I'm tired, I'm still underwhelmed by the show, but I figured I'd at least show up to blog tonight just so I could mention that I actually met Randy Travis a couple years ago. I was at the D.C. Jewish community's Israel solidarity rally back in the summer of 2006 during the Lebanon war, and John Hagee, a popular evangelical minister in Texas, was having the annual meeting of his group Christians United for Israel in Washington that week. Randy Travis is a friend of Hagee and a supporter of Israel, so he came with Hagee and came on stage with him when Hagee spoke at the rally. I walked behind the stage after his appearance to ask him why he was there and what he thought about Israel--he said he was a big supporter (I can't find my article on line to give you all a quote) and seemed like he was about to say something really interesting when some woman walked over and told him he had to leave so he could get to the airport. And that's my brush with Randy Travis. Yeah, not very exciting. Anyway, the funniest part was a few minutes later, when the PR person from the federation walked over to me and said "Did you see Travis Tritt?" Oh, and Randy Travis was a really boring mentor.
So I'm really tired of having two-hour shows--I believe this was the fifth in a row, and there's a sixth next Tuesday--and to have a two-hour show on my least favorite night of the year, country night, probably made it seem a little longer. Having said that, I will say that no one was flat-out bad tonight. My sister said last week that my opinion that this is the worst group of finalists is wrong because there aren't any really bad singers--like there have been in past years (although Jasmine wasn't exactly good.) She has a point. But just as there aren't any bad singers, there aren't that many singers that truly stand out either. There were some good performances tonight, but I don't think there was anything that anyone will remember a couple weeks from now. That's more my problem with the season--a sameness to everything. And that is directly attributable to the judges, who don't want to see singers develop and try new things, they want to keep them in the box or lane that they're supposed to be in--and if they try to leave that lane or get out of that box, they'll be slapped down and told never to do it again. We had Alexis Grace tonight saying "I promise to be dirty next week," and Lil Rounds promising she wouldn't deviate from R&B ever again. God forbid they should try to grow as an artist and try new things. Why are the judges forcing them to do this? Why do they have to decide their place in the "industry" now, two weeks into the finals? Kara is the most annoying about it, but all the judges are doing it, and it's killing the show. But I'll stop going on about this for now because I did it last week too, and probably will every week. Brief summaries coming up:
Michael Sarver--Garth Brooks doesn't have the most powerful voice in the world but is a great singer and showman, so he can sell this song--which doesn't even involve much singing but more a lot of fast talking. Michael doesn't have the singing ability or the showmanship, so it wasn't that great. Kara lauded him for remembering a lot of words. You suck, Kara. And why is he talking back to the judges already? Awfully cocky.
Allison Iraheta --She's good, I liked it and so far looks like a 16 year old that can handle the pressure.
Kris Brown--Thought it was nice but kind of boring. The guy has a nice voice, but nothing really unique or interesting about it.
Lil Rounds--Simon, Lil is short for little, but it's also short for Lillian. Do you really think she was actually named Little? As for the song, I want to applaud Lil for actually trying to do a country song in a country song, instead of picking the most non-country song you could find or changing a country song into an R&B song. At least you were trying to stay true to the theme, even if they don't want you to do that any more. And I thought it was better than the judges thought it was--restrained, solid. And Kara, did you really suggest that she should have done "I Will Always Love You"? Hasn't that song been done enough? Although I'll give Kara a little break here, because "Independence Day" has been done far too much by Idol singers too. But Kara, I still can't stand you.
Adam Lambert--The less said about that mess, the better. Amazingly, Kara actually summed it up best by saying, "That was just weird." Don't ruin a great Johnny Cash song like that, Adam. And Kara, just because I agreed with you doesn't mean that I still wouldn't support returning to three judges on Idol as soon as possible.
Scott Macintyre--Everything Scott sings sounds like a mid-1980s soft rock song. I feel like I'm 14 and in the car with my dad while he's listening to W-Lite, the old light rock station when I was growing up in the D.C. area. This isn't necessarily a compliment. I couldn't believe Randy said something about wanted to hear some "hot, crazy" vocals from Scott. When have we ever heard "hot, crazy" vocals from Scott? He plays the piano and is a mediocre singer. But you guys praised him like he was Ray Charles for some reason. And Kara, just because I'm ripping on Randy doesn't mean I've forgotten about you. (OK, this Kara bit is getting kind of old. I'll try to stop.)
Alexis Grace--I thought this was fine, but it wasn't "dirty" enough for Kara and company and they made her promise to get dirty or whatever in the future. Hey Kara, didn't you tell Lil a few singers before that staying "true to yourself" is part of being an artist? (Sorry, I couldn't help myself.)
Danny Gokey--This was very good, one of the better performances of the night. While Danny doesn't have the most powerful voice, his raspy, bluesy tone is at least sort of different and interesting. And speaking of Kara, this was actually her low point of the night, when she seemed to say that Danny should only sing the chorus because he doesn't sound as good on the verses. Um, Kara, you have to build up to something, as Simon said, not scream the whole song. Even Paula was mocking her, which is punishment enough for Kara.
Anoop--I thought this was OK, but was sort of stunned with all the praise the judges gave it. I like Anoop though--he picks interesting, if not always appropriate, songs, so I hope he stays around.
Megan--I like the sound of Megan's voice, but I'm starting to think she's kind of a one-trick pony--cool-sounding voice but can't really do a lot with it. This was fine, but I'd like to see her open it up and stretch a little more. I think the way her dress showed off two of her assets tonight will keep her around another week, no matter what people thought of her vocals. And is Megan the first singer to ever perform sick or does Kara just think so because she's never been a judge before? I'm pretty sure that happens to a couple people every year, Kara. And what did you expect Megan to do? Not perform at all and get eliminated?
Matt Giraud--Pretty good, even if it did become a soul song instead of a country song. I'll leave Kara alone on this one.
Bottom three: Sarver, Megan and Scott. Michael Sarver goes home. And I'm going to bed. Fingerhut out.
Labels: American Idol