So I'm not a giant country-music fan. I mean, OK, I have a couple Garth Brooks albums and maybe one Faith Hill, but I swear I never listen to them. Country-music week is historically a super-rough one on AI. I walked in the door just barely in time to catch the first singer -- I'd been dropping off corned beef, sauerkraut, potatoes, and Irish soda bread for Jean at the ER. The very ER that's blocks from about eight Irish bars as well as the Xcel Center where a Wild game was just about to start. Traffic was a bear so I came home a little frazzled.
While I was gone I missed some good old-fashioned bathtime shenanigans with the kids. Joel reports:
Lucy: Whoever says "ketchup" first gets their hair washed first. Okay
Eddie, what do you say?
Lucy: Oooop, Eddie wants his hair washed!
Lucy: Whoever says "bathtub" first gets a prize. BATHTUB! Ohh, I get a
My ECFE parent educator tells us that making up rules for games is part of being four years old. Evidently.
OK so first up: some schpiel about Randy Travis -- honestly, I had no idea he was so old, or that his head would be so oblong. Someone mentions Carrie Underwood, to which Lucy squeals, "Carrie UNDERWEAR!?" and off we go:
Michael -- Ain't Goin' Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up
Doing Garth Brooks is incredibly dangerous -- for one, he's a gigantic karaoke favorite, and for two, he's an incredible showman. Michael's rendition was not bad, but totally forgettable. I might have enjoyed it if he'd played harmonica and sung at the same time. Joel didn't know if he liked it.
Allison -- Blame It On Your Heart
The song was blah, but she is adorable and a really strong singer. Joel likes her tone, Lucy thought it was DOPE, and I really like how Simon says "tuneless" like "chuneless." Just like that series we're watching on Henry VIII: "The Chudors." Or today: "Chuesday." So cute.
Kris -- To Make You Feel My Love
I was surprised by the quality of his voice. During this song, Eddie hit me in the head with a metal pole off an old Pack-n-Play, then blamed me for it and called me a Bad Mom about 20 times. It was a rather unpleasant ending to a nice performance.
Lil Rounds -- Independence Day
Simon, usually I kind of like you, but you're being kind of a jerk. YES there is a recording artist named Li'l Kim, who uses Li'l as an abbreviation for "Little," But Lil is also short for Lily or Lilianna and the older I get the ruder I think it is to refuse to call someone the name they ask to be called. Even if their last name sort of sounds like an adjective/noun. On to the singing: Lil, that dress is SO WEIRD. I used to fold pink cloth napkins for a living and stuff them into coffee cups, and your dress reminds me of that, and not in that good "free desserts and get to watch horses and sometimes drink free booze" way but more like "fold these 1,000 napkins and then spoon 500 cups of gross-out Louie dressing into these cruets."
So like I said, On to the singing.
It wasn't very strong. At all. She is not the powerhouse of Fantasia Barrino, or even Allison. Lucy said she looked tired. And that is that.
Adam -- Ring of Fire
The way he sang "Ring of Fire" made me cringe, thinking about the guy from Jean's blog. That said, I sort of loved it. A LOT. Joel made a couple points about Adam changing "the rules" (which were, ostensibly, to sing something "country") and about the song being "werid, but memorable" -- but the truth is, Adam NAILED IT. I mean, seriously, he is taking some giant risks going for those notes and he hits Every. Single. One. He does look like Elvis and the performance was definitely indulgent (which is not a word I use, ever, but Simon hit it on the nose) but I'm sorry, I totally loved every second of it.
Scott MacIntyre -- Wild Angels
I get this song confused with both "Wild Horses" and "10,000 Angels." Dear camerapersons: I would like to see more actual piano-playing on camera. More hand-shots. Here's my other question: do people actually WANT to see the judges fighting? I HATE watching people fight. "Good television" be damned. Just all get along, ok?
Alexis Grace -- Jolene
The wee person! Joel says. Someone sang this song last year, I says, and I just don't care for the song. Also, she had some major pitch problems. Why don't the judges ever use the phrase "off-key?" Joel also thought she was oversinging -- I don't disagree. I also hate it when people say "the reason is because..." It's really redundant. You can say "the reason IS..." or "X happens because..." but "the reason is because" just chafes my hide.
Danny Gokey -- Jesus Take the Wheel
So maybe I am just in a bad mood today, but the rimless glasses and the popped-collar jacket just put me off. And Danny, you were singing way sharp on the verse. Oof! Where's my wine!?
Anoop -- You were always on my mind
Let me tell you, the first version of this song I ever heard was some weird late-'80s techno remix, which I always liked a lot. So I disagree that the Willie Nelson and/or Johnny Cash versions are "untouchable." I also want to say that I feel like all the songs are starting in unexpectedly high keys this week. But Anoop, this was really lovely. Joel was really looking for a high falsetto note at the end, but it was a very enjoyable performance.
Commercial break: Don't you think if jet-packs ever become de rigeur, that for sure everyone would wear helmets? Or maybe the commercial was about oatmeal. Whatever.
Joel also tells a story about Saint Patrick's Day downtown today, and how walking to his car he had flashbacks to St Patrick's Days in college, with everyone giddy to be drinking beer outside, tee-hee, staggering around from a winter of inactivity + too many wobbly-pops, wearing shorts with blinding white legs peeking out.
Megan! -- Walking After Midnight
Why do I like her so much!? Who cares?! I do. The amount of her talent reminds me of a Kelly Pickler -- who, last I checked, was doing rather well. Joel remains completely uncharmed by her, neglecting even to notice her gorgeous bosoms under that dress. Honestly, I had to point them out. He just rolled his eyes and claimed that now she was going to get "the flu vote."
I think she's fascinating. She's got the makings of a fantastic one-hit wonder, and I mean that as a compliment. Something about the way she sang tonight reminds me of Neko's "These Days" from a mix CD we got from Stu several years ago. That, unfortunately, was not a compliment.
I'm curious about her dropping the "Corkrey" from her name -- on St. Patrick's Day, no less! A crime!
Matt -- So Small
Joel and I do not know the original verison of this song, but we thought this was VERY good. I want to take this moment to appreciate Paula a bit. If nothing else, she is overflowing with love and joy. That's not a small thing in this world (which, actually, is what Matt's song was about) and I just want to say, Thank You Paula -- don't go changin'.
Joel wraps up with: "This is a good year. I don't mean to sound like I'm into this show or anything, though."
And I wrap up with my rankings:
Middle of the Pack:
It's probably time for Michael to go. Let's be honest: he's not going to win this thing. Neither are Scott, Kris, Megan, or Anoop -- I'm just putting it out there. Let me know what you think!