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'Idol's' Country Crooners

This is Washington Post staff writer John Maynard blogging to you this week, filling in for a vacationing Lisa de Moraes. Don't believe the rumors that Lisa is off because it's country music week on "American Idol." Not true! She's just getting some much-needed shut-eye, resting up as the show goes into the homestretch.

So, right off the bat, I'm going to give "American Idol" its props for a subdued opening with Ryan acknowledging Monday's horrible tragedy at Virginia Tech. It had to be done and it was done appropriately. Unfortunately, the tragedy is brought up again later in the show and it gets a bit awkward.

But first...

Hmmmm, after the first two performances, I'm thinking these Idols can pull off country!

Phil, singing "Where The Blacktop Ends" by Keith Urban, gets a little wedding singer on us as he strides through the crowd and gives a couple of man-hugs to some dudes in the audience. But he nails the song and I don't even mind his "That's right, y'all" at song's end.
Do I wish he didn't mouth "Love you" not once but twice to the camera while standing next to Ryan? Yes. But he gets a pass.

Jordin has probably her best performance yet with "A Broken Wing" by Martina McBride, who just happens to be our guest mentor this week. McBride by the way will not be spoken of again. She just loved everybody way too much.

Not sure about Jordin's dress. I ask my wife. No on the dress, she says, but she does like the make-up. As for her performance, Randy speaks for me: "Dude, that was da bomb." Da bomb indeed.

Sanjaya, who made inroads on the talent side last week, stinks and can't even get by on his hair this week since it's all covered up by a ratty bandana. He sang Bonnie Raitt's hit "Something to Talk About" because like he said: "I often give people something to talk about." He slinks around on stage and cozies up to a back-up singer who shoots him down with her eyes wanting nothing to do with him.

Ryan and Simon bicker (and we love it, don't we?) when Ryan accuses him of never liking Sanjaya, no matter what he sings. "I liked him last week, big mouth," Simon retorts.

Oh yeah, it's on!

LaKisha picks "Jesus Take the Wheel," a song from former "AI" champion Carrie Underwood. A little kissing up to the producers perhaps. No matter, the judges hate it. Too loud, the wrong song, etc...

When Randy says "It wasn't my favorite," Paula concurs like a frightened mouse that she "has to agree with Randy." She quickly adds "You're still brilliant." (i.e. "Please don't be mad at me."). Meanwhile, Simon makes the unfortunate observation that her choice of song was like "eating a hamburger for breakfast."

Things get a little awkward after Chris's rendition of "Mayberry" by Rascall Flatts. After getting through the song and not having the coronary it appeared he was going to have, the judges are still unimpressed. Here's where things get sticky. When Simon starts complaining about his nasally voice, Chris defends this method of singing then adds, "My heart goes out to Virginia Tech." The camera immediately catches Simon -- still reacting to Chris's nasal defense -- rolling his eyes. Ouch.

Melinda's looking good in a sleeveless tunic singing "Trouble Is a Woman" by Julie Reeves and the critics rave. Simon tells here to "lose the surprised look" and she does. And we see a confident Melinda!

We return from the final commercial break with Ryan looking a little uncomfortable standing amidst a gaggle of babes who are cheering for Blake who performs last.

Blake, dressed like a Blue State prep, sings a Red State country song, Tim McGraw's hit "When the Stars Go Blue."

It's fine and the judges give him a sold B-minus.

Simon, though, perhaps thinking of his earlier eye-rolling gaffe with Chris's Virginia Tech salute, notes that he, Paula and Randy "would also like to offer our best wishes and support to the families of this tragedy."

Decent recovery.

Editor's note: For more on last night's "American Idol," read Robin Givhan's take on country music night.

