Time is running out for Chapel Hill's hometown American Idol: Tonight, two of the remaining seven singers will go home, and the race is tightening at the top. With strong frontrunner Adam Lambert surprising and delighting the judges and the voting public week after week, it's turning into a race for second place as the pop music show winds down to its grand finale late next month.
But don't count our local contestant out just yet. After a few vanilla performances in a row, he's turned up the spice in recent weeks, taking more risks with his song choice and his style (debuting this week: the hint of a mustache, a modern hairstyle and a slightly less frat-boy wardrobe). For this disco-themed week, Desai took on "Dim All The Lights," the 1979 Donna Summer megahit. He eased the tempo and won over three of the four judges with his personal spin. (Simon Cowell gave him the thumbs down, but that's not much news.) In an episode that featured judges joking about fellow (male) contestant Kris Allen "shopping in the women's department" after he successfully reconfigured another Summer hit, "She Works Hard for the Money," Desai got off pretty easily in the judges' comment portion, collecting kudos for hitting the hard notes with only minimal cracks about his carnation-pink sweater.
But Desai has an uphill battle—and tough competition—for the top slot, but he's certainly grown as a singer and a performer since squeaking into the top 13.