Danny Gokey Finds His Swagger On ‘American Idol’ Rat Pack Night

Adam Lambert makes a memorable entrance; Allison Iraheta debuts a softer side.

While the [url id="/news/topics/a/american_idol/"]“American Idol”[/url] finalists took last week’s disco theme as an opportunity to rearrange dance tunes and make them their own, Tuesday night’s Rat Pack theme was all about keeping it classic.

But who would help them with their standards? As Kris Allen astutely pointed out, “The theme is Rat Pack, and all those people are … dead.” The show called on Oscar-winning actor and current chart-topper Jamie Foxx for the job. (Relive Tuesday night’s show in detail with Jim Cantiello’s “American Idol” live blog at the MTV Newsroom.)

On top of having the teen-girl market cornered, Kris also apparently has a huge fan in Foxx, who said Allen is a “dude I’ll do a record with.” For “The Way You Look Tonight,” Kris was accompanied by horns, piano and screaming girls, and he threw in a few more vocal acrobatics than we’re used to hearing from him. (See what fans in Kris Allen’s hometown had to say about Tuesday’s performance.)

For the most part, the judges were as impressed with Allen as the ladies in the audience were. Randy Jackson called it Kris’ “best performance to date” and complimented the singer on his “R&B stylings” and “mad nice vocals.” Kara DioGuardi said Kris “set the technical standard so incredibly high for this evening” and called him “a dark horse in this competition.” (Where have we heard that before? ) Paula Abdul said Kris had gone “from adorable boy next door to sophisticated gentleman.” Simon Cowell, however, called Allen’s performance “a little bit wet” and compared him to a “well-trained spaniel” before telling him he doesn’t think he can win the competition.

Allison Iraheta started out in the hot seat with Ryan Seacrest to talk about celebrating her 17th birthday earlier in the week, and Foxx immediately took note that the teen was “leaps and bounds ahead of her time.” The guest mentor also suggested that Allison think of her family when singing “Someone to Watch Over Me,” because she’s “too young to have a boyfriend.”

Allison debuted a much more elegant look this week — wearing her hair in soft waves to complement her spaghetti-strap, sparkly gown — and the look matched her tender take on the standard. Randy said she looked like Brittany Murphy and sang like Pink, while Kara offered, “If that doesn’t land you in the finals, I don’t know what will.” Paula was a fan of the song’s “innocent sensibility that was both alluring and very tender.” But after the three other judges’ praise, Simon told Allison she wasn’t confident enough and was “overshadowed” by some of the other personalities in the competition.

Matt Giraud was up next, and he really seemed to take Foxx’s advice to heart, going with a lower key and less falsetto on “My Funny Valentine.” Randy gave Matt props for tackling a hard song, but gave it “a 6 out of 10.” Kara said she didn’t feel “emotionally connected” to the performance, which seemed to surprise Matt.

The tide turned for Giraud with the next two judges. “By lowering the key, we got to hear a different side of Matt,” Paula raved. Simon also offered high praise, calling the performance “the only believable, authentic song I’ve heard tonight” and comparing Matt’s phrasing to Nat King Cole’s.

Danny Gokey got an unusual singing lesson from Foxx, with the Oscar winner invading Gokey’s personal space to get some extra emotion out of him for “Come Rain or Come Shine.” The exercise seemed to work: Danny offered up bluesy, stripped-down verses leading to a bombastic finish that had the crowd going wild.

Randy felt that Danny found his niche with standards, and Kara agreed, saying he had “Rat Pack swagger.” Paula offered one word, “stellar,” and said Danny “can see the finish line.” Simon praised Foxx for bringing out the best he’s heard from Gokey in weeks.

Foxx promised that Adam Lambert was “gonna knock everybody’s head off” with his show-closer, “Feeling Good.” His entrance alone probably accomplished that, with Adam skulking down pink-lit stairs wearing a shiny, white suit. The whole thing was “a little too Broadway” for Randy, but that’s where the negativity ended.

Kara offered up a barrage of adjectives to describe the performance — confusing, shocking, way over-the-top, sleazy — and made sure to add, “In a good way.” Paula likened it to “watching the Olympics, and you’re our Michael Phelps.” Simon was happy that Adam seemed to care genuinely about winning “Idol.” He also said Lambert made the best entrance they’d had all season.

Wednesday night’s (April 29) results show will feature performances by season-five “American Idol” champ Taylor Hicks, Natalie Cole and Jamie Foxx.

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