By Maura McCarthy  |  April 18, 2007; 4:33 AM ET
 
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Next: So Long, Sanjaya

Comments

The Va Tech comment by Chris was sad. The guy just came off a terrible performance and was roundly thrashed by the judges. His response? Bring up a national tragedy. I thought it was in stunningly bad taste and highly offensive. It appeared to be the cheapest of ploys for additional votes. It's a shame Simon was caught on camera looking displeased, but that was actually the proper response.

Posted by: Hillman | April 18, 2007 7:49 AM | Report abuse

i thought blake was not good. also in the not good category: lakisha and chris (who i'm sad to say thinks that sounding nasally is a 'style' of singing--no,young man, it isn't)
awful is reserved for sanjaya. and he was dressed like the guy who changes the oil, for crying out loud.
the top three were phil (surprise!), melinda and jordin (who had some off notes here and there but still wows me.)
I'm sick, sick, sick of ryan secrest. simon is the only person on that show who tells the truth (albeit harshly). sure he shouldn't have rolled his eyes re: VT, but chris needs to stand there and take his medicine and ryan needs to quit picking fights.

Posted by: methinks | April 18, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

I believe Chris is from Virginia. I took his comment to be him offering support to his fellow Virginians. I think his comment was totally appropriate. In fact, if he had said nothing, and simply sung and had a jolly time, I think it would be offensive that he didn't acknowledge what his home state was going through. I don't think it was meant as a come-back response to Simon's criticism, I think he knew he wanted to say something and had to sneak it in before the cameras cut away.

Posted by: KC | April 18, 2007 7:56 AM | Report abuse

What was with that HORRIBLY out of tune fiddle at the beginning of poor Chris' tune? I've never in my entire life heard a professional musician screw up so badly on TV. Also, way too many 'country musician in the foreground, Chris in the background' shots. Not that I'm a Chris fan, but if he loses it's not entirely his fault.

Posted by: Paul Sonnenberg | April 18, 2007 8:12 AM | Report abuse

You can't transition from arrogantly defending your poor singing to giving your peeps in V-Tech a "shout-out".

Doesn't go over well.

Posted by: Justin | April 18, 2007 8:19 AM | Report abuse

paul--thank you for reminding me about the fiddler AND the bango in chris's song. the song was poorly done enough without having the fiddle out there screeching away. chris would have lost out on his own, but the fiddle did not help.

Posted by: methinks | April 18, 2007 8:27 AM | Report abuse

Sanjaya was so bad last night. Really awful. I have to agree with Simon when he said that it's just not funny. He really needs to go.

Chris is bad too with his nasal voice.

I think Blake was really good. He and Jordin are my favorites!

Posted by: Eliz | April 18, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

KC: I can see your point of view but I saw it as a shallow and tasteless attempt to get votes. The man is in a popularity contest that relies on votes. The entire nation is sending their support to Va Tech. Him doing it was piling on in a gratuitous attempt to pander for votes. I'm willing to bet the AI producers actually instructed the contestants not to do that, since Seacrest covered the subject in the opening of the show, and since a lot of viewers like me would find it questionable at best.

Posted by: Hillman | April 18, 2007 8:33 AM | Report abuse

Agreed on Sanjaya. His performance last week was actually passable so I forgot what a weak singer he really is. And I hated "Jesus Take the Wheel". Again, a ploy for religious votes. Denigrates the entire process, and denigrates the religion to boot. Plus, a weakly written song.

Posted by: Hillman | April 18, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Chris is from Virginia and probably knows students there, but I have to say that the whole Chris- VA Tech shout out - Simon thing was very awkward. This considering that they appropriately addressed the situation at the beginning of the show.

Did any other live non-news show address the situation? I heard on that Kelly and Regis show tried to address the situation at Tech.

