AMERICAN IDOL Season 8: Final Competition Night

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?



  • Reply
    Shelley n
    May 20, 2009 at 2:28 am

    Well, we ALL know who i want to win. We’ll just get that out of the way right now! Go ALamb!!!!!
    I thought the show itself could have been a little more glammed up, but i guess they’re saving it for tomorrow, so… we shall see!
    Firstly, I thought Adam’s long coat was VERY dashing, actually, don’t know what Simon was going on about!
    I liked both first-song choices, Adam’s because in his first performance of Mad World, he sounded too much like kd lang for my taste (i really think the ONLY time i wasn’t utterly charmed), and here, it was just much more enjoyable for me, and Kris’ because Ain’t No Sunshine is just a really great song and really hard to screw up! I say, first round a tie!
    Second round, Adam with A Change Is Gonna Come, a song i am not too familiar with, except that Queen Latifah did a really low-key bang-up job of it in the most recent Hairspray movie. My unfamiliarity with the song makes it a little hard for me to judge, but i’m gonna go out on a limb and say… i loved it (c’mon! i GOTTA be a little biased here!!). Kris with What’s Goin’ On, i am much more familiar with, and liked it, but like the judges, i thought it too laid back and much prefer the original. Second round most DEF to Adam! 😉
    The final round, what i call the mandatory-record song, well, just fyi, if you go to, he already has the lyrics posted!! I loved Adam’s rendition. I didn’t think there were any “screamy parts” in it, and altho i didn’t understand EVERY word, i didn’t think the chorus lyrics were sung into “oblivion,” as you say. No missed notes either, yay! I was very happy with it, overall (as was Kara, and she did look quite smug about it in that first cam-shot, didn’t she?? Ugh.).
    Now, with Kris, i’m a little confused. I could see him struggling with the high registers in the song, just as you did, and i wondered, why didn’t he, or the band really, play the song in a lower key that better suited him! Isn’t that how the music industry works? Songs are adjusted to the performer’s tastes? Anyway, he struggled, and left a few sour notes in the road. I actually felt pretty bad for the guy. Overall, not horrible but not great either. Third round most emphatically to Adam!
    I also liked that Carrie Underwood made an appearance, great cover of a great song! I liked that they showed audition/hollywood week footage, too, at least until they got to that horrid drama queen, Annasomething Del Toro, which severely set my eye to twitching. NOT KIDDING. And you just KNOW they’re gonna have her in for the finale-finale. Something to dread with a fiery passion. siiigh.
    Anyway, good luck to both Adam and Kris, they both were wonderful thru-out the season, and tho i (obviously) adore one much more than the other, i look forward to hearing about them and their careers in the future.
    And, not to be TOO democratic here at the end, i did vote ALamb for the ENTIRE 4 hours! Fingers X’d!!! Woooo Hooo!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2009 at 8:43 am

    As I’ve done for several years in the finale, I watched the performances and then muted the judges during my first see-through. The second, I do listen to their feedback.

    I have to agree with Simon, somewhat. The first round went to Kris. Although I love Adam’s Mad World there was something in this performance that didn’t work for me as it did the last time he sang it, but Kris’s second take on his Top Downloads song left me breathless.

    The second round went to Adam. It loved Kris’s song (and kind of agree and disagree with Simon, because I do think it was a little lay back, but at the same time I saw Kris being just true to himself and owning the song), but Adam’s was just amazing.

    As of the legendary -and dreadful- “Idol” single, I cannot make my mind. I think it went bad for both: Adam botched a lot of notes (something I was shocked to see), and Kris struggled with the high register. I blame the song.

    As a conclusion, I call the night a tie. I think they both went to give a great show and my personal opinion is on that (at least for the first 45 minutes).

  • Reply
    May 20, 2009 at 11:00 am

    For me, there wasn’t a clear winner last night, but I believe the popular will go to Adam.

    It comes down to one thing for me: Which performance makes me want to buy the record? Adam’s “Mad World” may have blown people away, but I can guess that it’s because the lyrics sounded so close to what we feel Adam’s life must have been in high school. But the constant comments of “oh, so haunting!” “So original” are annoying. Have these people ever even heard the original? Why buy Adam’s take when the original is so much more powerful. Adam didn’t do anything new with it.

    As for Kris Allen, I wouldn’t buy his “Ain’t no Sunshine”, but I would download his “What’s Going On”. Wouldn’t get rid of the original because I am in love with the sax solo, but I really liked thought Kris gave it a credible update.

    Can’t comment on the “No Boundaries” winner song. It’s lame and neither singer could change my mind about it. I did like Simon’s comment about it, though.

    Final Verdict: I would only buy Kris’s “What’s Going On” and I thought that is what this competition was all about.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2009 at 11:37 am

    I have been looking at this competition all wrong. I always thought that if I didn’t like what someone did with or to a song, then they sucked. But what we all have to keep in mind is that Rap, Country, R&B, Rock, Pop and Gospel are all million dollar industries. Whether you personally like the genre has little to do with what matters. Keep in mind someone used to buy Tiny Tim’s records and more than one person bought William “she bangs” Hung’s CD.

    I’m a Kris Allen fan.

  • Reply
    coffee fan
    May 23, 2009 at 10:55 pm

    the “100 million” vote count represents the Adam Lambert fans versus everybody else; some people out there must have auto-dial machines

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