thanks so muchOriginally Posted by Sherri;3075254;
thanks so muchOriginally Posted by Sherri;3075254;
This is my first time watching this show, so I donít know the contestants well, and my knowledge of country music is lacking, but I love Jewel and Big and Rich, so I decided to give it a go.
I wonít criticize tonightís concept (Pop Goes Country). After all, rock group Radiohead covered pop singer Carly Simonís Nobody Does it Better, and did a good job; punk rockers The Sex Pistols covered crooner Frank Sinatraís My Way, soul queen Aretha Franklin manufactured a brilliant, Grammy-winning cover of pop superstars Simon and Garfunkelís Bridge Over Troubled Water; rockers RATM covered pop singer Lionel Ritchieís Hello; rock band Godhead and Aretha Franklin covered The Beatlesí elegant Eleanor Rigby (both covers are fantastic); and who can forget Aretha Franklinís soulful interpretation of Nessun Dorma (1998 Grammys)?
Country artists arenít afraid of the crossover either. Johnny Cash covered Nine Inch Nailsí Hurt (weird, but true); The Gourds, a country bluegrass band, covered rapper Snopp Dogís Gin and Juice (and made it work!); Tim McGraw teamed with Nelly for the hugely popular Over and Over, and looked good doing it; and Bonnie Raitt fashioned a clever version of Talking Headsí Burning Down the House. Ever heard Big and Richís Rollin? Who said country singers donít like rap? Artists from other music genres borrow extensively from country music as well. Remember soul singer Al Greenís haunting version of Kris Kristophersonís Help Me Make it Through the Night? Rock group Liveís cover of Johnny Cashís I Walk The Line? Whitney Houstonís remake of Dolly Partonís I Will Always Love You? What about The White Stripes muscled version of Dolly Partonís Jolene and The Beatles cover of legendary rockabilly country artist Carl Perkinsí Honey Donít?
Of course, some covers just donít work. Corinne Bailey Ray is a true artist, but destroyed JTís funky hip hop classic, Sexyback, by converting it to jazz while imitating Billie Holiday, and, of course, Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) abused The Whoís beautifully constructed Behind Blue Eyes. Hillary Duff was lucky to avoid jail time for what she did to one of the best rock songs ever written, The Whoís My Generation. Cover songs are always a tricky and risky affair. Thereís nothing unusual about Pop Goes Country; but unfortunately, most of tonightís contestants had neither the conviction, courage, musical sensitivity, or the pipes to pull it off.
June 23, 2008: the Top Ten (Pop Goes Country)
1. Melissa Lawson. Didnít watch last weekís episode but its hard to figure how this kid ended up bottom two. Her cover of Cyndi Lauperís True Colors was the best performance of the night. As John noted (I agree), she is the one true artist in this group; the only contestant capable of musical nuance and the only contestant able to project palpable emotion.
2. Shawn Mayer. Blessed with strong pipes, she did a good job with NíSyncís Bye, Bye, Bye, but was boring. Sheís not a great singer and doesnít look the part of a country superstar, but potentially a good singer.
3. Alyson Gilbert. Based on the judges comments, I guess sheís headed home next week, but despite the bad notes, I liked what she did with I Think Weíre Alone Now. Sheís got a unique personality and stage presence; sultry, sassy, and sexy; a born torch singer. Man, can this kid caress a lyric. Itís a shame the performance was vocally flawed (off key at times) because she's musical and connects with her lyrics. Itís eerie she looks like a young Loretta Lynn.
4. Ashley Hewitt. I didnít like anything about this song (too much sugar and spice for me) but this kid has all the right intangibles: wonderful stage presence, arresting beauty, engaging smile, and an endearing personality, but, sheís not a good singer either and her pipes are weaker than most. Nonetheless, when you look like Carrie Underwood, the prettiest woman in music, artistic temperament and vocal prowess don't seem that important (e.g.; Kellie Pickler), so with the right handlers, she's got a chance to realize her dream. If I were a music producer looking to invest in Nashville Star's young talent, Iíd look no further than Ashley Hewitt and/or Justin Gaston.
5. Justin Gaston. His cover of Cyndi Lauperís Girls Just Want to Have Fun was oddly entertaining. Yes, it is a girlís song but there's nothing girly about this dude or this performance. Heís not a good singer either, but like Ashley, has the right intangibles. He looks like a young Billy Currington and sounds, at times, like Trace Adkins; thatís a winning combination for any young country singer. He's got a nice voice but doesn't have a clue how to use it, or the stage, and, he's got to find a personality.
6. Coffey. High energy entertainer and likeable fellow but not a good singer either. Jeff said there was no country in his version of Rhiannaís Umbrella; John and Jewel called it ďcountry soulĒ but I didnít see much country or soul in it. Still, thereís room enough in country music for an entertainer; e.g., Big and Rich.
7. Gabe Garcia. Seems to be the judges favorite, but I donít know why. Ricky Martinís Living La Vida Loca is a catchy and fun song about living life to the fullest. Gabeís version was anything but. He was stiff as a board, feet cemented to the stage, and wore a painfully grimaced smile throughout; a classic disconnect between artist and his music. I didnít like it; lacked muiscality. Dude needs to loosen up. Good strong pipes though.
