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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 8

'American Idol's Top 7 finalists take to the stage and perform live


By John Bracchitta, 04/15/2009 

American Idol's Top 7 eighth-season finalists took to the stage and performed during last night's live broadcast of the Fox reality competition's sixth finals round.

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The Top 7 finalists -- Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, Adam Lambert, Lil Rounds, Anoop Desai, and Matt Giraud -- all sang songs of the cinema, with film director Quentin Tarantino serving as the week's mentor.

Prior to the first performance, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest and judge Simon Cowell explained that, because the show had run over eight minutes over during last week's performance show, only two judges would be judging each finalist's performance this week.

"Tonight we have to talk to at a time.... So unfortunately some contestants I won't be judging," Cowell said.

However despite the changes, the performance show still somehow managed to still run over again this week, this time by two minutes.

Drawing on an earlier comment Cowell had said, Seacrest added that there had been complaints that judges Kara DioGuardi and Paula Abdul had taken too long with their comments. While the comment received laughs from the audience, Cowell -- and then DioGuardi and Abdul -- Cowell seemed to agree with him.

"Oh it was 100% percent the girls fault," Cowell said.

The following is Reality TV World's recap of the performance broadcast in the order which the finalists sang.  Also included are comments from each of the four judges -- Cowell, Abdul, DioGuardi and Randy Jackson -- as well as additional information about each performance. Barring the use of the new The Judges' Save twist, one finalist will be eliminated at the conclusion of tonight's results show broadcast.


Allison Iraheta, a 16-year-old from Los Angeles, CA who currently resides in Downey, CA

Song: "I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing" by Aerosmith

Abdul said: "You know I've vocally championed [Adam Lambert] since day one, but what I've noticed tonight more than ever is you posses the same special sauce that he does, and that's being authentic. You don't compromise that authenticity. I don't care if you're 16 or 60, all I know is that you're one remarkable, talented young lady."
Cowell said: "I think, Allison, you are the girls' only hope left in this competition right now, I really genuinely do. You're getting stronger, you're getting more confident. That's a really, really tough song to sing, and I don't think I've ever heard a girl, or someone your age, sing that song so well. And what I like about you now is that I think you're believing you've got a chance of winning and that we could see you all the way through to the end now."

Additional comments: Iraheta really enjoyed singing for Tarantino and said that she felt she was auditioning for one of his films as he sat and watched her sing.


Anoop Desai, a 22-year-old from Chapel Hill, NC

Song: "Everything I Do (I Do For You)" by Bryan Adams

Jackson said: "When I heard this was the song you were singing I thought 'Oh my God, this is gonna be really rough,' because it's a really big huge, huge song. But dude I gotta tell you something, the last couple of weeks for me you have definitely found your zone. You're rocking out right about now. And you know what, it was in tune, you had some emotion jumping off in it. Dude, I thought you did a really good job, congrats."
DioGuardi said: "Anoop you've definitely found your place. It's pop songs and adding your soul to it, that's where you really stand out. And I have to say, I thought it was probably one of his best performances tonight, it really was. And the thing is, when you made those changes in the melody they were right and they were coming from your heart, and this is one time where I really felt connected to you singing, and I was starting to miss that."

Additional info: Tarantino told Desai to "rough up" his version of the song. Jackson agreed with DioGuardi's comment that the performance was one of Desai's best of the season.


Adam Lambert, a 26-year-old from San Diego, CA who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA

Song: "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf

Abdul said: "The reason that you're shaking up this entire competition is that you dare to dance in the path of greatness, you do. And I'm gonna tell you, fortune rewards the brave, and you're one of the bravest contestants that I've ever witnessed ever."
Cowell said: "Listen, I think vocally, incredible. Downside to that performance was I think it was a little bit like watching the Rocky Horror musical in parts. It is one of the biggest rock songs of all time so there's gonna be a huge portion of the audience that would have loved that, there's also gonna be another side who will absolutely despise it. I don't think that performance will be as popular as your one last week."

Additional info: Abdul told Lambert to take in the extended standing ovation from the crowd before she began her comments.  Cowell joked that Lambert had to "learn to express [himself] a little more" following his spectacle-filled performance and added later that he had liked the performance, but reiterated that his previous week's performance was more "original" and "current." Abdul said that comparing the two performances was "apples and oranges."


