March 17th, 2009
09:26 PM ET

Top 11: Scott MacIntyre still the piano man

Scott MacIntyre
Hometown: Scottsdale, Arizona
Audition city: Phoenix, Arizona

Martina McBride songs are popular tonight - but I’m not quite sure why MacIntyre chose “Wild Angels.”

Scott McIntyre

The piano playing was nice, but I found myself wanting the camera to switch back to the mosh pit where Ryan Seacrest was hanging out.

I agreed with Paula that the piano might be a bit of a crutch to MacIntyre and there needs to more of a focus on his voice. MacIntyre’s comment on “losing a lot of hat picks” went over most people’s heads, I think, if he was trying to make the point that he hasn’t had great songs to pick from.

I agree with Kara that he needs to up his game. What do you think?


Filed under: American Idol judges
March 17th, 2009
09:16 PM ET

Top 11: Adam Lambert leaves them speechless

Adam Lambert
Hometown: Los Angeles
Audition city: San Francisco

Admit it.

Adam Lambert

You were a little afraid when you envisioned Adam Lambert singing country music. Apparently so was Randy Travis.

Lambert’s version of the great Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” was, um, different. He hit some notes that I’m not sure were even envisioned when the song was composed.

Kara was left admittedly confused and Simon’s “What the hell was that” got more cheers than jeers - though he may have taken it too far when he called it “horrific.”

Wow.

–Lisa Respers France, CNN.com Writer


Filed under: American Idol judges
March 17th, 2009
09:08 PM ET

Top 11: Lil isn't much when singing country

Lil Rounds
Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee
Audition city: Kansas City, Missouri

Such a slowed down version of “Independence Day” by Martina McBride may seem like sacrilege to some lovers of country music, but that could have been forgiven if Lil Rounds if Lil Rounds had been a bit more comfortable singing the song.

Lil Rounds

Initially, she seemed a bit afraid and it wasn’t her best performance. Kudos to her for stepping out of her R & B zone so hopefully that will score her some points.

The judges tried to be encouraging-even though Simon called her “Little” instead of Lil and compared her to a wedding singer.


Filed under: American Idol judges
March 17th, 2009
08:56 PM ET

Top 11: Kris Allen croons his heart out

Kris Allen
Hometown: Conway, Arkansas
Audition City: Louisville, Kentucky

How smooth was Kris?

Kris Allen

Somewhere Garth Brooks must be smiling at this rendition “To Make You Feel My Love.” Relaxed, focused and just the right touch of cute was this performance.

I held my breath over a couple of those notes, but it wasn't as bad as it could have been. I didn't even miss his guitar.

–Lisa Respers France, CNN Writer


Filed under: American Idol judges • television
March 17th, 2009
08:42 PM ET

Top 11: Allison Iraheta is a little girl with a big voice

Allison Iraheta
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Audition city: San Francisco, California

Somebody seriously needs to check Allison Iraheta’s ID because that’s a strong voice coming from that little 16-year-old mouth!

Allison Iraheta

While her voice may not have been completely pitch perfect, she brought mega-attitude to Patty Loveless’ “Blame It On Your Heart.” She sang it with all of the passion of a woman scorned and the audience definitely connected with her as she stalked the stage.

It even garnered Randy's first "Dope" of the evening. Watch out for this little firecracker!


Filed under: American Idol judges
March 17th, 2009
08:29 PM ET

Top 11: Michael Sarver kicks it off with Garth Brooks song

Michael Sarver
Hometown: Jasper, Texas
Audition city: Phoenix, Arizona

If anyone should have been a natural for tonight’s Country Music theme, it’s Texas native Michael Sarver.

Michael Sarver

But his rendition of Garth Brooks' “Ain’t Going Down (Till The Sun Comes Up)" left most of the judges less than impressed. After some advice from guest mentor Randy Travis, Sarver dived right into the song, which barely allowed him a breath.

With a harmonica player jamming beside him, Sarver seemed to be having a great, if slightly wind-challenged, time.

Judge Randy Jackson led off complimenting Sarver’s song choice, but didn’t think the song showed off his voice as well as it could have. The best Kara DioGuardi could summon was that it was impressive “… that you could remember all of those words.”

Paula Abdul was a bit more enthusiastic (but when isn’t she) in her praise while Simon Cowell let the hammer drop by scoring him a 1.2 out of a possible 10 and labeling him “clumsy.”

At least Sarver managed to keep an engaging smile on his face!

-Lisa Respers France, CNN.com Writer


Filed under: American Idol judges • television
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