8. Pearl Heart. Been a long time since Iíve seen singers this uncomfortable on stage. Likeable young ladies but the performance was forced and awkward. Because they wanted no part of these lyrics I couldnít relate. B52ís claim Love Shack was a cabin in rural Georgia where they used to dance, but, the lyrics suggest additional activity: ďkissin and hugginÖ.wearin next to nothingĒ, so I doubt dance was the only urge that led them there.
9. Tommy Stanley. Good, strong voice, but zero stage presence. The performance was too manic, unpolished, and weird. In an ideal world, looks donít mater, but in this business, they do. If he wants a career in country music, he might want to consider voice lessons and a gym membership.
10. Laura and Sophie. A country version of Michael Jacksonís Pretty Young Thing? Mission impossible... for any country singer not named Keith Urban. Producers, why burden two innocent young females with these lustful lyrics? Awkward.
Originally Posted by Harmony2000;3075365;
i'm with you on throwing the towel in on. I mean come on the ppl on can you duet were alot better than these guys. I just laughed at the dancers. oh the images!!!
they need to get anastasia back in there.
Does every Cyrus need to be on TV?
"You don't rehearse Mr. T, you just turn him loose."
-----Sylvester Stallone, on Mr. T-----
Originally Posted by Krom;3090415;
Ashley is ok, but not into the breathy voices, so she won't top my list. She is cute as a button tho.
"How do you know the chosen ones? No greater love hath a man than he lay down his life for his friend. Not for millions, not for glory, not for fame... for one person. In the dark. Where no one will ever know or see." - Sebastion, Babylon 5
June 30, 2008: The Top Nine
Rant: This is hard for me, because I’ve never felt this way before about a singing competition, but John, Jeff, and Jewel, although excellent musicians, are not good celebrity judges. They don’t seem to have a good understanding of primetime television or their place in it. After the first few weeks, most of us know the real contenders (it’s obvious), so it is the responsibility of the judges to ensure the show remains fresh, watchable, and entertaining until the winners are announced, and they failed to do this. In my opinion, the show is not so much a singing competition as it is a platform for John, Jeff, and Jewel. As a group, they are rude, insulting, and mean-spirited, and clearly biased, but more problematic is their myopic and anachronistic vision of country music. This surprises me. Big and Rich’s Rollin is a rap song for chrissakes, not traditional country! Why is John suddenly so closed-minded about other forms of country music? I love Jewel, but she’s a pop singer for chrissakes! Where’s her street cred; what makes her an authority on traditional country music? And John Steele should know better. I love She’d Give Anything; it’s a beautiful composition, but hardly traditional country; its country pop; just like Faith Hill’s Breathe, Keith Urban’s You’ll Think Of Me, Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying, Taylor Swift’s Our Song, Martina McBride’s This One For the Girls, and Kenny Rogers Lady and Islands in the Stream; not to mention Kris Kristofferson’s Help Me Make it Through the Night and Shania Twain’s Come on Over and Party for Two. Is Rascal Flatt traditional country. Hardly. When has country music ever been traditional; in the form of Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, and Loretta Lynn? Not for a very long time. So why are Jeff, John, and Jewel so hung up on the definition of country music? Like all music genres, country must change with the times to grow and sustain an audience. If traditional R&B can embrace rap; if traditional rock can embrace screamo and emo; country purists will have to accept a broader and more inclusive definition as well. Change is constant and inevitable; it happens with each new generation. I’m shocked three excellent musicians like John, Jeff, and Jewel would embrace and support such a rigid, elitist, and wholly intolerant vision of country music; it’s counterproductive to everything that defines successful primetime reality television programming.
Finally, if these kids are such poor representatives of country music, why are they here? Who put them on the Nashville Star stage? Who’s to blame? It makes no sense the same judges that picked and put through these kids would turn against, ridicule, and embarrass them on national television. They picked them! What does this say about their ability to judge talent?
1. Melissa Lawson. Martina McBride’s This One’s For The Girls was the best performance of the night, and Melissa proved once again that she is the best singer in this competition, and in my opinion, its not even close. I won’t comment on the second songs since most were little more than snippets; not enough to form an opinion.
2. Shawn Meyer. A beautifully delivered cover of Faith Hill’s Breathe. I disagree with Jewel; it was precisely the ‘running out of breath” that made it unique; that gave it that smoky, torch sound. I like this kid, and this performance.
3. Gabe Garcia. I was wrong about this kid. He is a good singer; clean vocal, strong pipes, wonderful control and timbre. Vocally, he did an excellent job with Bon Jovi’s Wanted Dead or Alive. Although the judges’ favorite (presumably because he fits their vision of traditional country music), as an entertainer, he’s a frozen popsicle.
4. Ashley Hewitt. Mediocre and vocally flawed version of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. But as I mentioned last week, you don’t need a great voice to make it in this business. When blessed with every other intangible, mediocre is more than enough. Shania Twain is not a great singer either, but is a bona fide country music superstar.
