Adam Lambert

"Idol": some mixed Motown moments

It was the right advice tonight on "American Idol," even if it was given to the wrong person.

You can't just choose a great song, the judges said. You need one that lets you stand out. There has to be enough space to do something special; you need room to make moments.

As it happens, they were saying that to Lil Rounds, to whom few rules need apply. She chose "Heat Wave," a bullet train of a song; all the singer can do is run at top speed, jump on and hang tight. Fortunately, Rounds is good enough to do that; she nailed it.

For once, Simon is wrong, wrong wrong

Until tonight, Simon Cowell was having a great year. Time after time, his comments have been strong, to the point and correct.

Now, alas, he's been terribly, brutally wrong. In particular, his Adam Lambert comments were the exact opposite of the truth.

Sure, we're used to the Johnny Cash version of "Ring of Fire." But when you listen to the words, you realize that Lambert's version fits. Cash sang of mild discomfort, Lambert sang of writhing, Hellish pain; both served the words beautifully.

A weird night of "Idol"

This was a strange night of "American Idol," throwing away all the usual patterns.

Usually, the show is all about balance -- boy-girl, loud-soft, good-bad. Not this time. It started and ended with women -- fresh, fierce work by Lil Rounds and Alexis Grace; that left the middle with eight men and only three women. It started with seven songs the judges loved -- then three they didn't -- then three more good ones.

It was all odd, but interesting. Here are a few of my comments and then my should-go, will-go. Please add yours:

"Idol" so far: The worship leaders lead

Hey kids, you want to be on "American Idol"?
This year's best route is a surprising one: Become a musical worship leader.
"It's a different kind of performing, but you get a lot of practice," Kris Allen said.
He's been doing it since he got to the University of Central Arkansas, about six years ago. He's also been on church missions to Mozambique, Morocco,Thailand, Burma, Spain and South Africa.

Whatever happened to "Idol" surprises?

Remember when "American Idol" used to surprise us?

I don't mean happy surprises. I mean oh-my-God-they've-dumped-Daughtry surprises and Nicki-McKibbon-is-STILL-here surprises. They were the kind that made us grumble vaguely about not watching.

This year, that's gone. Last night, my three-person should-win list and my will-win list were identical. Tonight, those three all did win; a week earlier, two of my three predictions won and the third (Anoop Desai) was barely edged out.

"Idol": The good, the bland and the buoyantly bizarre

Hey, these "American Idol" judges should make up their minds.

They keep telling contestants to choose the right song and make it their own. Tonight, Nick Mitchell did all of that.

He chose exactly the song for him -- the big, broad, over-the-top show tune, "And I Am Telling You." He made it his own, so much so that I doubt anyone will want it back.