Sometimes I wish what Randy said two nights ago -- that this season of American Idol
is "the unassuming season" -- would come true.
In a way, yes, it has. Maybe it's just me, but there certainly have been a lot of hopefuls who don't look like they'd impress but end up doing more than that. A part of me wants to blame it on the proliferation of classical instruments in indie music. But I realize not everybody is into it, so we'll end up with pop upstarts who'll slightly border on brash. Now, I'm not saying it's a bad thing: We do need our Katy Perrys and our Lady Gagas, but we need a little variety too.
Which is why I felt a little peeved when Lauren Alaina made it through
. Now, let me clarify: She isn't a bad performer.
There definitely was something in the 15-year-old that deserves a second look, but really, judges?
I know the show was pimping the hell out of her, but the whole segment felt scripted to me. Randy conveniently asks about her inspiration, the thing we just saw on the preceeding sob story clip, after which they proceed to act like they've never seen someone like it before -- a simultaneous yes! -- and ask her family into the room to watch her sing with Steven. And I'm thinking, "Someone from Nashville is much better than her!"
And that guy -- an unassuming guy, I must say so myself -- is a certain Rob Bolin.
Rob Bolin, the Ex-Boyfriend
Now, the romantic in me felt for Rob. I mean, auditioning with your ex-girlfriend (and current roommate, note) who you make really beautiful music with? And with her current boyfriend waiting by the door?!
But never mind that: They really made beautiful music, and I'll go out on a limb and say it's Rob who made things sound so much better. His partner, Chelsee Oaks, sounded fine, but didn't pop for me. Rob, on the other hand, provided that depth to their duet, thanks to his vocal: a bit like Ray LaMontagne and James Morrison, tender and a little raspy, so delicious it literally felt like it was melting in my mouth.
On his MySpace page
, Rob lists Cat Stevens, Nick Drake and Allison Krauss among his many inspirations. He began busking at his hometown of Traverse City, Michigan, at 15 and moved to Chicago where he's been performing ever since. In fact, he's slated to release an album on iTunes next month:
In 2009, Rob and Chelsee were contestants on the CMT reality show Can You Duet
, where they finished 10th ... because the judges didn't think they work well as a duo. See their performance on the show here.
But maybe they're meant to be a duo now? Who knows, maybe the judges can make something out of this ... or if not, he always has his own solo career to count on.