Wednesday, March 18, 2009

AI Season 8: Top 11 perform country style

This probably has to be the most painful performance week for Simon Cowell. He hates country music. And I can't really blame him. I like some of the pop country hits I've heard over the past few years (Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats is a good one) but true country sets my teeth on edge. It's the whole, "my dog died, truck broke down, lost my job, my girlfriend is a stripper and I stubbed my toe" lyrics that get me every time. So like Simon I will have to grit my teeth and try to appreciate the singers who do well. I don't think there will be many of them...

The judges are introduced again and come out from backstage. What is up with that? Considering they just go to their accustomed spots, I don't see why they can't just start there. Ryan wishes us a Happy St. Patrick's Day and urges us to drink. If only I wasn't almost 39 weeks pregnant, I would, Ryan, I would.

We are introduced to this week's theme: Grand Ole Opry. I guess picking a single artist like Dolly Parton was too limiting? Randy Travis mentors the contestants this week. Is it just me or is he looking particularly skinny and old?

Michael Sarver is up first and he is the most natural country singer of the bunch. I'm kind of surprised he doesn't get the money spot. He picks Garth Brook's "Ain't Going Down Till The Sun Comes Up." He impresses me with his memorization skills and sounds pretty good too. Damn, there were a lot of words in those lyrics. Good, upbeat song and the crowd loved it. DH calls it karaoke but I think it sounds like every other country song. Randy called it a cool song choice but said it didn't have a big vocal range. Kara said we saw his personality but missed the big notes. Her silver top makes me think she's about to embark on a ride into space. Looking demure in comparison is Paula who garbled a lot of words and said it was a good genre for Michael. Simon said it should have been good but didn't understand a word he sang. Michael talked back and I think he lost some "likability" with his comment.

Alison Iraheta is still 16 and sings "Blame It On Your Heart." I don't recognize the song but that shouldn't surprise anyone. Per usual I really like the tone of her voice and think she does a really nice job. This isn't really her genre but she does better than I would have thought. Kara pulls out the "singing the alphabet comment" and I wonder if Paula will agree but use the phone book metaphor instead. Paula called it a rock solid performance but didn't even seem like she was making a pun. What a missed opportunity. I love puns. Simon thought it was good but there were some mistakes. Randy called it "dope" and I flashed to 1997.

Kris Allen also picked a Garth Brooks' song ("To Make You Feel My Love") and decides not to accompany himself on the guitar. DH wonders how his wife doesn't know he is gay. Randy Travis liked Kris' arrangement and I surprise myself by actually knowing the song. He sings a very stripped down version and I like it. Paula said she was pleasantly surprised and thought it was a vulnerable performance. Simon called it terrific. Randy thinks he took a chance and showcased his vocals. Kara thought it was beautiful.

Lil Rounds looks stunning in her pink mini-dress. She admits her country ignorance and says she will honor country by holding back on her R&B style. She selects Martina McBride's "Independence Day" which is a big song. If I remember correctly Kristy Lee Cook sang this last year. Lil still has an amazing voice but the song feels really "off" without a twang. The chorus was much better than the verses. DH thinks she seems very uncomfortable and I agree. Just not a good genre for her. Randy called her out on the first part but thought it got better with the chorus. Kara didn't love the song choice but gives her props. Paula thought she looked fabulous. Simon calls her "Little" and compared her to a wedding singer. Lil spends too much time explaining her song selection. I just want these contestants to shut up and sing.

Adam Lambert is up next and needs some serious highlights in his hair that aren't blue. And perhaps a little less eyeliner. He picks Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire" and makes Randy Travis speechless. You can tell he hated the arrangement Adam picked. I get a very Jim Morrison vibe from the performance which I know Adam was totally going for. I'm not sure I liked the performance but it captivated me. I have a feeling it will be the most interesting performance of the night. Kara called it a little strange but liked the drama. Paula said Adam was true to himself as an artist. Simon: "What the hell was that?" He then threw out his "indulgent rubbish" phrase. I actually completely disagree with Simon as does Randy who compares it to Nine Inch Nails.

Scott McIntyre picks "Wild Angels" by Martina McBride. Randy Travis did not approve of the song choice. Did you all know that the guy who accompanies Scott on stage is his brother? Scott accompanies himself on piano which I have a feeling will be standard as long as he sticks around. My problem with Scott is that he just isn't that good compared to the other contestants. I tell DH that and he responds, "Well Scott just doesn't see it that way." Yup, he's about to become a father, people. Wish me luck. Paula called the performance lovely but thinks the piano could be becoming a crutch. Simon is testy tonight (probably because it's the worst week for him) and tells Scott not to take Paula's advice. Simon also questions the song selection and thinks that it was too similar to last week's. Randy breaks up the arguing couple and tells Scott that it was too much of a safe performance. Kara thinks Scott needs to up his game.

