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In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Quisla Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN

Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson
Announcer: Mark Thompson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 TV, FremantleMedia North America
Origin: CBS Television City, Los Angeles, CA
Airs: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 8pm ET and  at 9p ET on Fox

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Round of 3: The Wheel of Death Round
May 12

The strongest top three in ages has finally emerged. But alas, Nokia Theatre LA Live only has room for two of them next week. Only one thing can solve this quandary... Time to spin the Wheel of Death!

First up, we get a brief recap of what happened with each Idol this weekend when they went home.

As a reminder, the singers get TWO songs this week, one of their own choosing and one chosen by the judges.

First up... Danny Gokey in Milwaukee gets a text message from Paula... Her choice for Danny... "Dance Little Sister" by Terence Trent D'Arby. Paula thinks that Danny possesses that magical quality that Terence did. He doesn't know. This should be fun.

What they say: Randy says he has a lot of energy. Kara says that he keeps in his money tone, but the dancing was a little too much. He's a great singer, but she's not going to remember that performance. Paula says his voice is magical. Again. Simon says that this is a singing show, not "that funny little dancing show next door." HA. Vocally, it was good, albeit the wrong song.

What we say: He flubs the lyrics and switches up the pitch needlessly. I'm guessing this is the Danny that didn't learn a damn thing from last week. And can someone please strap Paula in? Actually, she'd probably like that, so... never mind.

Next up, the man from Arkansas Kris Allen gets a message from Kara and Randy on a brand new phone... that is surprisingly given to him outside of an AT&T store, plug. They give him "Apologize" by Onerepublic. A big song with a big range, dark and melodic. For a dark and melodic horse.

What they say: Randy says it's about who's going to win this. This is the kind of artist who he can be right now and in the future. Kara says that it wasn't swinging out of the park. It was too soundalike. Paula's used to artistic license... and there were some bum notes... that were audible. Simon takes Green Ranger to task when she says that "you can't tell him to do a song, and then blame him for doing the song." It was competent, but not as good.

What we say: Ryan Tedder called... he wants his piano, voice, haircut, and song back. It's THAT soundalike.

Outside of another AT&T store *cha-ching*, this time in San Diego, Adam Lambert gets a message on his phone... Simon wants him to do "One" by U2, which he had to personally clear. "Alright, Simon... It's on."

What they say: Randy says he's in the zone... but he's going off the melody. Green Ranger says Adam has a way with making it unbelievable. He did his own version. Paula... has to sit next to Simon gloating, saying it was one brilliant song from one American Idol. Simon's a little bit biased. He worked out what he wanted to do. If he's not in the final, it will be one of the biggest upsets in AI history.

What we say: Nice of Adam to surprise by starting subdued, but that bridge left a little to be desired. That was more like an actor singing a Broadway number than a singer interpreting a song creatively. We have three strong singers.... And three weak performances... I AM NOT WELL-HANDLED.

Mulligan, I say. This time, we switch to the guys' choice. Back to Danny, who thought this was a tough choice. He went through songs in his head and came up with something he just came back to... "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker.

What they say: Randy says he can really (x3) sing. Kara says that everything he didn't do in the first performance for her, he did now. Paula was left breathless. Simon says it would've worked with just the piano and the plain-singing, but this was a masterclass.

What we say: Okay. I was waiting all series for Danny to sing this song. He just doesn't sing the song on this number, he tells the story, and it's relevant because you can tell he believes it. And if he believes it, then you are going to believe it.

Next up is Kris Allen with a very interesting choice... "Heartless" by Kanye West. How is he going to pull THIS one off? Ah, with a guitar.

What they say: Randy says that this is going to be one of the toughest votes of the competition, saying it was better than the Fray OR Kanye. Kara wonders what America's wondering... why didn't he do that with "Apologize"? Paula calls him the bravest artist and relevant. Simon can no longer count Kris out.

What we say: Now why didn't he pull this off LAST round? Granted it's not the perfect vocal; it reminds me of open-mic at the coffee house... But it shows us why Kris is where he is, and why he has a legitimate chance of being in the final two.

Finally, we have Adam Lambert... who has decided to go with Aerosmith and "Crying", calling Steven Tyler "the Man". Why we don't doubt that, we're wondering what Adam's going to do with this.

What they say: Randy says he's charismatic and that he should be a rock star. Kara wonders where those power notes come from, saying, quite plainly, we'll see you in the final. Paula says he set the bar high. Simon wants to spend his time reminding his fans NOT TO ASSUME that Adam's going to the final. Only votes count.

What we say: I don't know what Adam is doing with his voice that is making him warble so, but I wish he would stop. It's a quality Adam performance. He's not so much asking for your vote as he is saying "You will vote for me and it will be because of this."

Well round 1 went to no one, because no one really dazzled. It took the singers knowing who they are and what they want to do vocally in order for cases to be made for the final. Adam stuck to his guns and rocked it out. No question or doubt that he will be at Nokia next week. But the question is... who's joining him? Because if you think about it... Danny and Kris are splitting the pop vote. And neither of them really killed until they BOTH killed in the back nine. Simply put... it's just too close. Kris stepped up his game, but is it too little too late? Danny stuck by what got him to the final three in the first place, but is it starting to get boring?

For the first time since season 4, when I first helped Gordon out with AI... I'm absolutely without an opinion...

So for this virtual coinflip, I'm going to have to result... in an ACTUAL coinflip.

(flips coin)

... and it is heads.


That's what the coin says. See what the VOTES say tomorrow.


To see footage from this episode, visit the official website at