JANUARY 25, 2007
THEIR FUTURES LIE IN THEIR OWN HANDS
Wow! I was as surprised this week as I was last week, but unfortunately in a completely different way. While the growth among the artists was HUGE the second week I was disappointed by the lack of forward momentum this week.
Being the "veteran judge" in the middle of my third year on Nashville Star, this season has been the biggest roller coaster to date. Other than Angela, all of the Nashville Star contestants maintained status quo vs. jumping the pack. I am happy to have a chance to expound upon the brief points I expressed on the show.
Meg Allison: While Meg's voice has been her strength from day one; her nerves created serious pitch problems for her again this week. Yet now she has raised the bar as it relates to her image.
The biggest area of weakness has been and still is the art of entertaining. I hope she noticed how Little Big Town filled the stage, had fun making music and connected with the audience during their amazing performance.
If this constructive criticism feels vague, here's specific homework: Meg must make eye-to-eye contact with people on the left and the right and in the front and the back of the theater. Also, if she opts to stand, she needs to leave the safe zone in the middle of the stage or choose to sit on a stool with her guitar like she has done time and again at the coffee houses in Chicago.
With our song selection for next week she can show off her range, and then I hope she will get lost in the music ... if she has fun, we will too.
David St. Romain: He is a solid artist; in fact David is the strongest male artist at this stage of the game. Yet David's song choice wasn't moving enough to jump his toughest competition – Angela – so I hope he's able to dig deep with the song we chose for him next week.
As I've mentioned, David's strength is his voice and "Life is a Highway" didn't allow him to show off his "ace in the hole." The more that voice fills up the hall and he fills up the stage, the stronger an artist he will be. I think our song selection will allow him to wail next week, at least we hope so.
Joshua Stevens: I love witnessing how a show like Nashville Star nurtures aspiring artists right before our eyes. His image improved exponentially and his confidence did too.
Joshua has established that he has a strong voice, yet I still maintain that when he sang that Vince Gill song it exposed pitch problems, his voice thinned out singing those high notes and he fell behind his competition. The key was way too high for him and the style of this song is just not right for this singer. So he needs to jump back to the pop-infused country songs of weeks past, maintain his new image and continue to grow.
Whitney Duncan: I hope she gets enough sympathy votes to perform one more time. Having to learn a new song in one day when the competition has had a full week of rehearsals is a serious blow. While seasoned artists effectively deal with curveballs all the time, it's tough at this stage of the game.
I admire how she reacted when she learned that the song she chose did not clear; she didn't pitch a fit or whine ... just tried to do her best. As it was a very weak performance in every area, America might say goodbye to Whitney next week, but I will bet money that she gets a record deal within six months or less. If she gets another shot, I hope she digs deep to give us an emotional and fun performance.
Zac Hacker: There is no doubt that he deserves to be on that stage, Zac is a solid performer and I enjoy his bluesy voice. Yet his song selections have consistently been "fluffy-soul." A soulful singer should pick songs with depth and emotional resonance vs. strictly ditties.
I wonder if America can name the song titles of the past three songs or even care to recall any of the lyrics he sang. We chose a song for him to perform that will either reveal a strong singer or expose a weak one. We will learn if he is a one-trick-pony or not next week, I hope he proves me wrong!
Angela Hacker: Oh my, this is what we in the business yearn for: a true artist who has a clear vision of her music and talents. Even though she suffered from a few pitch problems at the top of the song we all know this happens and if the performance is powerful, we don't mind. All that matters is that she gave us chill-bumps and she offered up the best performance of the night hands down.
I can't wait to see her perform next week. I am mentally dumping Gatorade all over Angela at this very moment.
Kacey Musgraves: Man, this is a great example of just how brutal and competitive Nashville Star can be. I believe in Kacey and feel strongly that she will land a record deal one day. It's nice to know that she is making a record, releasing it independently and utilizing the influential page on MySpace to advance her career. I really admire that she's not letting the dust settle and making a move straight away.
I am and always will be a fan of Kasey and her music.