Entertainment behind the scenes
Seven singers are still vying for this year’s “American Idol” crown following Wednesday’s offing of Scott MacIntyre, but already there is no longer a pack of frontrunners. Rather, there is one.
Adam Lambert has outshone many of his rivals on this season of “Idol,” winning over fans with his unique showmanship and mindblowing vocal range. Since he entered the show’s Top 12, only one performance has received so-so reviews from the judges, and that was during the notoriously difficult Country Week. Remember Lambert’s “Ring of Fire”?
This week, Lambert’s special shine all but transformed into utter domination of his competitors. Not only did his Tuesday night rendition of the Gary Jules version of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” receive a shocking standing ovation from persnickety judge Simon Cowell, but Jules himself praised Lambert publicly on Wednesday, calling the performance “fantastic.”
At the same time, some of Lambert’s top rivals appear to be struggling. Diva Lil Rounds ended up in the Bottom Three on Wednesday after several weeks of negative comments from the judges, and reviews have been mixed for performances by Matt Giraud, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen and Anoop Desai.
It’s an unusual night on “American Idol” when the normally sharp-tongued judge Simon Cowell offers a contestant a standing ovation, which is exactly what he did at the end of Tuesday’s show in reaction to Adam Lambert’s performance. Granted that Cowell had to offer succinct praise because the show was out of time, but he was definitely acting out of character when he stood up and gushed over Lambert’s singing.
Lambert chose the 1982 hit “Mad World” by Tears for Fears, a selection much less well known than the songs other contestants performed. This week, the Idols had to pick a song from the year they were born. The judges were tough on a couple of them over their song choice, with Lil Rounds getting the worst of it.
“American Idol” is already down to nine singers, and as the contestants have honed their performances, judge Simon Cowell has refined his famous one-liners. This week he was in top form, sparing only a select few from his special brand of humiliation.
Here were his top proclamations of the night for each contestant:
Anoop Desai, who performed Usher’s “Caught Up”
Simon: “It was a little bit like a college boy wanting to be a pop star and failing. It actually gave me a headache.”
Well, they’re the experts and on Wednesday night it was male contestant Adam Lambert who brought the heat, eliciting a standing ovation from celebrity mentor Smokey Robinson for his version of “The Tracks of My Tears” (which, incidentally, Robinson also wrote).
“Country Week” is always a mixed bag on “American Idol”, alternately filling viewers with anticipation and dread.
Tuesday night’s tribute to the “Grand Ole Opry,” with country icon Randy Travis as guest mentor, certainly didn’t buck that trend, taking several of the show’s frontrunners down a notch and allowing dark horses to emerge.
Now that “American Idol” has eliminated the dross, it has 13 top contestants and the reality singing competition is in full swing.
What that means is the judges get more hyperbolic about how seriously everyone has to take the competition, and the video packages on the contestants get more personal, taking viewers into their homes and giving mini biographies on each one.
It was a pretty humdrum night on “American Idol” until Norman Gentle took the stage.
Until this season, every contestant to make it this far on the ultimate talent show has been unfailingly serious about their quest for fame (though, admittedly, the seriousness of Sanjaya Malakar’s 2007 turn is open to debate). They may tug at viewers’ heartstrings by saying they only want fame for the sake of family members who depend on them, and they may smile and joke, but none of them make a joke of the often humiliating process of laying it all out there on the “Idol” stage.