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Haterade's Idol Anal-ysis: Round of 11

Welcome to the St. Patrick's Day version of American Idol. In the next 2 hours we'll find out which performances kissed the Blarney Stone and which ones may prompt you to go to a bar to get hammered.

We start with what may be the most prolific thing that Ryan Seacrest has said this season - 'After a few pints, this show might get really good'. If you keep up with the stupid Irish Jig music and the dopey clover graphics, then that may tempt me to go out and purchase some Guiness.

The fact that this week's theme is The Grand Ole Opry may also play a factor. Country week has always consisted of some strange and awful performances, and with what happened last week, I'm sensing that this edition will be a fine addition to that library. Once again, game show guru Jason Block will be along for the ride - and I expect him to be really acerbic, because he is a country music fan.

But will we start with awful, amazing, or average? Only mentor Randy Travis knows as he says that this is one of the stronger groups that he's seen. We'll see if Michael Sarver can add some flavor (yet keep the words) with 'Ain't Goin' Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up'
The Good: He definitely had fun with the song and did a good job on the lyrics. He also kept the pitch and he pandered to the ladies - without breaking concentration. The addition of the harmonica player is a nice touch. It was a strong performance.
The Bad: No vocal range in that song whatsoever. Granted the song is about the lyrics and not the vocal range, but when you're in a competition looking for the best singer, you need to pick vocally challenging songs, and this isn't one of them. He also needs to expand his fan base, because he's not going to be able to find something to rock out on every single week.
The Jason: The song was too big for him. He was mumbling and trying to keep up with the song. I didn't like the song choice...combine a mumbling performance and a bad start to the show and we have someone who's in deep trouble right out of the gate.
The Verdict: He selected a really good song to deliver to his specific crowd that will get him votes. He delivered the performance. The masses will deliver the votes. He has no issues this evening.

Allison Iraheta wants to sing 'Blame It On Your Heart' by Patty Loveless. Randy Travis liked the song - but not the cutesy dance that goes with it. Trust me Allison, don't do the dance. Don't do it.
The Good: You need to sing the song with fire, which Allison did. It's a spunky, rocked out version of the song, and she hit the pitch very well. Like Michael, it was a very good performance.
The Bad: If she has issues, it's not the pitch of the song, it's the tone. She has a vibrato that can cause farm animals to flee for their lives. And the outfit looked like a punk Cinderella who's in the process of changing from going to the ball to sitting back into the fireplace.
The Jason: Like the attitude in the performance. She had the country growl but swallowed the mike a few times. She has some pipes this week. Great song choice. A solid performance gets her on the tour.
The Verdict: In a crowded rock field, she needed to stand out and blow people out of the box. What she did was decent, but it also felt safe and didn't blow me away and the tone didn't help. That could spell problems later - especially if Adam puts together a nice performance.

Next up is Kris Allen, who Randy Travis liked because he made Garth Brook's version of 'To Make You Feel My Love' different, and without his trademark guitar. Will it pay off with your votes?
The Good: It showed that he didn't need the guitar to have a good performance. It was a very soulful effort, and the way he made love to the camera was professional. You could feel him smolder from my tv set, which may have developed sweats.
The Bad: I'm drinking cold milk and mixing it with Jolt, doing anything to stay awake through that really boring, sleep-inducing song. The only thing that jolted me awake was the off-pitch notes that he threw in there, especially that wonky falsetto note thrown in there at the end.
The Jason: Most of the song, he trailed off with some of the lyrics. It was cute, but I am not 100% sure. I think he did just enough to get on the tour bus.
The Verdict: I didn't like it nearly as much as the judges did. However, Kris' music market is AC, and like Kris and Allison, he gave a performance that I think will cause his fan base to vote for him. That should keep him safe this week.

Someone that I expect to be safe for the next month is Lil Rounds, who wants to honor country and hold back her R&B roots. I'm not sure if that's wise, and I'm not sure if singing Martina McBride's 'Independence Day' is wise as well. Randy Travis wanted her to slow it down, but he thinks she can nail the song.
The Good: I will give her props for singing a country version of the song. She did pull it off for the most part, especially during the chorus.
The Bad: However, I have an issue with the front part of the song. There was no emotion in the front half, and it felt like both the fire and the pitch took an Independence Day holiday. And a boo to Randy Jackson, who wanted Lil to sing a stereotypical 'I Will Always Love You' for us to be subjected to for the 18,069th time.
The Jason: Nailed the song. Made it enough of her own style that to me, didn't seem like a copy. This was a very good performance and I felt that the judges were being way too harsh with her and too critical. They were nitpicking a performance that was very good and I appreciated the risk she took. There's no way she's going home.
The Verdict: I liked that she really took a risk here. If she added a little fire to the beginning of the song, it would have completely paid off. That being said, I think she added a fan base to her audience. It may not pay off now, but it will pay off later when the final few singers are looking for voters beyond their genre.

