I watched my first American Idol episode of the season. As a pop culture observer, I already know quite a bit about this season's finalists. I picked country week to watch. Here are my one-week assessments of the finalists:
(in order of appearance)
1. Phil Stacey singing "Where the Blacktop Ends" (Keith Urban)
I do not like this song, but Phil sang it better than Keith Urban does. I am a huge fan of Keith Urban sometimes ("You'll Think of Me") and find him forgettable other times ("Where the Blacktop Ends" or "Stupid Boy"). Phil seems to be capable of a few country cds that could field a few country hits. He might even crack the Kansas Music Hall of Fame with Martina.
2. Jordin Sparks singing "Broken Wing" (Martina McBride)
Again, I don't like the song. I'm not a huge Martina fan, although there are a few of her songs I adore. Jordin was goose-bump and tear-in-eye inducing amazing. I hope she wins. I might even buy her record. I may spend the afternoon trying to find a good copy of her performance from last night. She was that good.
3. Sanjaya singing "Let's Give Them Something to Talk About" (Bonnie Raitt)
The vixen in me has been cheering for Sanjaya to win without seeing him perform. He is not a good singer, but the boy has stage presence. He has a future in broadcast. This season of Idol has been lackluster at best, and I think adding Sanjaya as a host might spice things up for the inevitable Season 7. I'm sure we're stuck with Seacrest too, but some Sanjaya banter would lighten up the trite squabbling of Simon and Ryan. I still hope he wins.
4. LaKisha Jones singing "Jesus Take the Wheel" (Carrie Underwood)
Another song I don't like, and I am a Carrie Underwood fan. I even paid for her record. Carrie sings this song better. LaKisha was dull; she lacks starpower. I would be curious to see her perform a different style, but her presence didn't grab me at all. I'd watch Sanjaya sing over her. Pizazz is powerful.
5. Chris Richardson singing "Mayberry" (Rascal Flatts)
I see why LC greets his arrival with such joy. He has presence. He transforms into sexy Justin Timberlake-style. You might not pick him out of a line-up as the cutest, but in the end, he is. His performance was okay. He sounded almost creepily like Gary LeVox. It wasn't unique, but it was entertaining. Please find him another show, reality or not, to be on. Dare I hope for The Hills Season Three?
6. Melinda Doolittle singing "Trouble is a Woman" (no one anyone has ever heard of)
I understand Melinda is one of the front-runners this season. She was good. She is clearly talented, but I don't think she's a recording star. She could succeed on Broadway. Melinda strikes me as one who could go out before she should because she's everyone's second favorite. She's good, but you don't quite love her.
7. Blake Lewis singing "When the Stars Go Blue" (Ryan Adams)
I spent most of his performance fuming that the credit of this song was going to Tim McGraw. Ryan Adams did it first, then One Tree Hill's cast almost did it to death, then Tim McGraw got around to it. (On a similar note, have you heard the new country covers of "Lips of an Angel" and "Life is a Highway"? Of the latter, nomadreaderboy exclaimed "Finally!" when it came on the radio on the road trip. Laughter ensued.) Now, I like Tim McGraw, but he shouldn't try to take on Ryan Adams. Neither should Blake Lewis. Perhaps it's because he was the last too perform, but he seemed the most forgettable.
I likely won't watch another episode this season, unless Sanjaya does actually make it to the final. I might watch the performance clips of a few online. This show needs to reinvigorate itself. People are still watching, but they're not watching for the same reasons they have in past seasons.