- Danny Gokey - "Dance Little Sister" (Terence Trent D'Arby) (Paula Abdul's choice) / "You Are So Beautiful" (Joe Cocker)
- Kris Allen - "Apologize" (OneRepublic) (Randy Jackson and Kara DioGuardi's choice) / "Heartless" (Kanye West)
- Adam Lambert - "One" (U2) (Simon Cowell's choice) / "Cryin'" (Aerosmith)
Songs chosen by the contestant (non-theme) and chosen by the judges (non-theme).
Gokey finally packed it in, and with probably his best performance since "Hero" in Hollywood Week. "Dance Little Sister" had the cruise ship quality but he at least was the best cruise ship director he could be. He got a distracting response from Paula and Simon, who insisted on punching and grabbing each other; you know, like every other week.
His second song was the dulldulldull "You Are So Beautiful (to Me)" but his arrangement was quite beautiful. His notes were, dare to say, pitchy and too rough without the personality to back it up. The build-up was a bit much and he looked like he was going to gnaw off the mic, but it wasn't bad. It did sound a lot like "I Believe I Can Fly," towards the end, though.
"Dance Little Sister": B
"You Are So Beautiful (To Me)": C+
Should've Gone Home:
Danny Gokey; it was just time... Finally, even though it was light years better than he has been.
How Was Everyone Else?
Kris did "Apologize" on piano, quite well. It sounded great, and despite the rather inane response it elicited from Kara (she wanted the guitar) and Paula ("you are worthy to be in the top 3 spot"... duh). I'm not familiar with the song, but he was fantastic.
He did the white-boy-does-the-ironic-rap-song thing to great effect with Kanye West's "Heartless." Apparently the arrangement is close to The Fray's variation, but borrowed arrangements are hardly new on Idol. It was a good cover song, and managed to not come off too obvious and goofy. He basically has kept on confirming he's Jason Mraz without the dirty mind.
Adam Lambert did "One" by U2 (selected by Simon Cowell and cleared by Bono just days before); it did come off a little more Mary J. Blidge. The first half was very understated, with Adam gently rolling the notes out (not unlike the cover as "Mad World"). It went to the bridge entirely too quickly, but that's the problem with the format. He hit the big note way too early for a sensitive, slow burn song, and it came off badly. It was not a good choice for him, and he may have been able to grow into it if it had actually been the appropriate length. Kara, Simon, and Paula all went down on him for it, too.
Much better was "Cryin'," which came out with Vegas horns. The background singer was on duet-level (bad!) and again was entirely too short. But it showed promise. It's fairly unacceptable that there are only 3 performers performing 6 songs total and you can't even have them performed their totality within the context of an hour.