Just three contestants remain on American Idol after Wednesdayâ€™s elimination.
Idol is now officially heading to an all-male finale. Allison Iraheta, the 17-year-old phenomenon with a vocal strength that could topple frail trees, was voted off, leaving Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey and Kris Allen to be saluted with hometown parades.
What went wrong? Her performance of a Janis Joplin classic wasnâ€™t her best, but her duet with Adam had enough rock sizzle that Simon thought she might be safe. Danny, meanwhile, pleased no one with his cover of Aerosmithâ€™s â€œDream On.â€ Even his aunt, he admitted, had muted the television when he bungled the high notes.
Allison was often faulted for not showing enough confidence or fire as a stage personality, but there were always confidence and fire in her singing, werenâ€™t there? At any rate, the voting audience has always been ambivalent about her â€” perhaps because of her youth, her hair and her style, which has been compared to Kelly Clarksonâ€™s but is in fact much more raw.
A full 35 minutes were gone before Ryan Seacrest started the elimination procedure. (The order of names was random, he said â€” there was no bottom two announced.) The first to safety was a surprise: Kris cupped his hands over his face in shock and relief. His singing hasnâ€™t consistently wowed the judges â€” this week, in particular â€” but the fact remains that of all the contestants he photographs best in a close-up. These things matter. Then Adam joined him, and then Danny.
It seems inconceivable that Adam wonâ€™t be in the final two. So who goes next â€” Kris or Danny?
The nightâ€™s guest performers included No Doubt, former Idol contestant Chris Daughtry and none other than Paula Abdul. She and a chorus of male dancers ran through fog and red-fabric flames for her new single â€œIâ€™m Just Here for the Music.â€ At the end, one of the dancers, pretending to be paparazzi, shouted, â€œWill you be back for next season?â€ She did not answer.