"American Idol" packed in the punches on Tuesday night's competition show and not just from the talented bunch of final three contestants.
On Tuesday, the contestants kicked off the show, performing songs chosen by the judges. But after Kris Allen's performance of One Republic's "Apologize," chosen by Kara DioGuardi and Randy Jackson, the fireworks at the panel's table began.
After Kara criticized Kris' faithful rendition of a song she helped pick, saying "at this stage you gotta be swingin' it outta the park," and suggested he should have interpreted the song differently and made it more unique, by sitting "out front with a guitar — acoustic," Simon threw the comments back in the face of the rookie judge.
"I think, Kara, it's a cop out what you said," Simon stated. "You can't choose a song for him and then blame him for doing the song."
A riled up Kara quickly fired back at the Brit.
"You're gonna tell me about interpreting a songs," she shouted. "Have you ever interpreted a song in your life? No, I don't think so."
Simon suggested Kara and Randy should have given Kris the arrangement she wanted, something that came as news to Randy.
"We didn't know we were allowed," he said. "We didn't know we were even allowed."
As for the contenders, they too battled it out — with their songs.
Danny added a saxophone solo to "Dance Little Sister" by Terrence Trent D'Arby, a song chosen for him by Paula Abdul. And later, he stripped things down while performing the Joe Cocker classic, "You Are So Beautiful," which had even Simon raving.
"I loved the song," the Brit commented. "I would call that a vocal master class."
Kris, after the mixed reviews of "Apologize," shook things up on stage by tackling Kanye West's "Heartless." Performed with an acoustic guitar, and a new take on the vocals, Kris left Randy stunned.
"This is gonna be one of the toughest voting nights in the whole year of this show. I liked that version better than The Fray's version, better than Kanye's version," Randy said. "That to me was better than the original!"
And as for longtime frontrunner Adam Lambert, he too received lofty praise for his two numbers, which began with Simon's choice of U2's "One," a song the Brit had to get permission from the band – and a call from Bono — to use on the show.
"That was one brilliant song and one superb performance and one 'American Idol' that I'm staring at right now," Paula raved.
Adam's second song, his own choice of "Aerosmith's "Crazy," was also a hit.
"You're one of the best that we've ever had on this stage," Randy said as Adam's family cheered him on. "[You're] one of the most charismatic, one of the biggest brightest stars. I love this even more than 'One' for you. You should be a rock star, that's what you are, baby."
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