Matt Giraud, a 23-year-old from Ypsilanti, MI who currently resides in Kalamazoo, MI

Song: "Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman" by Bryan Adams

Jackson said: "For me man that performance was interesting tonight for me. I mean it started out kinda cool, but when you hit the bridge you hit a rough patch. Kara and I were looking at each other like 'Ehhhhh a little melody thing and a pitchy thing going off over here.' But the thing for me for you, what you gotta remember is that you can really sing, but when you take a song like this that's got a beautiful, simple melody you can't do all of that stuff with it because you're gonna fall down somewhere. You fell down more places tonight than you won in that song for me. So it wasn't one of your best performances for me tonight."
DioGuardi said: "Yeah, it's this struggle between 'Does Matt do a rock song or does he do a soul song?' You constantly are going back and forth. Some weeks you really nail the song choice and it's two steps forward, and then its a rock song, and I really appreciate that you tried to put a lot of soul and twist it to make it feel more like an R&B song. But in doing so you took away some of the core melodies that made the song that great. You show your vocal chops, we see that every week, but when you're gonna take a song and flip it like that it's gotta be a masterpiece."

Additional info: Jackson agreed with DioGuardi, saying that such a reinterpretation would have to be "perfect," and that Giraud's version was not.


Danny Gokey, a 28-year-old from Milwaukee, WI

Song: "Endless Love" by Lionel Ritchie

Abdul said: "The opening of the performance I wasn't sure that the key should have been lowered. But I will tell you midway through the magic is in the tambour of your voice and it's that magical place that defines you as unique and unforgettable. You pulled it together midway through the end, and you know you grab us in the beginning, you wow us in the middle, and you slay us in the end, and that was a beautiful rendition."
Cowell said: "I can't really fault the way you sang the song. I mean, we know [week after week] you are a brilliant singer. I'm disappointed though that we had the harp, and we had a very traditional version of the song, whereas last year when [David Cook] did the Lionel Ritchie song and he made it into his unique version. I was kind of a bit bored that that's all you did with it, so I'm slightly disappointed to be honest with you. Having said that, I think this song obviously means a lot to you personally, and I can see that you're emotional and it's a hard thing to do, so I congratulate you for that."

Additional info: Gokey performed alongside a harp on stage. He told Seacrest prior to his performance that he had begun learning the guitar in his spare time.


Kris Allen, a 23-year-old from Jacksonville, AR who currently resides in Conway, AR

Song: "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova

Jackson said: "For me for you tonight dude, I gotta tell you something. I don't know, it never quite caught on for me... and I love that song. But for me it was pitchy from note one."
DioGuardi said: "Difficult to pick an obscure song like that that not everybody knows. But for me it was one of your best moments."

Additional info: While Tarantino suggested that Allen consider using an instrument for the performance, he did not use one.


Lil Rounds, a 24-year-old from Memphis, TN

Song: "The Rose" by Bette Midler

Abdul said: "Lil you could not have sung a more beautiful lyric thanks to the writing of Amanda McBroom, it's one of the most beautiful songs. And I'm sure, to paraphrase one of the lines -- and all of the contestants probably agree -- sometimes the road is really long, but it's a road that's worthwhile taking when you've made it this far."
Cowell said: "I have absolutely no idea what you said there [Paula]. Listen, Lil, Once again I'm gonna say this to you, I think you're getting this completely wrong. The song was too soft for you, it was too middle of the road. You have some nice moments in there, but there's no excuses anymore. You are not the artist I believe we met seven or eight weeks ago. I'm getting frustrated."

Additional info: After Cowell said that she was was no longer the same artist the Idol judges had originally met, Rounds told Seacrest she wanted to respond to Cowell's comments. "You guys told me to be an artist, and when I heard this song I thought it was a beautiful song and I put my own bit to it because I'm into the R&B and the soul and the gospel. I put it in there and I said 'Let's do this' ... and I felt it was really good, I really did." Cowell then responded that is was still a Bette Midler song, to which Rounds shot back that she had made a point to put an R&B feel to it even if it was a song no one would usually expect her to sing. Abdul supported Rounds, telling her to "Never be afraid to say what you feel" and that "Those who matter don't mind."

(Photo credit Fox)


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