It's the American Idol
Top 7!!! Everyone get excited. The favorite to get eliminated this week is Phil Stacey, and it's not even close. I really, really can't see anyone else getting the boot. Perhaps Chris Richardson or, if she puts on a horrendous performance, Lakisha Jones. What follows are my live thoughts while watching tonight's episode.
Hmm, it looks like it is “Country Night” tonight. STOP WITH THE THEME NIGHTS! It's killing me.
Tonight's mentor is Martina McBride. I'm not familiar.
Everyone's aware that Contemporary Country music is pretty much the same as 70's pop ballads, right? That's not an insult, by the way. It's just not really country.
Phil Stacey is up first. He's going to be singing a Keith Urban song. This is going to be a long night. Phil is going hat-less tonight. He gives some love to members of the front row. He's climbed the ledge.
He's performing this song fairly well. It's an easy one, though. Country music is treating him well. His stuff in the higher register is good as always. Perhaps his best performance of the season.
Randy tells Phil that he could have a career in country music. Paula loves it. Back-handed compliments from Simon. To be fair, he actually really likes it. That was a surprise. Will it be enough to save him tomorrow?
Martina McBride is impressed with Jordin Sparks, who's up next. She's singing one of Martina's songs, so that means I've never heard it before.
Jordin is really good. And she doesn't seem 17. I can't imagine that McBride sings this song much better than Jordin. A little iffy on that first high part, but she recovers. And recovers quite well. That was fairly awesome.
Let's hear some praise judges. It was “da bomb,” according to Randy. Simon says that the performance made him believe that she could win American Idol. The fact that someone like Jordin is in the same competition as Sanjaya is an absolute travesty.
Speak of the devil, Mr. Malakar will hit the stage after the break.
It's SANJAYA TIME!!!
He's wearing a bandana. He answers a fan question, for which his answer is...ugh.
Sanjaya will be singing “Something to Talk About.” I know this song. I'm scared.
All right!! This is the Sanjaya I'm used to. Last week was officially a fluke. He gives his weak voice. This sounds like karaoke after Jordin's performance.
This is a great, great, pantheon-level song. I just hope Bonnie Raitt isn't watching right now.
All right, judges, what do you think? Randy echoes me, calls it very karaoke. Paula calls Sanjaya someone who loves adversity. Simon calls it “utterly horrendous”. He says it's as bad as anything you see in the auditions.
Wow!!! Simon is calling out Sanjaya and Ryan and America. This will be on YouTube, everyone. Hysterical. I'm afraid, however, that this will just get him more votes.
Wow, that was exciting.
Lakisha hits the stage next and will be singing Carrie Underwood's “Jesus, Take the Wheel.” C'mon Lakisha, kick some ass.
This is a tough song, phrasing wise. A lot of words. She's singing it well, in tune, but I'm just not feeling it. I think it just may be the song. A little out-of-tune in places and...oh, she runs out of breath on a long note. Got to work on your breathing a little bit, Lakisha.
An okay performance.
Randy is right with me again, saying she has some pitch problems. Agreed, sir. Simon doesn't think it was the right song choice. Agreed, again.
Chris Richardson will be singing a little Rascal Flatts. Chris says he's real comfortable with country. Martina likes him and his versatility.
His voice suits country music okay. The voice isn't very strong, but Chris really does do his best with the voice he's been given. Maybe a bit out of tune at the end, but overall not bad.
The judges overall give it very lukewarm reviews. Chris and Simon get into a little bit of a tussle over his nasal singing. Things are pretty uncomfortable between Simon and Seacrest.
Melinda Doolittle is up next. I don't see Melinda as a country singer, but I bet she does well. She's singing “Trouble is a Woman,” by Julie Reeves. It's a sassy song, apparently.
Melinda kicks ass.
This is some real country, with fiddle and slide guitar. Again, Melinda should never, ever have to share a stage with Sanjaya. That was great. Awesome.
Randy calls her a pro. Simon loves it, but tells her to lose the surprise look on her face when she receives compliments. I agree.
Blake Lewis finishes up the show with a little Tim McGraw. “When the Stars Go Blue,” is the song he chooses.
He gets a little overwhelmed by the band during the chorus. He's got a really solid falsetto for a young guy, which is rare. A pretty good job on a song that seemed really hard for him. Solid.
Randy likes that he knows who he is. Paula is, obviously, a fan.
It's either Phil or Chris going home tomorrow night.
-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer