I have to say that I could not wait to see how the contestants would handle Grand Ole Opry week on American Idol. With some helpful advice and constructive criticism from Randy Travis, it turned out to be a pretty good show for the most part. There are always the exceptions.
Starting things off was Michael doing his version of Garth Brooks’ “Ain’t Going Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up”. The judges seemed to like it, but as the show went on you began to realize that he is just not cutting it with the crowd he is up against. He is a nice guy and yes he has talent, but that song choice was awful. Too many words and there was simply no way to keep up with Garth on the vocals. He should have picked a different Garth Brooks song, even Rodeo would have come off better. I tend to agree with Simon just too jumbled together to be a defining performance. Sorry Michael, it’s gonna be a close one for you tonight.
Allison surprised me that she could pull off anything close to country. She did a good job on Patty Loveless’ “Blame It On Your Heart”. You could pick up on little bits and pieces where Allison wanted to rock the song up a bit, but for the most part she kept it country and should have nothing to worry about tonight.
Kris, well what can we say? He nailed his Garth Brooks song, “Make You Feel My Love”, and it was the perfect song for him. He worked the cameras to his advantage and even though his lovely wife was sitting in the front row, the girls have a thing for Kris and he knows just how to play to that group. He dropped the guitar this week, way to go Kris. He was simple, clear, and touching, just what that song and performance should have been. No worries about making it to next week for Kris.
LiL was up against a mountain with this week’s performance requirement. I would dare to guess that was probably the first and maybe last time she has sung a country song. She did what she could with Martina McBride’s “Independence Day”. Let’s face it, LiL is not cut out to sing country but, unlike Adam, who I will get to next, she did attempt to pay respect to the artist and did her best to keep the song country. She will be around next week, not because of last night’s performance, but because people know there is a whole other side of her that has the talent worthy of another week on American Idol.
Adam may have a huge following and he does have talent, in his field, but what he did on last night’s show was awful. Johnny Cash would be ashamed of Adam’s twisted version of “Ring of Fire”. Adam did nothing to even try to work with Randy Travis to come up with something that would come close to country. It is like he thinks he owns that stage and can do it his way. Well last time I checked, “Old Blue Eyes” is gone. I have said this about other contestants but now I feel that Adam is a one trick pony and has no plans on changing that. In American Idol contestants are encouraged to work with a song and make it original and their own, so to speak. What Adam did was a total conversion from country to what? I was left with a feeling of disappointment that he could not find it in his gifted heart to pay respect to Johnny and do a little country for one show. He will make it through because he has talent, all be it in his area, and fans are nuts over him. I have one side note about his makeup. Is it his skin or too much makeup that makes him look like he has severe acne from a profile view?
Scott and his ever trusty piano chose to perform another Martina McBride song “Wild Angels”. He gets points every week just for effort on the task, but his performance of this song could have been much better. I think sometimes he gets too focused on his piano skills and loses sight, no pun intended, of the fact that his vocals are not up to par. He may be in the danger zone tonight, even though he is a fan favorite for overcoming a disability to get this far.
Alexis may look a bit like Dolly Pardon but her version of “Jolene” was nowhere near the great Dolly. The sad thing is Alexis could have made so much more out of this performance opportunity. That song could have worked for her, if she had put more feeling in it. It just fell flat to me and if you know anything about country music, it is anything but flat. There is passion and pleading in the original that you feel and it just wasn’t there with Alexis’ performance. I’m not going to say she is in the danger zone but, not a good performance, just ok in my book.
Danny “the man” Gokey gave Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take the Wheel” a shot and did a pretty good job through the chorus, but he started out weak and the verses were not that great. He’s a great singer and I think he is going places, but he does best when he gets into the song and feels it. This didn’t really come through until the chorus, which is also the strong point in the original song. He is in the safety zone for sure but keep the feeling in the song is the rule of thumb for Danny.
Anoop Dog is back. I think he did a great job with Willie Nelson’s “You Were Always on My Mind”. He just kept it simple and true to the original. It was a clean and seamless performance, Willie would be proud. How it affects his standing with the rest of the pack will remain to be seen. He is always up against stiff competition and it is getting more difficult each week. I hope he makes the cut; he is a young guy with a great bit of talent that could take him places.
Megan picked our country sweetheart Patsy Cline and did “Walking After Midnight”. To me she did not do the song justice. Patsy to country music what Whitney is to pop; you don’t touch it unless you can hit it spot on. She wasted an opportunity to put her all into that song and just did a so, so version that any karaoke singer can do. Maybe it is time Megan takes a walk.
Matt picked another of Carrie Underwood’s hits with “So Small”. He did change it a bit here and there but not enough to dismantle the song. He gave a good solid performance and is a gifted pianist as well as singer. Matt is flying under the radar right now, being over shadowed by Danny and Adam but I think he has a lot more talent than he is getting credit for. Watch this one. Unless America is so taking with the flash and style of Adam, or 100% behind Danny, Matt could be a sleeper coming up from behind.
So who are the two bottom guys and gals? I would have to say for me the bottom two guys are Michael and Scott and the bottom two ladies this week are Megan and Alexis. It’s getting difficult even for me to make my mind up on these picks so just watch the show and see what America thinks. We should also remember that the judges have the one save for the season, but I don’t expect them to use it just yet.
Tonight (Wednesday March 18) we will get the results of the votes and be treated to performances by Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood and Randy Travis will perform a duet.