April 4, 2006

"American Idol" -- the final 9.

Oh, lord, how will I survive this? Country week, and worse, the guest star is Kenny Rogers (who is bizarrely unrecognizable). We see the "kids" acting like they're having a fine old time singing "The Gambler." You've got to know when this is bullshit.

First, Taylor Hicks. He sounds awful trying to do John Denver, Take me home, country road. They speed it up a lot. This is one of those versions that makes me discover a respect for the original artist that I never had. Simon: "Safe, boring, lazy..."

Mandisa. The song has a lot of words, which amazes Kenny. I don't know the song. Any man of mine? Eh? It's boring. Simon: "The song was horrible."

Elliott Yamin watches someone sleeping and somehow shows her she's his only one or whatever. Dreary song. Solid vocals!

Paris Bennett sings another song I don't know. How do I live without you? I don't even understand what makes this a country song. This is the kind of song that makes me feel that I hate music and I wish everyone would stop singing forever. Sorry. That's just how it made me feel. Power ballads. Ugh!

"Ace is a very passionate kid," says Kenny about Ace Young, and Kenny thinks this is the best song choice of the night. Ace is watching TV with the sound turned down.... Hmmmm.... Don't give me ideas.... He's sitting on a stool -- always a bad omen on "AI." And he's singing through his nose. That's not allowed, is it? But he sings a high melisma at the end, and I'm inclined to forgive him.

Kellie Pickler. Ryan: "Okay, let's clear this up. Some people have said that this naivete you've shown on the show is a bit of an act. What is the truth, Kellie?" She says, "Oh, Ryan, you've caught me. I am a big faker." Unfortunately, not. She lays it on thick with the calamari and the salmon... Ick! "Here's you one chance, Fancy, don't let me down." I don't like her, as you can see, but I think she did a great job on this song.

Chris Daughtry. Kenny acts like it's hard for a rocker to find a way to sing country, but is it? Lots of these country songs rock. Just pick one. Pretty nice. And he looked adorable, with his intense brown eyes and his bald head. Simon calls the song boring. Yeah, that's true.

Katharine McPhee. She needs to rescue herself tonight, after last week, falling in the bottom two. Bringing out the Elvis in me. She looks very pretty and gets out some great notes (but swallows most of the song).

Ooh, Bucky goes last. Interesting! Bucky Covington. But it's really weak. I think he's the one that needs to slip away... or no, it ends well, as songs so often do on "American Idol."

Now, this is a difficult week. Who should leave? The only one who is truly safe is Kellie. Taylor was rather bad, but he's got fans, we know. Bucky's in danger. So is Katharine. I wouldn't be surprised if Paris was in the bottom three. I think Ace is safe, and so are Mandisa, Elliott, and (my favorite) Chris.

72 comments:

Jennifer said...

This is the kind of song that makes me feel that I hate music and I wish everyone would stop singing forever. Sorry. That's just how it made me feel.

LOL. You have both a way of seeing right through to the heart of a matter and also expressing it so everyone else gets that insight to. I love it.

Jennifer said...

I mean too not to.

Nathan said...

While Elliot has a fine voice, he butchered that Garth Brooks song. That song should never, ever be sung 98 Degrees style.

Tristram said...

Okay, Professor, we get it, you, like Simon hate country. :) However, as Randy did try to point out, Country is not easy, in the sense that you have to sing it well because any mistakes really stand out (like Ace's), and you have to be able to connect the story with the audience. Sometime's simple is not the same as easy.

Anyway, "How Do I live Wihtout You" was on the "Con Air" Soundtrack, and was recorded for it by both Lee Ann Rimes and Trisha Yearwood. FWIW, apparently Lee Ann did the first cut, but the producers weren't happy and asked Trisha to record it.

"Any Man of Mine" was Shania Twain song, and probably made a cross-over appearance on the pop charts (as several Shania songs have). Truth be told, most of Shania's songs are hardly county, especially since her husband Mutt started poducing her (don't know his last name, but he is a successful pop/rock producer).

