Entertainment behind the scenes
Carrie Underwood has become country music’s biggest star since she exploded onto the scene after winning American Idol in 2005, but so far she’s been passed over as the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year, which has gone to only six women in 39 years.
But this could be the year for Carrie, who has achieved enormous crossover success, winning four Grammy awards already in her short career. She is the lone woman nominated in 2009, facing off against Brad Paisley, George Strait , Keith Urban and – of course – Chesney. (Updates to four Grammys).
And remember, Chesney touched off a country music furor last year when, after winning Entertainer of the Year for the fourth straight time, he criticized the Academy for allowing the award to be chosen by fans voting on the Internet.
Top 9 contestant Megan Joy danced off the “American Idol” stage on Wednesday night after she said midway through the show that she did not care that judge Simon Cowell disliked her performance on Tuesday night. Cowell responded later on by telling her: “Megan with the greatest respect, when you said you don’t care, nor do we.” So with no chance that the judges would save her, when Megan sang Bob Marley’s “Turn Your Lights Down Low” one more time, it was all about the pathos.
When will the judges step up and use their save? Although there was some lively discussion on the panel last week when oil worker Michael Sarver sang his last song, few were surprised when the judges declined to save him.
“American Idol” is already down to nine singers, and as the contestants have honed their performances, judge Simon Cowell has refined his famous one-liners. This week he was in top form, sparing only a select few from his special brand of humiliation.
Here were his top proclamations of the night for each contestant:
Anoop Desai, who performed Usher’s “Caught Up”
Simon: “It was a little bit like a college boy wanting to be a pop star and failing. It actually gave me a headache.”
“American Idol” bid an unsurprising farewell to Texan Michael Sarver on Thursday night, but what might have surprised fans of the popular singing competition this week was the revelation that their Idols lip-synch during their group numbers.
The admission by an “Idol” spokesman, which first appeared in a story in the New York Times on Wednesday, was sure to leave some die-hard fans scratching their heads. Isn’t this show, after all, all about the singing? And if it’s okay in the group numbers, will it one day be okay in the individual performances?
Well, they’re the experts and on Wednesday night it was male contestant Adam Lambert who brought the heat, eliciting a standing ovation from celebrity mentor Smokey Robinson for his version of “The Tracks of My Tears” (which, incidentally, Robinson also wrote).
“Country Week” is always a mixed bag on “American Idol”, alternately filling viewers with anticipation and dread.
Tuesday night’s tribute to the “Grand Ole Opry,” with country icon Randy Travis as guest mentor, certainly didn’t buck that trend, taking several of the show’s frontrunners down a notch and allowing dark horses to emerge.
Now that “American Idol” has eliminated the dross, it has 13 top contestants and the reality singing competition is in full swing.
What that means is the judges get more hyperbolic about how seriously everyone has to take the competition, and the video packages on the contestants get more personal, taking viewers into their homes and giving mini biographies on each one.
And then there were……13??
The judges expanded the “American Idol” top 12 to include Anoop Desai and make it a top 13 for the first time in a suspense-generating stunt.
Lil Rounds, Scott MacIntyre and Jorge Nunez moved on to the next round on “American Idol” Wednesday, but none of those names came as a surprise and the focus moved to the eight contestants who will compete in next week’s “wildcard” round.
Did the judges pick the right contestants?
The always-dramatic Tatiana Del Toro immediately burst into tears again at getting a second shot while Anoop Desai, who Cowell called “original, likeable, talented”, looked stunned when his name was called.
“American Idol” fans get an extra night of action this week in the form of a bonus episode on Thursday night, so the judges can bring back three contestants previously eliminated by the fans. The wildcard round will likely offer a second shot at fame for a couple contestants from Tuesday night’s show, because the judges praised half of the 12 singers, and all but three of them will be eliminated by fan voting on Wednesday night.
So who will sail through to the show’s “Top 12″ on Wednesday and who will rise from “Idol” banishment on Thursday?