Tuesday, March 17, 2009

American Idol

Today’s American Idol featured songs from the Grand Ole Opry and 11 contestants performed. As usual, I did not agree with the judges. I like to pick my favorites based on how they sound, since I might someday want to buy their CDs (and I do actually buy CDs).  

Of note, in order of performance:

01 — Michael Sarver — Ain’t Goin’ Down ‘Til the Sun Comes Up5 Stars

For anyone who’s ever tried to sing a super fast song with dense lyrics, this was a rare feat.  For example, I’ve been practicing Reba McEntire’s version of “Fancy” for weeks now, but still don’t feel comfortable enough to sing it in public. Not only did Sarver remember all the words, he delivered them with a relaxed, pleasant manner, complete with an appropriate subtle country tone. 

I completely disagree with new judge, Kara DioGuardi, who didn’t like his performance. DioGuardi seems to prefer the “lookers” no matter how good they sound. However, looks don’t sell records to anyone but teeny boppers. Good vocals do.

Of all my favorites tonight, I feel Sarver has the largest chance of getting the axe. First, he had the “01” starting position. With 11 contestants, it’s easy to forget him by the end of the show. Second, the judges didn’t like him. If he’s voted off, he needn’t worry. Michael Sarver will easily have a successful career in country music.

05 — Adam Lambert — Ring of Fire — 4 stars

I usually don't like Lambert, but this time, he won me over. His eerie, controlled vocals on Ring of Fire reminded me Queen’s Freddie Mercury. Kudos, also, for letting us know that this Middle Eastern version wasn’t his idea, but he was borrowing it, unlike David Cook last year who seemed to take credit for unique versions he’d found on YouTube.

07 — Alexis Grace — Jolene — 3 stars

Grace’s rendition of Dolly Parton’s Jolene was lovely, although rushed, as she attempted to sing as much of the song as possible in the incredibly short time frame. Sometimes, you have to edit. Perhaps Grace didn’t feel comfortable butchering the song. I give her credit for the slower version she sang in rehearsal, which I think was much better.

08 — Danny Gokey — Jesus Take the Wheel — 5 stars

Gokey is my favorite Idol contestant this season and his performance didn’t let me down. His raspy voice adds character to any song. His singing is completely effortless, whether he’s coming on strong or soft, high or low. Incredible!

09 — Anoop Desai — Always On My Mind — 5 stars

While other contestants sounded sappy, Desai’s voice sounded romantic and emotional. He gives Julio Iglesias, Jr., a run for his money!

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