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March 11

In the world's ultimate talent search - where the eyes of a nation are upon the best undiscovered singers in the country, where the audience has the power to make or break you, and where a million-dollar recording contract is on the line, there is only one rule: If you can sing it, bring it.

Recaps by Chico Alexander, Quisla Alexander, Jason Block, Don Harpwood & Gordon Pepper, GSNN

Ryan Seacrest
Judges: Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell, Kara DioGuardi, Randy Jackson
Creator: Simon Fuller (based upon "Pop Idol")
Ken Warwick, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Simon Fuller
Packager: 19 TV, FremantleMedia North America
Origin: CBS Television City, Los Angeles, CA
Airs: Tuesdays & Wednesdays at 8pm ET and  at 9p ET on Fox

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Round of 11: Grand Ole Opry
March 17

Last week we saw Jorge Nunez and Jasmine Murray go down to defeat. This week is very important as the person who goes home is gone from the tour. We are playing for big stakes this week...this is AMERICAN IDOL!
We are live from Hollywood as Ryan Seacrest says anything can happen. This week is "Grand Ole Opry Week!"
We introduce the walking judges, Randy, Kara, Paula and Simon. And of course...Ryan Seacrest who wishes everyone a happy St. Patrick's Day.
Randy says the group has evolved...that country week may spoil the flavor of some of the contestants. Kara says that she hopes the ones that didn't do well last week do well this week. Paula stands by her finale predictions. Ryan jokes that Simon and country music have a "special relationship". He jokes back that it shouldn't be 2 hours...but a whole week.
We introduce the top 11. And we have an intro package of the Grand Ole Opry. And country stars say that if you make it have made it. Carrie Underwood was invited to be a Randy Travis who experienced the Opry with the group. He released his first album in 1986...22 #1 hits and 25 million records. He thinks the group is strong. So he is our first mentor.
Our first singer is MICHAEL SARVER. Randy says if you blow the lyrics to the song he is can't come back and he criticizes Michael's work. Michael is told not to lose the words. He is singing "“Ain’t Goin’ Down Till the Sun Comes Up” by Garth Brooks.

