American Idol: Top 11 Perform

by Jane Boursaw, posted Mar 18th 2009 12:15AM
American Idol - Top 11 PerformIt's country week on American Idol! It's always fun to see the country singers shine, and the rockers and R&B singers try and muddle through. Randy Travis was on hand to offer advice to the singers, and you can tell that most of them were star-struck about having a one-on-one with him. Let's get to it:

Michael Sarver
sang "Ain't Goin' Down Til the Sun Comes Up." He did a pretty good job with it, other than flubbing the lyrics a little in the middle. Randy Jackson liked the song, but wasn't sure about the vocals. Kara thought it was fun, but she missed the big notes. Paula thought the genre suited him, and Simon said it was clumsy and he couldn't understand the words. On a scale of 1 to 10, he'd give it 1.2. Really? It didn't seem that bad to me.

American Idol' Season 8 Results

    Feb. 26, 2009: Adam Lambert Makes the Top 12
    "I like this guy more than [David] Cook, he is just more energetic and he owned the night."

    -- Lindahbird


    Feb. 26, 2009: Nick Mitchell Is Eliminated (For Now)
    "We all know that Norman will not win 'Idol,' but I'm glad that he was in the Top 36, and he does have a good voice! He was very entertaining and funny, and I'm glad that he was chosen for Top 36! He will probably get some gigs in Hollyweird! I actually voted for him, ha ha!"

    -- PinkSunset77


    Feb. 26, 2009: Allison Iraheta Makes the Top 12
    "She is just awesome ... there is so much talent in that 16-year-old ... just amazing!! She really is my favorite so far. But it has been a tough couple of weeks as far as song choice!!!"

    -- DEBBIE8863


    Feb. 26, 2009: Kris Allen Makes the Top 12
    "He's cute and I liked him but I thought that Matt had more potential."

    -- BESTBUNNY10


    Feb. 26, 2009: Nick Mitchell Is Eliminated (For Now)
    "I honestly don't think Norman is the least bit funny. I think he is making a huge joke out of 'American Idol.' There are 35 other contestants that are being serious and really trying and then there is Norman."

    -- Bpadra


    Feb. 26, 2009: Megan Corkrey Is Eliminated (For Now)
    "I knew I liked this wild card thing. Megan will be back."

    -- PETCRAB


    Feb. 26, 2009: Adam Lambert Makes the Top 12
    "I didn't care for him at all. I thought he was way over the top and way too theatrical for that song. I'm sure he'll get through. I'll be interested to see what he does when they have themes. Maybe he'll grow on me, but right now I would put him second or third behind some of the other ones I've heard."

    -- JandeCBS


    Feb. 18, 2009: Danny Gokey Makes the Top 12
    "When [Danny] and Tatiana were called up, he had the cockiest look on his face.
    Like he's a really good singer, but whenever I see him, I just think about how cocky he looks."

    -- RoshanMcG


    Feb. 18, 2009: Alexis Grace Makes the Top 12
    "Alexis is the whole package! So cute ... with such a big voice."

    -- clammy1954


    Feb. 18, 2009: Michael Sarver Makes the Top 12
    "I don't really get the appeal. I mean, he's a likeable guy, but as a performer, he just doesn't seem that good to me. I definitely thought Ricky and Anoop sounded better."

    -- TGirl1045


Allison Iraheta sang "Blame It On Your Heart." Randy Travis said he's never heard this kind of maturity in a 16-year-old. She does a great job, looks relaxed, and has a stage presence like I've never seen. You'd never know she had that voice, because off-stage, she seems to have no ego whatsoever. Kara said she could sing the alphabet if she wanted, and every week she gets better. Paula called it a rock-solid performance. Simon thought it was tuneless in parts and wondered if she was struggling to remember the words (not the case). Randy called it "dope."

Kris Allen sang "To Make You Feel My Love." Randy Travis said he made the song his and didn't just copy Garth Brooks' version. It's a slow song, and he puts a lot of heart into it. It's really beautiful. Paula was pleasantly surprised, calling it an "honest, vulnerable performance." She liked seeing him without his guitar. Simon said it was "terrific," a good song choice, and this is the first time he feels like Kris has a shot of doing well in the competition. Simon also called Kris a "tender puppy." Kara called it beautiful, and Randy said he went out on a limb and gave up "tender moments from my dawg, Kris."

