'Idol' : Matt Giraud Splits Judges on Rat Pack Night

Photo: F Micelotta/American Idol 2009/Getty

In the course of a night dedicated to Rat Pack classics, Randy expressed surprise at how well the five finalists were handling standards from the American Song Book. Simon at one point gave credit to the night’s mentor, Jamie Foxx, who won the Oscar playing Ray Charles in Ray. It’s tough to say who’s going to be sent packing.

The only really divisive performance came from Matt Giraud. The closest thing to a Rat Packer with his Vegas style and little hats, he evenly split the judges with a vocally mannered version of a tricky song, “My Funny Valentine.” Randy thought it wasn’t better than a “6 out of 10,” but Simon — not a great fan — said Matt was “absolutely brilliant.”

Adam Lambert gave yet another of his dynamic yet nutty performances. “Feeling Good” started in a rather unnerving falsetto and built until it felt like something from a Jerry Lewis telethon. The judges by now accept the fact that, well, Adam is Adam. “My mouth drops open every time you perform,” Kara said. “You’re confusing and shocking and sleazy and superb.”

Kris Allen did a mellow yet swingin’ rendition of “The Way You Look Tonight.” Paula commented that he’d evolved from “boy-next-door to ever-so-handsome, sophisticated gentleman.” The sole dissenter was Simon. He said Kris didn’t have a chance to win, describing the performance as “a little wet.”

When Ryan asked what that meant, Simon answered: “Not dry.” What he meant was that Kris doesn’t have the hunger to be a star.

Simon made the same criticism, only more sternly, of Allison Iraheta. Now 17, she sang the very grownup “Someone to Watch Over Me.” Her enunciation wasn’t great, but she powered on, anyway, like someone emerging from a snowdrift.

“If that doesn’t land you in the finals, I don’t know what will,” Kara said. Simon, however, startled everyone by arguing the opposite. The performance was great, he said, but when he asked Allison whether she could win, she answered yes — without much conviction.

Simon thinks she’ll be making another trip to the bottom Wednesday, and perhaps home.

Of the five, Danny Gokey seemed most commandingly at ease performing with a big band on “Come Rain or Come Shine” — and the judges responded glowingly. Randy said Danny could even put out an album of standards. Kara liked his “Rat Pack swagger.”

For once, Simon agreed with Kara. He said he thought Danny — unlike Allison and Kris — was finally showing the commitment needed to win. — Tom Gliatto

Tell us: Who gave the best Rat Pack performance? Who do you think will go home?

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F Micelotta/American Idol 2009/Getty

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