Editorials and Articles Archive
Stop Bleeding On Our Stage!
On American Idol, no good deed goes unpunished
9 May 2009
This mini-editorial appeared on our home page shortly after the AI8 Final Four episode. It was penned by our junior editor, who normally contents herself with data collection and database management duties. After the first duet, usually mild-mannered Kris Allen was visibly annoyed about something, which many Idolsphere analysts attributed to anger at his partner, Danny Gokey. Here's her take on it, which we've moved to our Editorial Archive for posterity.
Yeah, You Took A Bullet For Him...Now Stop Bleeding All Over Our Stage, You Slob!
Are you wondering why Kris Allen looked so ticked off after Simon Cowell said that Danny Gokey was better than he was on Renegade? Here's your answer: Gokey appears to have messed up the words to the song, not once but twice. Listen again, and check out the actual lyrics. The opening verse is:
Oh, mama, I'm in fear for my life from the long arm of the law.
Lawman put an end to my running and I'm so far from my home.
Oh, mama, I can hear you a-crying, you're so scared and all alone.
Hangman is coming down from the gallows, and I don't have very long.
Gokey, however, sang "...I don't have very long" to finish the second line. This was a definite mistake, as the two guys, while singing together, repeated that phrase (properly this time) two lines later.
The real problem came at the very end of the performance, where the two were again singing in harmony. Given that the song was chopped to pieces to fit the two-minute time slot (so what else is new?), it's not 100% clear what they intended to sing. Styx, for example, ends the song with the first and fourth lines of the first verse. However, Gokey and Allen started out their final line with, "Lawman has put an end to my running...", which suggests that it was supposed to finish, "...and I'm so far from my home." At least, that's what Allen believed – listen closely and you'll clearly hear him sing "I'm so..." while Gokey sings "I don't..." What appears to have happened next is that Allen, who'd heard Gokey sing the wrong line earlier, recognized that he was about to do it again. Thinking quickly, he sang open notes for the harmony to cover for his partner, so that no matter what Gokey sang it would sound okay.
Many people across the Idolsphere wrote that Allen was "angry" at Gokey for all sorts of imagined reasons. I don't think he was angry at him at all. More likely, Allen was angry at Simon because his quick-thinking had just averted a major disaster, and his reward was to be told his partner was better. (Not to mention the fact that it was a duet – they were working together, not competing against one another. -Ed.)
— The WNTS Junior Editor, who is an enormous Styx fan and who noticed it during the live show while off in her dorm room at college and waited for someone (in particular, her allegedly "expert" senior editors) to mention it online, except no one else seems to have picked it up, and if we let her she probably would have gone and wrote 2 pages on the performance dissecting every little detail, but this was all we allowed her to write.
(Postscript: as we noted at the time, none of this is meant to be critical of Danny Gokey. Gokey was attracting an inordinate amount of negative criticism from the Idolsphere by this point, plus he was coming off his 9-rated Dream On. He was having a rough enough week and we had no intention of piling on. Our point was simply that mistakes in live performances happen frequently – in fact, Allen sang an incorrect word midway through the song himself. Professional singers understand this and cover for one another all the time; it's just part of their job. Thus, Allen's annoyed reaction was almost certainly directed towards Simon, not his singing partner, and was very possibly justified in full. -Ed.)
- The WNTS.com Team