No matter how many octaves Adam Lambert can screech, there's only one contestant this season that I call my "American Idol," and, ironically enough, her initials are A.I.: Allison Iraheta!
The newly 17-year-old singer had me from her first crazy interview, in which she acted like she'd stumbled off the set of "Intervention." She solidified that love minutes later with a knock-your-ass-to-the-ground-and-now-your-butt-bone-hurts-but-you-don't-care-cuz-it-was-that-brilliant rendition of Heart's "Alone." Allison was the original Susan Boyle — a girl who, on first impression, you thought was a loon. But then when she opened that bedazzled-braces-clad mouth, you were blown away.
Allison's run on "Idol" has been super impressive so far. She's had more "wow" moments than judges' faves Matt Giraud and Danny Gokey combined. "Alone," "Papa Was a Rolling Stone," "I Can't Make You Love Me" and, most recently, "Someone To Watch Over Me." With each performance, Allison reveals a new layer of musicality, understanding and maturity.
But here's the frustrating part: Simon Cowell clearly has something against Allison. He's only unabashedly gushed over her twice on the main stage, and those were her two weakest performances. Every time she delivers a song worthy of the "Idol Hall of Fame," Simon dismisses her outfit. Or draws on Paula Abdul's face with a crayon. Or knocks Allison's "lack of a personality."
That particular critique really gets my blood boiling. Allison's quiet-but-goofy demeanor is quintessential teenage outcast. She's no Jordin Sparks femmebot or David Archuleta eunuch. She's an honest-to-God TEENAGER. We've never seen the likes of a no-holds-barred my-hormones-are-crazy-and-I'm-gonna-make-a-joke-about-cutting contestant on the show, and her willingness to be herself makes me love her even more. Lack of a personality? Hardly. Lack of a phony, prepackaged bubbly self-image? You betcha.
But who cares? I don't know many people who would invite Beyoncé over to a dinner party, yet they'd pay $1,200 for front-row tickets to her concert. "American Idol" is supposed to be about the voice, dummy, and as far as contemporary recording artists go, Allison Iraheta is ready for prime time.
So why has Allison been dropped in the dreaded bottom three, three times this season? (Last week Allison just barely escaped elimination. The horror!) Perhaps she's getting overshadowed by Adam Lambert's hair streaks and hair-metal shrieks. And without a sob story, she isn't getting any of those sentimental votes either. America, it's time to embrace the rocker chick and get her to the finale. (Wouldn't you kill to see an Allison/Adam showdown? It's the only way it would be fair.)
Therefore, in honor of my favorite contestant (and in hopes of getting more Iraheta stories on MTV's site ... I'm all Lamberted out), I whipped up a bonus "Idol in 60 Seconds" recap this week. Check out everything you need to know about Allison Iraheta, in 60 seconds.