Tuesday, April 04, 2006

country night: will tomorrow ever come?...

The final nine are strapping on their spurs and donning the 10-gallons tonight and hitting the country charts in an effort to overcome the nasty taste left in the mouths of viewers everywhere from last week's massacre of current tunes.

Ryan, who evidentially has been a bit too busy with Teri to shave recently, introduces us to the footage of Kenny Rogers hanging out with the kids, singing with them to The Gambler. Country music, he tells them, is a story, a journey, one that has to be felt, to be understood.

Note to Kenny: this is American Idol. Understanding the lyrics and knowing them are traditionally two very different things.

Celebrity watch: Whoopi Goldberg is in the audience. And so is Chris Rock. (He should be holding a ChrisRocks sign.)

After giving last week's episode an overall grade of F, this week earns at least a C-. And that's in large part due to Randy's vest and Paula's fading lucidity. Always good times.

Anyway, here they are, my early impressions, subject to review and revision and, as always, from worst to first:

Perhaps Ace should have chosen The Gambler. The only good thing about his Cry is the shot of his really cute brother. Randy calls it boring, except for the falsetto. Paula struggles to find words and then to pronouce them. Simon gives him faint praise. That's normally the curse. Harsh words will send people to the phones.

Mandisa, fresh from an appointment with Katharine's stylist, sings a Shania Twain song I've never heard of called Any Man of Mine (thanks Conni!), that Kenny Rogers says has more words than ever. She struggles with her lower register, as she normally does when she's not belting. The judges universally hate it. I don't hate it, but I don't like it either.

Taylor chooses the wrong John Denver song with Take Me Home Country Road. And they have a fiddler and everything, but even with spotless vocals, the judges are right: it's spiritless, boring and did not, as it should, make me want to clap or tap my feet along.

I am at a total loss to even begin discussing Katharine, who obviously just graduated the Nadia Turner School of Obscure and Never Before Heard of Songs which Bore Audiences to Damn Death. She wanted bluesy, since she doesn't really do country. Kenny calls it sultry. Simon calls it peculiar. She tells Simon to just admit he doesn't like country music. Oh. So that's what it was. Country music. Good to know.

Paris appears with yet another hairstyle, this one I like. She decides to sing How Do I Live Without You, and, like Mandisa, she is fine in the power parts but really shaky in the softer, lower segments. Randy says ick, Paula says she didn't connect with the song and gets booed (what is up with that? She doesn't get booed when she's stoned, but does when she gives an objective opinion??) and Simon tells her she's a young Dionne Warwick. Yeah. And he told Katharine she was almost as good as Christina too.

Kenny Rogers tells Bucky, the lucky pimp spot sitter this week, that it's imperitive he over-enunciate the lyrics to Gary Allan's The Best I Ever Had. Note to Kenny: we know you're new here, but this is Bucky. He doesn't even enunciate, much less overdo it. But he dresses the part and puts more depth into this performance than in past ones, even though I can't understand a word of his enunciation.

Pickler puts to rest all of the mean allegations that she's faking her call-e-maree and sallmon schtick and assures us the person we see is the real and genuine person she is. She chooses Fancy by Reba McEntire, of course a song about a mom who sends her daughter out to the streets in a fancy dress. But, instead of ending in the street, she starts in the audience and does a decent job with a terrible song. (Sorry Reba fans.)

Chris decides to sit on his stool for the duration of Keith Urban's Making Memories of Us. How nice to just hear his voice, rather than the screaming/screeching of his traditional rock turns. I really enjoyed it. Simon calls it boring. I disagree.

Elliott sings the right Garth Brooks song and if I didn't love him already, I would be in love with him now, tweeking If Tomorrow Never Comes just enough to make it his own, but still staying true to the melody, even with a bit too many curly-ques for my taste, despite recommendations to the contrary. Randy calls it hawt, Paula rambles in Paula-speak and Simon, while conceding it was better than Taylor and Mandisa, calls it safe and tentative. I always ask myself if I would buy that performance on a CD, and, for the first time this season, I would.

Now get on those phones!

Tomorrow night we kill another one.

tag: american idol


Blogger Dave said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought Paula was a little off her rocker . . . a lot, actually.

After Taylor and Mandisa went, I thought for sure that they had a Screw Your Buddy™ drawing to pick the songs and that someone was playing a cruel joke on Mandisa.

