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Archive for the ‘Country Night’ Category

Let me start off this blog with an apology – I fully intended to give my song picks for Andrew Lloyd Webber night by last weekend but I didn’t think I’d have to do as much research as I am doing for it.  Whether you realize it or not, he has a very extensive musical catalog so I’m really sifting through it carefully.  With any luck I should have it nailed down before Idol Gives Back  – keep your fingers crossed!

 

Now for an upfront observation about last night’s show:

It would seem that Mr. Cranky Pants was back in unusually fine form, knocking down every contestant in sight.  The Brit just doesn’t like country night, period, and that was VERY obvious – even Ryan pointed it out!  If that is the case, then why do the producers keep putting it in?  Or, perhaps we could get a replacement judge for one night and give Simon the time off?  It IS something to think about.

 

In any case, I was somewhat surprised at how versatile Dolly’s songs are, seeming to adapt to any musical genre  and still sound relevant.  She deserves more credit for being a prolific songwriter.  I was familiar with at least half of what was sung and pleasantly surprised by the rest.  Her catalog was a good choice for the competition so hats off to the producers.  It made me actually enjoy country night for once.

 

So, not suffering any fools on this April first, here was the view from my comfy red leather couch for this week:

 

Brooke WhiteJolene

She hasn’t had the opening spot yet and this song was the perfect choice for her.  Nice, basic arrangement, good vocal but I always find that her production suffers when she sings hunched over a guitar.  She may not have had a lot over emotion in her body but it was there in her voice.  Depending on how the others did, she might just be forgettable and could find herself in bottom feeder land this week.

 

David Cook  Little Sparrow

After basically addressing the “controversies” that have been dogging him the past few weeks, he strikes out with his own arrangement of this song and really shows just what a talented musician he is.  He has proven particularly in the last two weeks that he has a good strong vocal behind the rock growl.  I didn’t think he’d grow on me but he has and that’s because he’s proven his musicianship.  He’s safe yet again.

 

Ramiele MalubayDo I Ever Cross Your Mind?

Well, it’s nice to see our little firecracker back in fine form.  Good vocal, good energy, connected with the song and audience – I liked it a lot!  It would seem that two of the three judges have totally dismissed this singer and that’s too bad because I think she’s mounting a comeback after illness and could prove to be a spoiler.  She has a strong Asian fan base and they have demonstrated before (remember Jasmine Trias in Season 3?) that they are a powerful voting block.  At least this time around the singer is worth the votes IMHO.  Could be bottom feeding this week.

 

Jason CastroTravelin’ Thru

Dolly thinks he’s funky looking…interesting.  Anyway, it was a cute little song for an equally cute guy but I noticed a little bit of vocal reaching as he went up in his register.  The song definitely suited his style and personality but all I can think when I see him is — SPICOLI!!!  BTW, is Simon living in the same universe as the rest of us tonight?  I didn’t think so.  His massive fan base will keep him safe. 

 

Carly SmithsonHear You Come Again

Ah…the slow version that a certain Mr. Clay Aiken first sang on his cover CD A Thousand Different Ways…but he didn’t get the credit, now did he?  I didn’t think so.  No matter.  She killed it and definitely in a good way!!!  She has a beautifully powerful voice and a riveting stage presence but I will admit with the Brit that whoever is dressing her does NOT have her best interests at heart – however I would have found a more tactful way of stating that in front of America.  She should be safe but she’s seen the bottom before.

 

David ArchuletaSmokey Mountain Memories

This is the type of song that he excels in – emotionally charged, lyrically smooth and guaranteed to make you shake your head and state “is this kid really only 17?”  He’s an old soul with a killer vocal talent and I will state for the record that he IS the next CLAY AIKEN!  Mark my words – he’s fan base will give the Claymates a run for their money.  He’s very safe this week, next week, etc…

 

Kristy Lee CookCoat of Many Colors

Just call her this year’s Kellie Pickler but at least she got a few more cells in the gray matter to carry on a conversation.  She also knows how to bring it home in order to get votes and she did it again this week.  It wasn’t great but it wasn’t bad and coming later in the hour helps her stay in folks minds.  I’d like to see her in bottom feeder land but I’m not so sure.

 

Syesha MercadoI Will Always Love You

May I go on record to say that she actually tried to make the song her own and I think she just about almost succeeded.  She truly has the pipes and you could see her trying NOT to be Whitney by finding different places to emphasize.  Problem is:  that song is SO identified with Ms. Houston that you find yourself making the comparison even when you don’t want to.  I liked what I heard but will others?  Could be making a return to the bottom again this week.

 

Michael JohnsIt’s All Wrong, but It’s All Right

HE FINALLY PICKED THE RIGHT SONG!!!!  And was it a doosy!  I can’t believe Dolly wrote that song!  He was totally in his element tonight and he made it work.  Of all the contestants I secretly worried about his chances on Country Night but he did just fine.  Strong, throat-grabbing performance that will keep him out of the bottom for this week and even Simon liked it!  HUZZAH!