Jennifer said...

Hmmmn...Kellie picks a song about a poor white trash girl dressed up and whored out by her mother to escape poverty. Interesting.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

I thought Paris did a lovely job tonight and she didn't look like a little hoochie-mama, either.

Kellie sounded just like Reba on that song, but didn't do that troublesome jaw thang Reba does.

Can we say good-bye to Miss McPhee yet?

I thought all three of the North Carolinians did great--Bucky, Kellie and Chris. Even if it's not Chris's primary style, he got a good song choice from his family members who love country.

I recently [within the past year] started listening to country. Thought for sure Taylor would choose a fun, upbeat current one: like Mr. Mom. That would've been fun. And no one did any Rascal Flatts? Or TOBY KEITH??

Nathan said...

Wasn't Bucky's song originally done by a rock group, Vertical Horizon? I hate that crossover garbage.

I thought Bucky was supposed to be country, too.

Nathan said...

Truth be told, there was very little true country sung tonight. And no, Rascal Flatts would not count, either, nor would most of what Toby Keith does.

There are only a handful of artists still doing true country music: George Strait, Alan Jackson (most of the time), Brad Paisley (sometimes). The rest of this "new country" bubblegum pop shit makes me want to kill myself.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Nathan: Toby Keith's repetoire is very country rock. Chris could've found a similar comfortable sound there. And Ace could've done a Rascall Flatts song, I think.

Two Keith Urbans? He's an Aussie, but he's still country. Hell, Sheryl Crowe is country now, too. It's the best genre for songs where lyrics need to be heard and understood.

Nathan said...

Oh, I know Toby Keith's gimmick-song repertoire. That's what I hate about what has happened to what we call "country music" today -- it's hardly resembles traditional country music.

The thing is, Toby Keith's gimmicky songs are actually not too bad b/c he gets the pick of the litter. It's when you get down to the Blake Sheltons of the world that it really gets painful.

Tristram said...

Nathan,

My wife is totally in agreement with you. She loves country music, but hates most of the last 10 years (though she does think highly of Brad Paisely...I think he is more consitently country than anyone younger than 45 in country music today).

But yeah, George, Alan, Randy etc. seem to be barely keeping country this side of Top-40. And none of the women are really helping much, though my wife does like Sara Evans a lot (and Martina McBride).

Overall, I though Taylor was horrible, Elliot did a poor version of a not great Garth Brooks song, Mandissa was okay, Paris was surpringly good, Kellie is still a fake, Catherine needs to stop bouncing, Chris did well, Ace did real well until the end, and Bucky was okay,

Honestly, wouldn't surprise me if Talyor, Elliot and Mandisa were the bottom three. Certainly expect at least one, maybe two of them. Ace is still in danger.

Nathan said...

Tristram,

Brad Paisley is an outstanding musician, and he started staying very true to a traditional country sound. However, he's put out a couple of songs that I absolutely loathe ("Celebrity" comes to mind). Still, as you say, he's about the only hope under 45 out there, and when he keeps it real, he's very, very good.

(Of course, I hardly listen to country radio anymore b/c of the new country sound, so maybe someone else is emerging -- I don't know. Should also add that Martina McBride is my wife's favorite country artist -- picks great songs and has an outstanding voice.)

Bucky goes home, I think. Taylor sucked, but I think he's unique enough that he'll hang on. Mandisa could go home.

Bagwell said...

Bucky goes home after tonight's performance. It wasn't that he was awful, it's that he had to overcome the dead weight of eventual and potentially imminent elimination ... and didn't. He never had a huge fan base. They're discouraged and won't vote. He goes into the bottom three easily, and gets the boot.

Mary said...