Lil Rounds sang "Independence Day." Randy Travis advised her to slow it down, saying she's got big pipes. I love Lil's voice, and have loved everything she's done so far, but this is my least favorite performance of hers. It's hard to top Martina McBride's version, but she did a good job with it. Randy said it didn't feel comfortable to him. Paula said Lil looked beautiful, but she wished she would have sang just one verse and then gone to the bigger chorus. Simon – who kept calling her Little - said it was like a song she was forced to sing at a wedding. Lil said she understands what the judges are saying, but that "you'll always get Lil Rounds."

Adam Lambert sang a slow, jazzy, mysterious version of "Ring of Fire" – really interesting, and I liked it! Randy Travis said he's a great singer, but probably won't become a member of the Grand Ole Opry any time soon (meaning he's just not "country"). Kara said the version was a little strange, but she liked it because she got the drama and the "eyes." Paula said he's true to himself as an artist. She loved the Middle Eastern sitar-type rendition, and likened it to a "cashmere Led Zeppelin." Simon said "What the hell was that?" and called it "absolute indulgent rubbish." Randy said it was like Nine Inch Nails doing a country song.

Scott Macintyre sang "Wild Angels." Randy Travis loved his piano playing and called it "impressive." The vocals with the piano and backup from the house band were really nice. All the Idols are really good this year! Paula said it was impressive and lovely, though she wondered if he was using the piano as a crutch (what? They've always loved his piano). Simon called Paula's comment comment, and said Scott's very comfortable behind the piano, comparing it to Elton John or Billy Joel. But Simon didn't really like the song choice, because it's forgettable. Randy said he'd looking for those "hot, crazy, unbelievable vocals," and hasn't seen them this week or last week. Kara told Scott to up his game, but she's impressed with his class and poise on the stage.

Alexis Grace sang "Jolene." Randy Travis said it's a good choice for her, and she seems to understand about storytelling in a song. He said Dolly Parton will be proud. Randy Jackson said it was a little pitchy and not a great performance. Kara said she lost her edge a bit, but Paula thought the song was effective, bringing out the soft, vulnerable side of her. Simon thought it was a little "sound-alike," and people will probably forget about it in a few minutes.

Danny Gokey sang "Jesus Take the Wheel." Randy Travis called it very soulful. Aside from Danny's weird doctor's coat, I really like the performance, especially the ending. All the songs made me goosebumpy tonight. Kara said he came out of his shell in the second half. Paula called it brilliant, and said Carrie Underwood would go out and buy that record. Simon didn't like the white jacket either, saying it's like he's going on "some sort of polar expedition." Randy said he verses were pitchy.

Anoop Desai sang "Always On My Mind." Randy Travis advised him to let the song build, and thinks this will be Anoop's best performance yet. I agree. His soulful version is really heartfelt, and he's got some killer runs in there. Paula said Anoop is back, and called the performance "tender, honest, amazing, sweet vocals" that touched her heart. Simon said Anoop just went from zero to hero, adding that it's one of his favorite performances of the night. Simon also complimented him on taking last week's criticism and kicking it up a notch. Randy loved the arrangement, calling it "dope," and Kara said it was amazing, and the best performance of the night.

Megan Joy Corkrey sang "Walkin' After Midnight." Randy Travis said it was totally unexpected and unique. Megan reminds me of a 1940s pinup girl, and her little awkward movements are growing on me. Randy Jackson thought it would be a train wreck, but he really liked the rocky-bluesy-soul-jazzy thing. Kara said her look and song were perfect (and Megan has the flu, too, but you'd never know it). Paula said she's the consummate professional, and brought it even though she'd been in the hospital this week. Simon said she looked gorgeous, but wondered if the stylists are taking away some of her quirkiness.

