After watching “American Idol” last night as the top four remaining performers sang famous rock & roll hits, there’s no question about it, Allison Iraheta and Adam Lambert will be the final two singing for the gold in the coming weeks.

Former Guns N’ Roses axman and legendary rock icon Slash was this week’s guest artist who mentored the remaining Idol singers.

Lambert and Iraheta are definitely the top two on Idol this week and here’s why.

Lambert, who has a natural rock & roll voice, sang 1969’s “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. This was the first Zeppelin song ever performed on Idol. Lambert executed a good performance and his vocals were solid. He’s really quite the rock star in his own right. The judges were overwhelmingly favorable toward Lambert saying he should record a song with Slash in the future. One judge called him a “rock & roll god” and another said his performance was “un-top-able.” Lambert’s unique vocals and amazing talent is noteworthy and his probability of winning this year on Idol continues to remain high. It’s going to be interesting to see what type of tunes he sings in a potential future album.

Iraheta, my favorite, was a firecracker last night singing Janis Joplin’s 1971 “Cry Baby.” If anyone has truly grown on Idol this season it’s definitely Iraheta. Her rock & roll swagger is so refreshing, hip, modern and overall just great. Her soulfullness and passionate vocals make you proud to love the blues. She continues to demonstrate a groovy, gospel flair, which is usually right on. Although not all the judges appreciated Iraheta’s performance, she remains a top competitor respectfully. Next to Lambert, Iraheta is the underdog. But there is no doubt about it, her future singing career is far and wide. I predict if she fails to win the gold on Idol this season, she will probably be more successful than Lambert. Just wait and see.

For the first time ever on Idol the remaining four paired up and sang duets.

Kris Allen and Danny Gokey sang “Renegade” by Styx. Their opening was good and when they sang together they maintained a nice melodic harmony. But when they sang individually it got awkward at times and too pitchy. Honestly it was not a good song choice and it didn’t help that neither Allen nor Gokey are great rock & roll singers. Overall they were stronger together than independently but the performance was just okay and didn’t reveal much. Too bad. Their performance didn’t help them, that’s for sure.

On the other hand Iraheta and Lambert sang Foghat’s “Slow Ride” demonstrating great energy and good chemistry. Together they pulled off a solid rock & roll duo. Both appeared comfortable and they complemented each other nicely. The judges approved saying they should do a duet on their future albums. Paula Abdul called them a “perfect blend” and Simon Cowell said they won in the battle of the nights’ duets.

Now to the not so good performances this week.

First, Kris Allen, who sang 1969’s “Come Together” by the Beatles, lacked originality and was pitchy at times. His song choice was wise but too safe and he failed to show authenticity. He came off karaoke and its unfortunate Allen’s strength does not lie in the rock & roll genre. Overall the performance was a bit dull, low on energy and almost boring. His guitar playing was good though, but was not enough to win him kudos.

Finally the worst performance of the night was Danny Gokey who started off okay singing Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” but really bombed at the end of the performance. At first I thought Gokey was leading a better performance over Allen. But when he started to horrifically screech and yelp at the end of the song it all went out the window. Talk about pitchy and just plain bad. There was no way he could reach that high note without sounding terrible. Surprisingly some of the judges gave Gokey an A+ for effort and taking a risk. But for Cowell, and I agree, Gokey’s last note was like watching a scene from a horror picture. Gokey has never been in the bottom three. But that will change this week. Wait, then again there’s only four Idol singers left anyway. With his performance this week I don’t think he’s up to par with the others.

So there you have it. Either Gokey or Allen deserve to sing their last song tonight. As much as I like Gokey, his performance this week was really unfortunate. And if it were up to me, I think he deserves to get the boot. Sorry Danny. Allen may still have a chance. Lambert will probably be safe. And Iraheta, well I hope she survives another week cause she’s got the skills.

But then again it’s really up to the voters at this point. The question is, did television viewers vote for the person who has the best talent, or did they vote for the person who they just like more? Fans can be tricky and biased but I guess it’s all part of the Idol democratic process. Stay tuned.

plozano @ pww.org

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