I missed the show. Did Kenny plug the classic TimeLife SuperStars of Country? (8CDs plus 2 free!) Haven't you seen the half-hour infomercials running around Christmastime?

http://www.timelife.com/catalog/product.jsp?productId=1066&
------------
Rumor has it, Prince will be appearing this season to plug 3121. He apparently hates the show, but his agent is advising him to do it. Will be great to see the kids sing his repertoire. "I knew a girl named Nikki..." cheers

Nathan said...

Also found it kind of sad that they dragged Kenny Rogers' old bones out there to do country night. I've never known what to think about Kenny Rogers as an artist, and he never has anything interesting to say.

Why not bring in Garth, crazy pills and all? It would have made for great television watching him suddenly tear up as he mentions "Miss Yearwood," and trying to decide whether he or Paula is more cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

somross said...

I know nothing about country music, but the quality you're describing is spelled naivete.

Dawn said...

Taylor - yuck, what a terrible song and a terrible rendition.

Mandisa - ditto.

Paris - nice job on a song that makes my toes curl (and I love country).

Elliot - yuck.

Ace - bottom three again this week baby. This may be the week Pretty Boy (who sings through his nose, as my 10-year old mentioned) goes.

Kellie - I'm sorry. I think she's a cute as a bug. And "Fancy" is one of my favorite songs. I'm just glad she didn't sing another yawner of a Shania song.

Speaking of which, Miss McPhee, puhleeze go home.

Bucky - finally something he can sink his teeth into. Shaky start, ended well. But lose the hat.

Chris - this guy can sing the phonebook to me. *sighs*

Mary said...

naivity, naivete, nativity ...

It's all good!

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, as long as you're correcting my spelling, why did no one notice that I'd misspelled Rogers? Why did I think it needed fancying up with a "d"?

But, really, what was with his face?

Ann Althouse said...

Dial Idol predicts Mandisa will go! Elliott second to last. Paris third to last. Looks like the McPheesters got fired up after last week's near miss.

SteveR said...

Well if you didn't like Country, this week showed you why. At least Chris came through in good shape. Some bad performances and some bad song choices. Plenty of at risk folks but to me Bucky did not take advantage of what should have been a good opportunity to shine, so he should go.

Kenny Rogers: "Dude where's my face?"

Mark Daniels said...

Ann:
I've never watched this show. So, I have only impressions based on what you write here and what others have told me. But I have to ask you because you're a person of some discerning taste, someone who likes Lennon and Dylan and other music that's more artful: How can you stand to watch this crap? I mean, this Tin Pan Alley, Las Vegas lounge show stuff doesn't seem to be you at all. What's up with that?

Mark

reader_iam said...

Fascinating, the rumors about Prince appearing on American Idol, and particularly in light of the story that circulated in mid-March that he's decided to pull 50 of his songs from his live reportoire due to their explicit content.

"You can't push the envelope any further than I've pushed it. So stop. What's the point? So much of what we see on TV and hear on the radio is debased. I will not add to that."

Amazing confluence, replete with both competing and cooperating subtext all over the place.

reader_iam said...

"repertoire"

Ann Althouse said...

Reader Iam: Prince looks like Ruth Bader Ginsburg in that picture. I kind of don't want him to stoop to being on the show, but I'd love to see him.

Mark: It's just an amusement. Fun to blog about too.

Uncle Mikey said...

Kenny's had some work done, I think. Looks very weird.

How about Simon finally smacking down the increasingly annoying and petty Seacrest sniping? "Lose the beard" right after telling him he looks like he's from Desperate Houseives? That is effing raw. I mean, he's a useless tool, but outing him and hating on his fake girlfriend is cruel.

Boring music tonight, that's for sure.

Kurt said...

I consider myself a fan of some country artists, but my taste runs more towards some of the great artists on the Austin music scene, particularly the amazing Kelly Willis and her husband Bruce Robison.

