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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Grand Ole Opry Without the Hoe Down: Minnie Pearl Turning in Her Grave

American Idol is apparently sticking with big booming voiced Announcer Man, he's back. Couldn't miss the fact it was St. Patrick's day either. The stage complete with green lighting and Shamrock images left no doubt. It was almost like anime, I almost went into a seizure with all the flashing green lights.

Sadly none of the judges got into the day, nothing green or Irish looking about any of them. I had hoped, with all the flashing shamrocks the show would really provide some fun. All the judges should have been decked out in shades of green with Ryan in a leprechaun hat. He's a little guy, would have worked, but then, I never get my way.

Paula wore a floral frock and left the dead dove home she wore last week, Kara must have scrounged into her back-to-the-'80's trunk and found a grey lame' ensemble, the lights just bounced off of it. Kara in the sky with diamonds. Simon in a gray t-shirt and Randy ... forget what he wore. Darling Daughter exclaimed when the top eleven were paraded out, "Nobody is wearing any green!" She's ten so things like that matter. She's my kid, so like Mom like Daughter we wanted some green! Would have at least been a little entertaining.

We did have one small but funny moment after the top eleven contestants came out on stage; Gokey waving his arms about managed to slug poor sick Megan Joy in the mid-section. Had to rewind a few times to see that again. Girl kept her feet so good on her, she was sick and could still take a hit. Hokey glanced at her but did not appear to say anything. Shmuck.

Michael Sarver decided to 'good ol' boy' it with an unsurprising choice of a Garth Brooks song, "Ain't Going Down (Until The Sun Comes Up)". Sarver had a decent harmonica guy join him on stage, but he was no Taylor Hicks. Roughneck Mike also managed to appear to not forget any of the 37,000 words in that song, although at times he backed from the mic so was hard to tell. Poor guy has no stage moves and sort of lumbers around, but then he is a Country singer kinda guy and most I've seen down at Billy Bob's have some of the same moves. Speaking of Billy Bob's, Randy Travis will be there this weekend, appearing on Saturday, March 21. Sounds like a date to me, haven't got to go drink beer and watch cowboys knocked off an angry bull - in a bar - in a while. YeeHaw!

Judges were mixed on Sarver, Randy said it was cool and fun, Kara stated the obvious - Wow! Michael remember all those words! Pauler like the harmonica guy and commented the how Sarver was indeed a country kinda guy, which is one reason she gets paid the Big Bucks. Simon was "meh" on the whole thing. I was thinking along the lines of Simon.

Sweet Sixteen and don't anyone forget it, Allison Ireheta came out with her hair styled with either a perfectly matching flower or the stylist managed some hair origami. Idol's Hispanic darling picked a Patty Lovelace song, "Blame it on the Heart" as her selection. Randy Travis told her not to be too cute because she did some prancey country dance moves while showing off her vocal talents in their 'coaching' segment. Likely she was trying to make ol' Randy loosen up a bit since he was coming across last night sort of tightly wound and very somber. I have to say every time the show cut to Randy's wife in the audience with her white hair/wig she looked like she'd just bit into a sour lime before a tequila shot. Lady did not smile one time. No wonder Travis looks so dour most of the time living with that little Miss Happy. Ali reminds me of Amanda Overmeyer - she seems somewhat out of place in a format that thrives on Pop princesses.

Judges spouted a series of cliche's from Kara saying she could sing the alphabet (what?) to Pauler saying her vocals were 'rock solid' hello, it's country week. Simon called her precocious - Randy obviously had no clue what precocious meant and said Simon was wrong, the performance, (just like Randy) was Dope!

Darling Daughter was already getting bored.

Fundie boy Kris Allen was up next, he came out with Jason Castro's stool sans guitar and picked "To Make You Feel My Love". Song name all by itself was sort of creepy but Kris did a good job. His vocals are really pretty good, nice tone to his voice, and I liked it. He made some curious faces while singing that had Darling Daughter say, "Mom have you noticed he looks kind of like a monkey"? She just picks this sort of thing up all on her own, has to be the genetics. I feel for her later in life. ha.

I'd give Kris the highest marks out of the previous three, monkey face and all. Judges liked it with Simon heaping on the praise saying it was the first time he actually saw Kris making it far in this competition. Randy had the most ridiculous (again) comment saying Kris was the Tender Dawg. Kara with eyes full of faux wonder said, something to the effect of 'I didn't even know it was Opry Land week'. Inside meaning, 'that had no country sound to it at all and I loved it'. Exactly why Simon liked it so much, anyone who has sat through this show knows Simon hates country music. Simon was clever in undermining Randy with a quiet, 'more like Tender puppy'. I'm getting the vibe everything's not cozy kewl in the judging camp this season.

