Tonight's theme is country and I am so excited. At HBR, we've been debating back and forth what our favorite contestants (Chris, Taylor, Ace, Elliott) might sing. Since there's no year restrictions on what they're singing, the contestants can pretty much sing anything in the country genre, which should make for some very interesting and entertaining performances.
Oooh...Ryan's all stubbly! Maybe his stylist at E! told him that over at the Grey's Anatomy set, all the hotties have stubble. Of course, later in the show, Simon's going to take a potshot at him and say that it looks like "someone from Desperate Housewives" because he's apparently dating Teri Hatcher. Or, that's what I read on www.tvtattle.com.
So here we are, introducing the theme and apparently rehearsing a group sing of "The Gambler" (and how awesome would that be? 'Cause Taylor would be AWESOME breaking out with "You got to know when to hold 'em, Know when to fold 'em...) when Kenny Rogers pops up as their weekly mentor. Maybe that's why they all sucked so bad last week--they had no one to guide them. I like that during the pre-performance interview video, Kenny seems really honest and really nice.
First up is Taylor singing "Take Me Home, Country Roads" by John Denver. Ugh. If he was going to sing John Denver, why not "Thank God I'm a Country Boy"? That would have been perfect for him. And y'all know, normally I love Taylor, but this song is out of his range and he's really reaching to hit those high notes. Bless his heart, he went for subtlety two weeks in a row when he should have brought back the dancing and twitching. It's really good in places, but really, this is not one of his best performances. I am glad to see that he went back to his normal style of dress--last week, I felt that he was lacking in that department. The judges agree with me (about the performance; they didn't say anything about his clothes), though it seemed that Simon took some extra glee in being a wet blanket. I love it when Ryan comes over to tell us Taylor's phone number and Taylor's going nuts with that finger in he air, like a deranged cheerleader.
Why, Lord? Why did Mandisa choose a Shania Twain song? Especially "Any Man of Mine", an ode to women everywhere who think their men should basically just lay down and take any crap his woman gives him. Mandisa's voice is strong, but this is so not her genre, and it's a little off-key and weird in places. She tries to do what she can with this armpit of a song, but really it's Shania Twain and the woman has like no range--her job is to sing silly songs while showing off her body. Also, Mandisa? Please stay away from the sleeveless tops. As a plus-size girl myself, I try to disguise my plus-size arms. The key is to make them look thinner, and a halter top makes NOTHING look thinner!
The judges are really picking on song choice tonight. Or should I say, "again"? Yes, the judges are picking on song choice--again. Anyway, a fight breaks out between Simon and Ryan (hey their names rhyme!) and we're all transported back to the fifth grade, and I'm expecting at any minute for the "Your Mama" jokes to break out.
Elliott sings "If Tomorrow Never Comes", which is my third favorite Garth Brooks song (and I do have a list, tucked away somewhere in my brain) right behind "Shameless" (number one) and "What She's Doing Now" (number two). Kenny told him not to do the ornamental singing that Mr. Yamin is so fond of, but Elliott says, "Screw that, Kenny, I'll sing it any way I please!" and is singing runs everywhere he can fit them, which I actually kind of like in places in this song, and I sing them, too, when I'm singing along with it on the radio. He looks nervous, probably because he's never sung country music before in his life, but I think he did a really good job. Lots of votes for Elliott. The judges agree that it was the best so far (and is that really saying much?), as Paula desperately searches for the word "humble" but settles for "reckless abandon" when describing Elliott's demeanor onstage, and Simon says that he knows Elliott can do better.
Paris looks so cute tonight; with her white button down top under a leather vest and jeans underneath her cowboy boots. Her hair is really cute, too, and Ryan is all over that, like he might want to know the name of her stylist and could she give him some cute extensions, too. She's singing Trisha Yearwood's "How Do I Live" (because I refuse to acknowledge that LeAnn Rimes also sings this song) and this is a very different performance for Paris. She very understated where she's usually over the top, and I really can't blame her, because who wants to be accused of being in a box? I like that's she understated, but I just can't get into this performance. Some parts of it seem really off. Another fight breaks out amongst the judges, with Randy and Paula not feeling it, but Simon love, love, loving it. And I have to wonder--is Simon being petty and ironic just to piss the other two off, or did he genuinely enjoy the performance. Sometimes, you just can't tell with Simon. Bottom Three.