Posted by: Kyle | April 18, 2007 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Chris is from North Carolina, or so he said in the video clip preceding his song. In giving his 'shout out', he mentioned having a lot of friends at VaTech. Regardless, it was obvious pandering in an effort to deflect warranted criticism. Although Sanjaya must go so as not to further denigrate the talent of the other performers, Chris's comment make him this week's appropriate choice. (ps-Simon should have rolled his eyes. We did at home. You don't off-handedly mention a tragedy in a ploy to invoke sympathy/votes.). 2-0-5

Posted by: Ruben | April 18, 2007 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Chris is from Cheasapeake, VA. I think he managed a Hooters there. For real.

Posted by: I'm defending Chris? | April 18, 2007 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Chris is listed as being from Cheasapeake; however, he did make the NC reference in his intro. Also, this article confirms his having lived in NC as a youth: http://www.newsobserver.com/100/story/543848.html. Whatever, he should be watching next weeks show from a Hooters.

Posted by: Ruben | April 18, 2007 8:53 AM | Report abuse

Chris is a young man who lives in VA and has friends at VA Tech. Maybe it was a ploy for votes and maybe not. I choose to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe that it was a sincere comment squeezed into a little bit of camera time at the end of his performance.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2007 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else notice that the reason Blake did so well with a 'country' song is because it was actually a Ryan Adams (college radio indie-pop darling) song from his 2001 release Gold? Tim McGraw must have covered it sometime later. Very clever, just glad that he didn't beatbox in the middle of it.

Posted by: David | April 18, 2007 8:58 AM | Report abuse

I really didn't think LaKisha was all that bad - am I the only one? I know its going to be Sanjaya going tonight, but Chris really needs to go next - he is so awful and it hurts my ears to listen to him - it has from the very beginning. I think Blake's performance would have been more believable as country if he had been dressed in a denim shirt with a cowboy hat.

I was SO GLAD to see Phil lose the hat - and I knew this genre would play to his strengths - he really was believable as a singer last night. Although I don't think he has a chance, it was good to see him to do really well for once - I think he won the night. Jordin's voice was really good, but I was bored by the overall performance. Her outfit was awful - I can't believe the judges didn't say anything about it.

Posted by: star11 | April 18, 2007 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Chris's response to Simon: "Nasal is a kind of singing, if you knew what you were talking about" (I'm paraphrasing) was just awful and rude. You know, I can handle Simon's rudeness to people because he knows what he's talking about, but to be rude and idiotic like Chris is just awful.

Chris, "nasally" is not a GOOD way of singing, even if, in your case, it is a method of singing.

Can we kick Chris AND Sanjaya off in one night?

Posted by: Ryan | April 18, 2007 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me PLEASE if Haley Scarnato was in the audience last night? Wight behind Simon??

Posted by: Hillary | April 18, 2007 9:25 AM | Report abuse

As a Virginia Tech alum ('98), I was happy to see Chris acknowledge his friends in Blacksburg. I have learned that almost everyone from the Commonwealth of Virginia knows people who are--or have--attended VPI, particularly in the urban areas. If he had not said anything, it would have been very distressing.

Unfortunately, I think he's going to pay a price for saying it, which is just a shame.

Posted by: vhayes | April 18, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I agree with star11, I also didn't think Lakisha was bad. I did think the band was horrible way to loud. It takes alot to drowned Lakisha out. Imagine her doing the same song ocopella. It seemed like she had to compete with the band.

Posted by: moonie | April 18, 2007 9:36 AM | Report abuse

Melinda is still my favorite of this season.

It's been fun watching Sanjaya, but I'm glad he had a bad enough performance to justify the judges' coming back to reality and getting tough on him. If Sanj had actually taken Martina's advice and belted the song out, he might have pulled it off.

Chris's comments about Virginia Tech seemed heartfelt to me, but the time restrictions on a live show make it look like an afterthought. I was more offended by his statement that "nasally" is a style of singing. It's only a "style" if your point is to imitate N'Sync.

Posted by: hosaa_joy | April 18, 2007 9:44 AM | Report abuse

So nasal is a good style of singing? What's next--gee, Simon, don't you know that off-key is a great style of singing?

