JANUARY 18, 2007
TAKING A SECOND LOOK AT WEEK TWO
The theme for this week of Nashville Star: those who listen, learn and incorporate our constructive criticism into their performance win! I think this is the biggest and quickest growth spurt for our contestants I have witnessed while on Nashville Star.
In all honesty, I was not mentally prepared for it, so next week I've got to raise the bar higher than I usually do for week three ... the competition is that good. Yet after watching last night's show on Tivo this morning, I gave myself a "D" because there were trouble spots that I missed because I got caught up in the live performances.
Joshua Stevens: I like his song choice and he needs to stay on this course, yet if he's not careful he'll back himself in a corner and it will look like more like Disneyland than Music Row. I have a few suggestions for next week: lose the trills at the end of some of the notes, avoid the "boy band" look by opting for simple, straight-cut blue jeans with a fitted Paul Smith collared shirt and try to fill up the stage during the next performance.
Whitney Duncan: She listened to our critiques, grabbed the guitar and engaged more with the audience. I feel Whitney's performances will continue to grow rapidly if she tries to connect with the entire audience, the camera and the song even more than she did tonight.
I'm confused by her image ... I don't know what her's is yet. Her ensemble screamed retro country to me and I wonder if she needs to send a more contemporary message. Subtle note to Whitney: don't go too sexy for this voting audience if you want to win. Mae West said it best, "I like my clothes to be tight enough to show that I'm a woman, but loose enough to show that I'm a lady."
David St. Romain: David gets an A+ at the University of Nashville Star! While on this show, every contestant must focus on his or her strengths. David will have time to further develop his guitar talents later but first he's got to win this competition. He doesn't look like a big star yet, but he is a quick study so I can't wait to see his growth next week.
Kacey Musgraves: While she was one of my favorites the first week, she crashed and burned Thursday. In addition to serious pitch problems, a snarky attitude and a weak performance, the main reason for Kacey's "demise" is her song choice.
If she gets enough sympathy votes to stay around one more week she must go back to the style that won me over in the first place. It's not only about playing an acoustic guitar; it's the choice in songs. She needs to select a song that is right for her voice, music style and one that can make a positive impact.
Angela Hacker: Angela got off easy last night because she did suffer from pitch problems, but her soulful voice distracted me from that. I think the "image pendulum" swung a little too much to the glitzy side but I commend the fact that she is now aware, and hope that she'll fine-tune it just right for next week. Her song choice was a safe one, but not one that will allow her to win this competition. Next week I hope she goes for a song that only she can sing, and rips your heart out.
Zac Hacker: Zac improved a lot but I still don't see a solo artist career in his future. He definitely got a hall pass from me last night, I think that the only way he could land himself a record deal is by being a part of a band. If both Hackers end up on the losing side of Nashville Star I can see "The Muscle Shoals Hackers" making some noise in the future.
Meg Allison: Meg gets the "most improved" award in every area. While there is still plenty of room to grow, her confidence was much stronger, she looked absolutely stunning and her performance was more engaging. What she needs to work on is solving this one question: "How can I select songs that are right for my voice, yet appropriate for country music in 2007?"
Dustin Wilkes: I think we were almost as surprised as Dustin with America's decision. While he has nothing to be ashamed of, I feel it was a good lesson for him that intensity is very different from aggression. I'm sorry to say I didn't get to see and hear his strengths, but I do wish him the best of luck with his career and encourage him to turn this experience into a positive one for his future.