Entertainment behind the scenes
Is Kris Allen really a dark horse going into “Idol” finale?
“American Idol” on Tuesday entered the last week of competition before the finale, and we at “Fan Fare” had the good fortune to land second-row seats in the talent show’s live studio audience. (For the record, this twist of fate had nothing to do with our coverage of the show — it was good old-fashioned standing in line combined with almost two years of being on a waiting list.)
Watching “Idol” in its natural habitat revealed dozens of quirks imperceptible to the 25 million or so viewers who tune in at home. First off, the studio was smaller than expected — even more intimate than watching a live show in a theater. One audience member in our row even remarked that it was smaller than her college lecture hall.
Also, the judges seemed to spend more time out of their seats than in them. Accompanied by massive bodyguards, they walked backstage at every commercial break, rushing back to their seats sometimes with two seconds to spare. Judge Paula Abdul at least spent some time greeting celebrity audience members such as Kim and Kourtney Kardashian and their mom, Kris Jenner, as well as “The Hills” star Audrina Partridge.
Many in the mostly young, female audience also appeared to be partial to one contestant — supposed dark horse Kris Allen. There were more Kris-themed homemade signs (“Krazy 4 Kris”, for instance) being waved than those for either of the other contestants. And, one young fan was overheard after the show gloating that she had waved to Allen — and that he had smiled back!
So is “Idol”‘s resident pretty boy Kris really a dark horse after all? His acoustic performance of Kanye West’s “Heartless” received universal praise from the judges, with Randy Jackson deeming it “better than the original.” His first song, “Apologize,” however, was less well-received.
But Allen rival Danny Gokey’s performances were by no means stellar, getting similar mixed reviews from the judges. They loved his version of “You Are So Beautiful” but were less enthused by his take on Terence Trent D’Arby’s “Dance Little Sister,” for which he was criticized for his dancing.
Golden child Adam Lambert, predictably, got rave reviews for both of his performances. Judge Simon Cowell, however, warned “Idol” viewers not to assume that Lambert would sail through to next week’s finale and reminded them that they needed to vote.
So who will be sent packing tomorrow night? Host Ryan Seacrest, toward the end of the show, made a point of saying that he had no idea what would happen on Wednesday night.
Is Lambert really the juggernaut he has been made out to be, and does Allen have a stronger wind at his back than many expected? Gokey is the only contestant never to be placed among the show’s bottom three vote-getters — but has he finally run out of steam?