We are live, blogging the American Idol Season 8 Top 11 performances. At One21music we are covering the six Christian music artists competing in Season 8: Danny Gokey, Matt Giraud, Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre, Kris Allen and Michael Sarver. That’s right, six of the final 11 contestants on American Idol Season 8 are Christian music performers. Read my American Idol Grand Ole’ Opry performances to for my full assessment of the show and my power rankings.
I think tonight will be very informative. As far as I can tell, none of American Idol’s Top 11 have shown any interest in Country music. We will see many of the performers struggle. I think Michael Sarver (see our article on Michael’s higher AI purpose) and Kris Allen could do well. Other sites on the web have leaked a potential list of the songs to choose from. I don’t report on those spoilers that are all over the Internet because I don’t want to play that game. But, based on the list, here is a hope, a warning and a prediction for tonight’s American Idol:
- Hope: Meagan Corkery must perform Patsy Cline’s “Walking After Midnight”.
- Warning: No one, not even Lil Rounds, should sing Dolly Parton’s “I’ll Always Love You”.
- Prediction: Alexis Grace will tone down her TV MA image.
All of the remaining performers are worthy so I think the next few weeks will depend on week to week performances.
And we will be ready to go in just a few minutes!
So here we go, the opening montage is upon us. For a music show American Idol’s theme is pretty bad. It kind of sounds like 80′s era video game music. Randy Travis is mentoring the American Idol performers tonight. He was one of the leaders of the “Neotraditional Country” movement in the 80′s. I was never a fan but he seems to be a good guy. Of course he has a new CD out today.
I like the new set. And it goes green for St. Patrick’s Day! I am glad we have done away with the side stairs. I never liked the performers using those stairs as a prop. Randy and Kara think all the performers have stepped up to the big stage. Of course, Simon hates country so the judging should be ugly.
Ryan reminds us that whoever survives this week will make it to the tour. What is Meagan wearing? Whether or not you like country we must all appreciate this great truely American art form.
We start with Michael Sarver and he is singing a big word fast singing Garth Brook’s country song “Ain’t Going Down (Til the Sun Comes Up)”. Well he certainly has the country twang for this song. Great performance. Sorry, Michael haters he is not going home this week.
Randy is finding a reason to not like it. They are criticizing that his song does not have big notes. Sarver disagrees and says “country music is about having fun”. Michael is feisty tonight. He agues with Simon. I guess the producers have decided that Michael needs to go home tonight. The judges were unfairly brutal. He performed that song well.
Allison Iraheta will sing “Blame It On Your Heart” by Patty Loveless. I agree with Randy Travis that she has so much vocal maturity for her age. We should have known this would be country rocker. This girl is a serious contender. She is like two people. On stage she is a diva, off stage she is a giggly teenager. Great, great performance.
Kara is right, she can sing the alphabet, the phone book, oatmeal instructions, I don’t care. She can sing. Paula wants to see her be more vulnerable. Somebody help Allison’s mom, she is about to faint. Randy loves it. He thought it was dope. I agree, dopely precocious.
Computer crash, panic. Kris Allen just sang Garth’s “To Make You Feel My Love” as a vulnerable ballad. I am little bit surprised. Once again a great interpretation of the song. Very well done. Nice, controlled performance.
Paula was a little taken back, but Simon actually praised effusively. Randy calls Kris a “tender dawg”. Kara nailed it, “it was beautiful”.
Reflecting on Kris’s performance, he is a much better singer than we give him credit. That was a performance that will change many people’s opinion of Kris, he is deeper than we thought. He doesn’t need his guitar to be comfortable, he just needs a good song.
Lil Rounds is sporting a pretty, fancy red dress. She looks nice. As I thought, Lil does not know country. But she is going to forgo her R&B leanings to respect the country song. She is doing “Independence Day” by Martina McBride. She will need the pipes Randy Travis talks about to perform this song. Nice, quiet controlled start. She is singing this great song straight up. I really like this. Lil Rounds may be an R&B singer but she could cross over to do some country. Not her deal but I think she pulled it off.
