American Idol 8 - Grand Ole Opry Week
The remaining 11 contestants were forced to sing country hits made famous at the Grand Ole Opry with Randy "Fire Marshall Bill" Travis as the mentor. This is my least favorite week every season. Let's just jump right in:
Michael Sarver: Before he was halfway through his cover of Garth Brooks' "Ain't Going Down Till the Sun Comes Up," I knew Simon would say he couldn't understand a word of it. The song is rapid-fire cornpone, but even I thought oil rigger man was singing too fast and more concerned about his good ole boy image than anything else. The judges didn't like it, but middle America was already trying to dial in.
Allison Iraheta: I wonder if she took her jacket down to Home Depot to have them color match it for this week's shitty, burgundy hair color? The judges were falling all over her, but I thought she sounded a little flat and often breathless singing "Blame it on the Heart" by Patty Loveless. She's trying hard to work the Stevie Nicks' growl, but she lacks the nuance.
Kris Allen: Damn it, he's still cute. He sang Garth's "To Make You Feel My Love" and the judges were just a wee bit over the top in their praise. Yes, it was vulnerable and straightforward, but it didn't showcase his voice at all. Randy dubbed it "Tender Moments For My Dawg Kris." Somebody hand me the vomit bucket.
Lil Rounds: Tackling Martina McBride's "Independence Day" was a huge misstep for Lil. It didn't suit her voice and slowing it down to try and find some R&B vibe just didn't work. None of the judges liked it, except for Miss Pills Abdul. Simon couldn't even bother to remember her name; he kept calling her "Little."
Adam Lambert: Sooooo sexy. Damn! His Rocky Horror Picture Show version of Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire" -- with a Middle Eastern vibe and sitars! -- was way over the top. It divided the judges, naturally, with Simon calling it self-indulgent rubbish and Randy calling it Nine Inch Nails does country. I liked it, but country purists were, as Simon said, probably throwing there TVs out the window. Randy Travis said, "I don't know what to make of this boy and his black nail polish," which was a polite way of saying this boy's a big fag.
Scott MacIntyre: Kara actually had the most intelligent feedback -- shock! -- since Simon and Paula's bickering cancelled each other out: Scott just sounds the same on every song. Paula said he was using the piano as a crutch (hey, at least she didn't say cane) and it's disconnecting him from the audience. His cover of Martina McBridge's "Wild Angels" was fine, but boring.
Alexis Grace: Only two people should ever be allowed to sing Dolly Parton's "Jolene" -- Dolly herself and Paula Cole. The arrangement was slow and horrible, lacking the urgency this song requires, and Alexis' voice was all over the place. I hated it.
Danny Gokey: Speaking of self-indulgent rubbish, Gokey's cover of Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take The Wheel" started slow and pitchy and became shouty and and even more shouty. The judges were split, so let me help you out: his performance sucked and he's a creep. Period.
Anoop Desai: I totally forgot NoopDawg was in the competition, which doesn't bode well for him does it. That was probably the reaction of most of America -- oh, yeah, Anoop's still on the show. So, I'm sure viewers were amazed as I was when he knocked Willie Nelson's "You Were Always on My Mind" out of the park. Straightforward, strong singing. Still, I wish he'd gone a bit crazy and done the Pet Shop Boys version. Oh, well...
Megan Corkrey: She was in the hospital this week with a bad case of the flu, and she worked her consumptive cough for all its worth. Her cover of Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight" was full of her herky-jerky movements and odd vocal tics. Bizarrely, the judges were lavishing her with praise. I don't get it.
Matt Giraud: Possibly his best performance of the season, covering Carrie Underwood's "So Small." The comparisons to Justin Timberlake and Michael Buble were flying about, but I just don't know if he's got enough traction to fight off Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey.
Who's going home? I'm not really sure. This might be a shocker week, where the judges are tempted to pull out their immunity status. If it were up to me, I'd kick Gokey off immediately, but realistically it should be Alexis or Lil Rounds.