Alexis Grace is starting to bore me and annoy me. Not a good combination. She picks "Jolene" by Dolly Parton and I love this song so she better not screw it up. A bunch of rough notes in the middle but she did a good job showcasing her voice. Randy thought it was a good song choice but not a great performance. Kara said Alexis lost her edge with the song and it felt flat. Paula thought it was an effective performance and showcased her range. Simon thought it was OK but too reminiscent of Dolly Parton.

Danny Gokey was nervous meeting Randy Travis. He selected "Jesus Take The Wheel" by Carrie Underwood and screwed up a number of times in rehearsal. I am surprised that he decides to sing the song straight rather than play with the arrangement. With his performance Danny shows he lacks the range of most of the other male singers. He does much better when the music picks up but the first half was pretty pathetic. Also pathetic? The white jacket. Kara dinged him on the first half. Paula thought he built a story. Simon agrees with Paula and with me about the outfit. Randy split the judging and agrees with Kara.

Anoop Desai is up next and I fear for him. He decides on Willy Nelson's "You Were Always On My Mind" and I breath a bit easier. I like Anoop's voice when singing ballads. I think he does an excellent job but dressing in a hooded sweatshirt was not the best style choice. Paula said Anoop was back. Simon used the always good "zero to hero" cliche and said it was an excellent performance. Randy said Anoop-dog demonstrated why he's in the competition. Kara called it amazing and the best performance of the night.

Here comes craaaazy! DH makes my night by imitating her dancing before Megan Corkery comes on. Megan picked, "I Go Walking After Midnight" and Randy called it unique. She looks stunning except for the tattoo sleeve. The girl also can't help herself with her dancing. Do they get stage presence help? Cause if not, they should. Her voice is very unusual which I like but there is something about the girl I just don't like. Randy thought it was going to be a train wreck but it was actually good. Kara calls her a winner for performing with the flu. We go through this shit every year. Yes, they get sick every season. Suck it up. Paula calls her a professional and Simon said she should have the flu every week.

Matt Giraud gets the money spot and selects "So Small" by Carrie Underwood but changes up the arrangement. Like Scott he accompanies himself on the piano. It's a good performance but not great so I'm surprised he got placed to go last. What's up with Kara or Paula staring out every critique this week? Kara loved it. Paula called it an authentic performance. Simon thinks Matt outsang Danny and had a great performance. Randy said it was the favorite performance of the night for him.

Who should be out? Scott McIntyre. Who will be out? I'm not sure. I'm finding it hard to predict this season. There is a possibility that Alexis could be done.

SJ out.

**Since Ryan does a terrible job introducing the name of the songs and the contestants mumble a lot, I am not to be held responsible for errors in the song titles.


A. said...

Big debate on one of the radio morning shows in my area about whether Adam Lambert's performance was good or not. I thought it totally rocked, myself. Just awesome.

Worst performances of the night? Scott McIntire (I know he's blind, but he's GOT to go, his voice is just so COMMON), Lil Rounds, Alexis What's Her Name (someone remade Jolene a few years ago and her voice was haunting, so maybe it colored my opinion of Alexis' performance), and Megan Joy. The judges were kind to Megan because she was sick, so I'm sure she won't get voted off. But in that dress, every time she moved in her jerky-dancy way, I thought she was shaking her boobs at me. The song was totally uninspiring.

I should be honest and say that I missed the first 3 performances of the night, so it's possible one of them is worse than the 4 I mentioned above.

Stacey, fear not, M. has made blind jokes left and right regarding Scott, and he already IS a father. So far, it hasn't rubbed off on Finn. There is hope.

Jordan said...

I agree with A that Lambert rocked it out. He's totally a Morrison/Plant/Axel Rose Hybrid. He was the only one who made his/her song original. Anoop was good, but I just don't see why everyone gushes over Matt so much. I think he's pretty average.

I think we're losing one of the girls tonight (hope it's annoying Corkery).

Jordan said...

Oh and Stacey, KLC sang Proud to be An American, not Independence Day last year. Sorry to be the factual Nazi.

Theresa said...

Carrie Underwood sang Independence Day, I think?

I am thinking Alexis. She is starting to irritate me.

Have you guys heard of this website It measures the busy signals of each contestant's line and is supposed to be pretty accurate...

M. said...

CNN has a little promo piece on AI that summarizes the performances from last night and asks for comments (basically a much less witty version of Stacey's recaps). Most performers have 20-30 comments; Adam Lambert's is up over 150 at the moment. Love him or hate him, he's at least comment-worthy. Since you can only vote for who you'd like to remain in the competition (rather than who you'd like kicked to the curb), I think he's safe.

In general, I thought the guys were way better last night, though I liked the skinny, trampy girl that sang Joline. And Megan Joy:like A., I believe she was shaking her boobs at me - god bless her.

Mommy, Esq. said...

Aaron hogged the TV so I missed it. But I laughed and laughed at your recap so I feel like I was there. On the fence if I'll watch it tonight but I remember there were a few incredible performances last year (Imagine and that one by David Cook) that I was glad I watched.

E said...

Too bad you had to actually watch the episodes to get Alexis right (insert sinister laugh here). :-)