`American Idol’ switches up judging format

TV American Idol“American Idol” tried to end on time Tuesday, implementing a format that allowed only two judges to review a singer. Host Ryan Seacrest explained: “We’re working in teams tonight, so we make it in on time.”  Judge Simon Cowell said they had to do it that way because fellow female panelists Paula Abdul and Kara Dioguardi talked too much last week. Still, the popular Fox talent contest ran three minutes over schedule. Last Tuesday’s show ran over by eight minutes. Judges did not have time to comment on Adam Lambert’s rendition of “Mad World.” The division of labor: Cowell and Abdul judged Lambert, Lil Rounds, Danny Gokey and Allison Iraheta. Dioguardi and Randy Jackson reviewed Anoop Desai, Matt Giraud and Kris Allen.  The night’s theme: songs of the cinema. Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, an “Idol” superfan who appeared as a judge on the series’ third season, was a guest mentor. This time, Lambert performed in the middle of the telecast, thereby avoiding the danger of getting clipped by viewer recording devices.  The 27-year-old actor sang “Born to Be Wild” — and, as usual, Abdul went wild. She said Lambert dares “to dance the path of greatness.” Cowell was less enthusiastic, saying Lambert’s edgy take on the song from the classic 1969 film “Easy Rider” reminded him of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and might polarize people. On the other extreme, Cowell said he was “bored” by Gokey’s version of “Endless Love” from the 1981 romance of the same name. But he called the smokey-voiced Milwaukee native a “brilliant singer The Cowell-Abdul team enjoyed Iraheta’s Aerosmith cover of “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” from the 1998 blockbuster “Armageddon,” while the Jackson-Dioguardi duo heaped praise on Desai for his soulful take on the Bryan Adams ballad “(Everything I Do) I Do it For You” from 1991′s “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”  Jackson and Dioguardi were on the same page in reviewing Giraud, who sang Adams’ “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman?” from the 1994 movie “Don Juan DeMarco.” They agreed it wasn’t his best performance; Cowell, meanwhile, opened his mouth like he had something to say.  Rounds, 24, of Memphis, was left in the lurch once more.  She endured another round of criticism, this time for her rendition of the title anthem from 1979′s “The Rose.” “There’s no excuses anymore — you’re not the artist we met” earlier in the competition, Cowell said. Rounds argued back, saying she tried to inject some soul into the Bette Midler song. “Don’t ever be afraid to say what you feel, Lil,” Abdul soothed. “Those who matter don’t mind.”  And that’s where the show cut off.

Megan Joy departs ‘American Idol,’ 8 are left

megan_joyThe spotlight has been turned off of Megan Joy on “American Idol.” The tattooed 23-year-old single mother from Sandy, Utah, who crooned Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” received the least number of viewer votes on the popular Fox network singing competition Wednesday — and she didn’t even get to hope for a judges’ save.

“I’m not going to pretend that we’re even going to contemplate saving you,” said Simon Cowell in the moments before Joy’s “last-ditch” performance, which was supposed to be her chance to convince them to keep her around.

Joining Joy as the bottom three voter-getters this week: 16-year-old high school student Allison Iraheta from Los Angeles and 21-year-old college student Anoop Desai from Chapel Hill, N.C.  Joy had been supported by, a subversive “Idol” fan site that encourages viewers to vote for bad — but entertaining — singers. Joy didn’t bring any joy to the judges on Tuesday’s pop music-themed performance show. Kara Dioguardi attacked her song choice while being heckled by the audience, insisting said she would have rather heard Adele’s “Chasing Pavements” instead of the Marley tune. Cowell also lashed out, calling her performance “boring” and “indulgent.” “I love you, Simon, but I don’t care,” Joy retaliated Wednesday. A miffed Cowell got the last word, even though she had been one of the judges’ wild-card picks: “Megan, with the greatest respect, when you said that you don’t care, nor do we. … This is your swan song. Enjoy it.” The eight contestants who remain in the singing competition: Iraheta, Desai, Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, Kris Allen, Lil Rounds, Matt Giraud and Scott MacIntyre.  On next Tuesday’s performance show, the top eight finalists will perform tunes released the year of their birth. All of the remaining finalists — except for Iraheta — were born in the 1980s.

‘Idol’ judges distracted by Iraheta’s funky outfit

irahetaAllison Iraheta’s funky outfit got more attention than her performance on “American Idol.” The judges’ panel seemed too distracted by what she was wearing to offer much criticism of her performance. The 16-year-old rock prodigy belted the No Doubt hit “Don’t Speak”  not that it mattered. Judge Simon Cowell said Iraheta’s look resembled “something out of ‘The Addams Family.’” Her poofy red dress, black leggings, white heels and spiky magenta hair led Cowell to joke that the night’s theme must be Halloween.

For Tuesday night’s performance show, the nine remaining contestants were asked to choose from the most popular downloaded songs on iTunes.  Most failed to win over judges. Cowell said Anoop Desai’s take on Usher ‘s “Caught Up” gave him a headache. Randy Jackson compared Megan Joy’s reggae-lite performance of “Turn Your Lights Down Low” to “watching paint dry.” The foursome brought Lil Rounds to tears after criticizing the soul singer for playing it safe with a Celine Dion song.  It wasn’t all gloom and doom. Adam Lambert , the 26-year-old theater actor who defies labels and vocal limits, continued his hot streak with a not-so-corny rendition of “Play That Funky Music.” Paula Abdul called Lambert a “genius” in the vein of Mick Jagger and Steven Tyler .  Cowell told Kris Allen, Danny Gokey and Scott MacIntyre they gave their best performances so far in the top-rated Fox singing contest.  MacIntyre, from Scottsdale, Ariz., stuck to the piano again, tickling the ivories for Billy Joel ‘s “Just The Way You Are.”  “Of all the contestants that have graced the stage, I am most proud of you,” Abdul told MacIntyre, who is legally blind.  The fate of these singers will be determined during Wednesday’s results show. One will be sent packing — unless judges choose to use a new rule that allows them to save someone they feel has been wrongly booted by voting viewers.

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