live-blogging the ACMs

I hadn’t intended on live-blogging the ACMs, but halfway through Reba’s opening monologue, I decided to get my laptop and have at it.

8:18 – Eighteen minutes in and we’ve had three performances and no award presentations. This is why country awards shows are so great.

8:20 – This may be one of the worst Kenny Chesney songs I’ve heard. Every song of his is starting to sound the same.

8:23 – Is it wrong that I’d rather see the Jonas Brothers’ concert in 3D over Kenny’s?

8:26 – Reba looks great, as usual.

8:27 – Mom, upon seeing Faith Hill: “Wow, is this ugly hair night?”

8:29 – Lady A takes song of the year! Love them.

8:31 – Dear Laura Bell Bundy, country music doesn’t need its own Britney Spears. You’re better suited for Broadway.

8:33 – I adored LBB in Hairspray and Legally Blonde, but honey, that was just terrible.

8:40 – I greatly prefer the kinder and gentler side of Toby Keith, instead of his ‘angry American’ shtick.

8:45 – This one-two punch of the Toby Keith song and then USO footage is really getting to me. I will not cry, I will not cry…

8:53 – Sooo I still don’t think I get the difference between Single and Song of the year…

8:54 – Another Lady A win! Hillary Scott looks lovely in that fuchsia dress.

9:00 – Person most out of place tonight: LL Cool J.

9:01 – T. Swift is already more in tune in these 30 seconds than she was in her entire Grammy performance.

9:04 – Taylor’s come such a long way since her performance of “Tim McGraw” with the song’s namesake sitting in the front row.

9:05 – I’d like to know what product Taylor uses in her hair to keep it so frizz-free and bouncy. Also, I’m surprised she sang “Change.” Interesting choice.

9:06 – Julianne Hough is way too orange and her poor boobs look like they’re trying to make a run for it.

9:08 – Fun fact: Gloriana’s Cheyenne Kimball had her own MTV reality show back in the early ’00s, and she dated American Idol‘s Jason Castro on the show.

9:09 – Who is this man in the overalls with the tanorexic lady? Never heard them on country radio before…

9:12 – There will not be any commenting during the upcoming Lady A performance. I must watch every second. “American Honey” is my jam.

9:16 – I will be purchasing both of Lady A’s CDs tomorrow. It’s official.

9:18 – Just voted for Brooks and Dunn to sing “My Maria” and for Carrie Underwood as Entertainer of the Year.

9:21 – Rascal Flatts could literally sing the phone book and people would buy their CD. Whoa, Gary Le Vox is a bit pitchy, dawg.

9:25 – Album of the Year goes to…Miranda Lambert. I’m not really shocked; she’s a total critics’ darling.

9:28 – If I was a famous person, I would go on as many USO tours as I could. Damn it, I’m tearing up again.

9:29 – Jason Aldean’s first album is great, but aside from “Johnny Cash,” everything else he’s put out is just so-so.

9:38 – I can’t listen to this Miranda Lambert song on the radio anymore because the first time I heard it, I was sobbing so hard I could barely drive.

9:42 – I’m losing the remote control battle to Mom and Celebrity Apprentice.

9:44 – I doubt you can find a grown man openly weeping about humanitarian work on any other awards show. Bravo, Montgomery Gentry.

9:46 – Jack Ingram and Dierks Bentley = two very talented men on one stage. Love them both…but this song is kinda lame.

9:51 – I despise this Zegrid commercial where the man paints things on his torso. Creepy.

9:53 – On a CBS-related note, I’m totally geeked for this week’s episode of Survivor.

9:56 – Carrie’s my homegirl, but this song is so treacly and overwrought.

10:00 – Oh, another Lady Antebellum win. Shocking.

10:03 – Tim McGraw brings the total number of ACM performances I’ve cried during to three. Stop toying with my emotions, country music.

10:11 – Brad Paisley is just awesome.

10:15 – I’m glad Brad doesn’t take all of his songs so literally…can you imagine what sort of stunt he could have pulled with “Ticks”?

10:17 – Matthew McConaughey’s “lady” (his word, not mine) looks absolutely mortified that he just shared the location of their daughter’s conception.

10:18 – Brad Paisley may be the first person to ever accept an award while soaking wet.

10:24 – Yessss Brooks and Dunn are singing “My Maria.” Awesome song….but lots of technical difficulties.

10:27 – The fact that Ronnie Dunn is successfully hitting all those falsetto notes is impressive. These two will be sorely missed from the country music scene.

10:29 – I covet Carrie’s white cupcake-ish dress.

10:30 – Randy Travis is starting to resemble Skeletor. And I think approximately zero people are shocked that Brooks and Dunn just won Top Vocal Duo.

10:37 – Reba’s great, but I find 98% of her music to be quite boring. Now “Fancy”…that’s a song I can get behind.

10:40 – Ugh, Josh Duhamel, that’s an ugly suit. Did Fergie pick it out?