 

It’s very difficult this week but I think the bottom feeders are:

Kristy Lee Cook

Syesha Mercado

Brooke White

with “das boot” going to either Syesha Mercado or Kristy Lee Cook  – I can’t really choose!

 

Next week is Idol Gives Back and if anyone has a lead on the theme, let me know.  I’m looking forward to seeing which of the five dismissed Idols will be vying for the 11th spot on the tour and I applaud the producers for bringing back a Wildcard competition – they are always exciting and unpredictable.  Now, with all that I’d be surprised if the theme would be the music of Lloyd Webber but anything is possible so I’d better get that list finished by THIS weekend.  Wish me luck!

 

I’m also thinking of live blogging next Tuesday’s show – any opinions on that?  Let me know.

 

Carry on!

J

 

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Oops, I did it again! 😉 I used a song title to accurately describe the goal our four songbirds were shooting for tonight. Unfortunately, they would get no help whatsoever from the Barry Gibb/Bee Gees Songbook on what was toted as “boogie night.” Actually, it was more like “bogey night” at the local golf course — with more balls landing in the beach (sand trap) rather than on the green and no hole-in-ones in sight. These kids showed what little they knew of the Gibbs’ musical legend and had multiple problems with song selection, key choices and overall musical interpretation.

 

I’m beginning to believe that this IS the worst season of Idol, even surpassing Season 3 for that dubious title. Whatever happened to the great amateur talent search I came to know, love and obsess over these last 5 years? It’s showing its true colors as just another reality series and God knows we have quite enough of them.

 

So, was there anything left for me to critique this week from my vantage point on the red leather couch? You betcha! With the added bonus of TWO song performances (it’s that time again, folks!) let’s see what I managed to come up with, shall we?

 

Melinda Doolittle

Love You Inside and Out

I was a little nervous about how she would do with the Bee Gees songbook but she managed to apply her usual brand of great vocal technique and killer performing instincts for yet another slam dunk. Perhaps her slow and steady nature can win this race. I wouldn’t be sad if she did just that.

 

How Can You Mend a Broken Heart

I can’t take it anymore — give her the title and be DONE with it! She is just too good.

SAFE is the only word I can think of for her at this moment.

 

 

Blake Lewis

You Should Be Dancin’

Well, he came out of the gate with a bit of a pitch problem and had a tough time recovering mentally after that. I’m not sure the beatboxing worked for this song but I thought he had a decent falsetto and pulled off staying on it for the entire song. He’s gets props from me for that. I would have rather heard him put his unique spin on Jive Talkin’ instead. Just MHO.

 

This is Where I Came In

“Contemporary rebel” — Paula, that is a perfect label for him. He certainly marches (or dances) to his own beatbox band and that’s why I like him a lot. Do I want him to win? Not really, but he DOES have a bright future in the music biz. I have a feeling the other two talking heads were gunning for his departure but I hope the voters see his musical worth and keep him on that stage to sing another week.

On the bubble but his fans should keep him alive for one more week.

 

LaKisha Jones

Stayin’ Alive

Uh, her chances of doing that are not so hot after this number. Why does she continue to throw away the advice of her mentors?! That was the third time she didn’t listen and the third time she got panned for it. I can certainly understand singing a song “my way” but sometimes others DO know better and are more objective. She has a lot to learn about dying to her own interests if she plans on advancing in the music business.

 

Run to Me

My main comment about this song? KiKi don’t do “soft” well at all. I’m not just knocking the ending either. I felt she was weaker in the bottom register any time she was there and then resorted to screaming at the end, which made her go hoarse at the very end. Simon was correct about her being vulnerable and unless Blake’s fans are asleep at the phone, she will be the one hearing Daughtry’s song tomorrow night.

On the bubble BIG TIME and it just might POP!

 

Jordin Sparks

To Love Somebody

She’s BAAAACCCCKKK and I’m lovin’ it! I’m just like Randy when I keep harping on the fact that she is ONLY 17 but that’s what makes her so amazingly good. Her composure, control and overall confidence is way beyond her years, allowing her to wrap her vocals around a melody and sell it convincingly. She would benefit the most from winning this competition and I believe she won’t really have a career without doing so. Guess you all know where my votes are continuing to go, eh?

