"I Want To Get A Beer" - 4/17/04 Recap
Yeehaw! Welcome to another fun-filled episode of Nashville Star. The season is shaping up quite nicely, and tonight the remaining 5 talented competitors will be whittled down to 4. There is really no telling who will be crowned the next Nashville Star, as each finalist has their own unique style and set of talents. The Acuff Theater is packed to the gills with fans cheering for their favorites, hoping to see them make the next round. Tonight there is a special treat in store for us. The top 4 vote-getters from last weeks show will have a chance to perform a duet with seasoned veteran performers Terri Clark or Trace Adkins!
The show kicks off with a group performance by all 5 finalists, singing Travis Tritt’s Put Some Drive In Your Country. George Canyon is the first to emerge, and he starts the song off as he walks down the aisle through the audience. George is looking great tonight in a spiffy denim outfit with a long jacket. Next to appear is Brad Cotter, who makes his way down the other aisle towards the stage. He’s got another one of those great black leather jackets on with the red stichwork, and he’s looking sharp. Matt Lindahl is up next and joins the song from stage right. He’s got some nice looking custom overalls on with an interesting shirt and jacket combo rounding out his wacky Matt look. Jennifer Hicks is next to join the group and she appears from stage left. She looks stunning in a crème-colored satin dress and spikey high heels. I’ve always thought she was pretty, but tonight she looks beautiful. Lance is last to join in and he descends a staircase from stage right in a black suit and hat. I think they are all trying to step up their game, because they are all looking great and sounding professional. Speaking of looking great, Nancy O’Dell brought her A-game tonight too. She’s wearing an A-line black mini skirt, a red tank top with a black bra showing through, and her standard knee high black boots. Very hot. And if she bends at the waist – very guilty. Of indecent exposure, that is.
Nancy introduces us to Terri Clark and Trace Adkins, and asks them their advice for the competitors. Terri tells them, “I always say – Never let the highs feel too high, never let the lows feel too low. Just go with the flow.” Huh? What the hell kind of advice is that?!? Is she advocating antidepressants or something?!? Yeah, kids, just go with the flow and don’t worry your pretty little heads. Don’t feel good if you win, and don’t feel bad if you lose. Perfect advice. Trace just mumbled something about having thick skin and being patient. Well, I guess it’s a good thing Terri and Trace have their singing to fall back on, because their advice giving skills leave something to be desired. About that singing, I am really looking forward to the duets tonight. I remember one of the highlights of last season was Trace’s duet with Buddy Jewel. I’m glad Trace is back, and I hope he gives another competitor a chance to shine this year. Terri Clark is new to Nashville Star, and will serve as female duet partner in place of Jo Dee Messina, who was a bit of a spotlight hog last year.
It’s finally time to find out the first person to have made the top 4 cut. Performing first tonight will be…Brad Cotter. Brad chooses to sing one of those classic sing-along songs, Dobie Gray’s Drift Away. Brad always looks self-assured and comfortable on stage and tonight is no different. It’s a fun song and the crowd eats it up. The judges love Brad too, and are just a gusher of praise. Tracy Gershon could extol the virtue of Brad’s talent for an hour if the show was long enough. She tells him, “You have the wonderful ability to combine country music with a little bit of R&B, and I don’t think anyone has done that since Ronnie Milsap. There is a void in country music. I believe you can fill that void. You are ready, buddy!” Buddy? Hmmmm…Freudian slip? Billy Greenwood says, “If you’re not in the finals, I’ll be stunned.” The Warren Brothers simply say, “You are a Nashville Star, my friend.” By the way, if any of you actually know either of the Warren Brothers by their first names you are way ahead of me. I fully intend to continue referring to them as if they are a 2 headed judge, sharing one brain. Not that I dislike them or am implying diminished brain capacity. I just figure - hey - they haven’t told us their first names yet this season and they only had one vote between them, why turn it into a research project?
It’s time once again for the Hot Spot Challenge. The competitors had their Hot Spot Challenge laid down by Don Imus after the radio show last week. The task? Put on a benefit for Memphis’s St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Before the benefit they get a chance to visit the hospital to see who it is they will really be working for, the children. In what is definitely the most touching segment I’ve seen on Nashville Star, the musicians make rounds at the hospital, visiting with the children. Lance meets a sick little girl that reminds him of his 12-year-old sister, and has a tough time fighting back his tears as he touches her arm. Jennifer shows her motherly strength as she smiles and talks with another sick young girl. Brad enjoys receiving a lesson from a patient who teaches him a new dance move. After the rounds, all of the ambulatory patients and some visiting outpatients are invited down to the auditorium to hear their visitors perform. There isn’t a set list or any real preparation, just the Nashville Stars sitting on stage with guitars taking turns singing. Towards the end of their time there, Lance invites anyone who wants to sing to come up on stage. With the stage packed full of excited kids, Lance has a little boy in a wheelchair start the singing Happy Birthday to Matt Lindahl. All the kids join in for the big finish, and what a satisfying moment for everyone there. When talking about it later, Matt chokes up a bit, saying that he has never had that song sung to him and “felt it more meaningfully”. It’s nice to see Matt step away from his comedic persona, if only for a minute. Brad commented, “When you see a situation like that it’s humbling. It makes the songs you’re gonna do next week and the wardrobe you’re gonna wear and the votes you’re gonna get seem really silly.” So true, Brad, so true. All of the competitors are greatly moved by the visit, and determined not to let the kids down at the benefit.
