TV Guide Network's Justin Guarini (inset) shares his thoughts on Matt Giraud and this week's other performers.
Throughout American Idol's final weeks, as each sing-off signs off, TVGuide.com will be checking in with TV Guide Network hosts/Idol alums Justin Guarini and Kimberly Caldwell for their particularly qualified takes on who soared, who stumbled, and which judge's review most rang true.
This week, Guarini shares his thoughts on who delivered a blockbuster — and who dealt us a dud — during "Songs of the Cinema Week." (For further insight into American Idol, read this Parade.com profile of Justin and Kimberly.)
TVGuide.com: What did you think of the "judging teams" solution to last week's inexcusable time overrun?
Justin Guarini: Well, I don't know if [last week] was inexcusable; the judges do have good (if sometimes long) opinions. While I understand the "team" solution, it completely changes the shape of the judging. I would prefer to hear from everyone. But in the high-stakes world of prime-time TV, time is money.
TVGuide.com: Is that how you would have divided up the judges, though? Why not mix in the occasional Kara-Simon or Randy-Paula pairing?
Guarini: I think that Randy-Kara and Simon-Paula are natural fits as teams. I also think that any more complications like mix-matching the judges would have simply taken up more time.
TVGuide.com: Singers must get pretty jazzed for a theme as vast and fun as "Songs of the Cinema," am I right?
Guarini: Sure, but wide-open genres like last night's can be a double-edged sword. Sometimes, like we saw in Kris [Allen]'s case, a contestant can choose a song that has very deep significance to them, but almost none to the audience. I actually did that my year [on Idol] by singing "Someday We'll All Be Free," by Donny Hathaway. It's one of my favorites, but one that not many people know. I got away with it, but will Kris? I think yes!
TVGuide.com: If you're Lil Rounds and Simon dubs Allison "the girls' only hope" some 40 minutes before you get to sing, does that deflate or motivate you?
Guarini: Personally, it would motivate me. I can't speak for Lil, though. She's been beaten down over the past few weeks and tonight was no exception. She seems to still be finding her way, and whether that's the case or not - as she passionately argued against this week - we're waaaaay too far into the competition to be having doubts like that as an audience.
TVGuide.com: For those whose DVRs cut them off, what did Lil say to Simon?
Guarini: The basic gist was her telling the judges that she felt that she did what they asked of her: 1) Put her own flavor to the song that she sang (in this case, a gospel take on "The Rose"), and 2) Come out on the stage as a true artist, exhibiting her own style — vocal as well as fashion — and showing what kind of artist she would be in the real world.
TVGuide.com: Do you think the forever fence-riding Anoop bought himself another week?
Guarini: I think that Anoop has wisely made the conscious decision to go back to what made us all love him in the first place, soul ballads. His song ("Everything I Do, I Do It for You") was heartfelt and well-delivered. As for America's opinion, and the tone that your question strikes ... I would say that Anoop has been dangling uncomfortably close to the last spot on the roster. I wouldn't be surprised to see him fall into the bottom three again this week.
TVGuide.com: Was Adam in fact "Born to Be Wild"?
Guarini: Indeed — and the audience is wild for him.
TVGuide.com: On a more serious note, were you surprised to see the New York Times — the paper of record — join in the speculation on Adam's sexuality?
Guarini: America is obsessed with celebrity and everything that goes with it. There are many papers of high standard that have bowed to the pressure of the populace's hunger for speculation and plain gossip.
TVGuide.com: Of the guys, do you think Matt or Danny stumbled the most this week?
Guarini: Matt took liberties that didn't best show off the great singing chops that he has. I think that his cycle of great weeks and good weeks will be tougher to maintain as the show moves forward. Look for him in the bottom three tonight.
For the latest on American Idol, tune into TV Guide Network's Idol Tonight every Wednesday at 8 pm/ET and Idol Wrap every Friday at 8 pm/ET with co-hosts Kimberly Caldwell and Justin Guarini. Plus get more on your favorite Idols every Friday with American Idol Rewind at 7 pm/ET.