It was family week last week on Nashville Star, and so the family of Alyson Gilbert got to see her reamed by the judges on live national television before being sent off to languish in the loser’s pile along with Justin Gaston, Third Town and Charley Jenkins.  I’m sure that made for a rather uncomfortable family gathering after the show.

Tonight, we’re finally down to an hour of show and Nashville Star isn’t going to pull any punches — according to the end of last week’s episode, one unlucky performer will be kicked off the show within the first five minutes.  This after a whole week of preparing to perform, too, and after probably yet another uncomfortably long pause by host Billy Ray Cyrus — harsh!  The remaining seven acts will then get to perform before the other lowest vote getter from last week is also told to pack his, her or their bags and get the heck out of Nashville.

Billy Ray drags it out by calling Melissa Lawson and Tommy Stanley out, saying one is the top vote getter and the other is eliminated. The eliminated contestant is, not surprisingly, Tommy. After some words about dreams and the Navy and Japan, judge Jewel wishes him well and off he goes.

Melissa is performing first and we’re told she’s lost almost 70 pounds to prepare for a performing career. That is awesome! She sings “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins and sounds pretty good, except for a brief shrill moment. The judges praise her and say she’s at the top of the contestant heap, despite sounding a little low at the beginning. Before giving Melissa’s number, Billy Ray relates a story about how last week Melissa’s second oldest son leaped out when Billy Ray was giving autographs . . . to ask, “Where’s Hannah Montana?” Ha!

The next safe finalists are Laura and Sophie. In their pre-performance package, it is revealed that the two singers are having issues with each other, with Sophie even walking out of their meeting with Jeffrey Steele. Despite this, they come out singing “Walking After Midnight” while holding hands. They totally have thinly veiled hatred for each other now, it’s like they’re Bette Davis and Joan Crawford up in here. John Rich really doesn’t think they’re ready for the ravenous professional music world, and neither does Jewel. Jeffrey says he believes in them and believes their claims that they’re totally BFFs. I’m not buying it, myself.

Gabe Garcia is safe and will be singing Keith Urban’s “Somebody Like You.” He apparently took dance lessons so that he could loosen up more on stage. He sings well but still lacks stage charisma, in my opinion. The audience and judges loved him though.

Singing next and moving on to next week is Shawn Mayer. We see in her package that John Rich and Shawn have been clashing like crazy, so much so that she ditched him as her mentor and took Jeffrey on instead. She sings a slowed down version of Sheryl Crow’s “The First Cut is the Deepest” that doesn’t sound quite right to me, like she’s pushing too hard for emotion and it comes off sounding a bit whiny in tone. Jewel and John both give Shawn props for sticking up for herself, though John thought it was a middling effort. Jeffrey liked it a bit more, but still thinks she has a ways to go.

Surprisingly safe is Coffey. That means that Pearl Heart and Ashlee Hewitt are both up for elimination. I had Coffey picked for the next one to go, but I guess he has fans despite not singing very well. He breaks out with some “Proud Mary” and is energetic, if not vocally amazing. He does still sound a bit more urban than cowboy, which predictably John hated, stating specifically that he thinks Coffey is giving so much show to hide for a lack of vocal talent. Jeffrey was a bit kinder, and Jewel is protective of her mentee.

Ashlee is performing first, barefoot apparently, singing “Take the Money and Run” by Steve Miller Band. The energetic song loses a little something coming from this rather hippie-ish chick, but it’s not completely awful. Jewel says that Ashlee is one of her favorites and feels like she is one of the few contestants who’s a real artist. Jeffrey didn’t like her trying to force her style onto this and wants her to stick with who she is, while her mentor John Rich is all praise and can’t believe she’s up for elimination.

Pearl Heart is the last to take the stage to sing “Ain’t Going Down ‘Til The Sun Comes Up” by Garth Brooks. This is an insanely fast song that they break down into a three part harmony, and it sounds pretty awesome. John Rich proclaims it their best performance of the season, and Jewel thinks they completely out did the other girl group Laura and Sophie, and thinks it’s a shame that they’re up for elimination rather than the feuding best friends. Jeffrey Steele feels the same way and praises his mentees highly.

I’m thinking neither bottom two act deserves to go over a few others, but this is how the votes fell. The second act eliminated tonight is Pearl Heart. Which is pretty lame, and the audience boos accordingly. The girls are clearly emotional but appreciative of their time on the show. Jeffrey is so proud of them and their work ethic that he tells them that they’ll be talking about other opportunities after the show. Glad to hear it!

Next week: two more contestants are given the heave ho.  Be sure to check back with BuddyTV tomorrow for a recap of a conference call with Tommy and Pearl Heart, and on Wednesday for an exclusive interview with Nashville Star judge Jeffrey Steele.

– , BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Photo courtesy of NBC)

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