Jim Cantiello live-blogs "American Idol," brings you his instant reactions to each episode's action, and delivers his special 60-second show recaps. Basically, there's not a minute that goes by without Jim obsessing over Simon, Paula, Randy, Kara and all the "Idol" contestants.
Thankfully, he's not alone. There is a whole host of independent "Idol" bloggers out there, and on the eve of Tuesday's finale between Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, Jim brought in two of his favorites — Rickey Yaneza from Rickey.org and MJ Santilli from MJsBigBlog.com — for an in-depth discussion about all things "Idol" season eight.
"It's the year of the fourth judge," Yaneza declared. "I think it's good for the show to have an added voice. Whether or not that voice is of quality is up in the air."
Santilli, meanwhile, dismissed the fourth judge outright. "It just made for too many judges' comments," she said. "It made the show go over time."
Nor was Santilli a fan of the judges' save, in which the panel could decide to rescue one lucky contestant from elimination. "I hated it from the start," she said. "It felt like they just used it because they could and because they had to or they wouldn't be able to use it at all."
"In theory, it was a great way to sort of jazz up the show — a show that'd been on for seven seasons," Cantiello countered. "I think it was a necessary thing to put some juice into it. But I think they undercut it. Even Simon saying, 'I don't think you're going to win this, Matt [Giraud], but here you go — you're saved.' "
When it comes to the contestants themselves, Santilli singled out Lambert's experience on the show. "I don't think I've seen a contestant get as much press as he did this year," she said. "I think maybe Sanjaya got a lot of press for a different reason. Adam's press is more positive."
In terms of the best performances of the season, Yaneza favored Lambert's cover of the Tears for Fears track "Mad World." "That was really the one that propelled him into the stratosphere, as far as popularity," he said, adding that he was a fan of Danny Gokey's squealing rendition of Aerosmith's "Dream On" because of how bad it was.
Santilli's vote for best performance was Lambert's version of "Tracks of My Tears." Before that performance, she said, "He was presenting himself as this screamo rocker with the unbelievable range, and with ['Tracks'], he sat down, stood still, showcased the vocals and pretty much blew everyone away."