Going into tonight’s show, I was a little skeptical since I couldn’t picture two out of the four remaining contestants rocking out. But while the performances were uneven, this episode ended up being highly entertaining.
Adam went first with Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love,” which was the perfect choice for his voice and theatricality. When I heard the opening guitar riffs, I was bopping my head and thinking, Oh yeah, this could be good, and Adam didn’t disappoint. I’m not a huge fan because of his shriekiness but on this song, that’s exactly what was needed. You can’t be shy on this song; that primal scream must be unleashed. Kudos to Adam for a very smart song choice and his ballsy execution of it.
Allison sang Janis Joplin’s “Cry Baby,” and to me, it sounded like “Yell, Baby” because she shouted through the whole thing. I love Allison and agree with Slash she’s got that rock swagger but this performance was only okay. It’s disappointing since this should be the one genre where she excels.
Then we took a break from the competition as the producers gave us something never before done on Idol: duets between contestants. First up were Kris and Danny covering Styx’s “Renegade.” Their harmony was smooth but when the band kicked in, they immediately went flat on a few notes. Kris seemed out of his depth and sounded like he was losing breath at times. He also couldn’t pull off the tough act in black leather and looked like a little kid playing dress-up. Danny fared better on the song and was at least leather-free, thank goodness.
After the break, Kris changed clothes to sing his competition entry, the Beatles’ “Come Together.” Whoa, this song is too big for him; he doesn’t have the growl. He’s usually great at picking songs so I’m surprised he chose that out of the vast Beatles catalog since there are better choices for him. He probably should’ve stuck with something like “I Saw Her Standing There.”
Danny then sang his official competition song, “Dream On” by Aerosmith. This was a gutsy choice; it’s crazy hard to sing. Most of it sounded pretty good but I was holding my breath waiting for those high notes at the end. Will he make it? Will he blow a vocal cord? Yes and no. He reached the upper echelons but it no longer sounded like singing when he did, just full-out screaming bloody murder. It was not pleasant but I’m impressed he took it on since hard rock really isn’t his forte.
The show wrapped up with another duet, this time by Adam and Allison singing Foghat’s “Slow Ride.” I liked Allison’s performance here way better than her “official” one. She was looser, having more fun and the swagger was out in full force. At one point, I thought she and Adam were trying to out-scream each other but they ended up complimenting each other quite well. And it’s cute that he shared his hairstylist with her.
I liked the duets because it took some of the stress off the contestants and it didn’t sound like they were lip-synching like during the group performances. They also have a chance to redeem themselves, like Allison did, if they screw up during their competition performance. Plus, as the number of contenders dwindle, I’d rather producers fill the hour with more singing instead of Ford commercials or inane chatter from the judges.
Which performances rocked your world? Did you like the duets?