Back at the Acuff Theater, it’s time for the next performer to be announced. They are getting used to the routine now, and they no longer look nervous as they wait for their names to be called. They are all well composed and genuinely supportive each time they hear someone else’s name announced. Such is the case as Nancy opens the envelope to reveal George Canyon as the next performer. George has chosen to sing that little Hank Williams diddy called Jumbalaya. It’s an upbeat number and the crowd has a great time toe-tapping along. Billy Greenwood comments that each week he looks for something to critique in George’s performances but can never find anything. He continues, “You have the look, you have the sound, you’ve got a great aura, you have star quality.” Gee whiz Billy, if you start making slurping noises as you kiss his patootie, people are going to start to talk. The Warren Brothers tell George, “A Canadian guy that looks like Buzz Lightyear doing a Cajun song – I never thought it would work, but I’ll be damned, you pulled it off.” After hearing from the judges George talks to Nancy, who compares his deep voice to that of Trace Adkins, his duet partner for the night. George humbly rejects the favorable comparison, preferring to maintain his long-standing modesty.
There are 3 finalists left, but only 2 spots remaining. Who will make the grade, and who will be sent back to school? Your guess is as good as mine. Nancy opens the envelope and announces the next performer…Lance Miller. Lance chooses to sing Merle Haggard’s Big City. Now in all honesty, I haven’t heard a lot of Merle Haggard. I know Tracy has compared Lance to Merle Haggard before so I’m hoping he didn’t shoot himself in the foot by going with a Haggard song. The judges seem to be enjoying it though. Billy even starts applauding enthusiastically part way through the song. Then Billy tries to nonchalantly stop applauding so no one will notice that he mistakenly thought the song was over. A few lines later when the song actually ends, the camera swings back over to the judges and Billy is caught conspicuously inspecting and picking lint from his black jacket. Yoohoo Billy, try to remember that this show is appearing on television, not your beloved radio. The Warren Brothers give their opinion first, telling Lance, “…there’s nothing we love better than a great country voice, and I’m so glad America picked you to stay.” Tracy again mentions that Lance reminds her of Merle Haggard, “and that’s a good thing, but you are Lance Miller. You made it a Lance Miller song tonight.” Billy, who is apparently done picking his lint says, “Lance, I think the toughest part about your performance is that I’ve gotta wait 40 minutes to have a beer…Every time I hear you sing, I want to get a beer.” Bottom’s up, Billy.
Only 2 competitors left now. Who will be the 4th and final performer of the night? Let’s bring out the last two so we can see if they’ll squirm. The envelope, Nancy, the envelope. Are they squirming yet? No? Draw out the suspense as much as possible. Still no squirming? No squirming, folks. Nancy announces that Matt Lindahl will be the final performer and that Jennifer Hicks has been eliminated from the competition. With completely comfortable sincerity Jennifer tells us, “Every single week I had my bag packed to go to the hotel. I can’t believe you all kept me in as long as you did. Thank you.” What a gracious exit by a lovely young woman. It’s sad to see her leave, but it wouldn’t have made the moment any happier if it had been any of the others either.
Matt’s introduction tape demonstrates his sentimentality again right before he takes the stage. Hmmm…Twice in one show. Interesting. Referring to his fiancee with a tear in his eye Matt says, “If it came to the point where I had to make a decision, picking between fame and success in the music business or a happy life with the woman I love, the decision is already made. I told her that I’d give it up just to be with her. ‘Cause I know what’s important.” I don’t doubt that at all. Besides have you seen his fiancee?!? Every time I see her I think she’s Shannon Elizabeth. Matt Lindahl returns to the stage to perform the Roger Miller classic drinking song, Chug-A-Lug. If Billy was bellyaching for a beer when listening to Lance sing, I’m surprised this one didn’t send him sneaking ‘round the corner to the local saloon. Matt puts on a very animated performance, complete with sound effects and facial contortions. Tracy lays her feelings on the line about Matt and his potential when the song is over. She tells him that he is a “funny guy” and that he is “wonderful to watch”. She explains that they are looking for someone who will “transcend this TV show” and have a long career in the country music business. “You could be this decade’s Roger Miller,” she says, “but to do that you have to write songs like the great Roger Miller. Do you deserve a record deal? Yes. Do you deserve this one? No.” The Warren Brothers were a little more generous with their comments, “You are proof to me, that you’re still here is that America wants to have some fun.” Hmmm…OK then! I guess the message here is to each, their own.
Back at the Hot Spot Challenge it was fund-raising day for St. Judes. The Nashville Stars planned on hosting a block party in front of the Nashville Star II house, but were understandably concerned when they woke up to rainy weather. They went on a major marketing blitz to make sure that everybody knew it would not be cancelled due to rain. They had food vendors set up selling hot dogs and hamburgers, they gave tours of the Nashville Star house hosted by the competitors, they had a silent auction, they had autographed pictures for sale as well as various other merchandise. One of the largest moneymakers turned out to be the live auction. Everything they could think of hit the auction block, from Matt’s mini-washboard to Lance’s Epiphone guitar adorned with Willie Nelson’s autograph. Anything that wasn’t nailed down was auctioned off, including the tailgate off an old Chevy truck. It was very inspirational to see everyone go to such great lengths to support the children’s hospital. Several of last years performers showed up to lend support as well. Brandon Silviera, Amy Chappell, John Arthur Martinez and Anne Louise Blythe were all on hand to perform for the crowd, as well as quite a few of the competitors already eliminated this season. All together they were able to raise $10,109.03 in just over 4 hours. It was very sweet to see George Canyon carefully hand the check over to a sweet little girl who was representing the hospital.
Yippee! It’s finally duets time! I’ve been looking forward to this all season. To start things off Brad Cotter is paired up with Terri Clark bringing us Terri’s hit single, You’re Easy On The Eyes. It is a flirty song, so it is right up Brad’s alley. Terri’s voice is pretty overpowering, but they sounded quite good together nonetheless. The judges have already had their say tonight so Brad just heads right over to Nancy for her final probing question. What would Brad like to say to the voting audience? (OK, I get the feeling that will be her question for the remainder of the night since this is “crunch time” in the competition.) Brad tells his peeps, “Keep calling, don’t worry about the batteries or the minutes. I appreciate ya. If ya hadn’t a been voting for me I’d a been gone the first week!” Nice response Brad. Slick, but not slimy. I like it.
Next up is Trace Adkins and George Canyon singing I Left Something Turned On At Home. When George introduces Trace right before his first solo, he really makes it clear that he’s awed to be singing with someone of Trace’s talent and stature. It is sweet to see George living his dream like that, and know that he’s not so cocky that he forgets to revel in the moment. What does George have to say to the voters when Nancy probes? “God bless everyone for taking the time to watch this program. If you’re bored and need someone to vote for, against this crew I sure could use your help.” Yup, good ol’ George. Sweet and humble right to the end.
Trace is up for anther song and this time he’s joined by Lance Miller. They perform Trace’s hit I’m Tryin’. Damn, Trace’s voice just gives me chills sometimes, and this is one of those times. He and Lance trade solos and do some gorgeous harmonizing. After Lance’s second solo the crowd erupts in cheer, stunning him. What a fun thing to see. When the song is over Lance heads over to Nancy. He answers her question about what he would like to say to voters in a very off-the-cuff manner. “This is a journey we’ve all been on together,” he says, “ Let’s just keep it going a little longer – how about it?” Sold!
The final duet of the night comes from Matt Lindahl and Terri Clark. They are singing Terri’s hit song Better Things To Do. Matt starts the song off by himself, and injects it with his own goofy brand of humor. Terri doesn’t seem to mind, she’s laughing and having fun. She jumps in for her solo part, and wow, what a voice. Then comes the harmony part, and I think Matt is really pulling it off nicely. Terri drowns him out a little, but he keeps up with her and they sound good together. What are Matt’s final words to the voters? “Thanks for voting. I hope y’all are having fun. I am.” It actually sounded a little contrived, but I suppose the sentiment is right.
That’s the end folks. It was a great episode of Nashville Star, and I’m already looking forward to next seasons duet show. Until then, I’ll see you back here next week when the show will feature a special guest appearance by Sara Evans, and the competition drops to 3 contenders. Good luck to your favorites!
Originally Posted by Zhora
Thanks for the great recap, Zhora!!
I just figure - hey - they haven’t told us their first names yet this season and they only had one vote between them, why turn it into a research project?
Awesome recap Zhora, thanks!!
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