Wednesday, March 18, 2009

"American Idol": GOO Night, aka Country Night

No, I'm not slagging on country music - I mean GOO as in Grand Ole Opry, cause that's the theme of the week. I was out last night and for some reason my DVR did not record the episode, curses! Luckily I was able to watch all the performance vids online (thank you, MJ's blog). Here are my thoughts:

The Standouts:

ANOOP brings it back, yay! Very soulful and expressive performance of "You're Always On My Mind" - and after a slightly breathy, tentative beginning he finally showed he has the vocal chops to stick with the best of 'em.

KRIS is now my pick for dark horse. Pretty tone, pretty face, and I love his low-key singer-songwriter vibe. He looks sort of like a cross between David Archuleta and Jason Castro, but his facial expressions and musical style remind me more of Castro. Better voice, though, IMHO, as shown in his really lovely delivery of "To Make You Feel My Love."

ADAM's take on "Ring of Fire" was...interesting (esp. when viewed after several drinks, heh heh). I think I kind of loved it because it was so out there. But I also think Simon's right that it probably made a good chunk of AI viewers want to throw their TV sets out the window. Meanwhile, Johnny Cash has gotta be either rolling or laughing in his grave - I hope the latter. I would love to have seen Randy Travis's face immediately after hearing that interpretation for the first time. Seems like a nice guy, and a good mentor, but he looked like he was still recovering from the shock.

There's something there:

MEGAN (Patsy Cline, "Walking After Midnight"): You can hear the flu in her voice this week, yet I continue to find it intriguing, even if her enunciation is strange and her body movements even stranger. She's got the jazzy thing going on, a real throwback feel that might not, alas, appeal to America at large. OTOH America likes the pretty, and she's awfully pretty. Ugly dress tonight, though. And she shouldn't be so smiley singing that song.

ALLISON (Patti Loveless, "Blame it on Her Heart"): This girl is adorable and has got mad pipes, but something about this didn't quite work for me. Generally agreed with Simon's assessment. (Oh, and hey, crowd? "Precocious" is NOT an insult!) And am terrified that Kara's "you can sing the alphabet" is going to be this year's replacement for Randy's phonebook.

MATT GIRAUD (Carrie Underwood, "So Small"): Once again I'm biased by the fact that I don't like the song Matt chose. And yet once again he sounds the most current of the group to me, like someone who might already be on the radio. I just don't like his *voice* as much as I do some of the other guys'. I think he has a very limited vocal range. But I also think he may end up becoming one of the frontrunners, esp. if Adam ends up becoming too over-the-top for the AI audience.


LIL ROUNDS (Martina McBride, "Independence Day"): Ok but boring, just like last week. I did, however, appreciate that she tried to "honor" the genre (hey, that rhymes, almost) and *not* bust out another Whitneyized "I Will Always Love You." Randy: you are an idiot. Simon: ditto, for a different reason. There's something more than a little condescending and ridiculous about insisting someone's name is an abbreviation when it's not. She's not Lil Kim, yo.

DANNY GOKEY (Carrie Underwood, "Jesus Takes the Wheel"): Enter the preacher! That song choice is bound to win a lot of votes and alienate others. As a lapsed Catholic-turned-agnostic, I don't care that he sang about Jesus, but musically it's not that great a song and I thought his delivery was just so-so. And why the hell was he wearing a white parka? He looked like a marshmallow.

SCOTT MCINTYRE (Martina McBride, "Wild Angels"): Innocuous. Also less memorable than Simon and Paula's stupid bickering. That is not a good sign. But he's a dear.

ALEXIS GRACE (Dolly Parton, "Jolene"): At least she didn't smile through the damn thing like Brooke White did last year. Alexis is talented, but I think her voice is, well, smaller than she thinks it is. She always seems to be trying too hard to make it sound bigger, which in turn seems to have negative effects on her pitch.

MICHAEL SARVER (Garth Brooks, "Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up"): Does this song even have a melody? And I'm with Simon - I couldn't understand a word, though to be fair, I'm really bad at picking up lyrics generally. But still - a terrible song choice.

Post-elimination thoughts:

I predicted one of the girls would be eliminated tonight, and lo and behold, I was right. Poor Alexis - she was never one of my favorites, but it sounds like they really jerked her chain with that whole "judges' save" BS. So let me get this straight: if you're one of the bottom two, you can now look forward to either being told by the judges that they're not even considering saving you (i.e., forget it, you’re not one of our pets) or being tortured for five minutes longer with “well, maybeeee you are one of our pets, but prove you’re worth it!” That’s effing sadistic, even for Idol. I almost never watch results shows, and now I have even less reason to watch them.

Next week: Motown! This should be right up the alley of half the contestants, but we'll see what happens.


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