Tonight wasn't as bad as the debacle that was last week, but at a time when some people (Ace, Elliott) really need to shine, it seemed to me like people were playing it on the safe side, or sandbagging outright.

9:47 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

I agree. C-
Why don't they know how to choose songs?
Can't someone just help them?
People like to know the songs, for the most part. There are a lot of good cross-over country songs we would all love to hear. Most of them tonight weren't them.
Maybe most of them are too young to know what songs are classics. I just don't know know what to think.
Everyone on this board gave good suggestions.
These people need HELP!

Elliot was great, gave me chills (even though I did'nt know the song). Katherine was messed up (I didn't know the song). Kellie was boring and shouldn't move (I didn't know the song), Mandisa will be in the bottom three for the first time, imho (and I didn't know the song), Ace made me wince, but at least the song about crying will be appropriate to sing tomorrow night when he GOES (and I didn't know the song), Bucky was aight,(and even though I didn't know the song, I actually liked it). The only song I knew was Paris', and I liked her performance.
Oops, almost forgot Taylor. I think the voters will too. Know that song, like it, and imho, he butchered it. And I'm a Taylor fan, or was.
Bottom three:
Taylor, Mandisa, Ace
You had a bad day: Ace

10:15 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

I forgot to mention Chris.
I thought he was great. Didn't know the song, didn't care. Would be happy to pay to hear that.
I think he showed the side we needed to see.

10:19 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When did an all-time country classic like Patsy Cline's "Crazy" become obscure?

10:35 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

I'm obviously not a country fan, so if it isn't played on other kinds of stations, etc., I won't have heard it.

10:40 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Becky said...

Ace has been sucking eggs for weeks, but tonight wasn't half bad. Chris did WAY better with the sit n sing ballad tho. I was just melting. I knew that boy could sing sing and not just whiskey scream his tunes. I hated Bucky's song and performance, sadly. I had high hopes since this was supposed to be his night. Pickler did a great job, in my opinion. I actually think she did the best tonight. Taylor made me wince several times, but I did sing along (gosh I love John Denver). Paris...I loved the song she picked (and I sang along with that one too) but you are dead right and her and Mandisa in their lower registeres. Ouch. They THINK they have a range that big; but they don't. In the end, I voted for Taylor and Chris. They are my two solid favorites now. I used to vote for Mandisa just to support a fellow "big gal", but all her shouting has finally worn me out.

10:42 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok- I retract that - I had to watch on TiVo - I had heard she was going to sing "Crazy" - she didn't. I used to work for a country station - I don't know this song either.

10:45 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

Song choices, song choices, song choices. Taylor does not have the register to go high with John Denver. He would have been much better off with "Sweet Home Alabama". Ace should have done Vince Gill. He could have gotten up in that high register and stayed there for the entire song. Pickles picked a song that suited her to a tee. Like it or not, she shined tonight. Was that a test pattern? No it was Mandisa in the most inappropriate outfit I have ever seen a woman that size wear!!! These people do have stylists working with them don't they? Elliot proved he can do a good job with any song you give him. Bucky (Mumbles) has got to learn to speak the english language. All in all, Pickles and Elliot were the best, followed by Chris and Kat. Tonight, everyone else is an also ran.

10:57 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen about Mandisa's outfit! It's fine to be a big gal, but even I, a size 10, try to avoid horizontal stripes! DUH!! I'm not as keen on her anymore because of last week's gospel performance and the rumors about her being a homophobe.

I think Ace will be the next one to go, or poor Bucky.

11:09 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

Is it confirmed that next week is Queen, or is that just a crazy little thing called a rumor? I can't begin to image how bad that will be. Bucky may have to bow out if he's still in it. Pickler should start packin'. Taylor, he's toast.
I can just hear Paris' little chirpy voice saying, "Queen who, I didn't even know Queen Latifa could sing!"
I would love, however, to bring back Kevin to see him try to handle it!

11:40 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger lorguru said...

sorry to fill up your comments tonight Jennifer. I'm blaming caffeine.
Anyway, I was just thinking, seriously, maybe this Queen thing is really a rumor started by that crazy group who does just that...starts crazy Idol rumors. And we sorta fell for it. Could it be????:duh:

11:56 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger SuzS80 said...

