Well, welcome to the jungle, Idol fans...because my dream came true this week, on American Idol's Rock 'N' Roll Night, when guest-mentoring Guns N' Roses guitar god Slash tutored this season's four remaining aspiring young rockers in all his top-hatted, corkscrew-curled, chain-smoking, mirror-sunglassed glory. And even more gloriously, the show opened with the most rockin' Idol rocker EVER, Adam Lambert, traipsing out in rivet-studded black leather and completely KILLING IT--I mean real rock 'n' roll homicide, here--on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love."
Yep, you read that right. Adam took on the utterly untouchable Zep, something a less fearless contestant would never dare to do, and something a less talented and less authentic contestant would never be able to do (at least not without John Bonham rolling over in his grave and mobs of classic rock fans angrily storming the Fox Studio gates with fiery pitchforks in hand). But oh my gawd, I cannot put into words how good Adam's Zep performance was--which is a problem, since it's kind of my job to put this sort of stuff into words, in blog form.
Yes, I had an appetite for perfection, and Adam's Slash-counseled performance tonight left me satisfied (yet still hungering for more). After this, there ain't no way Adam's going to land in the bottom 2 THIS week.
Seriously, sorry to ramble on about Zep here, and I know this will sound blasphemous and possibly make pitchfork-wielding classic rock fans storm Yahoo! Music HQ...but after watching Adam's version of "Whole Lotta Love," I think maybe Led Zeppelin COULD go out on the road without Robert Plant after all, if Adam signed on. That's a great Plan B for Adam, actually, if by some miracle he doesn't win Idol this season. Or, since Slash was so impressed with Adam's rather Axl-esque vocals tonight, maybe Slash could hire Adam to be the new singer of Velvet Revolver. How awesome would that be?
Anyway, Slash wasn't the only one impressed tonight. Randy Jackson, who actually suggested that Slash and Adam record together, raved: "This is the Adam I love! You're a rock star tonight!" (Of course, Adam is a rock star EVERY night. Duh.) Kara DioGuardi one-upped Randy's compliment with: "You're more than a rock star...you're a rock GOD!" Paula Abdul perhaps said it best when she described Adam's "Whole Lotta Love" performance as "a whole lotta perfect." And Simon Cowell rounded out a unanimously enthusiastic judges' critique with the only characteristically negative thing he could come up with: "The only problem is now, nobody will be able to top that."
Allison looked fabulously and fiercely rockin', sporting some new fuchsia hair extensions that she got courtesy of Adam's recommended hairstylist, and she possessed--to use Slash's words--"a natural rock 'n' roll mannerism and swagger." Furthermore, "Crybaby" was a perfect song for Allison's gutsy and gravelly vocal style. ("If they ever do a biopic on Janis Joplin, you've got the role," Paula told her during the critique session.) But after Adam's off-the-charts awesomeness, Allison's performance was still a little bit of a letdown. Her energy level just wasn't as high as Adam's, and her performance was sadly the start of tonight's continuous downward drag throughout the rest of episode.
Randy didn't dig the song choice, and Kara thought Allison seemed nervous, but overall I still think Allison did well. Just not as well as Adam.
The judges weren't exactly spearing their eardrums with sharp objects, but they weren't really all that rocked by this first-of-its-kind rock duet any more than I was. The judges conceded that Kris and Danny's harmonies complemented each other well but that "the individual vocals were just OK" (Randy) and "the sum of the parts was better" (Kara). And since this was American Idol and not Can You Duet?, such commentary wasn't too flattering.
Yikes. That was cold! But true.
Singing solo last was this season's least rockin' contestant, Danny Hokey. Um, I mean Gokey. Now, I really dug Danny last week, on Jazz Night, and think the Harry Connick Jr./Michael Buble route would be a great career path for him based on his performance last Tuesday. But based on tonight's performance, I can attest that rockin' and rollin' are not among Danny's chief talents. He's no Steven Tyler, and yet he chose to take on Aerosmith's "Dream On." Well, dream on, Gokey fans, if you think his performance rocked. It did not.
Well, regardless of Kara's disregard for the calendar, after all that Simon did predict that Danny would be back on the Idol calendar next week, as he most likely would not be eliminated tomorrow night. And Simon was probably right: Danny is, after all, the only remaining contestant on the show who's never been in the bottom, so the odds are still in his favor.
Of course, Simon's comments made me wonder...how did the Idol producers decide to divvy up the duets this evening, anyway? Did they deliberately pair the often-at-risk Allison with this season's rockin' frontrunner to give her a much-needed edge? Was tonight's show (gulp)...fixed? Oh, who cares? I still want my Adam/Allison finale, and my opportunity to see them rock that Ozzy/Lita number. So I'll just let the producers do what they gotta do, and I'll look the other way and play dumb...
OK, so now it is prediction time. There's no point in predicting a bottom three when only four contenders are left overall, so I'll just zero in on who I think will get cut.
I am pretty sure that Adam is safe (please don't let him have another near-elimination scare like last week; my heart couldn't take it!), and I agree with Simon that Adam's duet with Allison may have saved her by association. (And those sexy hair extensions Adam hooked Allison up with didn't hurt, either.) As for Danny, he was weak tonight, but Simon's prediction that we will stay was probably correct--Danny just seems invincible, for some reason, no matter what he sings or how well he sings it.
So that leaves...Kris. He didn't take on the untouchable Beatles with quite as much finesse as Adam took on the untouchable Led Zeppelin, and his performance subsequently went over like a lead balloon. I think this will be his downfall.
Tune in tomorrow night to see if I'm right! And log on tomorrow (Wednesday) morning at 9:30am Pacific for Yahoo!'s weekly live Idol chat, where you can dish with AmIdol fanatics (including me) about tonight's rock 'n' roll revue and tomorrow night's predicted elimination. Just log on tomorrow at http://tv.yahoo.com/blog/yahoo-tv-water-cooler-idols-top-4-rock-out--295 and come say hi!
- Adam Lambert
- American Idol