"Idol" has homecoming week


This is homecoming night for the final three "American Idol" contestant. We'll see Danny Gokey in Milwaukee and Kris Allen in Arkansas; chances are, crowds will go ga-ga.

And we'll see Adam Lambert in Los Angeles or San Diego. Hopefully, someone will notice.

Being from California sometimes seems like not having a home town at all. We sort of noticed that when Katherine McPhee returned to LA in 2006; it was the exact opposite of the civic glee that greeted Taylor Hicks in Alabama.

Maybe that's the one good thing about Allison Iraheta being undeservedly dumped last week: Had she survived, there would have been two California homecomings.

Anyway, here's the story I wrote after interviewing Iraheta, the day after she was dropped:

Allison Iraheta's final "American Idol" week was surrounded by chaos.
"That day was not going well," Iraheta said of the Tuesday events. "A lot of things were not going the way they should."
The most serious came when stage manager Debbie Williams fell from near the top of the set's massive stairs, about two hours before show time. The contestants worried -- "Deb is a friend of ours," Iraheta said -- but eventually got word that she was recovering.
After that fall, part of a stage tower collapsed and there was no chance for a final run-through. Still, Iraheta doubts performances were affected.
For her, this was a typical time. "I've been in the bottom ... so may times," she said. "I was really prepared for anything."
On Wednesday, she learned that she was through. She finished fourth for the season -- the same spot Chris Daughtry finished three years ago, before launching a string of hits. "Which is really cool for me," Iraheta said. "I'm like, 'Yeah ... maybe something will happen for me.'"
Daughtry was a guest star Wednesday. A few minutes later, Iraheta was ousted and got to sing one more time. "It was funny, because I was crying and singing a song called 'Cry Baby.'"
This strange week did bring some good for her. She was mentored by Slash, one of her guitar heroes; she also formed an alliance with Adam Lambert.
The singers got to choose their duet pairings, Iraheta said. She paired with Lambert (whose hair stylist she also borrowed) on a powerhouse song. "We're even planning on doing it on the 'Idol' tour."
With rehearsals -- for the May 20 finale and then the tour -- coming soon, Iraheta plans to stay close to the show. "I really like the classes at the 'Idol' school," she said.
Iraheta had been home-schooled and expects to take her GED exam. Then comes her career, including recording in Spanish and English; she had already won a national contest on Telemundo, a Spanish-language cable channel.
"Idol" judges praised Iraheta's singing, but one (Simon Cowell) criticized her lack of personality. There is, apparently, lots of personality to unveil. "From the minute we wake up, she makes me laugh," Megan Joy, her "Idol" roommate, said after being ousted.
Now they'll be back together on the tour, along with Lambert and seven others. The laughter can resume.