Lil (Little) Rounds up next. You could see the bloom falling off the rose this performance for Lil. She picked Martina McBride's "Independence Day" received high praise from guest Travis but failed in the ears of the judge panel. Kara tried to save things for her by saying 'anyone would have to be deaf not to know you're a great singer' but Simon suddenly couldn't remember her name, stubbornly kept calling her Little in a not so veiled mean-spirited way. She was also handed the dreaded "Wedding Singer" brand. Not a great round for Lil.

After that little moment, time for something Big, Bad and Brassy. Yes, Adam-I'm-Too-Fabulous-For-This-Show picked a song I figured he'd go with, John Cash's "Ring of Fire". I thought he might go Dilana in Rock Star Supernova and he did not disappoint. Thing is, he sang it much better. Poor Randy T. did not know what to think about a guy wearing makeup and nail polish - guess his bitch-face wife has had the man sheltered. Made for an entertaining and awkward segment, woke me up some from the stupor I had been sinking into. Darling Daughter just sat there with her mouth open.

Judges apparently were taking Adam and his uber fabness in similarly to my kiddo and floundered to be current. Obviously none of them had ever watched Rock Star. Pauler compared Adam to Led Zepplin, "Kashmir", Randy brought up Trent Reznor and NIN, Kara was along the lines of Pauler, dazed and confused, Simon being the grumpy old frump asked "what the hell was that"? Poor old man. I thought it was more like Freddy Mercury doing Cash. The guy has such a freaking amazing voice, now if only he'd worn a pair of those assless chaps. Or any chaps...ah, it is family show.

Taylor Hicks did get a mention last night. After Adam's performance, Ryan quipped the show had come a long way since Hicks stood on that stage. Whoopee.

Scott MacIntyre did Martina MacBride's "Wild Angels", naturally with piano. I know he's blind, but it was boring, disjointed and flat in parts. Pauler was bored too I think, that's why she wants him to come out without piano sometime. Simon and she almost came to blows, which would have livened up the place almost as much as Adam had just done, but instead, during commercials had to go into 'time out' for a few moments. Randy and Kara were sort of walking in Pauler's shoes both saying he needs to up his game. I did enjoy his pointing out to the judges and we viewers at home that song he performed was not all his choice, seems it true what we read on that Notorious Site the show 'helps' pick the songs for the contestants.

Alexis Grace screwed up this week and it might cost her Top 10. Considering she does in a way resemble a young Dolly Parton without the boobs, she picked "Jolene". This is one time it would have benefited her to sing it like it was originally intended. No, Alexis I wannabe like Parton tried to current it up a bit, add an alt-edge that wound up falling as flat as her chest. Judge panel said the same things times four, pitch issues, missed the mark she was seeming to shoot for, blah, blah, blah. Simon called it forgettable, not true since it was memorable for its very blandness. I liked Alexis that first time I saw her; I've changed my mind.

Hokey-Gokey is up next and he's wearing an Arctic Polar Explorer suit. Ready to tackle polar bears on the ice. All that white around his face made his neck look nonexistent and his face bloated. He's got a modified pair of goggles on his week designed perhaps to help him fight through that snow storm he looks ready to go out into.

Mind you, they're in Los Angeles where it's waay to warm for polar suits. That brings me to say why do these stupid stylists usually have the guys come out looking like they're about to walk the streets of New York in winter on stage? Too, why don't these contestants have a brain to say, wait why am I wearing a winter coat on stage?

Hokey does what I knew he'd do - pull out Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel". The most entertaining moments for me, when he went into his comfort zone of saying Jesus, likely just the way he does it in his fundie cult church going for the tithes. It was uneven and he makes an attempt to polar blast some of the karoke soul into the verses but overall the song falls cold. Have I mentioned how I hate the way he squints? This one of the most Hokey of his performances.

Judges blather about the start off being slow but Kara waxed enthusiastic pulling another cliche out of her head about his 'hitting his stride'. Like her song writing skills this gal is full of the tired and true lines. Pauler was getting more and more into the Anna Nicole drugs she's pumped full of and slurred out about how Carrie Underwood would buy that recording. Yeah, whatevah have another slug off that Coke cup. I thank the Idol Gods for Simon, he brought up the pathetic polar apparel, I just know we'd get along in real life.

