American Idol 3/23/04: Country Music

Rumors on the Internet are that the theme of this week American Idol is Country Music. Although this guarantees someone will sing a wretched over-whitneyized version of “I Will Always Love You” (which is originally a Dolly Parton song), if the song selection is good it could be fun in a really horrible way. I see Matt Rogers singing “Friends in Low Places,” and John Stevens singing “King of the Road.” Diana will be all over it – her favorite singer is Patsy Cline. Any other predictions or suggestions?

Oh, yuck! I hope you’re wrong.

On the other hand, it would be pretty funny to see them try…and to force Randy to sit through…

TV listings for tonight confirm that the theme is Country! Should be fun listening to the Gospel Girls shout out some country tunes!!! I think the pink haired girl (Amy??) will probably come through OK. Don’t know about anyone else.

John Stevens should break out some Jim Reeves, or maybe “Are you Lonesome Tonight?”

I could see Matt singing Garth.

For some reason, George singing “Seven Spanish Angels” is what popped into my head.

Someone will sing “Stand by Your Man.” Someone will sing “Desperado.” Someone will torture me with Shania Twain. The more I don’t want these things to happen, the more likely they are. sob

Diana will be the best… that’s my prediction. She is a country girl and is (I think) the only one who seems to like country (she even has good taste - Patsy Cline). You’re right that Amy will be fine…

I just hope we don’t get Shania Twained and Leann Rimsed to death. Dig for the classics, girls-- Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Patsy Cline, June Carter Cash. If you want something fresh, choose a tasteful Alison Krauss ballad, or even the Dixie Chicks. Dwight Yoakam has some lovely ballads that can be sung by ladies. Stay far, far away from the Judds and Jessica Simpson. Thanky’all kindly. And remember that good country is typically restrained and pure. You may yodel if appropriate, but keep the Whitney frills to a minimum, even if your song is “I Will Always Love You.”

Anyone who sings “I’m Proud to be an American” should get physically/literally kicked off the show. Simon may do the kicking.

I will be shocked if Matt sings anything but “Friends in Low Places.”

Good call on John and Hank. I saw him singing Roger Miller, who was a bit of a crooner, but John would do a great job with any Hank Williams ballad, and that’s a great song choice. His song selection has been poor, though – he should have sung a rat pat song for the semifinals, and last week Sam Cooke would have fit his style and the theme of the show.

But why? Why country? Why do they keep doing this? There is already a Country Idol show. I can see R&B songs, I can see rock and roll and classic pop songs, but I see no point in a Pop Idol having to prove they can sing country. How often do you see a Pop singer crossover and do a Country song? This is especially ridiculous since a few Idol wannabees in the past have been told they were not what the show was looking for and they were better suited to Country music.

AI has usually been pretty flexible in defining their themes (“Drift Away” has now been sung both as a “soul” song and a “country rock” song) so I wouldn’t be surprised to seem some pretty borderline numbers being packaged as “country.” Ruben did well with “Sweet Home Alabama” last year so maybe George could do it this time. I think CCR might be a rich vein too. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain” would work for a male or female voice.

I have a sinking felling that were going to get Shaniah’ed, though.

It’s my understanding that Shania has refused to sign over the rights to any of her songs to AI, so odds are in your favor that we won’t be hearing her tonight.

Perhaps its a response to ‘Nashville Star’? Saying, hey, our guys can sing Country too. Unfortunetly, the performers on Nashville Star are MUCH better than those on AI. It’s shocking how much the NS sound like stars already while the AI have more kareoke singer people.

What is the time and channel of “Nashville Star”?

Why are some people reluctant to have their songs performed on AI?

I’m reading this and he’s singing it. Strange.

Nashville Star airs on the USA network, Saturday nights at 9:00 Central time.

Is there a prize for skutir for correctly predicting that John Stevens would sing “King of the Road?”

  1. Diana–Very well sung, but is this a happy song? She made it seem happy. Well done, but I don’t feel her. My mother has pegged her as the winner, but I don’t. I do agree with Paula though. I also agree with Simon. The thing is, like Fantasia, too many people dislike her for her to win.