 

Woman in Love

OK, were the judges smoking crack before her performance because neither my husband nor I heard what the three of them where hearing. That child sang the freaking heck out of a very difficult song and while I might have heard a bit of pushing once or twice it was NOTHING like the critique that the judging troika was spewing in her direction. And we’re not watching this on some 20 inch no-name brand TV — we’re talking a 42 inch Sony Bravia HDTV with a Yamaha 7.1 surround sound (and the bass was truly a tad LOUD tonight – the band needs to watch that!). I’ve been impressed and happy that she’s taken more risks than any other woman contestant, providing us with some of the more memorable performances in the year of vocal drought. As I’ve said before, she is the prime example of what this competition started out to be. Let’s keep her in this so that she can have a decent shot at winning.

Should be safe but I trust no one so I will vote like heck for her!

 

 

Where does that leave us? Well, my prediction for bottom two has to be Lakisha and Blake but this is traditionally the week of the upset so don’t be surprised if Melinda lands there instead of Blake. Who will get “das boot?” It should be Lakisha but may I remind everyone that both Tamyra and LaToya never made it passed the final 4, while Clay…well, I’m not gonna get into that fiasco again…

 

‘Nuf said.

 

Now let me go vote and then chew my nails until the results show…

 

Carry on!

J

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Even though I’m not a huge fan of country music, I do enjoy listening to those who are both “a little bit country & a little bit rock and roll.”  Martina McBride is one of my favorite in that vein and it was good to see her work with the remaining seven contestants.  Her performance tomorrow night will surely be a highlight.

 

BTW — what was Constantine doing there on Country Night??  Scary.

 

In the last couple of seasons country night has been very good to some of the Idols and tonight was no exception — even though it was apparently obvious that a few singers were our of their depth.  But there were more ups than downs, thankfully,  so without further ado here’s my take on tonight’s singfest from my comfy red leather couch:

 

Phil Stacey / Where the Blacktop Ends – Keith Urban

Well, well, well!  I think we’ve found the genre that this boy excels at!  That was a solid, soulful performance and I’ve haven’t seen him this relaxed since this whole gig started.  It was a great song choice, he worked the vocals and the crowd with ease and he made me forget about his “Uncle Fester” look for the first time.  I’ll disagree with Simon and say this HAS saved him for at least another week…that is, unless American is deaf…or the script is wrong…

I’d say he’s safe but he could end up on the bubble or out on his…

 

Jordin Sparks / Broken Wing – Martina McBride

In a word — FANTASTIC!  She built that song from the ground up vocally and emotionally and sold it BIG TIME!  It even made Simon a believer (probably for all of 10 seconds) and I hope he didn’t jinx her by proclaiming that she could win based on that performance (think Clay Aiken and a host of others).  Guess I’ll be spending another Tuesday night voting for this fearless seventeen year old.

SAFE…if y’all know better…

 

Sanjaya Malakar /Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt

I used to love this song…sigh…

It’s all been said before.

 

Lakisha Jones / Jesus Take the Wheel – Carrie Underwood

Got to agree with Martina on this one.  Her believability on the number was undeniable and I may have detected a little pitch movement but not to the extent the judges were blowing it out to be.  It may not have been a great choice for her but not much in this genre would have worked with her style anyway.  I thought she did as well as she could have and I liked it.

Hopefully not on the bubble because she really did well.

 

Chris Richardson  / Mayberry – Rascal Flatts

Another week of “I don’t like this kid’s voice” and the nasal problem really was prominent.  Since all three of the judges panned him, he might be in trouble this week.  One can only hope…

Hopefully on the bubble.

 

Melinda Doolittle / Trouble is a Woman – Julie Reeves

GREAT song choice and one that I just might download for my iPod.  I loved it!  Along with Jordin that had to be one of the best performances of the night – no doubt about it.  She’s so good it’s scary and I’m glad Simon asked her to refrain from the “you really like me” look and response to the judges’ comments — that was getting a tad old.  How can you NOT vote for her?

Safe.  Safer.  Safest.

 

Blake Lewis /When the Stars Go Blue – Tim McGraw

Country is not his “cup of musical tea,” that for sure but he did try to make it his own.   It was a valiant effort and he did sound nice in his upper register but I wasn’t as sold on it as the judges were.  One tip: don’t wear argyle when singing country — just not right.

Should be safe but stranger things have happened.

 

Overall a decent night of singing BUT WHAT was up with Ryan & Simon???  Sniping does NOT suit either of them.  Plus, I think Simon has had enough of all the hype, is losing any objectivity toward the whole Sanjaya thing and in acknowledging that “this has been funny for awhile” pretty much pleaded with the public to end the insanity.  Will they?  They should.  Please?

 

So my choices for tonight’s bottom three are: Phil, Chris and Sanjaya with “das boot” going to Chris (in a “shocking” move even though it should be you-know-who).  With this year’s Sanjaya factor I have been not been as accurate in my predictions but this is a strange year for the “singing” competition and one, I hope, doesn’t get repeated in the near future — if there IS a future.  Sometimes, too much of a good thing is just too much.  I pray this is not the case here. 

 

Carry on!

J

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