Nevertheless, I thought it was another bad night on American Idol, mainly because most of them stuck with forgettable country pop. My favorites this week were Elliot, Kellie, and Paris. I also thought Chris redeemed himself nicely after last week's Creed debacle.

I thought Taylor was horrible (which surprised me), and Bucky wasn't very good. I'm not sure which of the others will end up in the bottom three with Bucky, but I would be surprised if it were Taylor, just because he does seem to have a solid fan base.

Ny BABZ said...

Well, on the heels of seeing the host get his own star on the walk of fame in Hollywierd, I think we can see where this is going: McPhee is the most diverse with a solid instrument as is Mandisa. Sans style they are a virtual tie. Paris could be the next Sade or Billie Holiday sans heroin (one hopes) and all the others have fine futures, even if they don't 'score' huge 'deals'. Christian rock is big and they could slide into that genre nicely.

XWL said...

I speculated about a possible Prince week back on March 16th

Too bad Kevin's gone, still would have loved to see him perform Erotic City.

I still don't think it will happen, no matter how much he wants to pump up sales of his new (excellent) album, I don't see him letting them use his songs, or enjoy being on the show, but then he's trying to push his new ingenue, Tamar, so maybe he'll perform one of the songs from 3121 on which she also performs.

And whenever I see Katharine McPhee part of me wishes she had a little less singing talent so that she'd be tempted to start working in nearby Porn Valley.

(at some point an attractive Idol reject is going to make that transition and make a ton of money, semi-famous people porn is huge business)

PatCA said...

"Bringing out the Elvis in me."
Oh, I kept wondering what that word was. I thought it was "essence" or "efforts" or something. It was like a jingle...(an Arby's jingle?) Maybe I could have enjoyed the song more if I had known.

No. I wouldn't have.

I like How Can I Live Without You, both Paris' version and Lee Ann's, but Paris like all of them was quite nervous tonight. With the Sword of Damocles hanging over their heads who wouldn't be?

I think Kenny had the same eye job as Robert Redford. Wow, you can't even tell! all their friends tell them.

Jerome C. Austriaco said...

My, my, quite the cadre of Katharine haters around here, eh? With all due respect to the prof, considering Katharine in danger and Ace safe after their performances tonight is laughable.

LoafingOaf said...

Okay, Professor, we get it, you, like Simon hate country. :)

What does anyone's opinion about country have to do with last night's AI? It's not like there was any country music being sung.

Sorry, I'm quitting on the show. All the contestants stink, have zero to offer anyone, and can't even pick remotely enjoyable songs to ruin. The judges appear to be popping pills and laughing their way to the bank. They have no taste and say the same things every week after every performance. This show is as burned out as Deal Or No Deal at this point.

Ann Althouse said...

"How about Simon finally smacking down the increasingly annoying and petty Seacrest sniping? "Lose the beard" right after telling him he looks like he's from Desperate Houseives? That is effing raw. I mean, he's a useless tool, but outing him and hating on his fake girlfriend is cruel."

First, I like Ryan Seacrest. He is a big part of why the show works (especially the results shows). But how bad is this kind of humor?It reminds me of the old repartee on "The Tonight Show" between Johnny Carson and Doc Sevrinson. It's not actually cruel, and everyone's in on the game. It's just a little stupid and dated.

"What does anyone's opinion about country have to do with last night's AI? It's not like there was any country music being sung."

Yes, I can appreciate some kinds of country. I sometimes listen to the Hank's Place station on XM radio. But the stuff they were doing was just unappealing pop music.

By the way, I do know that song Paris sang, I just didn't recognize it for some reason, perhaps because I wasn't expecting to recognize anything and I found the style so offputting. As I said in the original comment, it didn't even seem like a country song.

I thought "Fancy" was a good song, really the only thing I liked all night.

Gerry said...

I am disappointed. I wanted someone with a big voice to take on the under-appreciated Charlie Daniels Band power ballad (oh no, Ann is wretching!) Reflections. It is the type of song just made for AI show-offs, having a soft, soulful part and a booming chorus that allows THE BIG NOTE.

