almost has as much to do with adapting as it does with actual singing, especially in the position the Top 11 find themselves in now. Though I find this group of singers both more interesting and more talented that the previous two batches, success still hinges more on singing different genres ably, as opposed to singing a specific genre well. It's better to be middle of the pack in both country and R&B, for instance, than be great in one and sub-par in the other. Whether that makes the competition fair, unfair or something else entirely isn't worth discussing now, but I'm looking forward to whatever ends up happening on tonight's American Idol performance episode. The remaining eleven contestants will be performing songs from members of the Grand Ole Opry, which is a fancy way of saying "Country Week." I have my qualms with modern country music, but there are some classics among the song choices (whose leaked list you can peruse via the below link). Most intriguing sub-plot of the night: Will anybody have the stones to sing Trace Adkins' immortal tune "Honky Tonk Bedonkadonk?" If there is a god, someone will - preferably Scott MacIntyre
. (And, oh yeah - that's Randy Travis in the above picture, who will be tonight's mentor. He looks pretty ornery.)
I will be here, sitting on a chair, hocking live thoughts in your general direction throughout this evening's festivities. Grab a Guinness, an Irish lass or two, eat some potatoes, and join in on the fun. And what wonderful fun it will be. Comment, mock, predict, argue, anything you want in the comment section below.
American Idol 8: Top 11 Perform - Episode in Review
American Idol 8: Top 11 Song Predictions, Plus Leaked Song List
American Idol 8: Top 11 Power Rankings
And we're off. Ryan walks past the emotionless Top 11. Adam Lambert
's hair is out of control - David Bowie mixed with Flock of Seagulls. The judges, once more, are introduced by an all-knowing, god-like voice as they walk to their booths from the stage. Seacrest has suited up for the night. Anyone else wish that Ryan dressed for the theme every week? Tonight, he could be wearing a cowboy outfit. How adorable would Little Cresty look? Ryan wishes us a Happy St. Patrick's Day as the stage turns green and we hear a little musical jig.
Kara wears a futuristic, silver dress. Paula dropping a moderate amount of cleavage, and says she's standing by her predictions from last week. Simon makes his distaste for country clear. Forgot about that - it kind of, in a lot of cases, deems his critiques moot tonight. The Top 11 walk onto stage amid raucous cheers.
We watch a video explaining what the Grand Ole Opry is. It's the country's longest running radio show. I was not aware of that. Mostly, it's all about country music. Becoming a member is a huge honor. Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood
, Johnny Cash, Reba McEntire etc., are all members. Randy Travis is introduced as the mentor for the week. He's got a really skinny, long head.
Michael Sarver - “Ain't Goin' Down Till The Sun Comes Up” by Garth Brooks
Michael Sarver kicks the show off. This song has a lot of words, and that's going to tough for Michael. I think they're off-setting Michael's natural country advantage by making him go first. Michael seems only concerned with spouting all the words at the beginning of the song. This whole performance is pretty weak. He forgets his words at one point, but manages to find his place. Is there a melody to this song? I'm also biased because I don't like this song. There were no difficult notes for Michael to sing, nothing dynamic, boring performance. Not a fan.
Randy thought it was a cool song choice, but didn't show us anything about his vocals. Kara missed the big notes, she wanted them to see that. Michael says "country music is about having some fun." Simon will throw those words back at him. Paula like. Simon said it should have been good, and couldn't understand a word he was singing. Michael came with some attitude tonight. “If we were all perfect, we wouldn't need this show.” To which, Simon retorts, “On a scale of 1 to 10, this a 1.2.”
Allison Iraheta - “Blame It On Your Heart” by Patti Loveless
Randy is amazed by Allison's vocal maturity. This could be a good song for Allison. Randy's advice: use your voice. Thanks for the expert opinion. She's making this much more of a rock tune than the original. She's actually showing a little bit of her age in the beginning, using probably more rasp than she needs, not adding the kind of subtlety that old-school country needs. Allison also is bringing some overly-cutesy performance things to the stage. I still love her voice, but it sounds a little fatigued right now. Not her best performance, but should be enough to get her to next week.
Kara loved it, thought she made that song her own. Paula calls it a "rock-solid performance." Then she rambles quasi-coherently. Simon thought it was good, but sometimes tuneless, verging on precocious. Randy thought it was "dope." And that's all he says.
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