How is a glam rocker like Adam Lambert going to take on country? This is the performance that I have been expecting - or dreading - the most. He's going for 'Signature Adam' with 'Burning Ring of Fire', with sitar and Middle Eastern flair. Signature Adam? Randy Travis being really concerned? Uh oh.
The Good: ...um...er....I actually liked this performance. He sang this song uniquely (well, not completely uniquely, because this is a rendition performed previously) but a warm refreshing take on a song we've heard 18,069 times before. He really took a risk here and unlike last week, his voice actually fit the song choice. Or maybe I'm just ready to go to Bellevue.
The Bad: However, Simon is absolutely 100% right when he called it indulgent. It wont hurt him now, but it will later when he needs a larger chunk of America to keep him in the competition, who will not like someone that they have considered a blasphemer to their sacred songs. And the last 2 notes sounded less like singing and more like what he would sound like if Randy Travis got a hold of him, dipped him in candle oil and put him in a burning ring of fire.
The Jason: What is this mess? This was too experimental. This was him being him, but I am not sure that this arrangement works...this was either a loved or hated rendition by the judges. I don't think it was as bad as Simon says, but I don't think it was as good as Randy says. He'll definitely make the tour.
The Verdict: He's not going to get the country vote here. However, he will get his constituency to vote for him en masse. I agree with the judges that it was strange, but for me, it worked. Adam is a polarizing figure, and unfortunately, polarizing figures will not win the competition, but for me, I liked this 200% more from him this week than last week. Hey Jason, do you have those men in the white coats waiting for me yet?
The Jason: Not yet. We still have more of a recap to do. If you start wearing black nail polish, I'll get worried.
Ok then.

Randy Travis doesn't like Scott MacIntyre's version of Martina McBride's 'Wild Angels', so after a lot of time chopping it up, they give us a renewed version. Will it renew America?
The Good: The second half of the song was heavenly. It was powerful and really showcases the upper register. It was the type of song that you want people to select when they want to showcase their voice.
The Bad: If the second half of the song was heavenly, the lifeless first half was a trip to Hades to experience Sisyphus and the rest of the torments of the Underworld. I agree with the judges that he's way too similar on his song selection, and with 30-40 songs to choose from, you shouldn't blame your song on the fact that you lost a hat draw. The talking back to the judges not only isn't witty, but it makes him look like a tool, which after you're done using it, usually gets shoved in the back of a drawer and is never seen again.
The Jason: The performance, while good, was again another piano/vocals thing. He has to do something different to make him different than everyone else. He could be in trouble this week. Song choices could do him in.
The Verdict: Scott needs to mix his song selection up. He is turning into David Archuleta-lite, which is a problem because unlike Archuleta, Scott neither has the talent nor the charisma to pull it off. I think he will be safe this week, but the luster is starting to come off the diamond.

Alexis Grace loves country music and thinks that everyone is singing great. She'll see if she can continue the good vibes with 'Jolene', which Randy Travis considers perfect.
The Good: It's a very melodic interpretation of the song. It's a beautiful song that's well-known and will net her a lot of votes...
The Bad: ...if it's executed properly, which this wasn't. I think the problem here isn't the song but Brooke White's performance of this same song last year. And between Alexis' pitch problems and her choosing to sing arias instead of lyrics, Brooke drilled her into the floor. I agree with Randy Jackson that Alexis is trying to make the song too much her own. And I HATED the fact that she made her hair look like Dolly Parton's 1970's bouffant, which makes her look less like Alexis and more about a bad impersonation of Parton.
The Jason: Liked the rock flair to Jolene. she connected with me as a performer. She sang herself into the tour, I think. Her performance was not as bad as the judges thought. She's not going anywhere.
The Verdict: We finally found someone who may have issues going into tomorrow's results night. We're going to find out just how strong Alexis' fan base really is.

Danny Gokey is terrified about performing in front of Randy Travis. Nerves got to him, and he hopes it doesn't get him on Tuesday. The rest of us hope that when he performs 'Jesus take the Wheel', that his amnesiatic brain isn't being a back seat driver.
The Good: He sounded like a front-runner once we got to the chorus. It's a beautiful singing performance, which makes us remember why he was notched as one of the favorites to begin with.
The Bad: We've seen this a lot tonight. Great second half, but lethargic front half, as it felt like Jesus finally took the wheel after wrestling it from 'Evil Danny Gokey' for 45 seconds. And I agree with Simon on the white jacket - it looks like after the performance, Danny is going to run the Iditarod with a bunch of sled dogs. Mush!
The Jason: I didn't feel this song with him. I'm sorry, he looks nervous and this isn't his wheelhouse. However, he did enough to get in this week.
The Verdict: The second half of the song is going to bail him out. And a note to Danny - and everyone for that matter - what sets the second half of a song up is a spirited first half with emotion and passion, not the attitude of 'Nailing the end of a song will exonerate the first 85 seconds of what I did'. Because eventually, it won't.

