Grand Olde Opry Night. I'm not even a little bit country. So, I'm hearing lots of blather and looking at Randy Travis.
Michael Sarver "Aint Goin' Down Til The Sun Comes Up"
This should be Michael's night: The Red State jamboree. He gets all the wordplay down. To me, it sounds like Jason Mraz by way of Alabama. It's OK, but vocally, this does nothing. It's like, The Show has abandoned Sarver at this point, after pushing him down our throats for weeks. He doesn't get any stylistic makeover, or family camera pans, or oil rig mentions this week. Michael does his best to play the "country" card, but Simon ain't havin' it, y'all.
Allison Iraheta "Blame It On Your Heart"
Hey, I actually recognize this song. I think Allison has changed the melody a bit too much, stripping it of its country flair. At least she doesn't do her cartoonish Quick Draw McGraw choreography that she flirted with at rehearsals. The judges mostly love
Kris Allen "To Make It Through My Love"
This is actually really good. The song suits Kris really well, and reminds us that he's a good vocalist. This may be Kris' "Show Moment". The judges agree.
Lil Rounds " Independence Day"
According to an anonymous backstager, Lil Rounds is one of the final four: "The New York Daily News reports that one Idol staff member is blabbing and claiming the judges, along with a team of producers, have already decided who will make the final four. According to the mole, Danny Gokey, Lil Rounds, Adam Lambert and Alexis Grace will be the last four singers standing. Asked if the info was mere speculation, the source replied, “those ARE the people.”"
As Cordelia Chase might say, "I register no surprise." Those are the ones the show has been pushing since the season began. I do think she is operating fom old intel, as Alexis has been abandoned for the newer, shinier, of-equal-value Allison.
Anyhoo...This is actually a little rough in spots. I don't think this country joint is Lil's thang. She kind of works it toward the end. The judges are feelin' what I'm feelin', and I'm amused that Simon is calling Lil "Little", as if Lil is a shortened name for Little. You know, like 'Lil Devil? I'm sure it's because he's from British. (<< reference from two seasons ago)
Adam Lampert "Ring Of Fire"
Adam is looking like he shopped in the "Club Boys On Crystal Meth" section of Target. Adam is still pretending to rawk, pretend-wincing at this week's theme, as if he never starred in some version of "Oklahoma" or perhaps "Seven Grooms For Seven Brothers." Randy Travis says what the non-Kool Aid drinking Idolers are thinking, "I don't even know what to say about this boy." Travis also doesn't favor Adam black nailpolish, fearin' it's city-lovin' ho-mo-sex-ual overtones. The rest of us just think it has an air of douchiness.
Adam slips the camera lens some spanish fly and rapes it with his eyes. That poor camera lens still has the night shivers from Constantine Maroulis' season four facially forced love making. Vocally, it's ok in spots, but it's way over the top. It's like Zoolander by way of Robert Smith with a side of Dr. Frankenfurter. The judges all dance around the truth, because Adam is engineered to be in the final four. Simon at least calls it "rubbish," tearing the space-time continuum that The Show lives in. Randy claims that it's "what it would be if Nine Inch Nails did Country." Perhaps, if Nine Inch Nails were replaced with douchey rocker wannabes, Randy.
Scott MacIntyre "Wild Angels"
Randy Travis doesn't initially like Scott's song choice (Martina McBride), so it's a good thing the guy is blind, because you can see it on his face. What we get is what Scott does: Piano! Inspiration! Musical bridges and high notes! The judges sorta tell Scott to take more chances. Because the fifteen minutes on Scott's Inspiration Clock are ticking....
Alexis Grace "Jolene"
Sound familiar? Brooke White sang this one last year. This one is ok, but Alexis has some small issues with the pitch changes during the song. But, she gets some points for getting the emotion of the song across. Kara is right, though, she should have picked something with some edge, like "Before He Cheats." Sorry, Alexis! The Show is now backing Allison as "the rocker girl" this season.
Danny Gokey "Jesus Take The Wheel"
Danny is Peter Brady-ing his whole Randy Travis rehearsal. Full of clinkers and clunkers. Now, clad in a Captain Eo jacket, Danny sings the song better than rehearsals anyway. It starts off a bit rough, and he eventually gets there, but it's actually all a little boring. Three-fourths of the way through, there's some magic, though. Some riffing and vocal styling and that will carry him. Kara and Randy actually keep it real and call him on the first half of the song.
Anoop Desai "You Are Always On My Mind"
This week, Anoop reminds us that he can actually sing, and he's more than a novelty act. He wisely changes the arrangement a bit, so he doesn't get compared to Willie Nelson. It's a "moment" for Anoop. Judges are lovin'! Anoop Dog is back!
Megan Joy "I Go Walking After Midnight"
Megan gives it a slight winky-sultry lounge singer vibe. A lounge singer with extreme diction. There are moments when it's interesting and different, but there's some bad notes. The sum of of its parts doesn't quite add up. It's a bit of a schitzo performance. Ah, then it's revealed she has the flu, and was in the hospital, which gives her a little pass this week.
Matt Giraud "So Small"
Otherwise known as "oh yeah, THAT guy. I forgot he was in the competition." Matt brings his soulful approach to the song. The judges all love, and remind us that Matt can .. y'know... sing. They were too busy pushing Michael Sarver, Lil Rounds, Danny Gokey and Alexis Grace that they sorta, y'know, ignored one of the guys who can sing well.
So who's going home tomorrow?
I think Jesus is taking the wheel and driving Alexis home.