(I wrote this straight after the Top 3 performance show last night but wasn’t able to post it till today because my blog host wasn’t co-operating. And as it turned out from today’s results show, my assumption turned out wrong – YAY! I think it’s the first time ever that someone has made the final 2 with zero coverage before the performance rounds and Kris should be damn proud.)
I never, never thought I’d be saying this but after tonight’s Top 3 episode of American Idol, I think I might actually want Kris Allen to win. I’m assuming he’ll go home tomorrow, but I’m still putting this out there tonight.
This isn’t how I started the season. I started off duly impressed by Adam after Satisfaction, and completely dismissed Kris after his forgettable Man In The Mirror. But even though Adam always sings his songs impeccably (on vocal ability alone it’s clear no one else there measures up to him), as an interpreter of songs he has not impressed me since Black or White and Tracks Of My Tears. Most of the time, even when I think he’s done well I still strongly prefer the original (Dilana’s version of Ring Of Fire, Gary Jules’ version of Mad World and Muse’s version of Feeling Good just to name a few). This week, I thought he massacred One and once again, sang Cryin’ very well but somehow still ended up making me long to hear Steven Tyler.
As for Kris, he’s gone from a total unknown in the audition rounds to being in the top 3 with two contestants who were continuously pimped right from the start and I don’t think he got there just by being cute. I think he’s there because he’s pulled off quite a number of smart, nuanced interpretations – Remember The Time (to be fair, part of that surprise was because my expectations of him were so low at the time, but I went back to watch the performance and still loved it), Ain’t No Sunshine and She Works Hard For The Money are all really enjoyable performances that don’t make me long to hear the originals. I think this is how he surreptitiously won me over without me realizing it until tonight.
Tonight, he got the booby prize judge pick by Kara and Randy (I mean seriously, how pathetic is it that Simon and Paula get their own picks and Kara and Randy have to share?) and the shitty second spot, neither getting to open the show nor close it. This would be as good a time as any to decide that he can’t overcome The Chosen Ones’ juggernaut by now and just resign himself to a dignified exit.
Instead, he threw himself into it fearlessly. Apologize is a rather difficult song to sing and contrary to what some judges said I don’t think it’s comfortably within Kris’s range at all, but he didn’t shrink from it and pulled it off pretty successfully. First round to Kris. Heartless was, quite simply, a master stroke. It was unexpected, current, brave, well sung and absolutely the perfect time to have a Moment. Best TV of the night, and second round to Kris.
(Note: You’ll notice I’m talking like Danny doesn’t exist. I’ve basically given up trying to figure out why he’s so popular, and because I’ve already steeled myself to see him in the finale, I’m mentally prepared for Adam and Kris to fight for the remaining place.)
Look, I know all the cool kids like Adam, and I like Adam too. He was off his game tonight, but he’s done other good performances which should of course count for something. But on a night where Adam got Simon’s song pick (Simon has picked for the winner more than half the time and almost always makes the best song choices), got to close the show, and is of course a seasoned pro who has already been massively pimped the entire season, Kris stepped up unintimidated and delivered what I thought were the best two performances of the night. I admire that. I will smile and nod if Adam wins, for sure. But tonight’s epiphany was that I will pump my fist in the fucking air if Kris’s impossible dream comes true.