Comparing the Final Four

The biggest show in America is winding down to its’ final competitors. We take a look at the Final Four of American Idol’s eighth season – Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, Danny Gokey, and Allison Iraheta.

ADAM LAMBERT

Pros: He has the buzz – plain and simple. He’s been the focus of most of the media attention this season for a variety of reasons. His performances have been the subject of weekly buzz, with his Top 8 performance of Tears for Fears’ “Mad World” being the most-watched performance online this season (this performance is known as the one that was cut off of DVRs nationwide, and that drew a rare standing ovation from Simon Cowell).

Cons: As has been noted by the judges more than once, Adam occasionally falls into a “love it or hate it” type of performance. His theatrical background, which has helped him stand out from his competitors, is viewed as a turnoff for some voters. Fans who assumed he was a lock to win were surprised when he was placed in the Bottom 2 following the Top 5 performance.

Prediction: Even with his placement in the Bottom 2 – or possibly because of it – Adam is the most likely to win this season. He has the most vocal fanbase, and thanks to a leak on the iTunes website, it was also revealed that even his older performances are outselling his competitors. Even without a win, Adam is the most likely to have a successful career of the candidates this season, due to his engaging on-stage persona.

ALLISON IRAHETA

Pros: In a season that saw guys dominate – the Top 13 consisted of only five females this year – Allison is the only girl left in the competition. At 16, she’s proven that she can sing material with a passion that belies her age (see her performances of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” and “Someone to Watch Over Me”). She manages to balance a serious on-stage performance mode with an undeniably sweet personality out of performance mode.

Cons: Some of the fashion choices. Also, Simon’s consistent criticism of her age and on-stage personality not meshing. While Allison is one of the most powerful vocalists this season, she also does have a problem with enunciation occasionally. Allison is also the only contestant remaining who’s seen multiple trips to the Bottom 3 – three times, to be exact. Finally, some of her song choices have felt a little too grown-up for her age (namely her performances of “Hot Stuff” and “I Can’t Make You Love Me”).

Prediction: Likely won’t win the show, but has a more than halfway decent shot at making the Final Two of the competition. Regardless of outcome, Allison should have luck getting signed to a record label, and will likely be marketed to the Miley Cyrus-loving crowd as an alternative to P!nk.

DANNY GOKEY

Pros: He had the early buzz, and is currently the only contestant to not hit either the Bottom 3 or Bottom 2 in a given week. He’s never given a truly awful performance, with his performance during Rat Pack week being among the best. Plus…he does have the sympathy vote that’s still likely carrying him from his audition appearance – for the unaware, Danny’s wife passed away mere months before he auditioned. Finally, Danny seems to have the support of the Christian community, which prominently featured him in a recent special on Gospel Music Channel.

Cons: Like Adam, manages to have a “love it or hate it” relationship with the Idol audience. A few mentions of his wife in the initial rounds, as well as frequent ignoring of criticisms and advice from mentors and judges alike have further created a sense of animosity towards Danny. At 28, he’s the oldest contestant this season – and compared to the second-oldest, Adam (27), he seems outright geriatric.

Prediction: In all likelihood, the Final Two will consist of Adam and Danny. Of the four contestants remaining, Danny is the most in-need of making it to the Final Two, if not achieving a win, in order to have a chance at a wildly successful career – the other three have more easily defined fan bases.

KRIS ALLEN

Pros: He’s the heartthrob of the season. While many predicted he would be gone by the middle of the Top 13 coundown, Kris has managed to surprise audiences with his original takes on performances – rivaling Adam in terms of originality. His Top 9 performance of “Ain’t No Sunshine” cemented his popularity, with many believing he can overtake Danny for a Final Two showdown with Adam.

Cons: Of the final four, he has the weakest voice, and while he balances that with clear tone and enunciation, he’s competing on a show that generally likes its vocalists to show some…bombastic tendencies. He’s also had a few less-than-perfect performances more recently, with his Top 5 performance putting him in the Bottom 3 for the first time.

Prediction: Like Allison, Kris will likely not win the show, but he does stand a stronger chance of messing with the seemingly preordained Adam/Danny finale. With that in mind, Kris could easily segue into a successful career. The iTunes sales leak revealed that, of the Top 10 Idol tracks sold on the site from this season, three belong to Kris (six belong to Adam – at that point, all of his performances, and one belongs to Danny).

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