The vocal prowess ofAmerican Idol Season 8 contenders Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Adam Lambertwere tested to the hilt this week. Each of them rendered two songs: one that is handpicked by the judges and the other the contestant's personalchoice.
America and judges RandyJackson, Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul and Kara DioGuardi stay glued to their seatsfor their performances.
First to go onstage wasDanny Gokey who sang "Terrence Trent D'Arby's "Dance Little Sister"which was Paula Abdul's personal song choice for him.
Randy said "Let the gamebegin... lotsa energy. That was dope for me."
Kara felt it fell short ofher expectations. She was quick to comment that the dancing was a little desperate. "Will I remember the performance tomorrow? I don't really know."
The Milwaukee native then sang"You Are So Beautiful," a Joe Cocker classic and earned glowing remarks.
Paula commented, "You nailedit. It was a beautiful, beautiful song." Simon pointed out, "I would call that avocal master class!"
Randy and Kara picked"Apologize" by OneRepublic for Kris Allen to do onstage. They [Randy and Kara]felt it was a "big song, big range... a song open for interpretation." Kara found it "a confident performance. At this stage ofthe competition, you've got to be swinging it out of the park." Paula mentionedthat "there was a bum note there... But I'm so proud of you."
Kris' take on "Heartless"by Kanya West sizzled and earned the green light from the judges. Randythought he "liked the version. It was better than the original. "Simon stated"it was a lame choice. But you earned your way at this stage."
"One" by U2 was SimonCowell's personal song choice which incidentally was one of his favorite songsin the world. Simon even got the nod from Bono of U2 to use the song for Adam'sperformance. Adam's take was stellar. Randy told him: "Let me justsay that you are definitely in the zone—unbelievable vocals. Karacommented "You're a strategist—an amazing strategist. [You] made itunbelievable and you did you own version." Simon remarked, "I thought it was abrilliant song choice. It was a brilliant,brilliant performance."
The stage performer picked"Cryin" by Aerosmith and undoubtedly slammed it. Kara, awed with Adam, gushed, "it was amazing. We'll see you at the finals." Paula even added: "I'll beseeing you next week and the years after. "
Guest performers for thejittery elimination night were Ben Stiller and the hilarious cast members of Night ofthe Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian who opened the show. Jordin Sparks fromAI Season 5 sang "Battlefield" joined by OneRepublic's Ryan Teddy, guestappearances from Alicia Keys, global ambassador for "Keep a Child Alive" and madepleas for donations. Noah from Rwanda then rendered the song "I'm the World'sGreatest" and Katy Perry also sang "Waking up in Las Vegas performed in classicVegas showgirl style.
American voters decided to keep Kris Allen and Adam Lambert in the finale. Judges were shocked when Danny Gokeyreceived the fewest of therecord-setting 88 million votes.
Paula and Kara gave Danny a standingovation after performing his swan song.
In a season full of surprises, next week'sfinal performance show promises to be a night to remember as Kris and Adam compete head-to-head for the IDOL crown at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. It will air on Q Channel 11 this Wednesday, May 20,at 6:00 p.m.
Tune in thefollowing day for the biggest television event of the season. Over 100,000people auditioned, and now only one finalist will be crowned the next American Idol on the two-hour season finale on May 21, Thursday, 8:00 a.m. LIVE via satellite.
The finale will feature special performances and surpriseguests as the Top 13 finalists reunite on stage one last time before America'svote is revealed.
AmericanIdol Season 8 airs on Q Channel 11, this Wednesday, May 20,6:00 p.m. via satellite with a replay at 8:30 p.m.and Thursday, 8:00 a.m., LIVE via satellite, with a primetime telecast at 7:00 p.m.Saturday replay airs at 5:00 p.m. while Sunday replay airs at 4:00 p.m.