A Moment's All I Ask – 3.18.09

Quick thoughts on American Idol‘s country week:

Michael Sarver sang Garth Brooks’ “Ain’t Going Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up”, and it frankly lacked the energy that made Garth’s music special in this genre. Michael has the chops to be a country singer, but why can’t he loosen up? And why do contestants enjoy being smartasses to the judges this year?

Allison Iraheta is damn good, and it was nice to hear her cover Patty Loveless’ “Blame It on Your Heart”. She is the one to beat among the women, and really surprised and impressed me on making that song her own.

Kris Allen did the Garth Brooks country ballad, “Make You Feel My Love”, and basically made it into an easy-listening pop ballad. I wish he had his guitar, as he seems much more alive and in his element than when he’s without it.

Lil Rounds sang Martina McBride’s “Independence Day”, and it was massively disappointing. She’s got so much potential, but that performance just fell flat.

My boy Adam Lambert did a alternative/U2-type version of Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire”, which was charismatic and enjoyable. He’s doing what they are supposed to do, in turning the song into a unique and reflective performance. As a fan of Johnny Cash, I enjoyed Adam’s take on this track, and think Cash would have liked him taking the song to a different plateau.

Scott MacIntyre sang Martina McBride’s “Wild Angels” and he needs to spice it up a bit. I agree that he is best with a piano, but I feel I don’t feel his vulnerability in connecting with his songs like that.

Alexis Grace did Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”, but didn’t dirty it up enough. I think sometimes these contestants forget that it’s imperative to really connect with the material for an effective performance.

Danny Gokey‘s version of the Carrie Underwood hit “Jesus Take The Wheel” annoyed me for a variety of reasons, namely covering a fellow Idol’s song, and being a little too transparent in its pandering for the religious vote. Even though I know he’s religious, I didn’t feel the same vulnerability and emotional reach that Underwood brought to the song. Danny’s still safe, though.

Anoop Desai (who I forgot was still in this competition) did a unique and pretty good version of “Always on My Mind”, which is such a classic in its own right that it’s a tough one to take on. He’s safe for at least one more week.

Megan “Wiggler” Joy did a jazz version of “Walking After Midnight”, and while I absolutely don’t understand her almost crazy twisting, it’s great she toughed out a case of the flu to perform. I wish she had done a little bit more with it, but I think she’s going to be safe, partly by way of the sympathy factor. On a side note, anyone who really loves music needs to check out the Patsy Cline catalog.

Matt Giraud also did a Carrie Underwood track, in “So Small”, for which I just saw the original video this weekend and loved it. Yeah, it’s a song by another Idol, but he did fine with it.

My prediction was that Alexis would be in trouble and potentially Megan, and even though I got my prediction right, as Alexis got the boot, it’s no doubt she was put in a tough position by having to sing while scared shitless. It’s definitely a interesting position to be placed in, but ultimately the viewers made the right decision.

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