10:42 – Miranda Lambert’s dress has just been panned by the illustrious fashion critics also known as my parents.

10:47 – Is this Keith Urban performance live? I’m confused.

10:50 – It’s totally adorable that Nicole Kidman is singing along in the audience.

10:54 – And Entertainer of the Year 2010 is…CARRIE UNDERWOOD! I’m sure my one vote was the deciding factor. You’re welcome, Carrie.

10:56 – And Hootie is closing the show. Goodnight y’all : )

‘american idol’ top 8 guys: a crying shame

After viewing last night’s episode of American Idol, I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry, or shake my fist disdainfully at the pathetic displays of talent that made up the semifinal round. Forgive me for repeating a sentiment many others share, but these 16 people are the most talented out of the thousands that auditioned? If so, I weep for the future of the music industry.
My favorite male contestant, Lee Dewyze, started the show with Owl City’s “Fireflies.” I grimaced when I heard his song choice because I think this is one of the most annoying songs on the radio right now, but Lee actually made it likable. I appreciate his willingness to take on a song that doesn’t fit his “style,” so to speak. What is up with Simon obsessing over performances having “moments?” Was he hired by Hallmark recently? It’s strange.
My second favorite male contestant, Alex Lambert, picked a great song in Ray LaMontagne’s “Trouble.” I just adore the sound of Alex’s voice, and this song was a good showcase for it. The poor kid still has no stage presence, but there’s a marked improvement since week one and his deer-in-the-headlights performance.
That brings us to Idol punching bag Tim Urban. I believe my exact words when I heard he was singing Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” were, “What the hell?” This is a beautiful, nuanced song, and I couldn’t bear the thought of Tim vocally destroying it. However, it wasn’t all that bad. Was it as good as Jason Castro’s version (which still gets played on my iPod a lot)? No. Was it much better than anything else he’s sang on Idol so far? Yes. Nothing he presented last night merited a hug from Ellen DeGeneres, who claimed she’s been really hard on Tim for the last couple of weeks. If by ‘really hard’ she means ‘vaguely critical,’ then sure, hug away, Ellen.
The curtain has been pulled back to expose Andrew Garcia‘s talent to be mere gimmickry. One can only turn so many female pop songs into acoustic jams before America gets bored. His attempt to recapture the “Straight Up” magic by taking on Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle” ended up working against him. He messed up the lyrics during the first few lines, his vocals were clipped and breathy, and the whole thing just came off as weird. He removed any and all range from the song, and believe me, Ms. Aguilera has quite the range. I think the neck-tattooed wonder might be in trouble tonight.
Casey James‘ version of Keith Urban’s “You’ll Think of Me” was much better than the goat vibrato he served up last week. He did some weird things to the melody of the song, but it was a decent performance.
Aaron Kelly picked possibly the cheesiest, most melismatic country song I know: Lonestar’s “Already There.” He started off very shaky and sharp, but he was able to recover by the chorus to give a passable performance. It’s hard not to like Aaron because he’s so earnest and he tries so hard. Props to Simon, though, for sticking up for Aaron after Kara claimed he couldn’t relate to a song about a dad on the road. I always think it’s such BS when the judges say stuff like, “You weren’t living the song,” or, “You didn’t bring the song to life.”
Todrick Hall finally lost the theatrics and sang a decent version of Queen’s “Somebody to Love,” although I have a sneaking suspicion he used the arrangement from Glee. The gospel-lite arrangement suited his inclination towards dramatic performances, and he finally gave a straightforward vocal performance that showed why the judges wanted him in the top 24.
I totally called Big Mike singing last tonight, so I wasn’t at all shocked to see him in the pimp spot. (I’ll stop talking about the pimp spot next week, I promise. Even I’m getting sick of it.) Before the commercial break, when Ryan said Mike would be singing a Maxwell song, I turned to my mother and said, “If he sings “This Woman’s Work,” I’m going to barf.” I should clarify that I have nothing wrong with the song; Kate Bush’s lyrics about suddenly having to grow up and face reality in the time of a crisis are truly lovely and moving. Just reading the lyrics online makes me emotional. However, nothing about Big Mike’s performance was deserving of Simon’s “best performance of all these live shows by far” label, nor did it merit Kara’s apparent crocodile tears. For someone who had to tell all of America that she was crying, she sure had a dry face. Those falsetto notes Mike tried to hit were akin to a yowling cat, and it just got worse from there. All of his theatrics, from the dramatically raised hand, to the pained, supposedly emotional looks into the camera, felt so overdone and uncomfortable. When you’re singing a song that packs that much of an emotional punch, just stand there and sing it. No amount of fist-thrusting or shoulder shaking is going to suddenly turn Big Mike into the next American Idol. And no, Randy, he is not the person to beat. Stop saying that.
While I can think of four girls who might be in danger tonight, I can really only pinpoint Andrew Garcia as someone who might be watching his goodbye montage come 8:58 pm tonight. (Side note: how annoying is it that Idol and Survivor are on at the same time? I need a DVR, stat.)