"Round of 9" - March 8
We start the show with a
performance. It's not a performance by the competitors,
though - it's a performance from Montgomery Gentry, who
sings 'Gone'. That gives us all time to collect some
munchies and a drink while we watch the opening credits.
It also gives us time to see the 10 finalists. The
Montgomery song is fitting, because by the end of the
hour, one of these ten people will be 'Gone'. Who will
In the first season, they had all of the singers croon
one by one until the person who didn't sing gets
eliminated. Last season, they improved the format and
announced the person who was leaving at the beginning of
the show. This season, they...go back to the crappy
'Fame' style and will only announce people who are
singing - and them expect them to sing right afterwards.
Will someone please remind the producer that you will
not get good performances from people by scaring them
half to death 5 minutes before they are supposed to go
We get reintroduced to Phil Vassar, Anastasia Brown and
Bret Michaels (who says that none of their finalists
suck - but have to now be mean and down and dirty) and
then a hello to Cletus T. Judd (who has decided to bring
the Nashville Star Mop and Bucket in case we have a
Jenny Farrell incident again) before Leann announces the
first singer to make last week's cut...
Jody Evans! Jody talks about how the police department
donated leave days to him so he could be on the show
without losing his job and sings 'Crazy Little Thing
Called Love'. Jody still sounds affected, but his
performance is much better than last week's. Leann is
asking how she can get out of a speeding ticket, and
Jody says to start singing. Heh. Bret tells him that
although he likes Jody's energy to stop imitating Elvis
and Buddy and to do something else. Anastasia tells him
to dig deep and Phil says that he likes him. Way to
contribute, Phil - but I agree with Bret and Anastasia.
Next up...Tamika Tyler, who says that she has played the
bars and she wants the contract. She also is vastly
improved from last week, as she sings out 'I'm Feeling
Alright'. She seems much more comfortable and it comes
out in her performance. Phil loved the song choice and
is one of his favorites, Anastasia thinks that she is
the strongest singer in the group, but Bret wants her to
ring it all to the table. I thought she brought a lot to
it this week, but we will see next week.
Cletus asks the performers if Jenny should have been
able to perform again. Jason says that she should have
sang again - as does Jody as Cletus notes that they are
all politically correct. Well, as image does play a role
in this, if someone was dumb enough to say no
(especially if Jenny somehow manages to survive the
vote), they would probably find themselves on the next
bus out of the show.
Someone who won't be taking the next but out will
be...Justin David! He got a ton of e-mail from women,
including someone who wants to be his microphone. Wha?
He brings his mandolin/guitar back for his song, which
unfortunately for me showcases more of his mandolin that
his muddled vocals. He sounded ok, and the audience ate
him up. Anastasia said that last week, her toes curled,
but this week with his pitch problems, her ears bled.
OUCH! Phil thought it was good while Bret calls him
cool. A lukewarm reception from the judges spells
The next singer up is...Erika Jo! Erika says that her
country singing persona is different and wilder than her
usual personality. She rocks the crowd and walks into
the audience for 'I'm Here for the Party'. It's not the
strongest song vocally that I've heard, but her energy
and performance more than makes up for it and she is an
audience-pleaser. Bret says that Erika brought the party
- and there's a party on his bus after the show.
Anastasia loved her performance - but wants her to live
the song. Phil is also here to party and we've found
Nashville's Paula Abdul. Well, they both start with P,
The singer at the halfway mark will be...Casey Simpson,
who flails like a rag doll. She says that she goofs
around off stage, but on stage, she's all business. She
sings 'I'll do whatever it Takes'. Well, what she needed
to do was to have much more spark than what she gave us,
and it really feels like a noticeable let down after the
past high-energy performance from Erika Joe. Anastasia
sees a pretty singer, but she wants to see an artist.
Phil tells her to not be nervous while Bret says that
she's hot. Not much overwhelming praise from the judges
The next person off of the hot seat is Jason Meadows (he
of the big country hat). He hasn't been away with his
wife for more than 5 days, so it feels weird. He sings
'I'm from the Country and I like it that way.' He has
that George Canyon vibe to him, and although I thought
Canyon did it much better last season, he should have
more than enough of those sort of followers to stick
around for a while. Bret calls him George Strait on
speed, Anastasia is glad that the Howard Dean holler is
gone - but she wants a love song next week, while Phil
makes fun of his clothes. Where did they get Phil from?
Cletus asks Christy if it is fair if she gets booted
this week instead of Jenny, who only completed 2 lines.
She says that it's up to America - but she hopes that
America will like her well enough to keep her. Jenny is
asked if she thinks that it would be a sympathy vote if
she gets in. She says that she doesn't care - as long as
she is able to stick around. Once again, everyone is
saying the right things.
We are down to four singers. The next singer to perform
will be...Jayron Weaver! He says that the experience
takes him away from church and what he's used to, but he
thinks that he has had a strong foundation, adding that
people are praying for him. I was praying that he will
be less stilted this week - and fortunately he is, as he
brings a guitar with him and sings 'G-d Bless the Broken
Road that led me Straight to You'. Its certainly better
than last week, though I still want to see more of a
spark. Phil likes the voice in that body, Anastasia says
'Halelujiah!', but she wants to see him connect, while
Bret wants to see him bring it out.
We are down to singer #8, who is...Christy McDonald! She
talks about having big hair and how she could be a diva.
When I hear her singing 'Would It Be Me', she reminds me
of a female Bette Midler. She also has two things that
unfortunately Bette has as well - she was pitchy holding
the high notes and she is on the verge of maybe being
too talkative. Christy says that you have to be who you
are, but as Mikala can tell you, that could be a
problem. Anastasia tells her to find a better song, Phil
says that she could be good on a sitcom, and Bret says
to screw the other judges, she rocks. She may rock, but
that was a clear step backwards from last week.
We are down to 2 people. Will the bathroom challenged
Jenny be eliminated? Or will Josh, who was just OK, be
the first person to go? Leann announces that the person
with the least amount of votes is...Josh Owen. The last
person to sing will be...Jenny Farrell. Josh says that
the song selection last week may have done him in, but
he will keep on keeping on. With that, we hear Jenny,
who had the stomach flu, is looking for redemption. She
sings 'You can't take the Honky Tonk out of the Girl',
and for a true first performance, she was pretty good.
Jenny gets the standing ovation, adding that her
performance this time was a lot longer. Heh. Anastasia
calls her bangin', while Phil is glad that America gave
her the benefit of the doubt. Bret said that Josh kicked
a$$ on the guitar, adding that none of the performers
sucked. I agree with Bret - they are all talented people
who should be there.
We get the final look at all 9 performers. We also get
the teaser that Charlie Daniels will sing the opening
number next week as we are done. And with that , the
ratings are done too -
I think that there were three levels of performances
this week. Tamika, Erika and Jason were clearly
top-tiered, while Jenny Jody and Jayron, though they
weren't as good as the top 3, were still solid. Casey,
Christy and Justin all had something fundamentally
flawed with their singing this week and I think are all
in danger of leaving.
More thoughts - I am happy that the Hot Spot is no
longer in play. I also thought that Cletus was vastly
better this week than last week. Finally, I think that
Bret is not as bad of a judge as I thought, while I
think that Anastasia is truly the one who is the most on
with the evaluations. As for Phil - how did he get that
gig and how can I apply for it?
Next week - Charlie Daniels sings, but someone else
doesn't. Join us in 7 days when we find out who that