Anoop Desai has been great..during Hollywood Week. On stage? Not so much. Anoop really needs a good performance badly, especially during country week. Can he deliver with 'Always on My Mind'? Randy Travis thinks he can - and will. He better...
The Good: He finally gave entertaining a back seat to performance and delivered an amazing vocal. See what happens when you concentrate on delivering a good performance instead of picking songs that you like?
The Bad: What was somewhat on my mind was a shaky opening and him adding in some words as we go along.
The Jason: Loved the R&B switch to the song. he's in the front of the Tour Bus. By the way, he was awesome. Best performance of the night by far, period.
The Verdict: Wow. Where did THAT come from? Amazingly good performance. Anoop did everything right. Perfect song choice. He made it his own. He hit the pitch (the last 95% of the song), and it really showed off his voice. The best performance of the night so far. Now can he string some of these together and make himself a real contender to win the whole thing?

Megan Joy Corkery wants to go 'Walking After Midnight'. Randy Travis didn't like the selection, but he called it unique when Megan makes her own twist to it. We'll see...
The Good: I love the blonde hair coming down the tresses. The way she shakes that cleavage makes her look like one of those Goddesses coming out of the sea that the sailors revere...
The Bad: ...until they realize that she was actually an evil siren who is there to destroy their eardrums, so the sailors pilot the ships into the rocks to avoid the singing. What was that? The tone was off, the pitch was terrible, and maybe her voice is hypnotizing the judges to make her think she actually sang well. And the pale brown dress makes her look like she was sitting in the water for a good 72 hours before coming out of the depths to deliver a performance that should be dragged back down there.
The Jason: What the hell was this? The vocal trills was awful. She's in trouble, but will get a pass because of her sickness.
The Verdict: I'm sorry she's battling the flu. Make sure to have an immaculate germ-free stool waiting for her when she winds up in the bottom 3.

Finally, here's Matt Giraud, who picks up 'So Small' and decides to make it big. What's up with male singers deciding to perform Carrie Underwood? Randy Travis thinks that people will love him. Will we?
The Good: Now this is a piano piece that works. Why? Because Matt delivers the emotion to the song that Scott's performance lacked. The piano complemented the singing, instead of overpowering it. Good job on a really nice vocal.
The Bad: I only wish the song was more well-known. The lack of song recognition combined with a lack of identity could hurt him later on down the line. He needs to be a little more mainstream.
The Jason: Liked this rendition. The piano was better for him than for Scott. He will have no problems this week. Great performance.
The Verdict: One of the best performances of the night. He's starting to build up steam and could be a force to reckon with. We may be at a point soon that America won't have enough votes to support 2 piano players in the same genre, and if I'm Scott MacIntyre, I may be concerned.

Overall Verdict: This was a surprisingly solid show this evening, a lot better than I thought it deserved to be. That makes my decision hard as to who should be leaving...well not too hard on 2 of the bottom 3, because Alexis and Megan should be reserving stools. I also think we have too many rockers in the Top 11, and since I'm not convinced that Rock Country is going to work here, I think Allison will join the ladies.

Trouble: Megan Joy Corkery, Alexis Grace, Allison Iraheta

But I don't think Allison's leaving. I think Allison will get out of the bottom, leaving Megan and Alexis, the 2 weakest performers down there. And whereas Alexis fan base will mobilize to save her, I can't say the same with Megan, who has yet to have a forgettable performance for the right reasons and who didn't have the voting base to begin with. I also don't think that the judges are going to use the save on Megan, so now she can use her mesmerizing blond hair and tattoos to bewitch some music producers to give her a recording contract.

Out: Megan Joy Corkery

The Jason: This week, a lot of people stepped their game up, big time. Country music does that. This week, we have more obvious choices as to who is in trouble and who is going home. Who goes home? Scott's performance was by the numbers, and Megan's was flu-related. So they both get a pass. Michael's performance was so bad, and so obvious that he's going home. No, the save won't be used this week.

Trouble: Scott MacIntyre, Meghan Joy Corkery, Michael Sarver
Out: Michael Sarver

Join us in 24 hours to see who has tears in their green-colored beer.

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1) I was mesmerized by Adam, not necessarily in a good way, but whatever. I think he was channeling Jim Morrison a little there, but I still forsee him taking over from Frank Marino on The Strip when this is all done.

2) Did Megan Corkery change her name to Megan Joy? And it was very hard to take my eyes of her pendulous bosom, and again, not necessarily in a good way.

said Scaramouch on March 18, 2009 3:48 PM.

Whenever you refer to someone's bosom as "pendulous"..well, that is not a good thing.

Overall, I found the show a bit hard to watch. Wish they would just stop doing country week. Let the ones who *want* to do country, do country..and let everyone else do what they want to do.

said CindylovesScara on March 18, 2009 6:49 PM.
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