MAR. 30, 2006
WHITE-KNUCKLE JUDGING IN WEEK THREE
Whew, what a wild ride it was behind the scenes yesterday! Tensions were high, knuckles were white ... and I'm not even talking about the contestants.
Overall, the performances on Show 3 were the strongest yet and the fashion impressions improved from the first two weeks, thankfully. But given the bedlam on our buses backstage, a few contestants who didn't step up got a hall pass last night.
Let me take the time now, the time that I didn't have last night, to offer up constructive criticism now that the diva dust has settled.
Matt Mason. I've not been shy about expressing my belief in him. I'd like to explain my comment, "... sing to the girls, and be sure to please them before you please yourself."
Artists should always consider what the audience really wants! "The Ride" -- I love that song, it's great for a club, but in this setting, a television audience is paramount. That song doesn't showcase Matt's voice and talent enough to win this competition.
He must please more than the music industry ... an artist like Matt needs to make the women faint away.
Melanie Torres. Whew, one of the reasons I didn't bust her chops too hard is because she took a BIG risk singing "Crying" and therefore I judged accordingly. Yet, the first half of the performance was so shaky I worry that it might affect the votes.
Off the top of my head, if an artist like Melanie wants to showcase her musical integrity she might think along the lines of Linda Ronstadt's "You Can Close Your Eyes," "El Camino" or "Long, Long Time," songs that can also showcase a purty voice.
In the image department, I'd love to see one of her directions to follow either: hair up, a more casual everyday look or the Selma Hayek approach in the sultry, yet classy department.
Chris Young. I am so happy he took my advice ... the style and color of the new hat made him look like a star. If I had time to explain the comment "Casey took a bigger risk than you" I would have added, "try something along the line of Townes Van Zandt's 'If I Needed You' and make it your own.'"
If Chris stays in the game another week, which I think he will, he needs to dig deep with a gutsy song and performance given his strength of a beautiful, rich baritone voice, yet subtle delivery.
Nicole Jamrose. Hallelujah -– last week's sin was this week's redemption! An artist like this really needs to stay in one lane.
I hope Nicole asks herself before every show ... would Mindy Smith, Sheryl, Lucinda or Mary Chapin sing this song? If the answer is no then she needs to pick a different song.
It was cool watching her become one of the strongest contenders last night! There is a void on country radio that she could fill nicely!
While I'd love to write about every artist, I'm sleepy so all I have time to comment on, at this late hour, is one more artist. I gave Kristin McNamara got a BIG "get-out-of-jail" card last night. I know she can deliver so much stronger than what we saw last night, but I am guessing the pressure was too great.
I see her raw talent, yet I worry that her need to develop might prevent a Nashville Star win. Next week is really crunch time for Kristin, I wonder if she should lean towards Tammy Wynette's "Your Good Girls Gonna Go Bad" or anything Dolly.
Nicole Jamrose's "Can't let Go"