  2. George-- Started out breathy and weak, but picked up quickly. Excellent job! Male K-l, that’s for sure. Loved it! But, the screen made him look like he was in hell…yikes!

  3. Fantasia–My mother doesn’t like her, but I do. Well done, VERY well done, but it looked like she “souled” the song. I can live with that. I’m with Randy. Uh-Oh…her comment to Simon killed her. Fantasia, you blew it with your mouth…still love you though, but BE careful or you’ll find yourself voted off shortly…


  1. John S–Perfect song for him. Kind of weak on the lower parts, but I enjoyed it. Almost perfectly sung really. I’m with Simon.

  2. Camille–OH! The earrings! YIKES! Rethink those, please. It was a good performance, but weaker compared to the others. Unfortunately, her days are numbered.

  3. Jennifer Hudson–Overall very good, but I’m with Randy. I do agree that she won’t win, but she’s a top 5 for sure.

  4. Jon P. – Best performance yet! Will not ever be as strong as some of the others, but he holds his own quite well! Shut up, Randy! Shut up, Paula!

  5. Jasmine–What happened? MUCH weaker than usual! Maybe it’s the song since Julia Demato sang it last year. Guess it’s cursed because this is Jasmine’s worst performance. Gah! Weak, weak and weak!

  6. Matt–Parts sounded out of tune and overall weak. Such a shame as he could have been a TON better. Bottom three.

  7. Latoya–Best of the night. No doubt in my mind.

  8. Amy–10,000 times better than last week! Loved it! Excellent job!

Bottom Three:


My faves: Diana, Latoya, and Amy.

Amy really pulled a rabbit out of her 10-gallon hat. Major improvement.

Matt, Jasmine, and Camille round out the Bottom Three.

  1. DIANA DEGARMO - Pretty good. Not great, but it was competent. I have a feeling she’s a favourite to win although I wouldn’t vote for her at this point, but she survived the week and at this point that’s all that matters.

  2. GEORGE HUFF - I thought he was really good last week, but he was actually a bit better this week, the best part of the first half of the show. A naturally strong, clear voice, sounds great. Good song choice.

  3. FANTASIA BARRINO - I thought it was a good performance but not a great song choice. I’m not sure if any country song would have suited her but that wasn’t it.


I really don’t know what to think about this guy; every week there’s two things I love and two I hate. His song choice (predicted by the OP) was perfect and his voice is just beautiful, clear and effortless. But forgetting the words is absurd for someone who aspires to be a profesisonal, and his stage presence is about as fluid and graceful as a North Korean state funeral.

I suspect Stevens is sort of like the Brien Taylor or David Clyde of music. Taylor and Clyde were baseball pitchers drafted out of high school who had enormous talent but blew their careers because they were just too young for the big time; had they waited until they were college players to turn pro they may have been Hall of Famers. If Stevens had waited for American Idol 5, I suspect he would have won it in a walk. But he came out too early and he’s just not polished - nervous, forgets words, stiff. little personality. His bueatiful voice will be voted off because he does nothing else well.

  1. CAMILE VELASCO - Not as bad as last week but still poor. I’d vote her off, easy.

  2. JENNIFER HUDSON - I can’t agree that she’s a top 5. At this point I rank her sixth. She can sing, but there’s nothing very interesting there. Maybe she’ll develop, a la Kim Locke, as the show progresses - she has the pipes, and that’s the one thing you can’t learn in ten weeks. OK performance tonight, nothing special.

  3. JON PETER LEWIS - I like the guy, but that was a pretty bad showing. His voice sounded overmatched and it didn’t suit him. I don’t think he has a chance in hell of winning; he simply isn’t a good enough singer.

  4. JASMINE TRIAS - Very, very disappointing; horribly off key for the entire song. Based on last week I’d keep her, but she was the worst of the night by a good margin, even worse than Camile and…

  5. MATT ROGERS - Weak, and I’ve never seen a 250-pound ex-elite college football player who looked and sounded like a girl before. Jeez, I thought he was good in the early rounds; what’s happened to him? Bad song choice, bad performance.

  6. LATOYA LONDON - A step above everyone else in the competition at this point. I picked her as #2 last week (by the skin of Jasmine’s nose) and she was #1 this week, so at this point she’s winning the whole shootin’ match on my card.