J-Note: 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.
Randy thought it was a cool song choice, but it didn't showcase his vocal abilities. Kara thought it showcased a lot of his personality, but we didn't see the big notes from him this week. She was impressed with his memorization skills. Michael was not worried about the notes or memorization...but "country music is about having fun." Paula thought the song allowed him to have fun, so we had fun with him. The genre suits him well. Simon thought the performance would be good...but he didn't understand a word he sang...and he could have been singing in Norwegian. It was clumsy and he came over as a karaoke singer in a country and western bar. He retorted "If we were all perfect, we wouldn't need this show." Simon called it a 1.2 out of 10.
The vote: Combine a mumbling performance and a bad start to the show and we have someone who is deep trouble right out of the gate. He is gone. OUT.
Next up is Allison Iraheta who sings  “Blame It on Your Heart” by Patty Loveless. Randy knew that Alison would do a good job on anything. He likes the maturity in her voice. Randy didn't like the "cute" dance she did. He just told her to sing.
J-Note: Liked the attitude in the performance. She had the country growl...she swallowed the mike a few times. She has some pipes this week. Great song choice.
Kara is starting to think she can sing the alphabet and sing it well. She made the song her own and that's not easy to do. Every week she is getting better and better. Paula calls it another "rock-solid performance" from her. She thinks she is going to be in the business after this competition and that no one can take away the power of her voice. She calls on Allison to experiment vocally and be vulnerable. Simon thought it was good, a bit tuneless in parts but verging on precocious. He thought she was having trouble remembering the lyrics. She said she wasn't. Randy thought it was dope.
The vote: Allison is way safe this week as a solid performance gets her on the tour. SAFE.
Next is Kris Allen who is singing  “To Make You Feel My Love” by Garth Brooks. He is using his guitar but not on stage. Randy calls Kris a strong ballad singer. Randy tells him he made his own. Kris was happy with that. Randy was impressed.
J-Note: In the most of the song...he trailed off with some of the lyrics. It was cute...but I am not 100% sure.
Paula was pleasantly surprised and an honest, pure and vulnerable performance. With him not using the guitar you see a different side of him. Although some notes were pitchy and throwaway...overall the song choice was good. Simon thought it was terrific. He said it was a great song choice and he was in control of the song. It was the first time Simon heard him perform and thought he had a shot to win the whole thing. Randy thought that he went out on a limb to showcase his vocals and we found tender moments from "my dawg" Chris...who knew? Kara thought it wasn't country...just beautiful.
The vote: With the judges approval...he is on the tour. SAFE.
Next is LIL ROUNDS. She is singing “Independence Day” by Martina McBride. She is on the couch with Ryan and she admits they spend a lot of time together (the contestants). When she heard the theme this week, she admits the only country songs she knew were in movies. She says smartly that she doesn't want to put to much of her R&B into the song as to honor the artists who wrote the song. He tells her to slow it down a little bit, as she didn't want to sing it as slow as it was written. Randy thought she relaxed after slowing down the song so the words could be heard. If she does the vocal he heard, she will nail it.
J-Note: Nailed the song. Made it enough of her own style that to me, it didn't seem like a copy. This was a very good performance.
Randy thought it was an interesting and ambitious song choice. He didn't think it felt comfortable on her. Lil said she was "giving it a go" and showing that she can sing more than R&B. Kara says everyone knows that you can sing and a great would have to be deaf not to know that. Kara liked the 2nd half better than the first. But she liked that she did what she felt as an artist. Paula thought her vocals were spot on and everything was going right for her --including her hair and outfit. Paula thought she should have sang one verse instead of two and then the chorus. Simon thought it came off like one of the girls forced to sing at a wedding. He felt she looked and sounded uncomfortable. He felt it wasn't her.
The vote: 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. No way is she going home. SAFE.
Adam Lambert is #5. He is singing “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash. Adam Lambert gets the chat. The song will be his own. Adam calls Randy a gentleman and he liked his criticism. Randy was confused and the arrangement threw him for a loop. Randy was caught off the guard with the nail polish.
J-Note: What is this mess? This was TOO experimental. This was him being him...but I am not sure if this arrangement works.
Kara thought the fire, music and everything was strange but I liked it. Paula thought he was being true to himself as an artist. The arrangement and sitar felt Kashmir/Led Zeppelin like. Simon: What the Hell was that? A lot of people are throwing their TV's out the window right now. He knows that Adam is not going to Nashville. He called it "indulgent rubbish" and "horrific". Randy called it a "Nine Inch Nails" country song. It's current, fresh and hot.
The vote: This was either a loved or hated rendition of the Johnny Cash classic.  I don't think it was as bad as Simon said...but I don't think it was as good as Randy said. All in all, Adam has a spot on the tour. SAFE.
Scott McIntyre is next. "Wild Angels” by Martina McBride. Randy didn't like the song choice. He wanted the tempo increased. He was impressed. Scott surprised him.
J-Note: The performance, while good, was again another piano/vocals thing. He has to do something different to make him different than everybody else.
Paula says that his performance was lovely and impressive. Paula agrees with me that the piano is a crutch and that he needs to be a showman as well as a vocalist. Simon calls that opinion "stupid". Elton John sits behind a piano. Simon said that his song choices this week and last were similar. Scott liked the song (even though he lost a lot of drawings for song choice) one would expect him to sing a Martina McBride song. He didn't like the song choices. Randy didn't like his vocals...he thought the performance was safe. Kara says that everyone is saying for him to up their game.
The vote: Scott could be in trouble the week. Boring song choices could do him in. TROUBLE.
Alexis Grace is next and is singing “Jolene” by Dolly Parton. She chats with Ryan. She thinks everyone is singing great. She loves the softer side of the song. Randy likes her storytelling aspect. Randy says don't change a thing. Dolly would be proud.
J-Note: Liked the rock flair to it. She connected with me as a performer. She sang herself into the tour, I think.
Randy wasn't sure the notes were hit right. Liked the song choice...Thought there were pitch problems and she bent too many notes in a bluesy way. Kara said she lost her edge. She thought the song choice was not right for her and not edgy enough for her personality. She felt she was flat. Paula thought the song was effective in ways that the other two didn't see. She took an artistic approach and showed a different side to her vocals. Simon thought it was "OK" but sound-alike and forgettable.
The vote: Alexis's performance wasn't as bad as the judges thought. She isn't going anywhere. SAFE.
Danny Gokey is next..." “Jesus, Take the Wheel” by Carrie Underwood. He is choking in front of Randy. He likes the soulfulness of his voice.
J-Note: I didn't feel this with him. I am sorry. He looked nervous. This wasn't his wheelhouse.
Kara says the front half was not spectacular. But when he hit his was like...WHOO! When he hits the powerful notes, the connection is like nothing she has seen. Paula disagrees slightly as she likes how he built the story. He was brilliant. Carrie would approve and buy the record. Simon agrees with Paula....he didn't like what he was wearing. Randy wants him to support the verses...but the 2nd half was blazing.
The vote: He did enough to get in this week. SAFE.
Anoop Desai...“You Were Always on My Mind” by Willie Nelson. Randy's doubt was gone when he heard it. Anoop's desire was stoked by Simon's comments last week.
J-Note: Loved the R&B switch to the song. He is on the tour bus.
Paula says Anoop is back. She liked the song choice and his tender honest vocals. Simon...managed to go from zero to hero. Good choice of of his favorite performances of the night. He took back his criticism. Glad to have you back. Randy...this was the reason why we wanted you in the competition. Liked the arrangement. Kara--classic song. Best performance of the night.
The Vote: Oh was awesome. SAFE.
Megan Joy is next. "Walking After Midnight" by Patsy Cline...Randy says it's totally unique. If she nails the vocal...and the song changes. You will have to like it.
J-Note: What the hell is this? The vocal trills are awful. This is bad...
Randy thought it was going to be a trainwreck...but it was ok and a perfect choice. Perfect song and perfect choice...even with the flu. Paula calls her a fighter. Simon called her better than last week. He didn't like her stylings.
The vote: She will get a pass because of her flu. But she is in TROUBLE.
Matt Giraud ends the show. He sings "So Small" by Carrie Underwood. He didn't like the song. But after hearing it...he liked the arrangement. Matt is doing his own thing.
J-Note: Liked this rendition. The piano was better than Scott.
Kara says there is nothing small about him. Amazing. Paula calls him authentic and honest. Matt gives him credit on his vocals...and said he outsang him. Great performance...reminds him of Michael Buble. One of the best tonight. Randy it was his fav performance of the night...he has it going on.
The vote: No problems for him. He is SAFE.
Jason's final comments: This week a lot of people stepped their game up big time. Country music does that.  And this week, we have more obvious choices of who is in trouble and who is going home.
So who is in my bottom three:
TROUBLE: Scott Macintyre, Megan Joy, Michael Sarver.
Who goes home? Well, 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 is going home. And no, the save won't be used this week.
OUT: Michael Sarver.


To see footage from this episode, visit the official website at