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American Idol Fodder

American Idol: Tender Moments

Megan-Joy-Corkrey.JPGGoing into "Idol's" customary country music week (more specifically, artists of the Grand Ole Opry) I was pretty terrified about what I'd hear. After all, I'm still recovering from PTKLCD, a.k.a. Post-traumatic Kristy Lee Cook disorder. Her non-stop caterwauling last season had a lasting effect, though no performance resonates quite like her shaky version of "Eight Days a Week" during Beatles Night. Yikes-o-rama!

So, obviously, I wasn't terribly excited to hear which country greats were going to be mangled tonight. But after listening to our Top 11, I can confidently say that the audible discomfort was kept to a minimum this year. Only a few singers mangled their songs, while most hit their notes and others soared.

But before we get to the performances, here's a quick recap of the things I most wondered about after tonight's episode. Or as I like to call them, the Top 5 Questions to Ponder:
1. When did Kris Allen learn to sing? Wow, this one was a complete surprise. I guess the judges are spot-on when they say it's all about picking the right song. And he picked a good one this week.
2. Why can't Simon say the word "Lil?" He kept calling her "Little," and said it was basically the same thing. Um, not so much.
3. Why was Adam wearing a moon suit? I mean, we all knew Adam was weird, but the shiny silver jacket kinda put him over the top on the Weirdometer. I'll give him points for making me remember him.
4. Were there only eight country artists to choose from? Out of tonight's finalists, we saw two songs from Garth Brooks, two from Martina McBride and two from Carrie Underwood. I guess getting songs approved by Opry members can be a little tricky.
5. Does Alexis own anything other than little black dresses?

Back to the performances, here's the rundown on our interesting 11:

Michael Sarver: He kicked off the show with an odd rendition of Garth Brooks' "Ain't Goin' Down Till the Sun Comes Up," but completely forgot to include a tune with his song. On a positive note, he remembered all the words, which is pretty hard to do on this song. The judges were all left wanting more, especially big notes, which Michael failed to deliver.

Allison Iraheta: Proving that she's really only comfortable singing songs with either the word 'heart' in the title or by the band Heart, Allison sang "Blame it on Your Heart" by Patty Loveless. Randy Travis, tonight's guest mentor, said she has a very mature voice, which she does. It's also a very raspy, rock-tinged voice, which suited the song. Kara commented she could sing the alphabet.

Kris Allen: Wow, this guy totally shocked me this week. Over the last few weeks I had wondered why he was even in the finals, with his usually off-key antics as he strums his guitar. This time around he wisely stripped the song down, "To Make You Feel My Love" by Garth, and smartly ditched the guitar. Paula said he was "honest" and "pure," Kara said it was beautiful and even Simon said it was "terrific." But it was Randy that had the quote of the night when he said that performance should have been called 'Tender Moments with My Dawg Kris.' I think Kris should save that for the title of his first CD.

Lil Rounds: Despite Simon's complete inability to say her name, she tried hard to "be true" to Martina McBride's "Independence Day." She didn't inject any personality into the song and it came out long and boring. The judges said she looked uncomfortable.

Adam Lambert: What do I even say about this guy? I think it was all summed up by the look on Randy Travis' face when he heard Adam's surreal Middle-Eastern-tinged version of "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash. And if that still left you wondering, then you weren't alone, as Simon asked "What the hell was that?" Adam may indeed be the strangest contestant the show has ever had, who could also sing well. If only he could tone the strangeness down, he'd probably have a chance at wooing the viewers who are silently tiptoeing away from him. But I'm guessing there's no chance of Adam dialing down the wackiness.

Scott MacIntyre: He sang another Martina song, this one called "Wild Angels." I was a little skeptical about him mastering this tune, and proved myself almost right. Scott is just a decent singer, who also happens to be a whiz at playing the piano. With his fanbase, though, I think he's going to go far.

Alexis Grace: I was slightly disappointed by Little Miss Black Dress. She's proven herself before, and wowed everyone with her take on "Dirty Diana" last week, but her performance of "Jolene" by Dolly Parton was off-key in several parts. The second half of the song picked up, but it was too late, I was already bored. She needs to step it up again and start vying for the Dark Horse spot again, or she may get trampled by the onslaught of good male singers.

Danny Gokey: Here's another one who disappointed me this week. Was it his choice to wear a jacket that looked like something you wear on a polar expedition? Was it his choice of Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel?" Or was it his slow start with several off-key notes? Actually, it was all three things that turned me off of this once rising star. Paula thought it was "brilliant," but I'd say it was just average. Let's hope Danny can pull it back together next week and start choosing songs that fit his register.

Anoop Desai: I liked Anoop when he sang in Hollywood. I liked him again when he sang"Beat It" last week. Now Anoop has almost cemented his status as one of my all-time fav's throughout all the seasons. Similar to what Kris did, Anoop stripped the song down, and it completely worked. His version of Willie Nelson's "You Were Always On My Mind" sounded very nice and he hit all his notes. Simon said Anoop had gone from "zero to hero."

Megan Joy Corkrey: It's time for Megan to either leave or teach all of us how to do that crazy potty dance of hers. Megan sang "I Go Walking After Midnight," all the while doing strange things with her arms and hands. Her vocals were definitely off-key, though the judges really, really liked her. She probably won dedication points seeing as how she was getting over the flu and had even taken a trip to the hospital this week.

Matt Giraud: Both Randy Travis and I feared for Matt's choice, "So Small" by Carrie Underwood. It seemed like a strange choice, but Matt filled it with awesome note changes and some very good singing. The judges seemed to like his performance most of all, calling him authentic and amazing.

BEST GUESS: The top three singers this week are Kris, Anoop and Matt. I'm guessing the bottom two people will be Michael and Megan, though it's probably Michael's turn to sign off.

So, who sang the worst this week? Is Adam as good as many people think he is, or should he start packing his bags? Did Anoop redeem himself this week? Who wins honors for best vocals tonight: Anoop, Kris or Matt? And do any of the female contestants have a shot at winning? Post below and tune in Wednesday night for more "Idol" entertainment! -Chris Sardelli

Posted by Chris on March 18, 2009 1:31 AM
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Strictly on last nights performance I'd say Scott & Megan should be in the bottom 2, though I'd love to see Adam get the boot. I mean seriously how in the world can you weird out a song so easy and recognizable as "Ring of Fire". I'd heard that version before, and didn't like it then either. Whats up with Megan dropping the Corkrey? Did anyone else notice that? I do think based on past performances and my perceived fanbase estimate, my prediction for the bottom 2 tonight are... Anoop & Michael. I hope Anoop gets sent packing cause I like Michael more.

-- 1. Posted by: Andy at March 18, 2009 11:24 AM

I actually thought Adam's performance was good. Really good. Odd and a little freaky, yes, but still good. I was transfixed -- weird notes, but he hit them all and that boy has range. Some of the other ones, I fast-forwarded through. (Have to Tivo it...can't sit through that many Coke and Ford commercials.) I LOVE Matt Giraud -- not so much with Coldplay, but he is just great otherwise. I thought Danny was OK but not the superstar the judges want him to be. Dialidol says it's Alison, Megan or Alexis going home tonight, with Alexis in the bottom. But their bottom was wrong last week. We'll see tonight!

-- 2. Posted by: Heather at March 18, 2009 3:26 PM

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