5. Alyson Gilbert. One must always respect and accept America’s decisions in these competitions (I do), but I disagree with America. I think this kid is a unique, stylish, sensitive, and elegant singer. She hits too many bad notes to compete effectively in competitions such as these but that’s easily fixed. With the right handlers, this kid will have a very successful career in country music. Terrific cover of Trisha Yearwood’s She’s In Love With The Boy. What the heck is a “popping eyeball” (I didn’t see anything unusual; her eyes are beautiful) and why did it bother Jewel so much?
6. Coffey. Judges were very mean and grossly unfair to this kid. No he doesn’t look or sound like Hank Williams (Hey, Good Looking), or John Denver (Take Me Home Country Roads), but why should he? He’s Coffey. This is another example of how the judges failed us. Nashville Star is now primetime, so it is their duty to promote good entertainment. But these guys are so engrossed with protecting and promoting their myopic view of country music, they can’t see the forest for the trees. They ran Justin Gaston, who very well might have preserved the young teen/tween viewers for months; tried to run the best singer in this competition (Melissa Lawson); and now they’re trying to chase the show’s best entertainer. Why? Because he’s not country enough? The judges actually think what they believe is more important than the ratings and primetime sucess. They simply don't get it.
7. Pearl Heart. Good kids but not good for television; turned I’ll Still be Loving You into a bedtime lullabye. Pleasing to the eye but boring singers and a marketing conundrum (how many kids look, dress, and act like this? How many kids will download their music to an ipod?); will be very difficult to find a home for them in contemporary country music.
8. Tommy Stanley. Both songs were poorly arranged and vocally flawed. Rascal Flatt’s God Bless The Broken Road was so flawed it sounded nothing like the original. He appears to be a good kid but not a good singer, and a ratings nightmare.
9. Laurie and Sophie. Everybody should pursue their dreams, and they are doing just that, so I wish them well. They’re so young and naïve; I won't say more.
Last edited by liedenfrost; 07-01-2008 at 06:53 AM.
Good post, Liedenfrost. The producers and judges picked the talent. If they picked people who can't make it, it's not the contestants' faults.
I'm looking at it this way... can any of these folks earn a living outside of Branson, MO? I think there are only 3 at this point who could even book a small Nashville club... Melissa, Gabe, and Ashley. Are any arena worthy? Not even close! Downloads and CD sales? The aformentioned three and maybe add Shawn and Alyson as it's amazing what they can do with technology nowadays.
I think it was a huge mistake to cast the kids (both groups) and Tommy. I am sure the producers did it for ratings, but it's just cruel right now to keep them in it.
Last night's performance.
I only saw a couple of folks sing and after them, I had to find a trashcan and barf continuously.
I only saw the blond and she was totally off key and boring. The judges felt the same way.
Then there is Coffey. I am black and I am a serious card carrying country music fanatic. So excuse me while I hold myself back from crashing through the TV, grabbing Cough-fay by the throat and strangling every horrible chipmonk sounding gawd-auful "Hey everybody sing!" crap out of him.
Trust me when I say I WANTED to love this guy but last night, he BUTCHERED HANK!!!! HANK! FOR GAWD'S SAKE!! That was the LAST STRAW!!!!! I am going to my happy place now and routing for Gabe.
Last edited by madeboxer; 07-01-2008 at 10:16 AM.
I'm barely watching this show. If I remember that it's recorded? I'll try and catch it but they lost me for good with the addition of those dancers. I was already slipping away because of BRC and the awful judges coupled with acts that should have never made the stage and compounded by poor sound engineering and shoddy camera work. Way to destroy one of my favorite shows, big-bad-network-tv. How I wish this show was still on cable only.
I think NONE of them have lasting power, at least not the way the show is working them. They all sound flat and off-key and I find it hard to believe that this is the best? Which makes me think, once again, that the real problem is the sound.
Anyways, based on looks and that IT factor... I think that Ashlee Hewitt, Gabe Garcia, and Shawn Mayer could have some level of post show success with the proper handling.
Season One of Nashville Star I just loved. I tuned it in on whim with no intention of getting hooked, and I got seriously hooked. I loved it so much I recorded all the shows and watched them over and over. I still have several of the songs from the CD they released on my mp3 player.
Season two I loved as well, although not quite with the same devotion, but pretty close.
Since then, IMO, the show has gone steadily downhill. This season it's totally pointless, in large part because the judges seem to think it's all about them, and they're all annoying. The talent is not that talented - but I blame that for the fact that there's no credibility with this show. Where are the past winners? If I had even an ounce of talent in the town of Nashville, I wouldn't go anywhere near this show.
I love traditional country music, I even like some of the pop/country stuff, but there's no one on here I'd want to rush out and buy CDs like I did with Buddy Jewel, john Arthur martinez, George Canyon.
I can't comment too much on last night's show, because after Tommy I gave up on it.
He was showing them contingencies when they showed him to the street - Harry Chapin