Ok, bear me my "Pickles" moment,, I am blond after all, but what does "Screw Your Buddy" and "IMHO" mean?

Performance wise,, a bit of a disappointment. And I can't believe none of you mentioned the man who stole Kenny Rogers voice. Who the heck was that? I mean he scared the living daylights out of me, I may have to skip tomorrow night,,,YIKES ! What happened? A bit or hundred too may surgeries?

Chris... right on,, WOW absolutely loved it. Was waiting to hear him sing like that and he did not disappoint. The man has a great voice and can sing anything.

Pickles was a cute as a kitten and did a fine job I think. Have nothing to complain about.

Paris...looked great sounded great. I liked her a lot tonight.

Elliot... was Elliot,, I was bored. He just doesn't seem to change no matter what genre he sings.. sorry Jennifer.

Bucky.. my sentimental favorite.. I liked his performance, but have to admit, didn't understand the words, AGAIN. Loved the melody though. He got my vote(s)

Ace... One of his better performances. No "Father Figure" but better than in past weeks. Just may save him.. Had to give him a vote (or 2)

Bottom three:

Katharyn - What the heck was that? YUCKA!!! Didn't like it at all, really tired of her, she's got to go.

Mandisa - On the fast track to the bottom (no pun intended)looked awful, sounded worse. A true train wreck.

Taylor - I love him but OMG... I am the #1 John Denver fan,,,what an insult his performance was to the memory of John. No life at all in that song. It was painful. You screwed up big time my friend. Sorry John, after you quit rolling over in your grave (hmmm can't do that, you were cremated and spread out over the Rockies!) may you rest in peace.

I truly hope "Queen" is a rumor. Can even imagine how bad that will be. No one but Freddie can sing Freddie. Just like Stevie. Who chooses these themes anyhow? They need to be replaced, along with Randy & Paula.

1:56 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

Unfortunately, the Queen theme night is not a rumour.

Click here. Straight from Fox/19TV.

It surely won't be as bad as everyone is saying. Of course, it could also be a trainwreck of biblical proportions.

I almost wish Kevin were around to sing "Tie Your Mother Down" or "I Want to Break Free".

6:17 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm surprised you liked Elliott so much. I thought it was the worst performance of the evening by a mile. He completely butchered that song.

6:36 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous ChrisROCKS said...

Tonight was FULL of surprises for me... both good and bad. Here's my list, from worst to first:

Bucky - Of all the nights for him to shine and the only thing I liked about him was his outfit. Couldn't hear him, much less understand a word of what he sang.

Paris - Loved the hair, hated the vocals. LeeAnn Rhymes is like the country equivalent of Christina Aguilera. So if you're going to do her, you *better* do her well! Sorry Paris. You're normally stellar. Not tonight, honey.

Ace - He surprised me in a good way, but not good enough to rank him higher than bottom 3. At least he was in tune for the duration of the song, and the falsetto at the end was nice; not overdone.

Taylor - He surprised me in a bad way. "Country Roads"?! Could it have been more boring? Not the song to choose when you want to stand out. This could prove to be a disastrous mistep for someone whose CD I will certainly buy.

Kellie - ENOUGH with the seafood chat! Just sing! I thought the song suited her well. She redeemed herself somewhat in my eyes. She has a bit of a rock edge to her that's appealing when combined with the right songs. I'm sure she'll be around next week. (Kellie sings Queen?! oy!)

Katherine - Sorry Jennifer; I have to disagree with you. I really liked this song on her. It was edgy, bluesy, and not a little sexy. I love how she struts around the stage at times. She's a stunner. And she finally seems to be loosening up.

Chris - Is it possible my boy isn't at the top of my list?! Yes because... well, I'll get to that in a sec. But I absolutely was blown away by Chris tonight! I was a little scared for him with a country theme. But it was SO nice to hear just his voice! It's quite lovely!

(drum roll, please)

Elliot - WOWZA!!! I must have dialed 50 times for him! This was the most surprising performance of the night for me. Barring a little nerves that made him look a little tight, his performance was, nonetheless, perfect. Flawless vocals. Nice arrangement. He's a true talent. Can't wait to get his CD!

All in all, Country Night was far more entertaining and satisfying than last week. I give it two thumbs up AND a big toe!