Matt Giraud sang "So Small," and Randy Travis liked the version and found it surprising. Matt played the piano while singing, and I loved it. Again, great group of very talented Idols this year. Kara called it amazing, and Paula said he's an authentic performer who's piercing through peoples' hearts. Simon said Matt hasn't had enough credit for his vocals so far, but thinks he out-sang Danny Gokey tonight. Simon also said Matt reminds him of Michael Buble, and said it was a "terrific performance, one of the best tonight." Randy said it was his favorite performance of the night, and "you got it going on, baby."

Who should go home this week?
Michael Sarver916 (38.2%)
Allison Iraheta35 (1.5%)
Kris Allen42 (1.8%)
Lil Rounds123 (5.1%)
Adam Lambert294 (12.3%)
Scott Macintyre349 (14.5%)
Alexis Grace176 (7.3%)
Danny Gokey46 (1.9%)
Anoop Desai53 (2.2%)
Megan Joy Corkrey328 (13.7%)
Matt Giraud37 (1.5%)

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It sure is great to find out that I am not the only person who thinks that Johnny Cash had a terrible singing voice! It was tuneless and had little range. Mostly it was just a deep rumble, and he had a tendency to speak his songs, rather than sing them. But I respect him for the body of his work, if not the quality, if that makes any sense.
However, I dont think Adam was dissing country music or Johnny Cash or anything else. I just think he was just stateing in a humorous, good natured way that country was not his thing. I dont understand why people get so up in arms about things like this. I like rock, but I dont pitch a fit every time someone makes a derogatory remark about it. I dont care who likes it or doesnt like it, it takes nothing away from my enjoyment of it.

March 19 2009 at 1:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The best and most surprising performance was Adam Lambert's. I know he was imitating someone else's version of Ring of Fire, just as David Cook did with Billie Jean. I just can't think of the name of the artist who performed ROF that way.

Personally, I'm glad he had the nuggets to dis Country music when he said what he said to Randy Travis (who, BTW, is NOT getting better looking with age); it was just an acknowledgment that the genre was not is, and he was not interested in any part of it. So, good on Adam!

Please remember that Ring of Fire is really a rather ordinary song, and the only reason anyone remembers it is because Johnny Cash sang it. Johnny Cash had one of the most atrocious singing voices ever to get spun onto a 45--couldn't carry a tune in a bucket, as they used to say. I don't revere him the way some of the rednecks who also cannot sing do. He remained on the scene way too long. So I rather enjoy how the rednecks are all bummed out and upset that Adam sang the song in the style he selected.

Hey! Country music ppl! Your preferred genre isn't so precious after all. Get used to guys like Adam. HE has a singing voice. Johnny Cash DIDN'T!

March 19 2009 at 2:25 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I don't know how people can say Adam was trying to diss the country genre. I thought it was completely obvious that he was acknowledging that he completely realizes that a lot of country people are going to absolutely think he's from Mars- as Randy Travis obviously did- and that he holds no illusions that he'd ever be liked by those fans in general. It's also obvious that it's not his cup of tea, as with Simon, but he certainly didn't do or say anything disrespectful. I think he was just trying to maintain a sense of humor about the reality of the situation. And this being an "eye" contest? Haven't the naysayers noticed at all that he has, by far, the most powerful, searing vocals of all the contestants and is absolutely fearless about using the talent he was blessed with. I love to watch him as well but I don't need to. I can't wait to buy an album & play it a million times. His singing reminds me more of Ted Neely and Carl Anderson from Jesus Christ Superstar (the film) than Jim Morrison. Now THAT was singing talent. If it's not your style- that's your thing- but how can anyone not notice the range and power over the notes? I thought Ring of Fire was searing and gets better the more you play it.

March 19 2009 at 1:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I"M very tired of Danny, singing these "I had a hard life & feel sorry for me songs"! He just rubs me the wrong way. Also, I agree with Paula about about Scott, he does need to mix it up and sing to the audience. THey said the same things to Brooke last season.

March 18 2009 at 8:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm watching from Australia and it is absolutely excrutiating not being able to vote! If I could, I'd be trying my hardest to save Alexis right now. She's an awesome performer, and I thought she and Kris sounded more country than anyone else, but she needed to do a big song. I hope she has enough fans to get her through.

Adam is my favourite and yet every week I sort of watch him between my fingers because I'm scared that he'll bite off more than he can chew. He's the only one who is already excellent at everything he does and I hope he and Alexis go through to the top 2.

