Tonight was one of the most feared nights in the Idol repetoire -- the dreaded Disco Night. Historically, this has been a night of epic failure. Disco is so entrenched as a genre, that it can be difficult for singers who weren't even born when the music existed to really connect and make it work as a contemporary genre. Well, that was true until tonight when we witnessed several singers taking traditional disco songs and infusing them with their own flavor, making these very dated songs into potential contemporary hits. Several performers tonight really proved how deep this season is and, were it not for Adam, how difficult pegging a winner would be.
In the interest of time (and to allow all 4 judges to comment on all seven performances), the show dispensed with all the ridiculous "behind-the-scenes" footage (no celebrity mentor this week!) as well as the stupid Ryan-Judges banter and went right into the performances, so let's do the same!
1. Lil Rounds: Okay, everyone, sit down because I have a shocking thing to report . . . Lil picked "I'm Every Woman." I know! Who would have predicted that?? (Please note the high levels of sarcasm here.) In all honesty, it may have been Lil's best performance since she earned her spot in the top 13, but it still wasn't good enough to carry her much further in the competition. It was performed well but sung poorly if that makes any sense. Lil didn't help her cause any either by having a total stank look on her face throughout the pretty harsh judging she received and then she had the nerve to argue that she HAD changed the song up, telling the judges to listen to the original Chaka Khan version. Sweetie, you were doing the Whitney version. I think that Lil has now officially dug that hole so deep that there may be no hope for her.
2. Kris Allen: In a perfect world, Kris would be the frontrunner of the season. His cool-ass performance of "She Works Hard for the Money" was so damn cool I could hardly stand it. I want to download that NOW. It was funky and sexy and hot. This guy has so emerged as a hot, contemporary, viable artist over the course of the past several weeks. He will forever lie in Adam's shadow this season, which is too bad, because I think Kris is the one who may be the most marketable person on the show. Turn on the radio and tell me you can't imagine Kris fitting right in there between John Mayer and Coldplay. Mmm hmmm. I didn't think you could.
3. Danny Gokey: Oh, how I'm tiring of Danny. His choice of "September" by Earth Wind and Fire was honestly kind of a meh choice. It's a great song, but it so benefits from the power of EW&F. Personally, I found it a rather karaoke type of performance. I mean, granted, it was a GOOD karaoke performance, but it was still something I could imagine hearing some drunk working out in a hotel bar somewhere. And despite that, there were the judges sitting and kissing his ass like their approval was mandated rather than a choice. Sigh!!! I'm joining Michael Slezak of Entertainment Weekly in begging America to PLEASE put the "go" in "Gokey." Maybe not this week . . . but soon . . . PLEASE!!
4. Allison Iraheta: I was really worried for Allison this week. Disco week is usually particularly harsh on the "rockers". I wondered how Allison's whiskey-soaked voice would fit with the smoother tones that disco usually employs. Not to worry. Our girl took Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff," slowed it down a little, and rocked that shit out! The lukewarm reception she received was a disappointment because I thought that, outside of Kris, her song was the most contemporary take on a disco song that I heard tonight. Hang in there, kidddo! Simon may have called you an "underdog" tonight, but remember that Underdog kicks ass!! (And how can you be an underdog AND be the "best chance" for your gender . . . something does not compute here, Cowell!)
5. Adam Lambert: Okay, I get it. Adam can do anything. He can rock out on a ballad, he can turn a disco tune into a slow jam. I understand. He's a flipping genius. But could we please, please, please get someone to do something about those damn faces he makes? I could not stand to look at him throughout his performance of "If I Can't Have You" because he is constantly sticking out his tongue and looking ridiculous. Is it just the quality of his voice that keeps him from being dubbed a lounge lizard? Because that is seriously what I see everytime I look at him!
6. Matt Giraud: Oh, Matt, you cheeky little monkey. Last week, you made Idol history by being the recipient (deserved or not is up to you) of the first ever Judge's Save. Yes, Simon and his chipmunks overruled the will of the people and allowed Matt to survive one more week even though he was the lowest vote getter. (No one said Idol was a democracy, folks, and last week proved that!) Personally, I think the Judge's Save was a poor decision from the very beginning. Yes, it may have kept some "shocking eliminations" in the competition back in the day, but would the judges have used it to save Jennifer Hudson? I know I'm not the only one who remembers how dismissive the judges were of our favorite Dreamgirl back in the day. And because the save can only be used prior to the final five, it would not have saved Tamyra Grey, Chris Daughtry, or Melinda Doolittle. Anyway, back to Matt, who celebrated his resurrection by performing (wait for it) "Staying Alive." See what I mean? CHEEKY! It was a pretty cool, funky performance even if the judges were a bit dismissive. Is it enough to keep Matt alive? Maybe if only because he may be cruising on the public goodwill his (and his competitors') genuine, heartfelt reaction to his save may have engendered in the voters.
7. Anoop Desai: Anoop took "Dim All the Lights," slowed it down, and, well, kind of stunk up the joint. I miss the Anoop from the Wild Card -- the kid who came out and kicked out the jams with "My Perogative." Tonight was a night when Anoop could have brought back that seemingly fun loving guy, but instead we get this funeral dirge of a take on a usually hot tune. While it was not as horrific as his "Beat It" from the first week of competition, it was pretty darn awful and may have saved Matt from the chopping block.
Because of the judges' save, two performers will go home tonight. I think that Anoop and Lil are the most deserving to be tearing up as Carrie Underwood sings her ode to "Home Sweet Home." I would suspect that Allison may be in the bottom three if only because of the lukewarm reception her song received and because of the support Matt may have picked up last week. I think Danny is more deserving of sitting on the Silver Stools of Doom than Allison, but for some reason, he's never made that journey across the stage. (Seriously, where are all these Gokey fans? Every Idol fan I talk to hates the guy!!!)