Before he went on stage, the camera swooped down on "American Idol" contestant Adam Lambert as he stood beaming in the crowd. But as usual, Lambert was more than just a face in the crowd on Tuesday night, as he again wowed the judges and solidified his frontrunner status.
It was Disco Week on "Idol," and true to the theme Lambert sang the Bee Gees hit "If I Can't Have You," effortlessly hitting the high notes and inspiring judge Paula Abdul to gush that his performance made her feel his "pain." Abdul was not alone. All the judges said they loved the performance, with alpha judge Simon Cowell commending Lambert for surprising him by picking a Bee Gees song.
"I would have put $10,000 you were going to do Donna Summer, but that's what's so good about you, you did something we weren't expecting," Cowell said.
Speaking of betting, it seems the smart money is on Lambert. Online betting firm BookMaker.com, which usually confines itself to sports gambling, said on Tuesday that the "Idol" title appears to be Lambert's to lose, if he does not slip up.
At the other end of the spectrum, embattled singer Lil Rounds continued to leave the judges unimpressed. She sang the Chaka Khan hit "I'm Every Woman," and although her performance was energetic and confident, judge Randy Jackson faulted her for a lack of vocal control. Lil said that she had a good time with the song, which only gave Cowell an opening to tear her down.
"I'm glad you had fun, because I think this is going to be the last week we're ever going to see you," Cowell said.
Cowell had a similarly biting critique for Anoop Desai's version of the Donna Summer song "Dim All the Lights."
"It was a horrible version of that song, and in my opinion, genuinely that was your worst performance by a mile," Cowell said.
With a completely different take, judge Kara DioGuardi told Desai he has been at the top of his game the past couple of weeks, even though the voters put him in the Bottom Three for each of the past three weeks.
Allison Iraheta continued to hold her own with her version of "Hot Stuff," another Donna Summer hit. Cowell called the slowed-down rendition "brilliant" and Jackson said the 16-year-old Iraheta was one of the best singers in the competition.
Matt Giraud, who was saved from elimination by the judges last week, sang the appropriately-chosen Bee Gees song "Stayin' Alive," a disco-era hallmark. The judges gave him mostly positive reviews, as they did for Danny Gokey's rendition of "September" by Earth, Wind & Fire.
Judge Paula Abdul saved her best comment for contestant Kris Allen, who sang yet another Donna Summer song, "She Works Hard for the Money." Allen gave a new twist to what is a very feminine song, bringing the band on stage with him and performing the tune with an acoustic flavor.
"A lot of women are known to shop in the mens' department, but there aren't many men that are willing to shop in the womens' (department)," Abdul said. "I've got to tell you that you shopped and you found a perfect fit."
Which contestants were a perfect fit for the audience on Tuesday night? And which two will get the axe tomorrow night? Will the disco ball finally come down on Lil Round's "Idol" dreams, or will the audience ignore the judges' criticism of her and give the Memphis mom another chance?
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