But then, I don't think anyone on this year could sing it well. Maybe Chris, but it would not have been in style for him.

Jennifer said...

The thing is, Toby Keith's gimmicky songs are actually not too bad b/c he gets the pick of the litter.

He writes almost all of his own music. He's one of the most prolific songwriters country has ever seen.

I like the way country has developed. And if ya only like the old stuff, just listen to the old stuff! It's still there.

What you are complaining about is the same thing Waylon Jennings used to say back in the 50's about the music that some people now seem to think is true country.

Back to AI, what is going on this season? They all seemed so good a few weeks ago and now they're having such a hard time. It's not the theme nights, either. Because they all sounded bad last week with a wide open theme.

knoxgirl said...

Someone should have sung "Stand by your Man," that would have actually been cool.

Kenny's been dippin' into the plastic surgery methinks. Maybe because of this:

http://www.menwholooklikekennyrogers.com/

Jennifer said...

Knoxgirl: that site is hilarious! I guess I'd go for a new look too.

Kellie Pickler sang Stand By Your Man in the local American Idol contest here in NC but she lost. I guess that would put a person off from a song. Too bad because I would have liked to hear it too.

Nathan said...

Yes, I realize (upon reflection) that Keith does write his own music. So he's pretty good at writing gimmick songs. Whoopee.

Modern country -- that is, country made within the last 10 years -- is an abomination. And the stuff that isn't so bad isn't fairly called "country," except for the fact that it's produced out of Nashville and played on country radio. Country is an established genre; it shouldn't be "evolving" in the same way that pop music evolves.

As for AI: I thought, early on, that this was the best collection of overall talent they've had on the show. Now, the more I see these kids, the less I think of them. Why is that? Is it because the different demands of the various genres expose their weaknesses (like Taylor singing John Denver)? Or does familiarity breed contempt in this case -- I'm more likely to hear the flaws in their performances after hearing them week after week? Either way, this group seems to be getting stale pretty early for me.

Jennifer said...

LOL. Well, like I said. Waylon Jennings felt the same way. I guess you're carrying on an old country tradition! :)

I hope the kids are better next week. But, I heard its the music of Queen. That could be fantastic or really really bad.

Ann Althouse said...

Queen?! Oh, this promises to be a crapfest the like of which we have never seen. I can't wait!

Nathan said...

It's just the "over-produced" sound of country that grates. That's been a phenomenon of the last 10 years.

bill said...

Here's a link for Nathan, and anyone else not happy with modern country. Go read The Other Side of Country by Jack Sparks. He hasn't written much lately, but does have a new post up on a Minnesota band along with some foul words about AI.

Here's his review of the 39th Annual CMA Awards. If you're a fan of Kenny Chesney or something called Big & Rich, I suggest you stay away.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Nathan: What genre doesn't evolve? We got Randy Travis in the late 80s, early 90s to resurrect the 'older style'. And didn't he pave the way for Garth? There are many artists in country music. They don't want to be one hit wonders. I think the music evolves with them as artists and people follow because they are good/enjoyable/relateable/well-marketed.

Willie Nelson's career is legendary. And varied. And he did a nice turn with Toby Keith in "Beer for Our Horses."


Why didn't anyone sing George Jones' 'He Stopped Lovin' Her Today'? I truly think Chris could've pulled it off. Like Randy said, singing a simple melody well is not as easy as it seems.

If AI is still on in a few years, this is a show I'd be happy to watch with my little children.

Nathan said...

It's not that some evolution won't or shouldn't take place. But for something to be in the "country" genre, it has to mean something more than merely being produced by Nashville and/or played on country radio and CMT. Like "blues," or "jazz," or "classical," you can't just throw anything out there and call it "country." And a lot of the awful, over-produced, sugary pop coming out of Nashville, with its metrosexual artists with frosted tips, is simply not country, no matter how far you think the genre has "evolved."

