Tag: Willie Nelson

American Idol: yee haw, y’all

It’s Grand Ole Opry Week on “American Idol,” meaning the contestants last night had to sing country music songs by anyone who belongs to the Opry, including recently inducted member and former Idol champ Carrie Underwood. Opry veteral and country music legend Randy Travis spent the week in Hollywood training and mentoring each contestant. Country week can be challenging for most of the finalists at best, and painful for viewers at worst. But honestly, there wasn’t anything last night that was so hideous you knew for sure what tonight’s results would be. At least, that’s how I saw it. Here is a recap of the very good, the good, and the mediocre:

THE VERY GOOD

Allison Iraheta sang Patty Loveless’ “Blame It On The Heart” and while I had my doubts about this young (16!) hopeful, Allison proved last night that she is not only going to hang around a bit, but that she could be a contender to win it all. Her voice is just sick. Kara said Allison can sing anything in her own style, Paula said it was rock solid, Simon said it was good but tuneless in spots, and Randy strongly disagreed with Simon, saying it was “dope.” I agree, it was dope.

Danny Gokey came out dressed in this weird white jacket that made him look like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from “Ghostbusters.” Really, whose idea was that? Danny started off slowly with Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” but in the chorus he soared to heights that few in this competition can match. And to be honest, I hate this song. Kara said the second half of the song was amazing, Paula said it was brilliant, Simon agreed with Paula but said he hated the marshmallow suit and that it looked like Danny was going on a polar expedition, and Randy agreed with Kara that he only liked the second half of the song.

Anoop Desai was close to being eliminated last week, so he knew he had to step up his game. And he did just that, with a solid performance of Willie Nelson’s “You Are Always on My Mind.” Paula declared, “Anoop is back!” and that he touched her heart (please…), Simon said Anoop went from “zero to hero” and that it was an excellent song choice, Randy said he showed great skills and that he loved the arrangement, and Kara said Anoop took a classic song and made it sound amazing. Indeed.

Matt Giraud closed the night with Carrie Underwood’s “So Small,” but did a really cool piano version of it. This kid is a dark horse…..remember, his day job is as a dueling piano player, and his only blemish so far was that awful Coldplay song a few weeks ago. Kara said there is nothing small about Matt and that he is a true talent, Paula said it was authentic and honest, Simon said Matt doesn’t get enough credit for his vocal skills the way Adam and Danny do, and Randy said it was his favorite performance of the night.

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A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All

Colbert seems to have been trying to recapture the feel of every old network holiday variety special from the ’70s and ’80s — and he succeeded, at least insofar as A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All consists of 45 minutes of cheesy sound effects, cheesier visual effects, and a nonsensical parade of seemingly random guest stars strung together by a plot that sounds like the product of a 64-gallon jug of brandy eggnog. It isn’t entirely without laughs — and may actually be worth purchasing if for no other reason than the chance to see Elvis Costello dressed up as the Nutcracker, a clown, and a bear who has eaten Elvis Costello — but the overall effect is similar to a bad episode of The Colbert Report. It’s a shame, because there really aren’t very many bad Report episodes, and Colbert is one of the funniest people on TV, but A Colbert Christmas swings feverishly back and forth between gratingly nonsensical and unexpectedly funny with exhausting speed. One consistent highlight, however, is the musical portion of the program, which includes an explosion-laced Christmas carol from Toby Keith, an plea for mankind to not “bogart love” from Willie Nelson, and an ode to nutmeg from John Legend. All told, any holiday special that ends with Santa in a knife fight with a grizzly can’t be all bad, but it’s nowhere near as funny as it should have been.

Click to buy “A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift of All”

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