This is a pivotal week for "American Idol" fans. After all:
-- Today is Allison Iraheta's 17th birthday. For those of you waiting patiently, she's now a year from being a consenting adult.
-- Tuesday is "Rat Pack" night, with the remaining contestants singing songs done by Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin or Sammy Davis. They could also do the music of Joey Bishop or Peter Lawford, but I wouldn't advise it.
"Rat Pack" week means Matt Giraud will have an excuse to wear a fedora again. If he makes it to next week, he'll tie two others (Josh Gracin, Lakisha Jones) with the best finish by a Michigan person, fourth overall. It means Iraheta might find a fast-paced Davis song -- sort of like "Candy Man," but better -- to sing. And it means Adam Lambert will ... well, be perfect, as usual.
I like Giraud, but I'm surprise that he's still around, with Lil Rounds (one of my favorites) and Anoop Desai ousted. Here's the story I wrote after phone interviews, the day after their ouster:
Let's not feel too sorry for Lil Rounds and Anoop Desai, as they return home from "American Idol."
She's looking forward to her three kids and more. "My husband bought me a puppy," Rounds said Thursday.
And Desai has basketball memories to savor retroactively. "I'm going to do some celebrating from a couple weeks ago," he said Thursday.
Desai grew up in Chapel Hill, N.C., where he's a grad student at the University of North Carolina. Basketball is his personal passion.
"Anoop can play some ball," another ousted finalist, Michael Sarver, said after playing with him. "He's a very intense basketball player ... When Anoop missed, he did not like it. He would beat himself up until he got it."
He once paced his hotel room for two hours because ESPN blinked out when the North Carolina Tarheels were playing Duke.
Then came the NCAA championship game. Desai was cutting some "Idol" tracks with the other finalists, then rushed to a TV. "Unfortunately, I didn't see the first part, when they really beat them up," he recalled.
That might have distracted him from preparing for his performance the next day, but he said he was confident. "I knew wasn't going home, because the 'Heels had won."
Confidence was hard to find this week, when the field was trimmed from seven to five."I actually started coping with the fact that I might be done," Rounds said.
Others did, too. "It's amazing how many people out of the group were sure they were going home that night," Desai said.
He had been in the bottom often and asked host Ryan Seacrest to break the news to him quickly. "If I had a choice, they would mail me the results," Desai said.
Rounds had faced criticism from the judges, who kept insisting she make a song seem like her own, instead of sounding like the original record.
"I think I did make it my own," she said. "I always stayed true to what the song was, (but) being an R-and-B, soulful singer, I think I made it true to me."
That's the sort of record she'll cut, Rounds said. First, however, she'll return to Memphis, her husband, their three children and that puppy. "I can't wait to be back home and take them to a park."
Then comes the "Idol" tour, followed by the scramble for individual records. Desai said he wants his to be "R-and-B pop."
First, he has that belated celebrating to do, "There is nothing like spring in Chapel Hill," he said.