Hola, Sound Check-ers! I'm about to hop on a flight to Austin, Texas (my first time in the Lone Star State) to check out the SXSW Music Conference and what will surely be a nonstop week of concerts, parties and lots of yummy Mexican food. I'll be blogging about it all later in the week...but before I dive into indie music festival-land, can we talk about Idol? Because I need to.
You see, I can't figure out whether I should be happy or fuming over last night's "Grand Ole Opry" episode. The Top 11 gave their best shot at covering country classics, and all things considered, it was a really satisfying show. The favorites (Adam Lambert, Lil Rounds and Danny Gokey—or as EW "Idolatry" chica Kristen Baldwin so awesomely refers to him, the "dead wife pimper") all fell off their pedestals, which was great for me because those happen to be my least favorite contestants. Their crimes? Butchering Johnny Cash, making a misguided attempt to "honor country music," and wearing an atrocious astronaut-hipster jacket.
Meanwhile, the underdogs came out fighting and proved they're just as worthy of standing on that stage as anyone else. I'm talking mainly about Anoop Desai, who finally decided to stop pounding his own chest to "My Perogative" and actually sing an emotional country ballad, and Matt Giraud, who, if he keeps finessing the piano keys like he did yesterday, might just make me forget all about his god-awful Coldplay performance.
Then there's Allison Iraheta, who performed "Blame It on Your Heart," by Patty Loveless, like a natural born pop star. Allison is my favorite contestant this season (Kris Allen is a close second), and I'm not just saying that because she's Latina! She oozes confidence onstage (and she's only 16, dawgz), she's not beating me over the head with faux-rocker style and snarky soundbites, and her vocals are consistently great—even mentor Randy Travis had to tip his hat to her.
And yet, for whatever reason that I cannot comprehend, the show's Powers That Be seem incapable of doing the same. Simon Cowell called her precocious and actually suggested that she had forgotten the lyrics—an utter lie that, thankfully, Allison debunked by saying that she'd been singing that song since the age of 8. (I believe you, girl!) And then there are the producers, who continue to deviously schedule her performance everywhere except towards the end of the show so that voters can forget all about her by the time the night is over.
Maybe I'm just being a conspiracy theorist here, but with reports surfacing that AI producers have already chosen their final three, I fear I may not be. So answer me this: Do you think Idol is holding Allison Iraheta down because they're afraid she might brainwash viewers into thinking she's actually the one to beat, dashing their hopes for a Gokey-Round-Lambert finale?
And one more thing—I defy anyone out there to tell me that Kris Allen and Allison have less potential to be commercially successful artists then Massive Tool Extraordinaire Gokey and Shrieky Goth Glam Poseur Lambert. In fact, I think it's time we Idol-fanatics stage a coup and vote for the contestants based on real merit and not incessant hype. Who's with me?
WATCH: Allison Iraheta performs "Blame It on Your Heart"