Entertainment behind the scenes
“Idol” judges throw stones on Rock Week
In contrast to last week on “American Idol” when it seemed the contestants could do no wrong, the judges found plenty of stones to throw at the Top 4 on Rock Week. Except for Adam Lambert, who as usual thrilled the panelists.
Lambert, coming off his shocking first trip to the Bottom Three last week, sang British supergroup Led Zeppelin’s hit “Whole Lotta Love” and struck all the high notes, jerking his head to the side in rhythm with the band and glowering with an expression Elvis Presley might have worn if he was fused with John Travolta. The judges loved it.
“You are a rock god,” said judge Kara DioGuardi, who was wearing a studded leather jacket that looked a lot like Lambert’s own outfit.
Even alpha judge Simon Cowell was impressed. “No one can top that now,” Cowell told the contestant nicknamed “Glambert,” who on Tuesday night sported his usual eyeliner.
But after Lambert wowed everyone, the rest of the contestants all ran into some criticism. Former Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash was the night’s guest mentor, and told the camera that 17-year-old contestant Allison Iraheta had a natural rock style, but had to get past her “fear.”
Iraheta went on to earn mixed reviews from all the judges, except the easily swayed Paula Abdul, with her version of “Cry Baby” from the late Janis Joplin. Cowell and a couple other panelists faulted her for poor song choice, which prompted an interesting exchange when Iraheta explained why she picked the song and was interrupted by Cowell. “Allison, at this point just beg,” he said. “Beg.”
“I’m not,” Iraheta said. “And you always say that I don’t talk enough, so maybe I should just talk a lot.”
Kris Allen picked “Come Together” from the Beatles and left Cowell so unimpressed that he compared listening to the performance to “eating ice for lunch.” Danny Gokey sang “Dream On” by Aerosmith, and again it was Cowell who let the rock axe fall, when he told the contestant that his last note sounded “like a horror movie.” At least Cowell was in top form, if the contestants were not.
In the first time the contestants performed duets, Gokey and Allen again failed to inspire the judges with their version of “Renegade” from Styx, while Iraheta and Lambert got good reviews for their rendition of Foghat’s “Slowride.” Both Gokey and Allen heard from the judging panel that rock was not their genre, something they seemed to already know, while Iraheta and Lambert appeared to be in their element.
In other developments, Seacrest opened the show by acknowledging that an accident had occurred on stage before the show, but he gave no details. Celebrity Web site TMZ.com reported that the show’s stage manager was following Seacrest down the set’s retractable stairs when they were pulled back too soon and she fell, suffering a gash that forced her to be hospitalized.