Please let Chris get the boot tonight!

And "best wishes" just doesn't seem like the appropriate thing to be sending to Blacksburg right now--sounded way too much like Simon was at a wedding that he really wasn't enjoying. Simon tried, but he seemed clearly uncomfortable with expressing any emotion and he'd have been better off letting Ryan handle things.

Posted by: Sunshine State | April 18, 2007 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Could this be the week that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named could finally go home? He STANK so bad you could smell it through the TV.

Posted by: CJ | April 18, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Chris: Goes home tonight.
Sanajay: It was torture to watch his performance, I felt sorry the background singers when he entered their space.
Blake: B
Phil: Big surprise, but still creepy.
LaKisha: Randy was right: wrong song and too loud.
Jordin: I agree with your wife. I hated the dress, but loved the makeup.
Melinda: Best performance of the night and I don't like country.

Posted by: Lisa1 | April 18, 2007 9:58 AM | Report abuse

"When the Stars Go Blue" is a Ryan Adams song, as someone previously pointed out. But how lame was it that Tim McGraw apparently told Martina McBride that he hoped someone was going to do "his song" this week? Its no more his song than it is the Corrs' or Bono's.

Posted by: MJ | April 18, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Those of you who say LaKisha actually did a good job are right. The judges are idiots (but we all knew that). LaKisha did a good job because, in the first half of her song, she sang in a CONTROLLED manner. She wasn't belting at the top of her lungs.

In previous weeks, the judges always rewarded her for belting and then, last night, she doesn't belt, and the judges say she was shouting at them. What the heck? Do they even listen to her week in and week out?

I've been saying for a while now that LaKisha needs to get her voice under control and she finally did it. If only she had sung in a more controlled manner for the Billie Holliday cover, it would have been much better.

Posted by: Ryan | April 18, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

"Sing through your nose!" Isn't that what all good vocal coaches advise? That and "When in doubt, play with your hair!"

Posted by: Jean | April 18, 2007 10:27 AM | Report abuse

I agree with vhayes, as a Virginian, I can attest that everyone who has gone to high school in Virginia is likely to know someone who did attend or is attending Va. Tech. I'm a generation removed, but still have many friends with children there, and also have friends who work and live there. I think it has touched Virginia on a level that may be hard to comprehend.

His voice is fair game, but give the guy a break on that one (it's better than the birthday greetings and such that others have mentioned).

Posted by: 41807 | April 18, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

man, i thought lakisha was great. i didn't know what the judges were so upset about. the song is cheesy, sure, but, well, americans dig it. i liked her performance more than most last night. sanjaya was so, so, so awful that i hope and pray that people finally stop voting for him. he or chris should go tonight. too bad it can't be both.

Posted by: emt | April 18, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

I think Chris's "shout out" would've gone over better if he hadn't mentioned VaTech by name - it's not like he needed to. He could've just said "I'd like to let everyone back home know that I'm thinking about you," and that would've accomplished the same end without coming across as a play for sympathy votes.

Lakisha was awful. I don't think it was the band's fault - I think the band is awesome and really, really top-notch at what they do, and if she sounded like she was yelling, it's because she was yelling. She picked a god-awful song, which was also not a good song for her voice, and it showed.

Melinda was great, as were Jordin and Blake (although Jordin and Blake did have a few pitch issues). I feel sorry for Melinda, because she always seems so embarrassed to be complimented - I don't think she's falsely modest, I think it's just hard to graciously accept compliments in front of that many people over and over without seeming cocky or arrogant, and she errs too much in the other direction. Regardless - she was great.

Posted by: Lala | April 18, 2007 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Sanjaya must go - if you watched "AI" for the first time ever last night, and you saw the drop in quality of singing from Jordin to Sanjaya, you'd wonder what the heck the show was about.

