Simon Cowell has spent much of this season of “American Idol,” dishing out praise and barbs from his judge’s chair.
On Monday night, however, one contender brought the British judge to his feet for a standing ovation.
Adam Lambert, the frontrunner in the competition, performed last on the show. And though the now hour-long show ran into overtime and the judges’ comments were shortened, Simon managed to express the impact Adam made with his version of the 1982 song, “Mad World.”
“Words are unnecessary, but I want to give you a standing ovation,” Simon said as the entire judging panel stood up to pay the 26-year-old Californian his dues.
While no one else managed to move Simon to his feet, several other contestants did receive high praise from the Brit’s fellow judges.
Danny Gokey, who sang a version of “Stand By Me” released in 1980, the year of his birth, left Kara DioGuardi simply amazed.
“At the end you just killed it,” she said of his rendition. “You turned it on its head and you made it your own. And it’s really unique. You did your own thing and you did it well.”
Also on the receiving end of the judges’ praise was teenager Allison Iraheta, who sang “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” a Bonnie Raitt cut from 1992.
“There is a girl that won the first season of this that you remind me so much of,” Randy Jackson said, referencing Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson. “She could sing her face off and so can you… You need to engage the public a little bit more, but you’re one of the best of the night. You can really, really sing.”
Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre and Matt Giraud, however, all gave performances that left the judges disappointed.
Kris Allen’s version of Don Henley’s “All She Wants To Do Is Dance,” was branded “indulgent” by Simon, Scott’s take on “Living For A Dream,” was called “horrible,” and Lil Rounds, who channeled Tina Turner’s “What’s Love Got To Do With It” got stuck with the “karaoke” tag by Paula Abdul.