Nathan said...

And Ruth Anne: totally agree about "He Stopped Loving Her Today," except it would be heresy to have to crop the lyrics of that song.

Jennifer said...

Ann: Bring on the crapfest! If true, I can't wait either.

Nathan: Even classical music evolved. I remember from my piano lesson days that there were different periods like baroque and romantic and whatever else. And I'm sure Bach was grumbling about that damn upstart Haydn coming in and thinking he could just throw out some of the instruments and yada yada yada.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Nathan: As I'm new-ish to country, I will have to trust your word on it about it being over-processed. Here in NC, a new radio station is doing great playing country classics [60s, 70s].

Mary said...

"Oh, this promises to be a crapfest the like of which we have never seen. I can't wait!"

Now don't interpret this wrong but... most tvs have this little button: you press it; tv turns off.

You might find it liberating, and I bet the good folks here could find their way to an AI website and would understand your choice not to watch a "crapfest".

Me, I always liked Queen: "I want to ride my bicycle..." "Fat-bottomed girls you make the rockin world go round" or "Las Palabras de Amour". I think we're different ages though...

Hth...really :)

Nathan said...

As a classical fan, I realize fully the evolution that has taken place in what we call classical music. And classical really wasn't a great example, as it's really a slap-on label we've applied to all orchestral and chamber music, regardless of how little uniformity there is. A better example would be blues or bluegrass.

Jennifer said...

Nathan: I guess my point was that there's a lot of variation even within the genres you pointed to. Put some of Chopin's trilly-er stuff next to one of Bach's Fugues and its hard to tell what makes them both classical.

Mary: Grow up. Freddy Mercury's style is a little tough to pull off.

Jennifer said...

Nathan: Oh, never mind. You got that covered.

Nathan said...

Point taken, jennifer. I realize my argument is a bit slippery -- where does one draw the line between acceptable evolution and a crossover into some entirely different genre? It's a tough question, but I think I know it when I hear it (and see it -- like these dorks in Rascal Flatts running around with soul patches, gelled up hair and frosted tips).

Jennifer said...

Nathan: LOL. I actually like Rascal Flatts, although I never dug their updated Mr. Rogers look.

I do hear what you're saying. And, what we call country definitely has changed.

reader_iam said...

I don't watch AI, for reasons I blogged about elsewhere at some point.

However, I do get a kick out of reading the comments over here.

I absolutely will watch the Queen version if there's any contestant who could carry off (or the opposite in a sublimely awful way) Tie Your Mother Down.

Nah, they wouldn't pick that Queen song anyway: but what a freakin' hoot that would be.

knoxgirl said...

OK, it really doesn't get more melodramatic than "the music of Queen" so if this is true, next week will reach "dangerously cheesy" levels!!!!! wheeeeeeeee!

reader_iam said...

Oh, Lord--"Killer Queen" done by some young chick with operatic pretensions? Anyone like that on there?

My, oh, my, oh, my ...

You know that kind of uncontrollable laughter that isn't about funny, really?

Well, that's what I'm struggling with this very minute.

OK, they promise to do that, I might live blog the darn thing.

Help!

Jennifer said...

Absolutely! And I, for one, am hoping they blow it out of the water and bring back the god awful yet wonderful group number for the maximum cheese factor.

bill said...

I don't know if our reasons are the same, but like reader_iam I also enjoy the comments here while not watching the show.

Regarding Queen, two highlights from last summer's "Rockstar: INXS" were two performers going after "Bohemian Rhapsody." Freddie Mercury is not easy to cover and "Rhapsody" requires quite the range and arsenal of techniques. That song will flat out break any singer lacking in confidence.

Tristram said...