Lakisha picked a terrible song. She's a belter with a magnificent voice and country music has so many great songs for women with big voices. She should have just sung "Stand By Your Man" (which Ms. McBride nailed at the CMT Top 100 Country Songs concert) "Georgia," "You Were Always on My Mind," "I Will Always Love You" (Dolly Parton's song, covered by Whitney) or any one of dozens of other classics and she would have been in the top three with ease. It was a shame.

Posted by: Scott | April 18, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

First off, "Jesus,take the wheel", is "not" a ploy for Religion. If that were the case, then we could all be offended at all lyrics to most all songs, couldn't we?

I enjoyed ,(as I always do), Blake and Jordan the most. I believe they are really the most talented and likable, as they are "true performers" and that is what sells.

Melinda and "Kisha" are good of course, but are already well known because of their backgrounds.

GO BLAKE AND JORDAN !!!

Posted by: Larissa | April 18, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Finally the judges got real on LaKisha. All she knows how to do is shout. (OK, you can call it "belting" if you want.) The term "one-trick pony" fits her perfectly.

Posted by: RM | April 18, 2007 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I've been saying this all along, and I want to repeat it-Chris Richardson is AWFUL! Simon called his performance unmemorable or some such, but I thought it actively sucked. I can't criticize him for expressing his condolences to the people at Virginia Tech, but it was definitely an awkward transition after "Uh, Simon, nasally is a style of singing." The point is, he is not good, and I'm tired of the judges sucking up to him because they think he can be molded into the next Justin Timberlake. Yech.

As for Sanjaya, that performance was just unconscionable. I agree with whoever said it's too bad they can't get rid of both Sanjaya and Chris tonight.

As for the rest, I thought Jordin's performance was the standout of the night, Melinda was fabulous as usual, Phil was solid, Blake's singing was good, despite some serious pitch issues. I didn't like LaKisha's song choice at all, but I think she's so great in general that I can forgive that.

Posted by: Chris Richardson must go! | April 18, 2007 11:31 AM | Report abuse

I'd love to see Jordin and Blake as the final two contestants. Or maybe Jordin and Melinda. My top pick to win is Jordin!

Posted by: Milwaukee | April 18, 2007 11:35 AM | Report abuse

ALthough Chris's sympathies for Tech were probably sincere, he followed up with a sickening grin. For that and his consistently crappy singing, he deserves to go. I've been rooting for Sanjaya and thought he gave a spectacular performance last week, but good grief, last night was truly awful, and I'm glad the judges did their job. I'll miss him when he goes, though; he is why I'm watching more attentively this season. Love Melinda and Jordin, and it would be nice if Lakisha could return to form and enjoy herself a bit. Considering that country was probably a big stretch for her, I thought she did a competent job. Blake continues to be unimpressive voicewise, but he's got style.

Posted by: girlyGirl45 | April 18, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Honestly people--Blake is NOT VERY GOOD. he is usually in the vicinity of the the pitch, but never quite there. And an argyle vest on country night? please. And has anyone else noticed how he doesn't show any teeth when he sings? He looks like an old man who has taken out his dentures. Very strange.

Posted by: Seriously | April 18, 2007 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Actually, I thought LaKisha was pretty good and felt the "judges" were waaaay too hard (unnecessarily so) on her. I could not believe they criticized her song choice and how it didn't "work" - well duh, there's a girl who is not likely to be croonin' country anyway, but they made her choose from within a genre that is not her strength.

My theory is that the show has decided it's time for her to go.

Sanjaya lacked both style and any apparent vocal talent last night. It's clear he does not have the total package to be the next Idol. People should put him out of his misery so he can go perform at second-rate corporate galas and such.

Posted by: Meg in PA | April 18, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Does anybody else think LaKisha just looks bored? I get the feeling that she is just "phoning it in." Gone is the drive to blow us away that was there when she sang "I'm Not Going." SO unlike Jordin, who I believe is genuinely thrilled and happy to be on that stage week after week.