Megan drives me nuts. Sure, she's great at her genre but I don't think that her genre is mainstream enough. Can you actually imagine sitting through a concert or listening to a full album? She's not versatile enough-and why does she have a weird accent when she sings and not when she talks?

I thought Danny-who I usually love-was pitchy, but he still did well. Kris was awesome, and Anoop blew me away. But can he do it 2 weeks in a row?

Lil Rounds butchered that song in my opinion, although she does have an awesome voice, I think she's too similar to Fantasia.

Michael ran out of breath and spoke the song more than he sang it, and Scott was....well I got up and did the dishes during his performance lest I should fall asleep. Same with the last guy, whose name I can't remember. They were good but do they make me jump to my feet and applaud? No.

Allison rocked-as always. I won't be able to wait until it airs here tonight to find out-I'll be back here around lunch which I think is your night time.

March 18 2009 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Kris didn't copy Garth Brooks' version of the song, that's true.

He copied Adele's version. And it's a Bob Dylan song.

Hopefully, Kris can come forward and fess up, just like David Cook last season with Chris Cornell's version of "Billie Jean."

March 18 2009 at 3:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to MarcDom7's comment

Or Adam with last night's Trent Reznor version of Ring of Fire? They ALWAYS try to pass off someone else's version of a song as their own.

March 18 2009 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I think Michael is going home tonight. He has a nice voice, but it seems very limited and I agree that he is simply out of his league when compared to the other contestants.
Its interesting that Jane mentions that Megan reminds her of a 1940s pinup girl, because as I was listening to her perform, I was thinking she looked and sounded like what they called a "torch" singer in that era, with the glamorous dresses and sultry singing. Megan has a decent voice and it is very distinctive, it doesnt sound like anyone else, due to phrasing, pronunciation or something that I cant quite identify. Her biggest problem is a lack of experience, which shows in her quirky movements and awkward stage presence.
Anoop was my favorite performer last night. He gave a restrained but passionate performance, which he needed after his last two were subpar.
I honestly dont know what to make of Adams version of Ring of Fire. It took a while to wrap my head around it, but it was entertaining, it was gutsy, it was far and away the oddest thing I have heard from a contestant on AI. But I kind of liked it. If I listened to it again I may hate it though, so I am just going to go with my initial impression of bemused appreciation. By the way, I did not take any of Adams comments about Nashville or country music to be disrespectful or negative. To me it came off as just lighthearted banter with no harm intended. The dude aint country,ok? It aint how he rolls, and there is nothing wrong with that, we all have our own tastes in music.
I am likeing Allison more and more all the time. Her voice is fantastic and she just has her own vibe. She also does a good job of finding songs that fit her voice and style.
Scott seems to be struggling. His vocals are not strong and he lacks versatility. If Michael doesnt go , then Scott should.
I didnt care for Dannys performance, I hate that song to begin with, and he did nothing with it to thrill me. I fast forwarded through most of it. The judges said the last part was better, but I didnt care enough to rewind and find out.
Kris and Matt did very well, but Lil and Alexis were subpar.
As others have mentioned, Paula seems oddly coherent most of the time this season. She still doesnt verbalize her thoughts well, but she is at least making sense and making some good observations and comments.

March 18 2009 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Adam continued his artistic mastery this week. He's the best singer, the biggest risk-taker, the most original artist, and the most likely to sell a ton of records out of this whole group. Adam Lambert IS this season's American Idol. Nobody else even comes close to what he does on that stage.

March 18 2009 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I thought Kris was the best. I did like Adam. I think he has a great range. I don't see him winning AI this year cause I don't think America is ready for a goth freak but I am sure he will go far and get a record deal.
I can't stand Anoop and even though the judges liked him, I wish he was voted off.

March 18 2009 at 12:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Ok, so let me start by saying that I hate everything about Adam. His look, his posing, his screeching and the way he sticks his tongue out of his mouth when he does said screeching, BUT I absolutely loved his rendition of "Ring of Fire". I couldn't wait to see where he was taking the song next - I was completely fascinated. Go figure!!!

March 18 2009 at 12:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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