  7. AMY ADAMS - Saved her ass. Fantastic performance, one of the few contestant to really embrace the theme. Second best tonight behind Latoya. Fun, colorful, upbeat, and her voice sounded far better than last week. A close second to Latoya.

(Rick’s Rankings denote overall standing, based on all top 12 shows, weighted of course towards the most recent.)

  1. Latoya London
  2. George Huff
  3. Fantasia Barrino
  4. Diana DeGarmo
  5. Amy Adams
  6. Jennifer Hudson
  7. Jasmine Trias
  8. John Stevens
  9. Jon Peter Lewis
  10. Matt Rogers
  11. Camile Velasco

Latoya was #2 last week and #1 this week, based on the night’s performance. Last week’s #1, Jasmine, was terrible this week and plunges; this week’s #2, Amy, was mediocre last week so can’t rise that much. So on the whole Latoya is way ahead, while George, with strong performances both weeks, edges into #2. Fantasia was really good last week but a bit behind George this week, more so than he was behind her last week, so she falls from 2 to 3.

Looking at my rankings, I really think, once again, that the calibre of competition is WAY higher than last year. Everyone from 1 to 6 can win it; 7 and 8 could win if they improve; Jon and Matt can’t win but they’re have been middle of the pack last year, easy. Camile is clearly way, way behind, and should go.

I thought LaToya, Fantasia and George were the best.

I liked Teen Martin’s “King of the Hill” rendition even though he forgot the last verse.

JonBoy Peter Lewis wasn’t very good tonight. H eneeds to go back to dancing.

Jennifer was solid

Simon was right about Matt’s hammy smile. He needs to tone down the smarm…and learn to sing better.

I didn’t care much for Amy’s yodeling. That style always grates on me, and so does Amy. I still can’t stand her personality.

Camile brought the most suck of the night and she very well may go tomorrow.

Bottom three:


Who will go?

Probably Jennifer if last week is any indication. I think she rocks but she doesn’t seem to have a big voting base. All those eighth grade girls keep voting for Rosebowl.

BTW, was anyone else creeped out by those Jon-Benet clips of Diana?

Can’t they keep the pageant brats out of this competetion?

Ok, so maybe themed nights are hokey, and maybe you don’t like country music and maybe it is redundant but if that’s the genre, then by Og, you’d better twang!!! Gah, I hated George, Camille, Jasmine and Fantasia tonight for cheesing out and not singing country! Ok, well I hate Fantasia’s ghetto trash butt every week, but this week I hated her for not singing country. I can’t believe the stylists let her shoulders go onstage in that neckline, either!!

Matt, Penboy and Jennifer at least tried to twang it up a little, none of them quite made it but they get points for effort, in my book. Very rushed performance from Penboy, disappointing because I truly thought he had the power to carry that song off. Matt will have plenty of ballad-y opportunities to woo us with, poor song/style choice from him tonight and he was flatter than my first training bra. Jennifer was all over the place pitch-wise and really needs to stop doing the weird eye expression thing.

I liked John’s King of the Road, fun song and decent scat coverup when he forgot the words, far better than Clay’s silence when he made the same mistake last year. RickJay is absolutely right, he’s not ready to be competing at this level. I keep thinking he’s just sixteen, he still has to go back to school and be teased after this is over so he’s keeping his cool on rather than going all out like Penboy or George, hopefully he’ll relax and break out a bit more.

Loved Amy, Diana and LaToya tonight, for at least doing their jobs right. LaToya is fabulous, although I get a bit of a wedding singer vibe, she seems more than capable of handling anything they throw at her but strangely uninvolved emotionally. I love Amy’s voice and think last week she was hurt by bad sound mixing and also by going second…had she performed near the end she’d have been a refreshing change from the over-zealous power singers, she redeemed herself this week. This was Diana’s night, like Josh last year, she ran with it and deserved the kudos she received. Yeah, I was slightly skeeved out by the LeAnn Rimes/pageanty vibe Simon tried to point out, but I don’t think it fair to fault her for it as much as her parents.

Bottom three:
Jon Peter