Critic's Picks

Target Center

The sad truth about

American Idol Season Nine is that it'll be remembered less for who battled for the crown than for who was loitering near the exits: acerbic, resigning judge Simon Cowell. Don't believe me? Force yourself to remember the contestants. Winner Lee DeWyze had a voice that was perpetually on the verge of failing; good-natured Crystal Bowersox wanted to be the new Ani DiFranco; a picture of Siobhan Magnus shows up in most dictionaries near the word "quirky"; Michael Lynche was really, really lucky. As most Idol seasons wind down, there are usually a few vocally blessed humdingers whose debuts everybody around the water cooler plans to check for; this time, not so much. So why should you buy tickets to this iteration of American Idols Live? Because the pagentry will probably be out of this world. Because your nieces and nephews will never forget that you treated them to this. Because Idol's sell-by date passed a few years ago, and it's unlikely that there'll be too many more of these tours. $31-$70.50. 6:30 p.m. 600 1st Ave. N., Minneapolis; 612.673.0900. —Ray Cummings

SATURDAY 8.28

Michael Jackson: A Tribute to the Life & Music of the King of Pop

Cabooze

With a lineup stocked with local R&B luminaries, this Saturday's second annual tribute to Michael Jackson at the Cabooze is sure to showcase a few memorable one-off collaborations. Featuring Stokley and O'Dell of Mint Condition, St. Paul Peterson of FDeluxe and the Time, Julius "Juice" Collins of Greazy Meal, Paris Bennett of American Idol fame, her sister Jamecia Bennett and their Sounds of Blackness cohorts Deevo and Ashley, and Brandon Commodore. As with last year's tribute, the show will feature covers that range Jackson's entire career, starting with his early hits with the Jackson 5. With Ray Covington, (The Maxx Band), Yohannes Tona, (Dr. Mambo's Combo), Russ King and Manny Fresh, (The New Congress), Darnell Davis (Darnell Davis & the Remnant), Darius Ewing, Shayde, Dan Kusz, Aaron Wiener, and AJ Eskridge.18+. $10/$15 at the door. 8:30 p.m. 917 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.338.6425. Andrea Swensson

MONDAY 8.30

Lady Gaga

Xcel Energy Center

Since playing the Fine Line last year behind a number-one single about the focusing power of a good song ("Just Dance"), Lady Gaga has toured almost nonstop, watched pop realign itself around her sense of disco, and seen every one of her six subsequent singles—you know them even if you can't name them—reach the Top 10. For anyone absorbing her out of the air, "Poker Face," "LoveGame," "Paparazzi," "Bad Romance," "Telephone," and the electro-ska "Alejandro" (with Beyoncé) might seem to be about nothing but sex or fame, or sex as fame. Which makes her tender attitude toward fans—her "little monsters," whom she describes in Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair cover profiles as her truest love—both refreshing and a little scary. Like a certain other Italian American who got her start in the Lower Manhattan art/club scene, Gaga has become synonymous with spectacle for its own sake, even as she writes music so catchy that re-mixers tackle her album-only tracks. If she's not yet as great as Madonna or Like a Virgin, she's also a couple years younger at the same stage, with every sign of wanting (and being able) to bring the whole world into her bubble. With Semi Precious Weapons. $51.50-$177. 8 p.m. 175 W. Kellogg Blvd., St. Paul, 651.726.8240. Also Tuesday Peter S. Scholtes

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