How bone-shatteringly rock & roll was American Idol's Rock Week episode last night? So rockin' part of the chintzy Idol set collapsed — or maybe that was an act of God, who didn't approve of Danny Gokey murdering a cat at the end of his cover of Aerosmith's "Dream On." "I can not believe I'm sitting 1st row at American Idol," Twittered Slash as the show began (and we cannot believe you're "following" Sara Bareilles and Diddy, Mr. Hudson!). But it was all, for better or for worse, true. Mentor Slash took the final four to the Roxy on the Sunset Strip to rehearse and everyone got their leather on, as Karen O would say, for six rock songs that were all released before 1979, because according to Idol, that's when rock & roll ended. The night ended up hosting six performances — four individual tunes and two duets — that would fit nicely into Broadway's Tony-nominated Rock of Ages musical, which stars onetime Idol hopeful Constantine Maroulis. Coincidence! Here's how they all stacked up (and check out Matt Giraud, Anoop Desai and Lil Rounds' Final Four assessments):
• We called this one last week: Adam Lambert, Led Zeppelin, no brainer. Lambert snarled and stared his way through 1969's "Whole Lotta Love," nailing those piercing high notes. If Slash doesn't pick him up as Velvet Revolve's new frontman, maybe Jimmy Page wants to give him a ring. OK, neither of those thing will (or should) happen, but per Paula Abdul, it was indeed a "whole lotta perfect."
• Allison Iraheta covered Janis Joplin's 1971 "Cry Baby," a gut-wrenching but sort of tuneless song that went over better than the judges would have you believe. "If they ever do a biopic on Janis Joplin, you've got the role," Abdul said, forgetting about the two competing Joplin biopics starring Pink and Renee Zellweger that have been in the works for years (not to mention Jenna Maroney's highly anticipated Janet Jopler picture).
• Kris Allen jammed with Slash on the Beatles' 1969 track "Come Together" and "almost wanted to pee my pants." Allen injected some air and bounce into the track, but didn't have enough grit to impress the judges. It wasn't wild but it was fiery and far better than ...
• Danny Gokey's "Dream On," whose most rockin' moment came when Gokey lobbed some major (and inadvertent) spit. Rock is clearly not his thing, but Gokey could have picked something more befitting his voice (Rod Stewart?) and spared us the sound of animal sacrifice that ended his performance. Lucky for him, Kara DioGuardi embarrassed herself worse, suggesting "Crazy" and "Cryin' " came out before "Dream On" (they were released in the 1990s).
And the duets:
• Natural duo Allison and Adam grinned their way through Foghat's "Slow Ride." These two may be the most entertaining Idol contestants the show has ever seen, and a compelling reason for otherwise uninterested rock fans to tune in.
• Kris and Danny did a meh job on an awesome tune, "Renegade" by Styx. Kris looked and sounded more like a more natural rocker and thought the harmonies were sweet, the duel riffing at end of the song was a bit irritating. One of these guys will likely exit the show tonight.