Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Idol Finale a Tossup

It seems to me that, as the number of contestants get fewer, the chance of having a great performance diminishes. Most of the top ten singers are so talented that having only two in the finale is disappointing to me. Yes, I know that's part of the game. I also think the original songs written for the finale are always a bit lame. This year's No Boundaries was no exception.

I've watched Idol since season 5 (Taylor Hicks), and the best finale had to be last year (David Cook). All the others, including tonight's, have been a bit of a letdown, for the aforementioned reasons.

  • Adam Lambert · Mad World · Adam's haunting rendition is closer to Gary Jules' arrangement than the original Tears for Fears. I prefer Jules to Tears, and Adam is almost as good as Jules. This performance was a bit smoother than when he previously sang it, without the wild riffs, which are usually a bit incongruous, and often frantic. He leaves that off this song, which was good. Grade: B+
  • Kris Allen · Ain't No Sunshine · One of my favorite songs. Kris makes it his own, making great use of his piano skills. I still prefer Bill Withers, but he puts a lot of energy into it. I wish it could have been twice as long. Grade: A
  • Adam Lambert · Change is Gonna Come · Paula's probably right about this being Adam's best performance to date. The last few measures were too loud which, like I said, made them a bit incongruous with the rest of the song. But it didn't go on and on, or get too screechy, so I'd call that a minor complaint in this case. Grade: A-
  • Kris Allen · What's Goin' On · Another great Motown song. Kris did a good job, but unfortunately it was too laid back. So he wasn't able to distinguish himself from Adam this round. Grade: B
  • Adam Lambert · No Boundaries · Another rather lame Idol Finale song--not Adam's fault. The performance was competent. Grade: B
  • Kris Allen · No Boundaries · Yes, the key was too high for his voice. He was really pushing to outdo Adam, but that made him sound at times like he was shouting, instead of singing. I wish he could come back and try it again. Even better, I wish they would have thrown out No Boundaries and let them sing another old hit. Grade: C+

I'm not going to bother voting on this, because I'd call it a tossup. I expect Adam to win the vote, but I don't think it would be much of an upset if Kris pulls ahead.

I'd probably be more inclined to buy an album by Kris Allen, because I grow weary of Adam's wailing, even if he has masterful control. Then again, if Adam chose to use his vocal range more selectively, more suitably matched with the song as a whole, he could put out some great stuff. I'm also interested to see Danny Gokey's first studio album.

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