This is gonna be a tough call. I thought both Adam and Kris performed well, but neither was perfect and they have such different styles it’s like comparing bears and chickens.
Each performer had to sing 3 songs. The first would be their favorite from the season; second would be chosen by the show’s creator, Simon Fuller; and third would be the “winner single,” co-written by Kara.
Adam went first and sang “Mad World.” I liked it, as I usually do when he shows some restraint. He gave the song a haunting lilt. Kris sang “Ain’t No Sunshine,” accompanying himself on piano. It was a heartfelt performance and both are off to a strong start.
Fuller chose Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” for Adam’s next song and Adam put on his shiny suit to sing it. He hit every note and was technically perfect but I didn’t get real soulfulness from him, more like affected anguish.
Kris updated Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On?” and while I appreciated his Jack Johnson-esque take, I like the smooth groove of the original melody so much I don’t think it needed all the changes. So, both did well again but neither performance was eye-opening.
Then came the dreaded “winner single,” which is cheesy and tedious every year. If I were one of the two finalists, I’d almost want to throw the competition just so I wouldn’t have to record it. This year’s song, called “No Boundaries,” was no different and was written by Kara, Cathy Dennis and Mitch Allen.
Adam went first and the song seemed to be in the right key for him. But when he got to the chorus, I couldn’t understand what he was singing because he went for the volume and blew the words into oblivion. Not that I cared, since the lyrics to these singles are always insipid.
Kris didn’t do any better. The key was way too high for him, he strained through most of the song to hit the notes and didn’t always succeed. His face at the end showed that he knew he didn’t do as well as he’d hoped.
Based on the final performances, I think Adam’s got the edge and will win. But whatever happens, these two will most likely get recording contracts, make completely different albums for their separate fan bases and no one will have to argue again over who’s the better performer.
Who do you think will be crowned the eighth idol tomorrow night?