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Who has the talent to make it in the world of country music? Find out as the nation selects the next Nashville Star!

Is your favorite still in the running? Check out our Nashville Star Stage!

Recaps by Gordon Pepper, GSNN


FACT FILE:

Host: Leann Rimes
Judges: Anastasia Brown, Bret Michaels, Phil Vassar
Creator/EP: Ben Silverman
Packager: Hoosick Falls Productions, PictureVision, Reveille Productions for USA Network
Airs: Tuesdays at 10pm ET on USA


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"Round of 8" - March 15

The theme of this show is...Outlaws and Rebels. We start with the rebellious Charlie Daniels Band as they sing about race car legends. By the end of the hour, one of the nine singers will be outlawed from the stage.

Leann thanks Charlie as we get on with the show. We get to see the 9 remaining finalists, and then we get started with...a commercial. That's pretty rebellious of them.

Back to Nashville Star, and after an intro of the judges (with a special note of Bret Michael's Birthday), Leann says that Justin is feeling like a long-tailed cat in a roomful of rocking chairs, but he won't be allaying his fears as he is not to go first - Jenny Farrell is! Jenny equates her appearances to a horse that stumbled out of the gate, adding that she has to catch up. She sings 'Cold-Hearted Man' - and the problem is that I didn't hear a lot of her, as her voice was drowned out by the background music. What I did hear of her, though, was nice, and the audience loved it. Anastasia tells her to feel the mu sic more and Bret tells her to be less stressed - maybe take some Jack Daniels before she goes out. Phil thinks that she sounded great - but Phil says that about everyone. Zzzzzzzz....

Singer #2 is... Jayron Weaver! Jayron talks about how his singing in the cafeteria got him mention, as he brings out his guitar to sing the first verse of 'Bonnie and Clyde'. I liked him better now than I did last week, but like Jenny, that voice just doesn't pop out for me. Phil says that he may be the best singer in the competition, Anastasia loves how he improved his connection with the audience, and Bret loved his style. He's still not my favorite, but I don't think he's going anywhere.

Cletus, who I'd love to see get booted (but unfortunately, we don't get THAT option), asks Christy how her nerves are doing. She says that she is confident that G-d and the angels are watching over her, and she'll do fine. She better hope so, as I had her clearly in the bottom 3 last week.

Will Christy be singing now? No, because singing now is...Justin David. That was one of the people who I thought was in trouble, which should concern Christy. Justin talks about how he thinks that he hasn't given it 100%, some of his worst moments are better than some of the contestant's best moments, and he thinks that as long as he doesn't get the lowest amount of votes, he'll win the competition. That is a VERY dangerous attitude to have - one that won't get him votes and one that will only pay off if he brings the goods. He sings John Hiatt and I don't think that he brought the goods. Leann calls him on his strategy and asks if he brought his 'A' game tonight. He says that maybe he did and maybe he didn't, which gets boos from the crowd. Anastasia calls him on it immediately and says that it's not very professional. Phil says he has no excuse for not bringing it every week and Bret needs him to bring more energy. Justin may have signed his own death warrant tonight.

Someone who has been singing very well is Erika Jo - and she's next. She sings 'Texas is Been as Close as I've Been', and though this isn't her best effort, it's pretty good and the audience applauds her on it. She says that she misses high school and she hopes that she doesn't have to deal with a Spring Break. Bret says tells her to not change a thing, Anastasia says she wants to see sweat and emotion (though she thinks that she is tied with Tamika as the best female vocalist) and Phil loves her. Sure he does.

Who else does Phil love? Jason Meadows! He's the next one to perform as he'd rather be who he is than sell himself out to Nashville. He sings 'What's Your Name? (Little Girl)' and this is the most passionate that I've heard him. Phil likes him without the guitar as well as with the guitar, and Anastasia wants him to get a new identity between him and George Strait. Bret likes him as a cowboy and tells him to sing on his own terms. All in all, a good performance.

We go back to Cletus and Christy, who says that she will bus back in forth if she has to if she is eliminated, but she won't give up. He also gets to talk to Jason, who is too breathless to really say anything coherent besides that he feels like a 100% cowboy. Yee-haw.

Singer #6 will be....Tamika Tyler! She says that if you are driven, then you can be both a singer and a mom as she starts with a nice primal sing-scream. She sings 'You Don't Have to Be My Baby' - and we see the veins popping out of her neck - the same veins that Anastasia wants to see Erika display. Anastasia calls her the lead horse in the pack - but she wants her to love the song to feel it even more. Phil calls it ridiculously good and Bret calls her performance brilliant. Justin - take notes.

America has also decided to keep...Casey Simpson! She has to do better than what she did last week - and quite frankly, she doesn't. She sings 'Me and Bobby McGee', but if Bobby was listening to this, he would have changed the channel to the World Poker Tour. She is pitchy and the emotion isn't there - and I blame this on her over excitement on them announcing her this late in the competition. Bret tells her to get a song that's clearer in her vocal range, Anastasia says that the song hurt her ears and Phil says that she needs more fire in her performance.

We get Jody Evans and Christy McDonald out on the stage. Either Jody leaves because he hasn't been himself, or Christy is out because her 'Mikalah mouth' got her into trouble. The person leaving is...Christy, who says that when she started this, she worked her tail off. She is interrupted by Bret, who comes out and gives her a hug. Heh. She says to come see her on the road, and as she leaves, I was just wondering if the angels that were supposedly watching her were too busy concentrating on writing up their NCAA pools.

Jody says that you are going to get your good and your bad, and I want to see him doing something that isn't an impersonation. What do I get? An impersonation of 'I Fought the Law and the Law Won.' Completely uninspired and taking a page from Simon, I can see him in a karaoke bar. Jody says that based on the song, he may not have a job to go back to. Phil likes it, though calling it one-dimensional. Bret tells him to keep doing what he wants and Anastasia wants to see more energy and to change the arrangement. The judges seem to be resigned that he is going to be one-dimensional - but at least they are trying.

We get the montage of singers at the end, and then Leann signs us off. Before I sign this recap off, here's my opinionated ranking.

Tamika
Jason
Erika
Jenny
Jayron
Jody
Casey
William Hung
Crunk Wells
Justin

Yes, I know that Mr. Hung and Mr. Wells aren't technically in this competition, but at least they tried. Justin has even admitted that he doesn't try, as if he's trying to pan off his passionless performances to the fact that he's not bringing his 'A' game. That is crock and he has to go - now. I think you'll see him, Jody and Casey competing to be that eliminated person.

Next week - we go from 7 to 6 and we see Sarah Evans. Join us in 7 days to see if Justin's strategy works - or just gets him booted quicker.

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