Ace, thank you for singing Keith Urban's "I Wanna Cry". I have to agree with Kenny, this song is perfect for him. It's all sweet and painful and, when Keith Urban sings it, kind of melty and hot. Thank you, Ace, for reminding us why you are here in the Top 9. He really looks like he's hurting for this girl he's singing this song about, and Paula's wishing it was her. Or maybe she's thinking "Oh, Sweet Ace, I'll comfort you in your pain." Randy thinks the performance was boring (No, Randy! Bad, Randy!) but Paula and Simon think it was very good.
Ooh, Pickler's all gussied up tonight! Oh, and she's telling us she really is that stupid. Fine--I'll give her calamari and salmon. But there is NO WAY I'm conceding on "ballsy" or "minx/mink". NEVER. Y'all, God loves me. How do I know this? Because Kellie Pickler is singing freaking "Fancy", Reba McEntire's ode to white trash livin' and being proud of being forced into child prostitution. And y'all, she's wearing a red satin top, to complement the "satin dancin' dress" in the song. I really wanted her to wear her Prom dress. How perfect would that have been? This also explains the makeup because in the song "Mama painted" Fancy's "eyes and lips". Anyway, I have to admit that she's singing this song well. She really should stay in her lower register, because anytime she sings a high note, it's through her nose, and I have an aneurysm. Also, she's really serious while singing this song, and is unlike the version of Pickler that flirted with Constantine all through the heartbreaking "Walking After Midnight". The judges all seem to like it, and begrudgingly, so do I. Well, not so much like it, as not as nauseated as I usually am whenever she's on stage.
I am not lying, I voted for Chris for an hour and a half all because he's sang Keith Urban's "Memories of Us". I heard Tracy Byrd sing this song, and it hurt me physically, because he practically shouted it, and this song is very intimate, like Keith's singing it post-coitus. And I'm not telling y'all what it means, so you'll have to locate a dictionary and find out for yourselves. Hint: www.dictionary.com I am just in heaven with this song, because it's kind of a nah-nah-na-nah-nah to everyone who said he was a one-trick pony and can only sing one thing. 'Cause y'all he is singing the hell out of this song, in a mmm-mmm, good! kind of way. I'm all melty just thinking about it. *sigh* Seriously, I'm at "Paula for Ace" heights right now. Everyone in the whole world (except Simon, who hates all country music) loves it.
Katharine's singing a song I've never heard of, "You're Bringing Out The Elvis in Me", but that's not important right now. What's important is that she managed to dress herself and not look stupid! Y'all--she's wearing a cute little green cardie over two cute little purple and white tanks with jeans! Jeans that fit and make her look neither overweight nor pregnant. I am so proud of Katharine. I'll vote for her double just for the outfit and managing not to hurt my eyes. Now--for the song. Wonderful. Perfect. Beautiful. Awesome. What more could be said, other than the judges went nuts for the performance. Except Simon, who reminds us that he hates country music. Maybe they should get a guest judge for country night and Simon could call in sick or something. Just a thought.
Bucky gets the pimp spot this week as the last contestant and sings Gary Allen's cover or Vertical Horizon's song "The Best I Ever Had". He's really in his element here, and I have to say it was very good. His best ever. How awful for Bucky to get booted after tonight's performance. So sad, but the judges like him, and I hope they're not just setting him up for a fall.
In conclusion, I loved country week. Especially Chris, Katharine and Ace. But mostly Chris.
Bottom Three: Paris, Mandisa, Taylor/Bucky
Going home: Paris or Bucky
Tell me what you think!