7:06 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous FriedRice said...

LOL Dave! Kevin sings "Tie Your Mama Down"! That'd be worth paying money to see!

But I have to disagree with you about Queen. It surely WILL be as bad as everyone thinks! There's not one person in the bunch with the cojones and salesmanship to pull off Freddie Mercury. (Well, Taylor has the personality but I absolutely cannot hear his voice on any Queen songs.) The reason why Constantine was able to get away with "Bohemian Rhapsody" is because he had a strong sense of the theatrical. That is a MUST for a Queen song. Not seeing it with this group.

I predict Titanic Idol.

7:24 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

Believe me, I checked and double checked before putting that Queen theme out there. It's on the official Idol site as next week's theme.


And, for the record IMHO is shorthand for "In my humble opinion..." and IMO is the same without the humble. Screw Your Buddy™ is the theme idea night that our buddy Dave came up with which is the brilliant idea of letting each of them pick songs for one of the others.

We are endorsing that theme. In a semi-serious sort of way.

7:26 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

I think the producers took a cue from Dave when they picked the Queen theme night. They just decided to "Srew 'em All".

7:50 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Dave said...

In addition to Screw Your Buddy Night™ (click on the comments to read about how it works), my other contribution to American Idol theme nights is The Wheel of Death™.

Click here and scroll down to number 4. The concept behind Screw Your Buddy Night™ is #7.

7:53 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger purplvr said...

I was surprised at how I liked lastnight's show more than last week's show since I'm not a country fan. But then, as has already been pointed out here, several of those songs really weren't "country" anyway.
Yes, I have gripes, as usual:
First off, when Ryan was talking to Pickles about how people view her as "naive", why the heck did he only refer to the "calamari incident"??? Heck, if that had been the only dumb act she'd ever pulled then I would have been way past that by now. She's just a Space Cadet. Period. From her blank stare at Ryan on Manilow week after he asked her what she'd learned to her constant, annoying "Ahm sorrrrreeee"'s to the judges any time one of them gives her a critique that isn't positive. To be fair, I will say that I do think she sang well lastnight but she still didn't get my vote.
Paula was really bad lastnight; did anyone else see her nearly fall out of her chair at one point? I'm seriously starting to get tired of all of the judges. You could just about take sound bytes from one show and insert them into every other show and nobody would know the difference. That way Randy, Paula, and Simon wouldn't really even have to show up. It's a thought.
Lastly, this isn't a gripe (or maybe it is) but who was that man coaching the kids that they called Kenny Rogers?? The only way I could really tell was by his voice. I was shocked when I saw Kenny and couldn't stop staring at him every time the camera was on his face. He looked surreal and it made me sad. Surely he's had "work" done but it was oh-so-drastic and it was like the Kenny Rogers I remember was dead and gone.
Enough negativity ... I really did like the show lastnight, to a degree. D.I.H. (Ace) did very well, as did Chris, IMO. I love Taylor but his performance did nothing for me. I was disappointed but I hope he'll make a comeback next week, especially if it's "Queen" night. (Oh, and I don't even want to think about what Chris will do next week ... should I buy new earplugs?);-)

9:33 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Tifftuck said...

I wasn't crazy about Elliot last night of course I'm not a fan of his anyways. But I did love Chris and Kelly last night. (by the way I love Reba and Fancy is one of my favorite reba songs but that's just me) But I really think Chris did the best which really really surprised me. I was worried about him but he did a great job on the Keith Urban song and for me to say that you really have to do good because I LOVE Keith Urban!! And now I think I Love Chris!! But all and all I liked this week it was a nice change after last weeks disaster!! And I think the only thing Ace has going for him is his pretty face. Katherine is my girl I think she's great but I was a little disapointed last night there were so many older songs she could have chose from that would have been great for her but I just really didn't connect with what she did last night.

9:55 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What am I missing about Elliot? I even listened last night without looking at him, trying to be as objective about his voice as possible. I thought he was just average at best and sounded incredibly nervous. What's the big deal about this guy?

10:42 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jennifer :( I need to hear the audio clips again! I missed it last night..And was hoping you'd have the audio! Darnit!

I'll watch tonight and see :)

10:57 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

I'll have the audio, Heather. Today's my first day at work after being sick, so things are a little slow today.

