Wednesday, April 01, 2009

AMERICAN IDOL Top 9 Recap and Elimination Prediction

I was really looking forward to last night's episode of American Idol, to see if this year's crew could tackle contemporary songs and demonstrate to the audience where in the pop music landscape they would fall. With two notable exceptions, however, I was quite disappointed -- poor song choices and karaoke-esque performances abounded. There's no doubt we've got a Top 9 brimming with talent, but are they losing steam about halfway through the competition?

Before I get to my elimination predictions, here's my rankings of the Top 9:

1. Kris Allen, A-
2. Adam Lambert, A-
3. Danny Gokey, B+
4. Allison Iraheta, B-
5. Lil Rounds, B-
6. Scott Macintyre, C
7. Matt Giraud, C-
8. Anoop Desai, C-
9. Megan Joy, D

Ok, on to the elimination prediction...

Green Zone - Totally Safe
Kris Allen, who I develop a bigger crush on by the week, once again showed he's taking this thing seriously, reinventing "Ain't No Sunshine" into a self-accompanied showstopper. Sure, this guy doesn't have the best voice in the competition, but 4 solid performances in a row mean he's gonna be in it for the long haul.

Ditto Adam Lambert, who gave a totally joyful performance of "Play that Funky Music" that allowed him to show off the lighter side of his personality and his killer voice. In my mind, if Adam doesn't win the whole thing, America is most definitely not voting for the strongest vocalist.

I'm also going to include Danny Gokey in this group, even though he's been slipping the past few weeks. After last week's "clumsy" showing, his choice to sing a Rascal Flatts song was an inspired one, and he delivered it with gusto. While it wasn't nearly as musically interesting as Kris or Adam, it should be more than enough for him to advance to the Top 8.

Yellow Zone - On Shaky Ground
Mark my words -- Matt Giraud is going to have a nervous breakdown live on TV. The poor guy clearly wants to be a rockstar, but the judges (and, likely, his fans at home) would prefer he stick to the Timberlake-esque tunes. I think he'll be okay this week, though, as his Bottom 2 scare should motivate his fans (even those who didn't love his rendition of The Fray's Adult Contemporary hit) to pick up the phone. Still -- get the straight jacket ready.

Then there's Lil Rounds, who I consider the competition's biggest disappointment thus far. There's no doubt she can sing, but this girl has absolutely no originality. "I Surrender"? Really? I love the song (especially when Kelly Clarkson killed it back in Season 1), but I though Lil was this year's R&B diva. How about showing some spunk, as opposed to singing every note exactly as it was written? Still, I think she'll live to sing another week.

Red Zone -- Danger Danger Danger!
That leaves Scott Macintyre, Anoop Desai, Megan Joy, and my beloved Allison Iraheta in the danger zone. Allison, you say? How could that be? Well, after last week's strong showing I'm afraid her fans may take her safety for granted, and her just so-so performance of No Doubt's "Don't Speak" may not have been enough to remind them she needs their votes.

As for Scott, will a leather jacket and a new (pompadour) 'do be enough to spare him? While I was bored to tears by his performance, there's no doubt this guy knows who he is (an Adult Contemporary artist through and through), and that's more than we can say for...

Anoop Desai. Oh, Anoop, what were you thinking choosing Usher's "Caught Up"? When are you going to get it through your head that you are not an R&B star? Perhaps a trip to the Bottom 2 (or, worst, an elimination) will finally convince him to stick to the ballads and leave the "entertaining" to Mr. Lambert.

Then there's Megan, who I really did adore during the first couple of weeks in the competition. Unfortunately, in the last couple of performances she has displayed absolutely zero performance savvy, and on top of that she's now coming off a bit cocky. (If I hear her mention "my fans" one more time I'm going to scream!) I think it may be time to put this quirky songbird down.

Final Prediction

Bottom 3:
Allison Iraheta
Megan Joy
Anoop Desai

Bottom 2
Megan Joy
Anoop Desai

Eliminated: Megan Joy

Agree? Disagree? Sound off in the comments section below!