'American Idol' Finals Start Tonight
May 19, 2009 at 5:15 AM (PT)
The two-part finale of hit series "AMERICAN IDOL," which begins tonight, is the most talked-about thing in radio and television right now, partly because this season's contenders, ADAM LAMBERT and KRIS ALLEN, are exciting performers. THE LOS ANGELES TIMES writes "it's also because they have done something unexpected: Their unlikely friendship has presented AMERICA with a new vision of itself, beyond the deepest divisions of the culture wars.
"LAMBERT is a rocker from the liberal urban SOUTHLAND with roots in musical theater and the HOLLYWOOD club scene. ALLEN is a collegiate evangelical Christian from ARKANSAS. LAMBERT has been compared to QUEEN's FREDDIE MERCURY and ELVIS PRESLEY; ALLEN recalls JOHN MAYER and THE JONAS BROTHERS.
"At a time when change is in the air but the old conflicts over religion, lifestyle and sexuality aren't going away, this eighth season of 'AMERICAN IDOL' is vividly illustrating how people with cultural differences can make beautiful music together.
"LAMBERT might dye his hair black and wear tight, shiny clothes, but he's been careful to 'change up' his performances, alternating hard rock turns that feature his trademark high wail and restrained, subtle readings of ballads like 'The Tracks of My Tears' by SMOKEY ROBINSON.
"Considering that the current Top 40 is ruled by edgy figures like the self-styled disco dominatrix LADY GAGA and hip-hop "MARTIAN" LIL WAYNE, LAMBERT's style is almost traditional -- by leather-clad rocker standards.
"ALLEN, who possesses a mellow tenor, seems at first like a much safer artist, but he's also developed a flair for taking chances. His song choices have been among the season's most surprising: He opted for a song written by BOB DYLAN during Country week, and the Oscar-winning but still relatively obscure 'Falling Slowly,' from the indie sleeper "Once," when asked to choose a song from a film."