The highly-anticipated (and rightfully so!) review from Entertainment Weekly's Idol guru Michael Slezak summarizes the second Newark show on Sunday in its headline: "Kradison rules, but Matt Giraud impresses too!"
Slezak said that Matty G. "failed to get the memo about his role in the show, as he performed his three-song set with all the energy and charisma of a headliner." Knowing how much of a hard-core Allison Iraheta fan boi Slezak was, I was laughing at this line: "I’ll be honest that I didn’t take notes during Allison’s three-song set, and not just because I didn’t want to miss a second of her performance to find the pen I dropped on the ground in a fit of fanboy excitement.
His take on Adam Lambert's "Whole Lotta Love" was funny: "I couldn’t help but chuckle watching Adam commit multiple misdemeanors against the mic stand as the first in a series of ladies’ undergarments began their awkward trajectory toward the stage. And did he really thrust his hand lasciviously down his waistband as he snarled the line 'way down inside'? You’d best believe it! But in spite of/because of the overt sexuality (choose your side), the performance was one of the best of the evening."
And Kris Allen's "Heartless" was heralded as "gorgeous" and "as fresh and delicious as a home-grown tomato." Slezak also said that with "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Hey Jude", Kris "proved he’s got a knack for reinvigorating old-school jams in a way that speaks to everyone from screaming tweens to middle-aged dads (many of whom were on their feet and singing along during the latter track)." Surprisingly, he called "Bright Lights" "forgettable" (dagger to my heart! That's my personal favorite).
But Slezak did not stop there with the love-fest, also doling out kudos to each of the other performers:
Best Pure Vocal of the Night - Anoop Desai's "Always On My Mind"
Savviest Song Selector - Lil Rounds
Hardest Worker - Michael Sarver
Most Improved Vocal - Megan Joy
Most Disparate Set - Danny Gokey (not sure that's a kudo, but oh well)
Best Stage Banter - Scott MacIntyre
Not as fun to read was the review in the Village Voice, which is titled "American Idol Tour: Anoop Desai, Adam Lambert, and That Guy Who Won Show Jersey Some Love" (rolling eyes now). The reviewer couldn't even be bothered to show up on time to review Michael Sarver, Megan Joy and Scott MacIntyre, let alone talk about much other than appearances and set design.
The New York Times says the show "could have easily passed for an Adam Lambert concert with nine supporting acts" but also gave credit to some others, including Anoop for being "precise and devastating" on "Always on My Mind", and Danny for being "the most muscular vocalist 'Idol' has seen in some years" and comparing him to "a melodic Henry Rollins."