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American Idol Season 8 Top 11

Published March 18, 2009 in Television
By J Rodgers | Image property of Fox
American Idol American Idol

We were treated to a night of sweet redemption and surprises.

The Top 11 were to perform songs from members of the Grand Ole Opry (I’ll call it country). Randy Travis was the night’s mentor. Poor Randy learned things about men in black nail polish etc., which may turn the rest of his wavy locks gray. Travis is a qualified mentor having sold 25 million records and 22 #1 hits.

We saw a video history of The Grand Ole Opry which ended with Idol’s own Carrie Underwood being invited to join.

Let’s break down the contestants performances from worst to first


American Idol: Top 11


Michael Sarver – “Ain’t Goin’ Down till the Sun Comes Up”, Garth Brooks – this genre should have been his strong suit, it was just ok, not much performance quality, overly ambitious song choice – Randy said cool song choice, did not show his best; Kara said got to see personality, but no big notes; Paula said good to see you have fun; Simon said should have been good, clumsy, could not understand a word.

Scott Macintyre – “Wild Angels”, Martina McBride – performance was ok, almost boring, too much like last week, needs to mix it up, I am not feeling the quality he had in Hollywood week – Paula said impressive lovely performance, piano a crutch, separates you from the audience, mix it up; Simon said he disagreed with Paula and that it was a stupid thing to say, piano works for Elton John, performances are too similar; Randy said looking for hot vocals, but just nice vocals; Kara said you need to up your game and wow us, great class and poise.

Lil Rounds – “Independence Day”, Martina McBride – first half not good seemed she could not get her breathing right, second half much better – Randy said interesting, struggled in the front part, power part was ‘ahright’, (suggested “I Will Always Love You” – I call this an Idol kiss of death song, the contestant is told “you’re no Whitney”, c’mon dog it’s a no win song choice); Kara said we all know you are a great singer, not your best; Paula said vocals spot on, everything is going right for you (was she listening?); Simon said like a wedding singer asked to sing something you weren’t comfortable with.

Megan Joy Corkrey – “I Go Walking After Midnight”, Patsy Cline – I will sound like Simon for a moment but, hate the dress, had some trouble with the high notes, tried so hard to suppress the “dancing” – Randy said quite impressed, bluesy-souly-Megan; Kara said perfect song, perfect look, has the flu; Paula said she was fantastic even though she had been to the hospital and back; Simon said you should have the flu every week, worried the stylists are styling away her quirkiness.

Danny Gokey – “Jesus Take the Wheel”, Carrie Underwood – verse serviceable with a few pitch problems, chorus well done, (side note – no longer wearing his wedding ring), his weakest performance thus far – Kara said when you hit your stride like home; Paula said love when artist builds a story, brilliant; Simon said he agreed with Paula, has a problem with what you are wearing; Randy said agree with Kara, verses need to be supported better, pitchy



Allison Iraheta – “Blame it on Your Heart”, Patty Lovelace – nice hybrid between country and rock, good showing – Kara said you can sing the alphabet and sing it well; Paula said rock solid performance; Simon said good, tuneless in parts, struggling to remember the words, bordering on precocious; Randy said not precocious – dope.

Adam Lambert – “Ring of Fire”, Johnny Cash (sort of) – used a Middle Eastern arrangement of the Cash classic, channeling Freddie Mercury, probably frightened some viewers, but the vocals were great – Kara said all a little strange, drama eyes, strange but I liked it; Paula said someone who stands out true to who you are, great song choice, compared to Kashmir Led Zeppelin; Simon said what the hell was that, lots of people in Nashville throwing their TV’s out the window, indulgent rubbish, horrific; Randy said 9 Inch Nails doing country, current, young, fresh, hot.

Alexis Grace – “Jolene”, Dolly Parton – I feel the walk down the stairs took away from the song, love the quality of her voice, bluesy – Randy said pitch problems, tried to bend it too much; Kara said lost your edge, a bit flat; Paula said more effective than the others think, artistic approach, showed vulnerable soft side; Simon said ok, sound alike, not a lot of originality, will forget it in 10 minutes time.

Matt Giraud – “So Small”, Carrie Underwood – nicely done, accompanied self on piano, confident performance – Kara said nothing small about you, amazing; Paula said authenticity and honesty of performance; Simon said heart piercer, out sang Danny, compared to Michael Buble, one of the best in the competition; Randy said favorite performance of the night, got it goin’ on baby.

Kris Allen – “To Make you Feel my Love”, Garth Brooks – vulnerable, clean performance, final note sweet – Paula said pleasantly surprised, honest, pure, smart choice; Simon said terrific, completely in control, first time I heard you perform and think you have a shot; Randy said out on a limb, tender moments from my dog Kris; Kara said didn’t know it was Opry, very Kris.

Anoop Desai – “You are Always on my Mind”, Willie Nelson – sweet redemption, what a comeback, unique, beautiful, well done – Paula said Anoop is back, so proud, fit you like a glove, vocals tender, honest, amazing; Simon said you just went from zero to hero, good choice, one of my favorites of the night, glad to have you back; Randy said you can really sing, like the arrangement, dope; Kara said hard to do an untouchable song, biggest surprise, best performance of the night.

Who will be eliminated? Who will make it to the Touring Top 10? Results Wednesday on Fox – performances by Brad Paisley and a duet with Randy Travis and AI Season 4 winner, Carrie Underwood.

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J Rodgers
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