As for AI: I thought, early on, that this was the best collection of overall talent they've had on the show. Now, the more I see these kids, the less I think of them. Why is that? Is it because the different demands of the various genres expose their weaknesses (like Taylor singing John Denver)? Or does familiarity breed contempt in this case -- I'm more likely to hear the flaws in their performances after hearing them week after week? Either way, this group seems to be getting stale pretty early for me.

I think maybe the pressure is getting to them. I remember watching George Huff crumble week after week. I mean, I REALLY like him, and his voice. But each week, he just got more and more nervous. I told my wife two weeks ago that Ace is pulling George Huff. They are all very, very, very good. But live performances and LIVE rejections, they don't live in a bubble so they must hear the hate (and certainly some of their families do.) I mean Catherine has been asked on national television if she is pregnant (because of her rather bad choice in clothes). Kellie last night had to answer about being a dumber than a dirt road hick. I couldn't take that pressure. These aren't yet true professionals. They have never had this kind of pressure. I feel a lot of empathy for them (well, since Kevin, David and Brenna are gone at any rate).

I really don't want any of them to lose at this point.

Uncle Mikey said...

First, I like Ryan Seacrest. He is a big part of why the show works

True, but lately he takes any and all opportunities to get nasty with Simon for no apparent reason, and it's intensely annoying. I'm not watching Idol to hear Seacrest's opinion of Simon's opinion, especially when Simon's is the only one that matters. I suppose Seacrest thinks he's standing up for the performers, but enough already. It's passive-aggressive and pathetic.

Regarding Queen, two highlights from last summer's "Rockstar: INXS" were two performers going after "Bohemian Rhapsody." Freddie Mercury is not easy to cover and "Rhapsody" requires quite the range and arsenal of techniques. That song will flat out break any singer lacking in confidence.

The blonde girl on Rock Star did a really great job with it, I thought. Best part of that episode. Didn't Constantine pull off Rhapsody last year on Idol? He's not the greatest singer, but he had fun with it, and there are a lot of GREAT Queen songs. Killer Queen, Don't Stop Me Now, Somebody to Love, Rhapsody, Pressure and more. I'm 1000X more interested in watching Queen night than Country night.

jinnmabe said...

The odd thing to me is that instead of this week bringing out the country haters, it's brought out the country snobs. All this grousing reminds me of Dana Carvey's character from SNL, the old man who screamed "That's the way it was and we LIKED it!" talking about the old days. "That's not real country, you say. And the standard you're using is the same for pornography, that you "know it when you see it." American Idol turns everyone into a music expert. It's hilarious.

Obviously there are some songs that, as Ann said, make you feel that you hate music, but they're certainly not relegated to the "country" genre (or the "bubblegum pop" genre either). If I never hear "how do i live" again, it'll be too soon.

PatCA said...

Yes, they're rank amateurs and they stink, but that's what makes it fun!

Nathan said...

One doesn't have to be an "expert" to realize that the crap being put out by Nashville these days bears little to no relation to traditional country music. Big and Rich? Cowboy Troy, anyone?

What makes country music "country" is an authentic, organic sound and feel, which originated in people's living rooms and on their front porches, not in recording studios, sung for fellowship and/or to express something real. Country, blues, gospel, bluegrass -- these genres lose their appeal when stripped of their organic roots in the culture of a particular people.

Pop music is the antithesis of these authentic genres -- it was created to make money and appeal to the lowest common denominator. Those who care about country music should reject the "popification" of Nashville. I don't object to hearing a little rock, blues, bluegrass, or gospel in my country music -- these are legitimate, authentic genres that strive to express something real, that have roots in real feeling.

But not the insipid, meaningless background noise that is pop music. Mixing pop and country is like mixing Mozart and Megadeath.

That's my "expert" opinion. And yes, I know it when I hear it. I'll let AI know I'm available to replace Paula when they finally give her the ax.

knoxgirl said...

Tristram: George Huff=my all-time fave.


