Idol Beat: The Top Five

Categories: Idol Beat
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That Jamie Foxx, right? A Rennaisance man if there ever was one: the guy's a comedic genius (see In Living Color; tons of flicks), a big-screen leading man, credible action star, R&B champion - plus, as it turns out, he's a natural at mentoring American Idol hopefuls. I wouldn't have figured on him doling out advice to contestants during "Rat Pack Week," yet there he was. (I smell a Foxx-as-Sammy-Davis-Jr. in an as-yet-unconceived Rat Pack biopic, don't you?)

Let's consider our Top Five from worst to best, in order of how they acquitted themselves Tuesday evening, shall we?

Matt Giraud

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: why is this guy still here? He's the only Season 8 contender left who's got the right fashion sense for "Rat Pack Week," but the crazy pitchiness of his "My Funny Valentine" made me wanna hide inside my couch. At least he didn't botch the money-shot key change Foxx instructed him to reach for.

Simon: "For me, it was the only believable, authoritative performance I've heard tonight."

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Photos by Frank Micelotta/ Fox
I Saw Her Standing There: Allison Iraheta was just 17 Tuesday.
Allison Iraheta

Jamie, to Allison: "You're too young to be in love, right? You're only 12, 13?" He advises her to think about her family while covering "Someone to Watch Over Me," since they're the ones who watch over her at this point; this suggestion is totally sound, and in her performance you can tell that she embraced it.

I wish she's reigned in her brassy, bold smoker's-cough voice just a wee bit more before the big finish, but she's green still and learning how to nuance and control her instrument as she goes. Allison's growing up before our eyes; she turned 17 on Monday!

Paula: "Alluring and very tender."

Kris Allen

Jamie, on Kris: he's "not trying to win the throat Olympics." This is intended as a compliment, and nicely presages a comment Paula Abdul will make later in reference to Adam Lambert. "The Way You Look Tonight" is one of those standards that's amazingly intense, emotionally, yet very basic at the same time.

Kris made a good call by picking it and in choosing the arrangement; the handful of weaknesses in his vocal are wallpapered over by the timelessness and elemental grace of the song, and he's coming off very George Michael tonight, no? Is it jusr me, or did he grow a 'stache?

Paula: "You've made this amazing transition from being the cute boy next door to being this sophisticated gentleman!" Randy: "I personally think this is your best performance to date."

Guess what? They're both kinda right.

Danny Gokey

Jamie somehow coaxes a pretty stellar performance of "Come Rain or Come Shine" out of the Gokster by getting all up in his grill, the way his Miami Vice director, Michael Mann, apparently goads Oscar-nom bait dailies out of his actors. You know, I loathe Danny for stylistic and personality reasons and thought his take on this maudlin standard wasn't anything special for the first minute or so. But then a weird thing happned: auto-pilot Gokey morphed into head-of-serious-steam Danny, and he started looking like a Top Two inevitability for the first time.

Simon: "What you had tonight was a swagger and a confidence," later adding "that was outstanding." Kara: "Unbelievable." Paula: "Stellar, stellar, stellar performance!"

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Nights in White Satin: Adam Lambert wowed again.
Adam Lambert

Jamie, on Adam: "He's gonna knock everybody's head off."

Fabulous, and we've come to expect nothing less from Our Adam. The stage settings and lighting cues arrayed for Lambert are reliably stunning and out-of-this-world; tonight it's like the dude has his own overpriced Las Vegas residency in some hotel on the strip complete with opulent pageantry.

Bonus: they dressed him up like a dapper Tom Wolfe. Extra bonus: his "Feelin' Good" is intriguingly two-toned, theatrically hesitant whilst descending the staircased then shifting into a delicious naughtiness as if on cue. Is there anything this guy can't do?

Paula: "Every week is like watching the Olympics, and you're our Michael Phelps." This may be the sanest, most on-point sentence she's ever uttered on an episode of American Idol. Mark It down in your diaries.

America, your likely Bottom Three (if the producers/Ryan Seacrest go that route Wednesday): Matt Giraud, Allison Iraheta, Kris Allen.

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