American Idol – Then there were Eleven

idol-logo1a Last night on American Idol the final 11 contestants performed.  It was country week with Randy Travis lending the contestants a hand.  And I will tell you I went into the show with low-expectations.  Other than Michael Sarver – I really couldn’t picture the other contestants performing country – at least not well.  Maybe because I wasn’t expecting much, I was pleasantly surprised. 

By far over all, they "rocked"!  Well, I couldn’t say they "countried"… that wouldn’t make sense (not to mention I just made the word up).  I was impressed with all the performances.  From best to worst, here is my list, and keep in mind the top 3 were equally good in their own ways:

  1. Adam Lambert – performed Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire.  I would say that people either loved or hated Adam’s performance last night – no middle ground.  I loved it!  He made the song his own.  It was unique; and I bet that Johnny Cash (who by the way, is one of my all time favorite singers) would have love it as well.  Lambert is a consummate performer.  My hubby said that he reminded him of a young Led Zeppelin.  My hubby was also embarrassed that it was Paula that agreed with him, when she said it had a "Kashmir Led Zeppelin sound."
  2. Danny Gokey – performed Carrie Underwood’s Jesus Take the Wheel.  He really put so much feeling into it.  He did start out with trepidation but man did he finish strong.  Paula (although no one really cares what she thinks) paid him the ultimate compliment when she said "Carrie would not only approve but go out and buy that record."
  3. Anoop Desai – performed Willie Nelson’s Always on my Mind.  All the judges said he was the biggest surprise of the night.  I completely agree.  As soon as I heard what song he was singing, I really was expecting the worst.  For one thing I’m not a big Willie Nelson fan, so it was nice to here Anoop’s version of the song.  And he did make it his own.  It was soft and comfortable.  I enjoyed hearing Anoop singing a ballad.  He did prove Simon wrong.  Simon told him last week that he did not deserve to be in the final 13.  Simon apologized and said that "he did deserve to be there".
  4. Kris Allen – performed Garth Brooks’ To Make You Be Mine.  I liked Kris tonight better than any previous performances.  He sings ballads well and it was an excellent song choice.   All the judges loved him too. 
  5. Megan Joy – sang I Go Walking After Midnight by Patsy Cline.  First off, I think Megan is a beautiful girl.  She has such a unique sound to her voice and after learning she has the flu and still looked and sounded that good – well, she has my vote.  All four of the judges concur that she did a great job.
  6. Allison Iraheta – sang Patti Loveless’ – Blame it on the Heart – Randy Travis said "he doesn’t know if he’s ever heard such a maturity in someone so young."  And I agree.  Kara said, "you could sing the alphabet".  I like her and want to see her go further in the competition.
  7. Alexis Grace – performed Dolly Parton’s Jolene.  I don’t feel this was one of her strongest performances by far.  But I just plain like her.  She actually reminded me of Dolly as far as looks go, minus the big breasts.  Alexis did promise to "dirty it up" next week if she gets to come back.
  8. Matt Giraud – sang Carrie Underwood’s So Small.  Matt looks so much like Michael Buble it’s uncanny and the judges compared his sound to Buble as well.  I thought he was better last night then in all previous performances.
  9. Lil Rounds – performed Martina McBride’s Independence Day.  She did seem a little nervous at first and I have to agree with the judges that she just didn’t seem comfortable in her skin.  Of course, country music isn’t her forte and I by know means thought she was bad… just not great.
  10. Scott MacIntyre – performed Martina McBride’s Wild Angels.  I like Scott but I just find him boring and lack luster.  There was a bit of a tiff between Simon and Paula over Paula’s remark that he needed to not use the piano as his crutch.  I remember their conversation more than I do Scott’s song.
  11. Michael Sarver – sang Garth Brooks’ Until the Sun Comes Up.  Yes Sarver is the country singer of the group.  Yes, he did a good job.  However, because he is a country singer, I expected much more from him.  I just don’t feel he delivered.

As I said in the beginning, I really was impressed with all the contestants.  All in all I think this was the best performances by the contestants as a whole.  I think one of my bottom three should go but will have to admit I won’t be totally surprised if it is Alexis Grace.  Tune in tonight on Fox for the 2009 American Idol’s Season 8 result show and see how right… or wrong I am.

Who was your favorite for country week?  I would love to hear what you think!