Randy struggled with the performance. Thank you Kara for giving her some props for going with her instincts. Kara is doing well tonight. Paula actually gave some good advice about arranging verses and choruses. I think this performance exposed Lil Rounds shortcomings as an arranger. But it was like several of my really great LP’s with soul singers performing country songs. I liked her.
Adam Lambert is singing “Ring of Fire” as a Middle Eastern dirge. I think Randy Travis hated it. Let’s see. I don’t know what to say. Can he be arrested for desecrating an American treasure?
Let’s watch the judges fawn over him. Kara is dumbfounded. The judges are giving him the required adulation. Simon, are you bigger than the show? Yes, “what the H*&% was that”, ‘Indulgent rubbish”. I agree with Randy, the “Travis” Randy. Still speechless.
Ryan is in the mosh pit as we come back. Do you have mosh pits in country music?
Scott MacIntyre is singing “Wild Angels” by Martina McBride (she is getting a lot of love tonight). This is a nice song. Scott is really struggling with it. His vocals are off key through most of the beginning but then he changes tempo and seems to get his stride. Nice arrangement but the vocals were off and weak.
Scott has a good sense of humor. As Paula was advising him that the piano separates him from the audience, Scott said “we can move it closer to the front of the stage”. Then Simon calls Paula stupid and the judges begin to fight. I agree with the judges that he is being too safe and he needs to pick up his game and sing harder songs better.
Another good show this week. Halfway through and no real disasters. Even though I didn’t like Adam, his singing was not a disaster. And the judges are fighting and calling each other names. How much fun is this?
Alexis Grace, looking a little more demure, will be singing Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. It is an iconic song and Randy Travis calls it perfect. He says she is really good at telling a story. Where did those stairs come from? She was going along well until she started that riffing in the middle. She picks it up at the end and finishes strong. Her blues tinged take doesn’t blow me away.
Randy thought it was okay and Kara thinks it was flat. I don’t think Alexis likes Kara. Paula liked the vulnerability she showed. Simon thought it was okay. Alexis does not seem happy.
Danny Gokey is up next singing Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus Take The Wheel”. Evidently he was so nervous with Randy Travis that he could not sing the song. Randy Travis did say that he has a soulfulness that people in the business wish they had. Is he singing this song better than Carrie Underwood? Every week he shows me more of himself as a singer. Perfect.
And the crowd goes crazy.
Do the judges only care about hitting big notes? I agree with Paula that it is good to hear a singer tell a story. Both Paula and Simon agree that the performance was great. But Randy agreed with Kara. I thought it was great. It looks like Simon and Paula have made up.
Danny seems to enjoy himself. He always seem happy. I like him more every week.
Can Anoop Desai step his game up? This is a tough week for him to do that. He is singing Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind”. He did pick a great song. It is coming across as an Adult Contemporary ballad and the runs don’t work for me. I am not sure this is good enough to keep him in the competition. Not bad, but just okay.
Paula loved it? Simon loved it? Randy loved it? Kara loved it? I just don’t get what they saw.
Meagan Joy (she has dropped the Corkery) is signning “Walking After Midnight” and it wins Randy Travis over. She is doing a country jazz take on it. Her pronunciation is a little odd. She tries to do a little too much with it. It falls apart at the end. She had me until the end.
Randy was impressed. Evidently Meagan has the flu and did not get to do the dress rehearsal. Simon loved it. I need to listen to this one again. I liked parts but not all of it.
Does that new Osborne candid camera show look funny at all?
We end the night with Matt Giraud. Let’s see what he can do with country. He is singing Carrie Underwood’s “So Small”. Randy Travis was impressed how Matt arranged the song. He is playing the piano and he has turned this song into an R&B ballad, Did he forget the words? He then takes the song up a notch and roars through the middle. that was a good way to end the show. Nice arrangement and good performance.
Kara says he is amazing. Simon thinks Matt out sang Danny tonight. All the judges think it was the best performance of the night.
Ryan, you are right. We have ourselves a competition in Season 8 of American Idol. Another good show.
A little food and then I will review the performances. My show recap with performance ratings and predictions will be up by the time you get to work in the morning. If you are an all night person look for it some time between midnight and dawn.
You can download the performance videos and full song recordings over the next few days by clicking the icon below.