5. Allison Iraheta: (Last week: No. 3) Simon has finally warmed to her — did we hear him say “brilliant” after her slowed-down, ass-kicking take on “Hot Stuff”? — but to date, America has not followed suit, as evidenced by her third bottom-three appearance in the last six weeks. Needs to take Paula’s tip from early in the finals and show a softer shade of her raspy instrument if she wants viewers to take a second look. Perhaps a softer, more glamorous look for Rat Pack week, and a little more focus on enunciation, would pay dividends, too?
4. Danny Gokey: (Last week: No. 4) Simon seems to be slipping off his bandwagon, noting his karaoke take on “September” had no star quality just a week after criticizing his harp-led arrangement of “Endless Love.” Unlike Adam, Kris, Allison, and even Matt, Danny has yet to deliver a thoroughly original arrangement during the season 8 finals — something that seems more of a requirement in the New Idol Order. Needs to deliver a stellar, breakout performance if he’s going to make good on Paula’s “See you in the finals!” prediction, not to mention avoid a shock elimination this week.
3. Matt Giraud: (Last week: No. 5) Remember last season, how we all thought Syesha was going to finish eighth, then seventh, then sixth, then fifth, then fourth…and yet she made it all the way to third? And wouldn’t it be fair to say Matt is infinitely more likable and original than Ms. Mercado? Plus, if Matt gets booted, who will fulfill Kara’s flirtational fantasies? Weird things can happen at this stage of the Idol game, and Rat Pack Week may benefit Matt more than any of his competitors. We just hope dude dials back a bit on the excessive runs and falsetto. They’re 1-800-Not-Needed.
2. Adam Lambert: (Last week: No. 1) Hasn’t had a single bad (or even middling) performance in seven weeks of the season 8 finals — something none of his competitors can boast! — and his “Mad World” and “Tracks of My Tears” have arguably been the season’s most gripping performances. Biggest challenge for Glambert, in fact, is that he’s set the bar so high with his unbridled theatricality and manic energy, that anything less than a show-stopper can seem like something of a let-down. The crown is still his to lose, but if there was ever a week for a switcheroo at the top of the Idol Power List, you’ve got to admit it’d have to follow his slightly sleepy “If I Can’t Have You.”
1. Kris Allen: (Last week: No. 2) He’s delivered back-to-back powerhouse performances with the unexpected and heartfelt choice of “Falling Slowly” on Movie Night and the brilliantly rearranged “She Works Hard for the Money” during Disco Week. True, his understated vocal style never makes the judges go wild, and yes, we haven’t quite forgotten that bunky “All She Wants to Do Is Dance,” but he’s turned a one-horse race into something a little more interesting, and for that, he gets this week’s top spot.