April 08, 2009 12:00 AM

Tuesday’s Idol featured songs from the remaining eight contestants’ birth year, which allowed Ryan to show a photo of Simon as a boy pointing at what looked like a toy gun.

It also brought us the rare sight of Simon standing on his feet instead of shooting from the hip. At the end of the hour, with no time left for the judges to even speak, he gave an ovation to Adam Lambert, who performed Gary Jules‘s “Mad World” bathed in blue light, as if he were channeling a depressed schoolboy or Donnie Darko himself. It was moving, chilly and edgy — maybe slightly creepy.

Adam’s big turn eclipsed two comeback performances by singers who keep skirting the lower rungs.

Allison Iraheta, the only contestant born in the ’90s, tackled Bonnie Raitt‘s very mature “I Can’t Make You Love Me.” “You gave all of your heart in this song,” Paula said. Simon was impressed, but remains concerned Allison isn’t projecting enough personality, which may be precisely why she’s underrated by viewers.

And Matt Giraud, wearing his Justin Timberlake fedora, turned Stevie Wonder‘s “Part-Time Lover” into a smart little roadster that zipped right along. Kara described him as “incredible on every level.”

Kris Allen, on the other hand, suffered a setback after weeks on the rise. He performed Don Henley‘s “All She Wants to Do Is Dance” in a fussy, distracting arrangement that Kara thought sounded like “jazz-funk homework.” Simon dismissed it as “indulgent, boring, forgettable.” But do you seriously think Kris could go?

Danny Gokey and Anoop Desai should both be safe for another week, too. And did you know Anoop and David Cook have the same birthday? Dec. 20!

But Lil Rounds — whose name, her mother explained, is a variant on Lily, and not “little” — keeps losing traction. She struck out with the Tina Turner classic “What’s Love Got to Do With It.” The judges all faulted her for not straying far enough from the original. She accepted their criticisms, and said she’d follow their advice, but she also had a terse tone that suggested quiet exasperation. Understandably. She may be in trouble, along with Scott MacIntyre, who played the guitar instead of a piano, launching into Survivor‘s “The Search Is Over.” But the whole thing was swampy and bombastic.

“It didn’t show you as a star,” Randy said. — Tom Gliatto

Tell us: Who was your favorite of the night? Who disappointed you? And who is going home?Michael Becker/FOX

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