American Idol recap: Adam Lambert mentors for Queen Week, two more contestants go home
Hey, remember when Dimitrius Graham got voted off last week even though he was one of the best vocalists on the show? Cool, cool, cool. Well, at least we have the return of Idol alum Adam Lambert to soothe our souls. Speaking of Idol injustices, remember when Adam Lambert came in second place on his season? I love me some Kris Allen (I still listen to his cover of “Heartless”!) but, like, come on, Adam dominated that season. To be honest, ending up the frontman for Queen is one of the best post-Idol journeys in history, so he’s probably not too sad about how the whole thing shook out.
It’s very appropriate that Adam is mentoring tonight since the Top 8 will be taking on Queen’s greatest hits. Also, because Idol can’t help itself, they’ll be doing “famous movie duets.” And then at the end of the night, two more contestants will be eliminated. I’m feeling very overwhelmed! To the stage!
Walker Burroughs // “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Queen
Walker knows his strength is most definitely not moving around the stage, so it’s actually great to have a little mentor session with Adam Lambert, who is a master at that very thing. Adam’s advice is to be intentional and be himself. In the end, sure, it’s a little awkward, but that’s probably one of the reasons Walker’s made it so far. People are into the awkward. It’s not the most memorable performance of Walker’s or the night, but it’s nothing to sniff at either.
Madison Vandenburg // “The Show Must Go On” by Queen
I would like to go on a sabbatical that consists solely of Adam Lambert coaching me on how to walk. Did you see that? Madison’s big hurdle here is to bring the drama. Adam can tell she has a tremendous voice, but she can’t make this performance look too easy or casual. Make it hurt, he tells her. I’M TAKING NOTES, ADAM. By the end, the judges are on their feet. Luke saw the “diva moment” Adam told her to go after. He thinks it is her best performance in the competition, maybe the best vocal they’ve heard all season. Those are big words, cowboy!
Laine Hardy and Laci Kaye Booth // “Jackson” by Johnny Cash and June Carter (from Walk the Line)
Are any two contestants better suited to do a duet this season? Hands down, no. Laine and Laci sound good together, although some of the stage antics seem a little forced. Coach Bobby Bones said the duet would hinge on their connection, and it doesn’t totally work. But hey, they’re cute. People will be into this. The judges sure are! Katy says she felt something between the two but I’m not into showmance, and I don’t think they are, so we will move on!
Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon // “Who Wants to Live Forever” by Queen
Now here is the drama I’ve been craving on Queen Night! First of all, stakes are high because, well, this song is a beast, but also Jeremiah’s parents are coming to the show for the first time. Talk about “under pressure” (sorry not sorry). During rehearsals, Adam thinks that Jeremiah playing guitar on this song will take away from the whole thing, and man is Adam right. Jeremiah takes the stage solo, in an excellent long coat/robe situation and commands it. Luke is right, Jeremiah takes us on a real journey with this one. Mom and Dad are so proud!
Alejandro Aranda // “Under Pressure” by Queen featuring David Bowie
And now Alejandro is taking on a Freddie Mercury and David Bowie arrangement—he is appropriately terrified to play around with this one. Adam, however, knows that making a song your own is a secret weapon on this show. He just needs a little more confidence from Alejandro. It’s clearly not Alejandro’s best performance, but the judges still eat it up. They bypass giving him any critique on the actual song, and instead continue to tell him that his artistry is what sets him apart. I mean, that’s true but come on, give the kid something to work with!
Alyssa Raghu and Wade Cota // “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (from Guardians of the Galaxy)
Let’s not even talk about how this is a duet “from Guardians of the Galaxy.” Why did this have to be “movie duets?” Couldn’t we have just called it “famous duets?” I’m so confused and also tired, Idol. The strange pairing of Alyssa and Wade kind of works in the end, though. They look like they’re genuinely having a great time up there together and Alyssa is getting better and better each week, isn’t she? You wouldn’t know from the judges because Katy makes a flub on her “roll the dice” analogy and then proceeds to make the entire critiquing session about her, again. Let these contestants have their moments!
Madison VanDenburg and Jeremiah Lloyd Harmon // “A Million Dreams” (from The Greatest Showman)
Yeah, this makes sense. As Bobby points out, these are the two most emotional singers on the show, and although I would rather hear them take on Zac Efron and Zendaya’s “Rewrite the Stars” THIS WILL DO. There’s not a ton of onstage chemistry, but the vocals here are insane. The judges appreciate that these two sounded like professionals, especially in the give and take. You know, like, how a duet is supposed to go. Anyway, I’m going to go listen to that Efron/Zendaya bop for the one-thousandth time.
Laine Hardy // “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen
Um, I’m sorry, is Laine Hardy wearing both a sequin blazer AND GOLD SEQUIN BOOTIES? What is this world, I never want to leave. Although that’s really all I want to talk about, we should talk about this performance. In rehearsal, Laine’s a little shy, and Adam tells him that with a song like this, you have to bring it. All of it. So then Laine gets on stage and throws his very own rock concert. The teens are going to go wild and I honestly think Laine might win this whole thing.
Laci Kaye Booth // “Love of My Life” by Queen
Adam and Laci chat a little about stage presence and confidence, but his main advice is in regards to some of her phrasing. He encourages her to really show she’s connected to the song. And, you guys, has Laci ever seem so emotionally connected before? Lionel thinks she just had her star-making moment. Katy calls her voice “absolutely gorgeous” which, like, we know but thank you. Luke is impressed by how much she sells the emotion of the song. Whatever the outcome, Laci needs to put this song on her album. IMMEDIATELY.
Alejandro Aranda and Walker Burroughs // “Mrs. Robinson” by Simon and Garfunkel (from The Graduate)
Am I just an old person, or was the sound mix on this off? I could barely hear Alejandro and Walker’s vocals over the band. It’s a quiet song, but I wanted their vocals to shine a little bit more. No surprise here, the judges loved it (do they ever not like anything?). Katy’s right—their voices do seem to really complement each other and Lionel thought it showed off their artistry really well. Still, I think Jeremiah and Madison win the duets.
Wade Cota // “We Are the Champions” by Queen
Wade’s hair is higher than ever before and also he’s wearing fringe. I am into it. I’m also into the fact that Wade is an Adam Lambert superfan and is continuing to speak the truth about Adam’s runner-up status. “What the heck, America?” indeed. Wade misses a lyric, but the judges tell him not to worry about it. Luke loves that Wade brought his vibrato out and is still showing some new dimensions to his voice. Oddly though, the judges seem to be prepping him for a loss, reminding him what he said about Adam not winning his season. It seems pointed, is all I’m saying!
Alyssa Raghu // “Somebody to Love” by Queen
Just an update: I’m still taking notes from Adam Lambert’s master class tonight. Now he’s teaching me—and Alyssa—about being a diva. I feel so free! Again, Alyssa is showing real growth with every performance and let’s say I’d be happily surprised if she stuck around for the Top 6. I mean, we all know she’s on the chopping block, let’s be honest. Lionel tells her to never lose her determination. Luke tells her he loves her. This is all very ominous. Let’s give it up for her stalling for time so that people can keep voting. Do what you must, Raghu!
Well, the two people who are certainly not the champions tonight, my friend (again, I am not sorry for this), are Alyssa Raghu and Walker Burroughs. The judges will not be using their saves, so it is truly good-bye. How are we feeling about the Top 6? How are we feeling about Adam Lambert being the runner-up of his season? It still stings, okay?!