Idol final 2 performance rounds are often anti-climactic, because after a season of finding out what the top 2 contestants are good at, your “reward” is that you get to hear them singing the reliably awful coronation song, unadventurous producers’ choices, and only one song which really reflects the sort of artist they would choose to be. Tonight was no different, and although I want to write this because I think Kris was thrown under the bus again, it was generally just a dull night.
First round: Mad World (Adam), Ain’t No Sunshine (Kris)
I never understood why people went mad for Mad World the first time (and I utterly adore the Gary Jules version), but I guess it was still a better strategic choice for Adam than his actual best performance of the season (Tracks Of My Tears), given that his second song was going to be Motown as well. Since I was underwhelmed by it the first time and he didn’t change anything from that, I don’t have much to say. As usual, I felt like I was watching a skilled stage professional playing the part of a singer in a musical and doing so impeccably, but just not a musician intimately connected to the music he was creating.
Despite the simplicity of Kris’s setup – just him and a piano – I thought he brought an intensity and emotion to his performance that raised the bar from his first time, and which all of Adam’s dramatic platform entrance, dry ice and Hot Topic trench coat didn’t match. Perhaps this came naturally from having done his own arrangement, as opposed to capitalizing on someone else’s clever cover.
Vocally I think both of them sounded terrific for the songs they were singing, but I’m also gonna give it to Kris here because his song was more demanding than Mad World, and he pulled it off while playing the piano at the same time.
Second round: A Change Is Going To Come (Adam), What’s Going On (Kris)
I called this round for Adam before I even saw them perform, because Adam’s song has a million times more Moment potential than the mid-tempo snooze that is What’s Going On. Apart from the obvious Obama associations, this song is so awesome it even gave Syesha a moment! Seriously, if anyone reading this thinks they can make What’s Going On riveting in comparison, please record yourself and upload it to Youtube, because I’ve looked and found no evidence that this is humanly possible.
Adam’s performance was, well, true to himself. I adored it until he busted out the Sad Elvis face and the unnecessary glory notes and channelling Von Smith, and then I got bored and zoned out. But at least the first half of the performance was really well done, and he seemed to connect more genuinely with the song than he did with Mad World.
Kris actually made quite an admirable attempt to make What’s Boring On his own. He sang it well, and I think he deserves way more credit than he’s gotten so far for being a sufficiently accomplished musician to accompany himself on two different instruments in one show (an Idol first, I think). But although he’s managed to make me enjoy other songs I hate this season (She Works Hard For The Money, Heartless), he didn’t reinvent What’s Going On enough to make me like it.
Third round: Hot Fucking Mess (Adam, Kris)
Let’s not belabour this: FAIL for Adam, EPIC FAIL for Kris, and above all, SUPERCALIFRAGILISTICEXPIALIFUCKING FAIL for Kara. However, I commend Adam for committing to the musical universe that is I Believe This Is My Moment Like This Now Inside Your Heaven Where My Destiny Makes You Proud marginally better than Kris, and for saying “Thanks for giving me that song, it was beautiful” to Kara with a straight face. Now, let us never speak of this again.
Conclusion: Adam edged Kris out tonight, partly due to his own abilities and partly because Kris was out of luck with a shitty second song and a coronation song which totally didn’t suit his vocal range.
I’m still hoping Kris can pull off an upset since they’re neck and neck based on the Dialidol numbers, which looks surprisingly close for an Idol finale and again speaks volumes about the fanbase Kris has managed to amass despite being continually underpimped relative to Adam and Danny. But if he can’t, c’est la vie. I’m just grateful to him for giving me the first finale I gave a shit about since Fantasia’s.