Special guest stars Montgomery Gentry kick off the show with their hit song “Gone”, which gets the crowd on their feet. They then disappear from the stage, never to be seen or heard from again. Our host LeAnn Rimes then pops up and teases us that we will soon know who is going to be voted off this week. Those of us who are experienced Nashville Star viewers know that this is a Big Fat Lie, because the show uses a cruel sort of musical chairs method of calling the singers out one by one to perform, and then of course the last one standing in the green room is the goner. But I will admit it is an effective strategy, here I am watching the whole 60 minute program instead of checking out the loser and then going to bed.
We then cut to Cletus T. Judd for more unnecessary faux comedy. Like a dog with a new bone, he cannot let go of the fact that one of the performers threw up mid-song last week, and for the rest of the show we will be subjected to him driving this joke way way into the ground. For this segment, he shows us “the new official Nashville Star mop and bucket just in case!” and then giggles like a little girl. I scramble around on my couch in a desperate search for the Tivo remote.
OK, now it is back to LeAnn, for the announcement of the first “safe” contestant of the evening. It is retro-man Jody Evans, who proceeds to simultaneously channel both Buddy Holly and Elvis with his rock-a-billy rendition of “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. Jody has loosened up a little bit from last week. While he still has a suit on, he has lost the tie and has a fun pink shirt on underneath. Crazy! But the usually uber-positive judges are clearly a little bored with him after only 2 weeks. Bret says “I need more you”, Anastasia says be yourself and dig deep, and Phil says next week he would like to see what else he can do.
Not surprisingly, the next of the nervous nine to be called to safety is Tamika Tyler, who I think had the best performance of last week. She nails it again this time around singing “I’m Alright”. So I will try hard to not even talk about the fact that she is dressed for Woodstock, not the Opry. Phil says he loved the song choice and that she is one of his favorite performers, Anastasia says she is the strongest singer in the competition, and Bret says “bring me your heart and soul cuz you got it”.
It should then be time for our next performer – but no! – it is more of Cletus and his Barf Girl commentary. He proceeds to interview some of the other contestants on whether or not Jenny should have been given another chance to sing on last week’s show after she threw up, and of course it is a unanimous yes. If Cletus wants to turn this into Survivor, then he had better start looking for a poorly resourced desert island, as living in a posh Nashville hotel does not seem to be creating much tension between the contestants. I fast forward again.
Up next is Justin David, one of what I thought were the two weakest performers last week (the other being Josh Owen). They introduce him by showing off some of his hundreds of e-mails from fans that he received last week. He might want to savor those, because I am not sure how many weeks this guy is going to be with us. He plays his mandolin again and sings “Man of Constant Sorrow” from the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack. Justin does a passable job, but compared to the competition, he is likely to be in trouble soon. Anastasia says “last week you made my toes curl, but this week your pitch problems made my ears bleed”, Phil says he liked him better than last week but his toes did not curl, and nice guy Bret says his toes did curl and “you’re cool”.
The next name on the list is highschooler Erika Jo, who last week told us what a goodie two-shoes she was, and then this week bounds out on stage sporting red leather and lots of attitude. Hmmm. But she belts out “Here For The Party” and totally rocks the stage, then ventures into the audience and jams down there, even taking a moment to flirt with Bret before returning to the stage for a powerhouse finish. Wow, I think it’s a good bet that she is going to be making it back next week. Bret says “there’s now a party on my bus after the show”, Anastasia says she is a fabulous vocalist, and Phil jokes that she’s only 18 and can’t party anyway.
Next up is Casey Simpson singing “Whatever It Takes”. No problems here, but I must admit I got kinda bored halfway through and thought about searching for that damn remote again to speed things up (and at this point contestants are only singing half of a song due to time constraints). Anastasia says “I’m not sure if I see a true artist in front of me”, Phil says she seemed nervous, and Bret ,who was clearly not listening either, simply yells out “You are hot!”.
Out on stage next is Jason Meadows and his trademark white cowboy hat singing “I’m From the Country”. For the second week in a row, I am amazed that his guitar does not go flying across the stage the way he keeps hip-checking it as he plays, but I stop being distracted long enough to realize that I am warming up to his voice. The comparisons to George Canyon are inevitable, but hey George finished second last year so that can’t be all bad. Phil says he is the “real deal” and calls him George Strait on speed, Bret says “I dig ya”, and Anastasia says he is great and asks him to sing her a love song next week.
And now it is time for the show to lose momentum once again by cutting to Cletus. He tries to stir up the Puke Pot yet again by asking Jenny (the girl who got sick) if she is worried that if she makes it to the next week it is because of sympathy votes, and she laughs and replies that she doesn’t care at all. Dumb question, good answer!
No surprise who’s called up now, it’s Jayron Weaver who sings “God Bless the Broken Road” He gives a solid performance, though not as stunning as last week. Phil says he has a really cool voice, Anastasia says she loves his voice but he needs to connect with the audience more, and Bret says “I would pay good money to have half your voice, but you gotta bring it!”.
The over-emotional Christy McDonald and her hyperactive hair are called to the stage next. After practically leaping through the TV and into my living room last week, she tones it down this time around with “Where Would You Be”. I like her better than last week, even though she has a bit of trouble with some of the big high notes, which I think is serious enough to put her at risk in the voting. Anastasia calls her a modern day Minnie Pearl but notes that the song exposed some of her vocal weakness, Phil says she could be on a sitcom, and Bret says she is his party girl and if anyone here knows about big 80’s hair, it is him. SO true!
Now it is finally the moment of truth, and the last two contestants are brought out on stage. Drumroll please…and it is Josh Owen who is eliminated. He does not seem very surprised, and says that he might not have made the best song selection last week (“Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way”) but he’s going to keep on doing what he’s doing.
So hurray! – that means Jenny Farrell lives on and gets a second chance to make a good first impression. They interview her about “the incident” of course, and she finally gets her chance to explain that last week was indeed the stomach flu and not nerves. This of course gives the network an excuse to show us ONE MORE TIME the clip of her running across the stage to puke. Can we burn that footage now and just move on please?! The jubilant Jenny then sings “Can’t Take the Honky-Tonk Out of the Girl” and looks about as happy as I’ve ever seen anyone on TV. She does a fine job of it too, and I think the viewers who voted for her will be happy they did. Anastasia says she is glad America gave her the benefit of the doubt, Bret says “you deserved that chance!”, and Phil says he can’t wait to see her again next week.
In my opinion, the two folks most at risk of elimination next week are Justin David (again) and Christy McDonald. And if I had to bet money on the two people least likely to get the boot, it would be Erika Jo and Jason Meadows. Next week should be a ton of fun, as the contestants will be joined by the Charlie Daniels Band, which in past seasons has signaled a Southern country-rock theme for the contestants as well.
And as a reminder, Monday March 14 is the deadline to enter the Reality Shack Nashville Star contest, with 5 sweet packages of Nashville Star swag to be given away. See the home page for details!
You can contact Lisa with questions, comments, or general gabbery at firstname.lastname@example.org.