Darling Daughter had wandered off at this point and so I was left alone to watch the remainder of the show. Anoop who did not fare so well last week had selected "You're Always on My Mind", but he did not come out and deliver it like The King or Willie Nelson. Anoop put a more Pop sound to the tune and really sang it well. He was suffering the unfortunate clothing situation as Hokey, dressed for a winter stroll on an LA stage, with all his layers he had to be nice and toasty. It did warm my heart to hear him sing this song so well as I had, from the early stages of this show thought him capable of being one of the front runners.

Judges backed me up with all hailing his return (meaning he left sort of during Jacko week) and how well he performed that tune. Simon's assessment that Anoop went from Zero to Hero a little lavish but hey, if it gets him to stay in the competition I'm all with it.
Anoop Desai, "Always on My Mind" credited to Willie Nelson, although not like Willie's:

Megan Joy, although sick last night, looked beautiful, hair to toes. The dress she wore complimented some of her best assets and they were proudly fronting that gown. I thought she'd likely pick Patsy Cline, she loves the old music and has such a blast to the past tone to her voice. "Walking After Midnight" was a piece of old school cool and her Sallie Josephine dance moves complimented her performance. I like this lady more and more every time I hear her. I give her mad props for being so sick - just out of the hospital - missed rehearsals and still did a great job - managed to not cough once during the delivery.

Judges pointed out she had just been in the hospital, praised her singing.

Matt Giraud also picked Carrie Underwood but I will forgive Matt. He performed "So Small" with piano and really did a great job. I like the sound of Matt's voice, as apparently does Kara. She cougared out again, commenting 'nothing small about you Matt' as if she has knowledge the rest of us have not been privy to... I love that gleam she gets in her eye when she looks at him, it's like she's been on a desert island and he's a juicy cheeseburger. Look out Matt, Kara in her gray lame' got them hungry eyes. Simon compared Matt to Michael Buble' which is okay, should carry him through this week.
Matt Giraud, "So Small"

I liked it. Agree with Simon, he completely out sang Hokey last night, but Ryan's "Matt Buble"? ...

Best of the night, Anoop, Megan Joy, and Matt for pure singing, Adam for most exciting (squee). Who I think will go home? Toss up between Michael Sarver and Alexis Grace.


  1. jerseyirish2:28 PM

    Sunny, Great recap of last night. I agree that it will be between Alexis and Michael who goes home this week. I think they may keep Alexis around, she really is good. Did you see that one where they are saying that the show has already picked the final four: Lil, Gokey, Adam and Alexis. They are saying the show is fixed this year, with adding the Daughtry rule. If they wind up sending Alexis home then the theory is shot.


  2. Yes, Ryan would make a great leprechaun. Itneresting that we have similar takes on Adam Lambert and Danny Gokey. I too don't get the Danny Gokey thing. It's like the same approach to the song regardless of the song.

  3. Sunny my dear friend, it's always a joy to read your recaps. I need to hang out here more often again. (I probably shouldn't admit I like Danny though, right?)

    I was surprised Alexis was sent home tonight while Sarver stayed - but you never know what's gonna happen. Truthfully, I think this is the most talented crop yet and I'm going to be sad every week from here on out regardless of who goes home.

    Am I a music whore or what?

  4. Oh BTW I *finally* got The Distance today. I've heard mixed reviews, even from diehard soul patrollers. I'll be listening thoroughly tomorrow.

  5. Great to see you Chance and Clew. We just can't stop watching this show can we? ha. I've read in several places this the worst group yet but I disagree, they really are a good bunch.

    I thought Sarver would go home for sure last night since there are so few women, but Alexis although she's quite talented has no on-line support really.

    Clew I was going to write up a real complete review on the record but may pass. My favorite track is an additional track you can get through Target, "Indiscriminate Act of Kindness". It's on par with "Georgia", you remember that one I'm sure. "Woman's Got to Have It" and "Seven Mile Breakdown" good too.

    Let me know what you think after you listen to it and which tracks you like best.

  6. Okay, here's my thoughts on The Distance, lady. I like most of it allright ... I think "New Found Freedom" is way too self-help-seminar sounding, and there are two others that I think are really awful (Wedding Day Blues? WTF is that?). The rest are somewhere between decent and really good - all in all it's a very odd collection of songs, but I like it more than I don't like it.

    I really like "What's Right is Right" - good Kick-back-with-a-glass-of-wine song. And I agree, "Woman's Got to Have It" is great. I love Elliot anyway (his CD is one of my favorites) - and Bobby Womack cowrote it which explains a lot. I've always loved Bobby.

    The bonus track situation annoys me. I understand there are quite a few bonus track releases depending on who's distibuting it? Kind of a dirty trick to play.