Adam Lambert had his usual triumphant showing on American Idol last night, while Danny Gokey and Kris Allen split their decisions, underwhelming with their first songs and redeeming themselves with their second.
Danny's "You Are So Beautiful" was nice, but it didn't prove he's capable of any more than what we saw from him on day one. Kris' reworking of Kanye West's "Heartless" may have been a game-changer, however, being good enough to theoretically propel him past Danny (who's never been in the bottom two or three) and into the final.
Tonight, Jordin Sparks and Katy Perry sang. Alicia Keys asked for money (a great cause, but more on that later). Ryan Seacrest walked the Top Three through their triumphant visits to their respective hometowns.
But when all was said and sung, the only thing that mattered was which two of the semifinalists were moving on to compete for the whole freakin' thing on next week's finale.
And despite early predictions that he was going to be right there at season's end, Danny Gokey got his walking papers a week early.
The 29-year-old from Milwaukee was a sentimental favorite early on, having auditioned just weeks after his wife passed away—and turning in an impressive vocal, to boot.
His raspy, radio-friendly voice was solid week after week, but his song choices were largely so-so and he had more rough moments than the judges (not counting Simon, who really hated it when Danny danced) gave him credit for.
So with Danny swept to the sidelines... Make way for your finalists, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert!
First off, Kris, initially underwhelming but quite the craftmeister when it came to arranging songs and charming the fans, was the first to receive the go-ahead.
So there we were, wondering if voters had stopped supporting Adam's quirky charms at exactly the wrong time, or had assumed he was a shoo-in and threw their support to one of the others, making for a Kris-Danny finale.
But no, Adam received a winning portion of the more than 88 million votes cast last night, as well.
So it's the arena rocker vs. the smooth acoustician for all the beans next week. The guys will perform Tuesday and...one of them will be named the next American Idol on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, with no Idol Gives Back special taking place this year, Alicia Keys popped up earlier tonight to urge viewers to donate $5 to Keep a Child Alive, which combats HIV/AIDS in Africa, by texting 90999. The charge will appear on your phone bill; donations will be accepted until June 1.
(Originally published May 13, 2009, at 7:10 p.m. PT)
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