Uncle Mikey: I think Ryan is trying to say all the things to Simon the contestants would if they could. I also interpret it as "all in good fun," not mean-spirited...

LarryK said...

What I want to know is when will they have Gregorian Chant week? This genre has been sadly ignored for too long. I'd also love to see Katharine giggle as she "works" at the piano with a Gregorian monk, then tell everyone how much this music has always meant to her.

Hecla Ma said...

Monday night on PBS they ran a program called "Operatunity" in which thousands of UK folk auditioned for a chance to sing on the stage of the English National Opera in a full-fledged professional production.

They narrowed the thousands down to 12 and I must say the 12 were VERY impressive, considering they'd for the most part had no training. They were SO good, in fact that the judges ended up unable to settle on one, and deciding to choose TWO winners, who would share the part of Gilda in Rigoletto - a very big part for amateur singers.

It was remarkable. The two singers - a foodstore checkout clerk named Jane Gilchrist and a blind mother of 4 named Denise Leigh shared the role and did very impressive jobs. Nothing garnering the respect of the classical music world, of course, but they're actually recording albums now, and embarking on concert careers with their very respectable instruments.

I'd LOVE to see that in the US. I'd love to see how it might increase appreciation for that bigger-than-life artform here in the US.

paulfrommpls said...

There are probably some good new county songs; if any of them were included last night it was hard to tell. It really does baffle me though that these kids are not aware of or are not advised about the vast fields of opportunity that existed from which to choose, from earlier years. Why in God’s name did Taylor choose the song he did? A song which he evidently didn’t really like very much? I can think of a dozen Merle songs he might have done well with: how about Workin’ Man Blues? Belt it out. Get raspy. Are the advisors morons or just country-ignorant? Or are they somehow ordered to stay recent?

paulfrommpls said...

It just hit me: Country Roads is an old song. So they didn't have to be new. Weird. How about The Grand Tour? That woulda been great. (George Jones, for those who don't know.)

Big River - another one.

Lorie Byrd said...

With all due respect to those commenting above, no one should ever try to sing George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today" but the possum himself. I watched a special on CMT last week counting down what they considered the top 100 country songs and the top ten were all sung by artists honoring the originals, except for "He Stopped Loving Her Today." They had George Jones do that one himself because they said no one could sing it like he does and they were right.

I think no one chose a Rascal Flatts song for a similar reason -- the lead singer has a very distinct voice that would be hard to imitate. I do love their song "Skin," and would have loved to hear Chris sing it. Even if someone could successfully sing the song, though, it would not work unless the entire song could be sung or part of the story would be lost and at this stage, all of the songs are chopped up.

reader_iam said...

Nathan: Mozart and Megadeth? You may be on to something.

larryk: American Idol meets Gregorian Chants! You too are on to something.

Maybe you guys can become producers!

And just to be clear, I have quite the soft spot for "Queen" (and probably everything they ever recorded, via the husband, who plays a very, very mean guitar indeed--probably why he likes Queen).

rhodeymark1 said...

Even though they wouldn't be familiar to most here, some of the best AI friendly Queen covers would be the (drummer) Roger Taylor sung selections. "I'm In Love With My Car" or "Tenement Funster" would be dynamite for Chris.
I predict poor choices & pain though, for them and us...

bill said...

Adding more fuel to the "what's country music" argument. Earlier in this thread I passed along a link to Jack Sparks - don't know if anyone read it, but anyone interested in the alt-country scene and disgusted with the Nashville product would enjoy him. Jack has a new post up as a letter to Kenny Chesney. He quotes from many of the greats questioning what is being offered as country music:
Johnny Cash
Waylon Jennings
Merle Haggard
EmmyLou Harris

Jack ends with Know this, as you pull into our town on your floating whorehouse tour bus...Garrison Keillor is having Brad Paisley on "A Prairie Home Companion" this same weekend. Why? Because he can really play his guitar, and every now and then writes his own songs. Where was your invite?