing that phrase being used by either Simon or myself this week, let me explain: Self-Indulgent means to select a song because you want to sing it, despite the fact that it will probably come off really shaky to the audience or the voting public.

A major example of this is 'Dream On' by Aerosmith, where singers want to attempt it because of the hideous scream at the end of the song. No one is going to be able to pull off the scream except for Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, and anyone who does (and fails miserably) will get a quick thumbs down by the public. In fact, last year, during their version of rock night, Michael Johns tried that song, didn't even bother with the high note, was deemed self-indulgent and boring, and was promptly shown the door that week. So we'll see this week if someone pays the same price.

Now on to the show. Usually at this point of the competition, the singers get 2 songs, but because someone decided that we like duets (and the fact that there's no way you're going to get 8 performances in under an hour), we have each singer with a solo and a duet. Apparently before the run-through, the sets started to collapse, which means that they may have taken a page from the movie 'Knowing' and tried to prevent our ears from experiencing the unnatural disasters that may be heading our way. Or maybe it's their dislike of Guns'N'Roses Slash, who is the guest mentor this week.

And Slash first mentors Adam Lambert, who starts the evening off with Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love'. Will the audience show more love to Adam this week than last week, where they put him in the bottom 2?
The Good: There's no way Adam is going to screw up this song. This was a technically masterful performance. The notes and the performance was spot on and the emotion was right there as needed. This is probably one of the best Adam performances on the show and a much needed rebound from the past 2 weeks.
The Bad: With the excessive makeup and geisha-like hairdo, I now know what the performance would have looked like if Boy George's younger glam-rock cousin sang it.
The Jason: This is the first week in a long while that I wasn't impressed. This was a technically excellent Robert Plant sound alike. It wasn't memorable, but it was good. Not on the Adam like levels of the past few weeks.
The Verdict: The performance did a number of things. It set the bar very, very high, challenging the other singers to match him. It also sent a direct warning shot to Allison, who is competing against Adam for the same votes. Allison better come bring it, because if Adam sings her into the floor, it's sayanora for her.

And speaking of which, Allison Iraheta is up next. Her song of choice is 'Cry Baby' by Janice Joplin. Slash thinks that if she pulls it off, she can sound great. Can she?
The Good: She has a dramatically improved stage presence. This is the first time that I saw her actually coming out on the stage to perform and own the song.
The Bad: She was consistently flat throughout the performance. Ironically, this song requires a high pitched bang out growly performance, and this is the one time she doesn't bring the growly timbre that we're used to hearing. And you never talk back to the judges. Ask Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds how well that turned out for them. And a special boo to Simon for mixing up Queen's 'Somebody to Love' with Jefferson Airplane's 'Somebody To Love' (2 different songs), though I agree with Simon that Allison would have been better off singing the Jefferson Airplane song.
The Jason: A very tentative mumbling performance of a song that people don't know. She had the look on her face of someone resigned to be going home. This could be big trouble for Alison.
The Verdict: Allison needed to hit a home run to stay in the competition. Instead, she got a weak dribbler down the third base line. She needs to hope that one of the two remaining singers gets caught looking for a strikeout.

Said 2 singers, Danny Gokey and Kris Allen, perform 'Renegade' by Styx. How will the first duet of the night turn out?
The Good: Technically, it was close to (if not surpassing), Adam Lambert's performance. The duet and acapella sections of the song were really, really tight and I can see the song being a hit on the radio.
The Bad: Not much bad for Danny. He nailed the pitch and was a higher, stronger voice. The same can't be said for Kris, who ate a few words and mangled a bunch of others. When he wasn't singing with Danny, the pitch went renegade and took a trip to find Charon the Ferryman.
The Jason: They worked well together but Danny held his own more than Kris did. Kris didn't feel comfortable and neither of them hit the high registers.
The Verdict: It was a very good vocal performance, but Danny clearly shone better than Kris did. That's what usually happens when you let one person sing the higher register and the other sing the lower backup range. It's good for Kris that he has a second song to help bolster him.