Strange to say, but Phil was my fave last night. He sang well, entertained, and looked relaxed and happy. Delighted he ditched the hat, though.

Posted by: Mrmo | April 18, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

i'm glad someone brought up the fact that blake has no teeth, (that we can see, that is.) he reminds me of middle school kids who never close their mouths when they eat. honestly, he's just not that good. unique, yes, but not that good. i like the song 'jesus take the wheel' (when carrie sings it) but lakisha was off key last night.
also off key: anyone whose names aren't phil or melinda. everyone else had pitch issues, and to use a baseball metaphor, they weren't throwing strikes.

Posted by: methinks | April 18, 2007 12:54 PM | Report abuse

Re: Chris Dickerson --

a) Nasal singing is not a "style" of singing -- it's a crutch used by untalented singers when they avoid singing from their diaphragms to try to hit notes outside their register;

b) The issue with the sympathy shout-out isn't whether or not he was sincere -- it was the timing. If he really wanted to say something, why not use his time in the chair with Ryan -- BEFORE HE SANG LIKE CRAP -- to send his thoughts and prayers to those effected by the tragedy. (Simon, note my wording, it would have served you well). Instead, the cheesy little rat-bastard chooses the moment after he's caught defending an indefensibly horrific performance to, quite frankly, play the "tragedy card". Classless.

Posted by: WoW | April 18, 2007 1:05 PM | Report abuse

Yes, "Jesus Take the Wheel" was an obvious attempt to grab the ostentatiously religious AI voters. I didn't say I was offended by the lyrics. I said they were an obvious pander. And, to be overly precise, the whole song is just stupid. Suggesting that when you are in danger of crashing your car you should let a divine power take over for you, especially when you have your little girl in the back? Please. How about you take the wheel and try to stop the crash, saving your little girl's life?

Posted by: Hillman | April 18, 2007 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I agree w/ a point made by Meg in PA. My apologies for saying the obvious, but the judges can/do try to steer voters in a certain direction with their comments. The best example are the previous "no comments" on Sanjaya since negative comments would only fuel those "obstructionist" Sanjaya fans.

I think LaKisha had an uneven performance. However, in past episodes, there were negative comments about LaKisha (I actually thought she did a good job on Latin night), Melinda, and even Antonella (God forbid) that I thought were off-base. [Antonella's comments were an attempt to get her eliminated without the show doing it themselves, so the judges trashed an individual performance that was actually an improvement from the previous week's performance (sorry I wish I had a reference for the actual week).]

Again, I don't think LaKisha was great, but I wonder how much the show is worried about Melinda and LaKisha (and Jordin) making it to the end? Is there a worry that Melinda and LaKisha in the finals does not offer America enough variety in genre/style? I have missed a season or so, but isn't there usually a stark difference in style among the final two (and perhaps the final 3 or 4)?

Just a thought.

Posted by: Greg | April 18, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

I have to agree with Moonie and say that Lakisha was drowned out by the band. Less is more sometimes and it seemed to me like she had to compete with the way over done band.
Next week should be great when they will sing secular music. Imagine her doing Amazing Grace. That could be her WOW moment.

Posted by: sadie | April 18, 2007 1:46 PM | Report abuse

OK, have to comment again. There is a difference between being "nasal" and "singing through your nose." The latter is, in fact, a vocal technique which was favored by my vocal coach as a way to use the sinuses in the entire face as additional echo chambers, creating a rich, clear tone without requiring strain on the voice. It is difficult to learn and master, but when done correctly is beautiful and not at all nasally. Clearly, Chris has not mastered the technique. His sound is horizontal and stretched, as opposed to the vertical and elongated sound that comes from using the aforementioned technique properly.

