Tonight I have a very special report for you, as I actually attended Tuesday night’s American Idol show at the Nokia Theater (and also plan on being on the scene tomorrow too!)!

The afternoon started with lunch at The Farm of Beverly Hills at LA Live, just around the corner from the Nokia. Also enjoying lunch there was former Idol producer and current “So You Think You Can Dance” producer/judge Nigel Lythgoe.

The meal was followed by some time spent at the AT&T tent on the red carpet where many of the past Idol contestants were signing autographs. On hand were Blake Lewis, Bo Bice, Chikezie, Chris Richardson, Diana DeGarmo, Haley Scarnato, Kimberley Locke, Kristy Lee Cook, LaKisha Jones, Melinda Doolittle, Mikalah Gordon, Paris Bennett and Vonzell Solomon. I watched as Cory the warm-up comic for “Idol” hosted a promotion where each Idol was given a cell phone with an amount texted to it. A contest winner from Texas got to choose an Idol with the amounts going from ten thousand dollars to a million. I told my friend Fred Bronson that I would pick Blake. He picked Chikezie. The actual contestant picked LaKisha, whose phone had an amount of $ 50,000! It turned out picking Blake would have been worth just $ 10,000, but Fred had it right! Chikezie had the million dollar phone!

We then headed inside for the show, where we sat in Row HH (just two rows in front of fifth season Idol contestant Kevin Covais, who told us he’s just made a movie with Lindsay Lohan called “Labor Pains”). While not as close to the stage as my seat for the finale last year, this time at least I was in the center. And while many have complained that Adam Lambert has a tendency to scream when he’s rocking out, he had nothing on the girls sitting behind us. Piercing!

The show started with Adam’s reprise of “Mad World,” which was one of my favorite performances of the season. While not as emotional as Kris’s first song of the evening, “Ain’t No Sunshine,” I still enjoyed it the second time around.

Adam upped the emotional ante quite a bit with his second selection, “A Change Is Gonna Come.” This was the Adam I came to hear. An amazing voice in the service of a dramatic song. There wasn’t much Kris could do to match Adam when he sang his version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin’ On.” I’m fond of the version Cyndi Lauper does on her “True Colors” album, which is both rocking and very emotional, and Kris didn’t reach that plateau.

Next up was the reveal of this year’s “American Idol” single, “No Boundaries.” While Kris could have done a great job on this had he been allowed to perform it acoustically with his guitar, the rules said he had to stand at the mike and sing it. The arrangement seemed high for Kris’s voice and didn’t play to his strengths. While I thought it was a bit hard to understand the lyrics at times when Adam sang it, Adam definitely won the final round.

So while I would say that Adam won the night hands down, I’m not so sure Adam will be the next American Idol. At least in the beginning of the night, the audience was definitely on Kris’s side and screamed the loudest whenever he was mentioned. True, Adam got a bigger ovation for his version of the final song, but you’d have to say the title of “American Idol 2009” is truly up for grabs.

It turns out that one person who doesn’t care who wins is Kris Allen’s father, who we ran into the lobby after the show. Mr. Allen is a truly nice guy who realizes that Kris and Adam are so different as artists, they can both do well in the music business. And he’s right!

The evening ended with a wonderful dinner at another new downtown restaurant, Fleming’s, and the best news of all: the Lakers won the first game of the Western Conference Finals!

See you back here in 24 hours with tales of the Finale and the after-parties (well, if I get into the parties, that is…)!



  1. Flash Says:

    Great report – thanks!

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