“American Idol” fans and contestants met the first mentor of the season. Country music legend and Grand Ole Opry member Randy Travis tutored the musical hopefuls as “American Idol” paid tribute to Country Music and the Grand Ole Opry on week two of the popular singing competition. “American Idol” theme week usually means that there are one or two standouts, a couple of reasonably good performances and a lot of not so good performances; however, that was not the case this week where the singers have apparently been paying attention to the judges and what is being said.
Even though it was country music most of the contestants found good song choices and were able to make the songs their own or put their own unique twist on the song. The winner for the most unique performances of the night went to rocker Adam Lambert with his version of “Ring of Fire”. Upon meeting Lambert, Randy Travis said that he didn’t know what to say about Adam; Travis was speechless.
In the pre-performance chat with host Ryan Seacrest, Lambert promised his song would be signature Adam, and he did not disappoint his fans. Lambert performed “Ring of Fire” with a Middle Eastern feel including the use of the instruments. Along with the Middle Eastern style music the song also had a gothic feel about it. As Lambert sang the graphics behind him showed a flickering flame with Adam’s image among the flames.
The judge’s reactions were mixed. Kara DeGaurdi felt confused and amazed, she like the song but found it strange. Paula Abdul said that Lambert stood out and was true to himself. Abdul though it was a great song. Randy Jackson called the performance Nine Inch Nails does country and said the song was hot, current, and fresh; while Simon Cowell proclaimed the performance as, “absolute indulgent rubbish.”
Piano virtuoso Scott MacIntyre was the subject of the first argument of the season between Paula Abdul and Simon Cowell. Abdul said MacIntyre, who works hardest of all singers, produced another impressive performance; but added that she felt MacIntyre used the piano as a crutch that separated him from the audience. MacIntyre said, “we can move it closer.” Simon disagreed with Paula on the piano and cited artists such as Sir Elton John, Stevie Wonder, and Billy Joel as artists who sit behind a piano. In the end judges agreed MacIntyre’s rendition of the Martina McBride song “Wild Angels” was safe. MacIntyre promised that at some point he would not use the piano… but not anytime soon.
But it was the final singer of the night, Matt Giraud, who had the judges proclaiming the best performance of the night at which point Ryan Seacrest announced, “we have got ourselves a competition friends.”
The Wednesday results show will feature performances by country stars Randy Travis, Brad Paisley, and “American Idol” season 4 winner Carrie Underwood – who saw two of her songs performed by season 8 contestants; and the potential elimination of another singer.