It's now time to see what Kris Allen can do on his own. His choice is 'Come Together' by The Beatles. Can he make his performance come together?
The Good: Vocally, it was very pitch-clean. I thought the guitar was a nice touch and he wasn't off-pitch at all on the performance.
The Bad: The problem was that Kris picked the wrong song. This is an evil, down and dirty song. You need to be dark and menacing, like Carly Smithson's performance of the song last year. Kris' country version really felt watered down, like a cub scout going to a meeting of Hell's Angels. And if Kris screwed up the words to the Hell's Angels pledge as much as he screwed up the lyrics to the song, he'd wind up as a big burly riders' motorcycle hood ornament.
The Jason: I liked his country rock spin of this...and this he was MORE confident in. And I believe he sang his spot in the top three.
The Verdict: Kris spoke about how he originally picked 'Revolution'. That would have been the better song. He doesn't have the vocal darkness to perform 'Come Together', which I though Allison could have done. Unless Danny decides to go the Michael Johns route of self-indulgence, we have our bottom two.

And here's Danny Gokey, who I'm sure will be singing some sort of rock song that he can convert to R&B. So the R&B song that he decides to sing is....'Dream On' by Aerosmith???? The Same 'Dream on' that I was wailing on at the beginning of this column? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
The Good: ...the band sounded nice and pretty?
The Bad: He was consistent. Consistently flat at the beginning of the song. Consistently passionless in the middle of the song. Consistently brutal on the money note, which I think could have been the cause of salmon spawning upstream to try to find a soundproof alcove - maybe the same one where Aquaman is currently huddled, crying like a baby.
The Jason: This was an unmitigated nuclear disaster. I HATED this performance. This was so NOT HIM. This performance will put him in the bottom 2.
The Verdict: We now know what the set was trying to protect our ears from. If you ever need to know the definition of 'Self-Indulgent', check out his performance. It was completely the wrong song for Danny, who admitted that he wanted to do it to hit the high note, and not worry about the consequences of missing it. The consequence is that we'll see just how strong his fan base is.

Finally, it's the duet of Adam and Allison, who decide to give us a 'Slow Ride' from Foghat. But will our ears be able to take it easy?
The Good: The one thing they did a thousand times better than Kris/Danny was the stage presence. They performed and pranced around the stage like it was a dog and pony show. Perfoming to the camera is a great tactic...
The Bad: ...when you have no substance to the song that you're singing. It was slow. It was easy. And it was boring. From a performance standpoint, it was more dynamic, but from a musical standpoint, it vastly paled in comparison to what Danny and Kris did earlier.
The Jason: This was the rock version of the Ricky Hatton/Manny Pacquiao fight last Saturday night. And Alison is looking up at the lights wondering what the hell just happened. They work well together...but man he just wiped the floor with her.
The Verdict: As you could tell by the audience reaction, this wasn't a duet of 2 singers. This is the duet of a superstar who's being joined by his baby sister who's there for the ride. And I'll disagree with Simon - this performance didn't save Allison, it doomed her.

Overall Verdict: The rockers did what was expected tonight. Adam is incredibly safe, but I'm completely disappointed in everyone else - especially based on how well they performed during the past 2 weeks. Now based on their performances, and only their performances tonight, this is how it SHOULD play out.

SHOULD be in Trouble: Kris Allen, Danny Gokey. SHOULD be Out: Danny Gokey

However, this is American Idol, and it's not just a week by week singing competition. The fact of the matter is that you have 2 rockers competing for the same voting base, and as we saw last week, there isn't enough vote for 2 of them. Since Adam's fanbase is going to come on like gangbusters, and since Allison did not branch herself out enough during the competition to grab any other vote, it's lights out for her. The only question is who joins her - and I think although Danny deserves to be there, Kris' fan base is not going to reward him for being second fiddle to Danny during the duet. It wouldn't shock me to see either Kris or Danny leave, but it comes down to numbers and as we've seen throughout the years, there just aren't enough rock fans who vote on American Idol.

TROUBLE: Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen. OUT: Allison Iraheta

The Jason: This was not the week I hoped for. Adam punched his ticket with the best performance of the night. I liked Kris Allen's performance and his fanbase is pretty strong. So we will see this "shocking" but not so...bottom 2.

Trouble: Danny Gokey, Allison Iraheta

Danny has a huge fanbase, and that clunker won't hurt him enough to vote him out. Sorry Alison, you have been a wonderful contestant...but your time is just about here...all male final three time.

OUT: Allison Iraheta

Join us in 24 hours to see who's dreams of first place just got rocked.
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1 Comment

Jason, well called.

said Scaramouch on May 7, 2009 1:41 AM.
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