“Idol” Chatter: Top 7 Do Disco

Adam shrieks, Paula dances and the music of the 70s rises from the grave

We're down to the Top 7.  And it's Disco Night.  "American Idol" is like "Pet Sematary."  You bury a genre and they bring it back to life, a miserable shuffling corpse of something that deserves to be dead.

Mercifully, there is no celebrity mentor this week.  Tune in next week for more plastic surgeries gone wrong.

Another positive note, there are no bland video packages introducing each contestant.  Hopefully they will end on time tonight, unless Paula needs another 15 minutes to remind each contestant how "magical" they are.

Up first, Lil Rounds singing "I'm Every Woman."  Paula gets up and dances.  She's like one of those dancing Coke cans from the mid-1990s.  Any sound or noise makes her crinkle from side to side.

Lil appears to be suffering from Christina Aguilera Syndrome.  This increasingly widespread disease is afflicting young singers, making them think they must sing every note in their vocal range for each syllable.  They end up sounding like malfunctioning car alarms.  Lil heaps on the notes like Ornette Coleman on crystal meth.  She once appeared a front-runner, but now she's a shambles.

Kris Allen has his guitar in hand for "She Works Hard For the Money."  Kris is the anti-Adam.  The guy's wearing a white T-shirt and blue jeans.  He's laid-back and he's got soul.  As he sings, my fists unclench.  Paula suggests Kris' performance has something in common with transvestites.  It's like her brain is alphabet soup and random words spill out of her mouth in no discernible order.

Danny Gokey sings "September."  He's starting to resemble some sort of Joey Fatone/Color Me Badd hybrid.  The human Coke can is dancing again.  Danny's a good singer, but I have doubts he'll sell any records.  If he gets a good track, he can nail it, but will his voice alone carry a mediocre song?

Allison Iraheta shares her version of "Hot Stuff."  She's awfully husky-voiced for a 16-year-old.  This song is scaring me.  When did she become the Queen of Darkness?  Has she sung a ballad yet?

Elfin weirdo Adam Lambert is up next.  His hair is no longer combed over his forehead, which may suggest fewer emo theatrics than we've had in recent weeks.  He's singing "If I Can't Have You."  It starts alright, but when he hits his upper register, his voice turns into a raspy version of Beaker from the Muppets.  Of course, all the judges are drinking the Adam Kool-Aid.  Paula appears to be weeping, or leaking hydraulic fluid from her malfunctioning robot brain.  Adam may win this competition, but his voice grates on my nerves.  It's whiny and I hate him.

Matt Giraud brings us "Stayin' Alive."  He sings this while wearing a leather Members Only jacket.  Paula dances.  She's less a judge than a groupie at this point.  I'll give Matt this much - at least he doesn't sound like a shrieking infant when he hits his high notes.  (Pay attention, Adam.)  Matt really needs to focus up.  He's all over the map with every song.  Just because you can do something with your voice doesn't mean you should.  At this point, Matt and Lil appear doomed.

Anoop Desai and his stubble goatee end the show with "Dim All the Lights."  I've never heard this song before and I hope I never hear it again.  Good gravy, what's up with this arrangement?  It's like some kind of trance/dance mix.  And he implodes on the last note.  Thankfully, Simon speaks the truth.

Anoop, Matt and Lil will be your bottom three.  Each week, we find ourselves more in Kris Allen's corner.  But low-key doesn't win this competition.  You've got to be big and spastic and flamboyant, like Paula.  I'm convinced Adam will eventually give birth on stage as he weeps his way through some song.  And the judges will think it's brilliant.  This season has derailed.

Ben Bowman produces the 4:30 a.m. news for NBC Chicago.  He complains about other things in Ben's Breakfast Blog.

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