American Idol Top 8: Anoop’s Like a Rainbow, but Adam Gets the Standing O


Allison’s hair is back to normal, Scott’s is growing back, Lil’s is yet again gorgeously coiffed, and “This is American Idol,” says Ryan as we scan the remaining eight players. If last week’s one-and-a-half-hour show was a reprieve, this week I’ve got it really easy with only an hour-long show jam-packed with family interviews and baby pictures. Kara is cute as a button! (And if you want more of Judge Kara before she was hot and famous, check out what it was like “Growing Up DioGuardi.” Her family is so cute, it’s sick.) The theme this week is songs from the year the contestants were born, which makes it, for all intents and purposes, ’80s night.

1. Danny Gokey

The oldest contestant starts off the night with 1980’s “Stand By Me.” How could he tread on David Archuleta’s glory song from Season 7? Danny doesn’t care, he’s Danny Gokey! He can do whatever he wants! And he does an easy listening/Lane Bryant dressing room version of the song. The judges are happy he did his own thing even though the arrangement was ridonk.

2. Kris Allen

Hi, pretty. Kris tells a great story about a Ferris wheel attendant recognizing him, but asking him to say hi to Adam. The world is Gay for Adam! Back to Beautiful–the next contestant arrived in 1985 and had aspirations of becoming a taxi driver. Ah, Kris, there’s hope for you yet. For “All She Wants to Do is Dance,” Kris starts out surrounded by a gaggle of lustful, clapping girls, presumably to his wife’s horror. Blahblah, fine, he’s gone back to being boring. Kara calls it jazz-funk homework. Simon: “Indulgent, boring, forgettable,” and he’s cut off by someone screaming to Kris, “You’re hot!” “So am I,” says Simon.

3. Lil Rounds

We get an exigesis on the name Lil. Apparently it’s not Lil’, it’s not Lill, it’s more like Leel. She’s singing Tina Turner–yes!–“What Love Got To Do With It?” from 1984. The judges tell her every week to be Mary J. Blige, and I’m not sure they’re going to get that from this performance. It’s really more Tina than anything. But Lil looks hotttt in leather bondage-wear. And no, the judges are not happy with Lil’s choice. Even Paula calls it karaoke! From Paula? Ouch!

4. Anoop Desai

Dawg is thrilled ’cause my own bracket pick UNC won (sixth place, yeah!). He celebrates by wearing something else out of his dorm-room hamper. Singing a song that’s pretty much reserved for the gays these days, Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” from 1986, he shows his voice is better than we’ve thought over the past few weeks. But he still exudes the presence of a college bar act. Judges all liked the vocals. Paula said he was just like a rainbow.

5. Scott MacIntyre

Born 1985, as a child, Scott would freak his mom out playing eerie Halloween music on the piano. Equally creepy, Scott takes us back to the easy listening station with “The Search is Over.” And his time in this competition is over. Horrendous! But funny: Scott explains his pointless use of an electric guitar tonight as bringing his “punk side” out. Yak yak yak. Bye.

6. Allison Iraheta

1992! Oy, so young! OMG a doctor diagnosed her as a singer as a child. Cuuuute. Allison borrowed something out of Kelly Clarkson’s closet this week, a jackety figure-hiding leather thing. She does Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” and it’s gorgeous and from this dark and twisted place of pain and sadness. What’s up with this kid? The judges just want her to be more likable, but her singing gets props.

7. Matt Giraud

Didn’t realize he was part of the Christian club, but he reaches out to the religious heartland with a video of a childhood role he played as a wisecracking angel. Good move! From 1985, Matt sings Stevie’s “Part-Time Lover.” He gives up the instruments altogether this week, but goes back to the funny headwear. Certainly that’s a help, because he has a great delivery and moves his body better than Megan Joy ever could. Judges love it.

8. Adam Lambert

Best for last? In Matt’s video he makes a crack about not liking sports as a kid, and how he his drag queen tendencies manifested themselves early on. One childhood photo shows him in handcuffs. He’s just rubbing it in, now. Anyway, he starts Tears For Fears’ “Mad World” (1982) entirely in falsetto, perched on a stool center stage. And at “Look right through me,” he goes crazy, but only for like a second. Overall, it’s the most calm performance he’s ever done. And it’s now after 9pm, so only Simon gets to speak. But “words are unnecessary,” and the curmudgeony Brit actually gives the theatrical one a standing ovation. Hell’s frozen over.

Who should go home this week: Scott. Please, Jesus via Danny Gokey, I pray thee.

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