11:31 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger AlbGlinka said...

I am a huge Elliott fan. For me, when he was singing last night, you got a sense of the true twangy soul of Country, with all the sentimental pathos of that type of songwriting style. Loved it. When I meet the Man of My Dreamz, I plan to sing that song about him and just change the pronouns.

Have to admit that I enjoyed Kelly's "Fancy" too.

and: Go Mandisa! Wear horizontal stripes! I'm always interested to see her fashion choices.


11:41 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger JR said...

All in all, I think Bucky (Mumbles) and Ace (Face) are dead men walking. Bucky has been told every week to enunciate his words and it still isn't happening. I don't suppose it matters who goes first, but by next Thursday, they will both be home watching the show.

11:43 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger jennifer said...

YAY Albert! I think I loved it so much because a) I love Elliott and b) I love that song. I'm rethinking my opinion of Ace's performance. Overall I was just in a pissy mood last night.

But dayum, that Mandisa top? Hell's bells, that woulda looked like crap on Kellie, horizontal OR vertical stripes. That was just plain uuuuuglllly.

11:47 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:24 PM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger angelof_mercy81 said...

Well, last night was certainly...interesting. Much as I hate to admit it, Pickles did pretty well last night, a definite improvement over last week's "Suds in the Bucket" fiasco.

I liked Elliott's song, but then again, I like Elliott in general. I like Taylor, too, but I wish he'd picked a different song. Someone mentioned that "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" would've been a good choice for Taylor; I agree. It has the energy that we tend to associate with him.

I was surprised that there were not one but two Keith Urban songs last night. I had kind of figured Ace would pick one, but I was a little surprised that Chris did. Of the two songs, I kind of liked Chris' better, vocal-wise anyway. I like Ace, but I dunno...I'm such a Keith Urban fan that it's hard for me to judge how well anybody is singing his songs.

I have no idea who the bottom 3 will be this week; I didn't even try to predict. I do believe, though, that the bottom 3 will be a shocker. At this point, it's anybody's guess.

12:54 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Maggie said...

ok, so I'm hoping for a Kenny performance, a medley with the Idols singing The Gambler with him. Yeah I know I'm dreaming!!! I think Kenny was too when he went under the knife so many times, he AIN'T DOLLY PARTON! LOL.

I think the bottom three tonight will be Ace, Mandisa and Paris. Ace may be holding a high card, but he can stop coutning now cuz his deal is done! LOL.

That was my attempt at music lyric humor and I failed horribly. Did I tell you I {heart} Elliott? Well I do. I hope America does too!

1:41 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I totally agree w/ earlier comments about Mandisa and Paris not doing well in their lower registers. Thank you for putting into words for me! And on that note, I much prefer Katharine when she is NOT in her higher, belting register. I actually liked her bluesy turn last night and also thought her personality was shining a bit more.

I hope Ace goes - no offense Ace-lovers. He is just Cheese-Louise! He's so soap opera to me. (Then again, I'm not 20-something.)

Taylor sounded OK, but was b-o-r-i-n-g! What a change for him. It sucks when that happens b/c sometimes it seems to make them lose their confidence for a while and they start slipping. I hope he was high enough on top to not fall down too far.

I was also glad to see Chris sit his rocking butt down and sing.

I don't like country, so I'm a bit biased - but Kellie did OK and I just feel like Bucky is miscast! I'm trying to figure out why he gets pimped and how he ended up there in the first place. I agree w/ earlier comments that he could be anyone in any bar singing. We know why Kellie is there - her looks, body, and marketability.

Elliott. What to do about him? I love him in a goose-pimply way when he is doing Stevie or something appropriate for his "curly-ques," but I just did not like that song last night, pimp spot or not! I even close my eyes to listen to him b/c he's so goofy looking, but it did not help last night. It was beyond goofy; it's how he turns every song into Stevie. He does NOT take direction well!

And lastly, Kenny Kenny Kenny. What have they done to you?? You were HOT (in a my-mother-loves-you-and-I-seem-to-agree way) pre-surgery and were growing old gracefully!!

That's all. Thanks everyone for sharing.


6:08 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Incidentally, I voted spastically for Elliott, Taylor, Katharine, and Chris.


6:09 PM, April 05, 2006  

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