Oh, and yeah, LaKisha looks totally bored. I wish someone had done Carrie Underwood's new song. I'd like to take a Louisville SLugger to both Sanjaya and Ryan Seacrest. Glad he got rid of the cheesy "Seacrest--OUT" bit, but to have replaced it with "This...is Ah-MMMMMMMERRRR-ican Idol" is so self-absorbed and pretentious. What? You mean this isn't Paula Dean? Golly, the HUGE sign in the back of the stage didn't clue me in, thanks for clearing it up, Pretty Boy.

Posted by: Seriously | April 18, 2007 1:52 PM | Report abuse

Amazing Grace could be her WOW moment, Sadie, if only the genre were "sacred" music and not "Secular." Secular, as in: of or pertaining to worldly things or to things that are not regarded as religious, spiritual, or sacred; temporal.

Posted by: Websters | April 18, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Like I said secular.

Posted by: sadie | April 18, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

I've always thought of Amazing Grace as a spiritual, and therfore a sacred song. But that's just me. We sing it in church.

Posted by: Spiritual? | April 18, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.

When we've been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God's praise...
then when we've first begun.

"Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.
(end)

Posted by: jesus | April 18, 2007 2:18 PM | Report abuse

what is going on here??
secular means not religious/spiritual, non secular means religious/spiritual.
thus, 'amazing grace' is a non-secular song.

Posted by: methinks | April 18, 2007 2:29 PM | Report abuse

EXACTLY--which is why singing Amazing Grace when the theme is SECULAR music would be inappropriate.

Posted by: Websters | April 18, 2007 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, uummm Jesus...........I think!

Posted by: haha | April 18, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

period.

Posted by: methinks | April 18, 2007 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I agree with mrmo, Lakisha looks bored and Sanjaya is just going thru the motions. He knows he will be the biggest star after AI season 6 (or what ever season this is) and he knows so many people dislike him, I thinks he wants off. Also people who criticize him should not, this is not really a singing competition only, it's the whole marketable package. Sanjaya is marketable.

Posted by: me3 | April 18, 2007 3:00 PM | Report abuse

why am I the only one here who is FULLY REPULSED by sanjaya? HE'S NOT MARKETABLE!!!!!!!!!! I'm a teenaged girl; things are targeted to me, and guess what? Anything that exposes me to more Sanjaya makes me vomit. Not what I'd call marketing power.

Posted by: Hannah | April 18, 2007 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I am amazed at this blog's cynicism as it relates to the sympathetic expressions. While Ryan's opening was appropriate, even he (and the theme music) ended on an "up beat". Many of us do a bad - but no less sincere - job of expressing our sympathies for someone else's loss. We can't all be poets, and true some of us are not sincere, but I truly believe it is better to give the benefit of the doubt in this situation. If this were a taped show, I think there'd be a little room for criticism of the emotional missteps. But I think Team AI's collective emotion was as sincere as yours and mine. Especially when you look at the list of victims and how they hail from absolutely every corner.

Regarding Sanjaya, face it, he ain't goin' home unless the folks over at vftw.com get lazy. But right now, they are riding the wave - they are drunk, fat and happy with power.

I've been a huge country pop fan since 2004. I have always thought that Keith Urban is the Kenny Loggins (or Michael Bolton or John Legend) of country music (a festival of snoring, drool and eye boogers). So I was disappointed in Phil's choice, be he did look like he'd finally found himself some comfortable skin.

KiKi's big problem - she kept reminding herself mid-sentence that she was singing a country song (twang-soul-twang twang-soul soul soul - - oh yeah - - twang). She didn't buy it, so she couldn't sell it. Shouldda picked Wynona's "No One Else On Earth" or JoDee Messina's "My Give A Damn's Busted" both can be soulful and emotional.

That Damn Melinda - don't care about her look of surprise. Many of use express self-effacing surprise when we are complimented by a stranger in an elevator. I'm OK with being blown away when someone sings your praises in such a public forum. We could all use a little humility these days. And let's face it - she can blow - she can sing the phone book!!!

Posted by: Brightwood NW, DC | April 18, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

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