Well honk my hooter, it’s Dolly Parton week on American Idol! (Forgive me, just could not resist the breast-ference!)
I am a Dolly fan through and through, and I think she will make a fine mentor for the Idol-ettes. At the very least, I think we can expect that country music’s most talented backwoods Barbie doll will certainly have some good advice to offer as far as the performance of a song, and I hope the kids listen – especially you, Ramiele. This batch is about due for a ‘de-karaokization’.
While I am not convinced that any one of this year’s crop o’ Idols has the “lungs” to do a Dolly song justice - (Chikezie might have had another bluegrass moment of brilliance this week, but alas, we shall never know) - I remain optimistic, because if the Iron Butterfly can’t pull a miracle out of her platinum wig, who can?
Ya’ll know me… I am all about helpin’ a brutha (or sista) Idol out, so here are my suggestions as to what each of the Idols should be sangin’ for Dolly week:
BROOKE – Barbielicious Brooke should avoid “9 to 5″ at all costs, lest she be tempted to dance. Yee-ikes. She should stick to the musical colors she shows best, and try a little “Starting Over Again”, as the melody is lovely, and it’s no secret that The Nanny shines on a lovely melody (“Let It Be”, anyone?) “I Really Got The Feeling” is another song right in the Brooke wheelhouse – but my spidey senses tell me to expect (and fear) a very virginal version of “Love Is Like A Butterfly” - Brooke dressed in white eyelet material and lace, accesorized by a butterfly net, daisys, pussy willows, golden stage lights, a misty pond and live butterflies emerging from their cocoons on stage. Spring hath sprung, after all.
CARLY – Carly has lost a little of that edgy luster she showcased during Beatles week Number One (i.e. the Beatles week that didn’t have The Suck). I say she should fight for a song that contains a little edge lyrically, as we seem to be needing to see some genuine emotion from her. It would help if Carly would return the Krayzee Eyez back to their rightful owner – Kristy Lee Cook. My favorite Dolly song of all time is probably “Jolene”, and I think Carly has the range to make the song contemporary and do it justice. (I would love to hear the He-Cook’s version of this song, but given the lyrics, it really wouldn’t make sense, would it?) If another less-capable Idol chickie should dig her claws into “Jolene” first, then I think Carly could do quite well with “Little Sparrow”. Besides, she seems to be on board with singing about birds (refer to Beatles’ week Numero Dos).
KRISTY LEE – Since KLC is really the only one who can be ‘country to d’ extreme’ and not come off like a total yokel, she should just go for it. For the most part, it ain’t for me – but it is more than obvious that there is a huge country music following out there. If Kristy sets her sights on pleasing that base, she just might pull a Phil Stacey. Kristy Lee could probably get away with any Dolly song – she seems to be the only Idol resistant to going home when she ”dons the cheese”. For that reason, may I suggest some mid to late-80′s piece like “Think About Love” or “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That?” I also believe that any song from the movie “Rhinestone“ is a likely She-Cook target. Freddie, there are two kinds of people in this world, and you ain’t one of ‘em!
RAMIELE – Lullaby, you bore me to the brink of tears and I just don’t care. But, in the interest of fairness, here ya go – if you are gonna go uptempo (which I think you should… wait, do I? Yeah, I guess that is what I think), I will offer up “Potential New Boyfriend”, in tribute to my Season 7 obsession du jour, Michael Johns. “9 to 5″ might be the choice decision, though – eveyone knows the lyrics, and that trademark dreadful diction you posess will become much less obvious with a safe and familiar song. You’re welcome, Ramiele.
SYESHA – When I think about it, the performance I enjoyed most from Syesha had to be “Tobacco Road” – that is why I am suggesting “Romeo” for Dolly week, as it is sassy as hell and doesn’t require diva-tude-ness to get the personality accross. If she can mimic an infant’s cry, certainly she can purr. Audience involvement is key if she has any hope to stay in this horse race, so I would also consider a sing-along type tune like “Two Doors Down”. Who here wouldn’t bet their Tennessee mansion that Syesha was in a backstage catfight for the right to sing “I’ll Always Love You”? Lucky for us, she already grabbed the money song “Yesterday” during Beatles week, so if there is any fairness doctrine in place within Idol land, we won’t have to worry about being Whitney-slapped.
DAVID A. – The little Archu-bot will likely sing whatever will please papa most – lucky for David, Dolly sings about poverty a LOT… so there should be quite a few songs to choose from that will fit within his agenda to change the world. After last week’s mini-Youth for Christ jamboree performance, I figure David will slow it down again. His husky voice would sound nice on dreamy melodies like “But You Know I Love You” or “Heartbreaker”.
DAVID COOK – Okay He-Cook… you have finally won me over… Easter Eggy, Donald Trumpish hair and all. By the way, you really do have a huge skull, man… and good on you for using it. Cunning, you are. So, what should my man Skully sing this week? I say it is time to get vulnerable, and by that, I mean acoustic. “I’m Gone” might be a good ‘un for you for me, or perhaps you should romance me a little with “You’re The Only One” if you wanna melt my jaded heart and persuade me to dump Michael Johns and fall skull over tootsies in love with you.
JASON – Jason, you deserve to be in this thang, baby – but it’s time for you to start acting like you care a little. You are skating on some ice thinner than the skin on Dolly’s reconstructed face these days. Hopefully Jason will be smart enough to duke it out for a Dolly juggernaut like “I’ll Always Love You”, as he is really the only one with the right stuff to make this very classic and familiar song poignant. And if he does any arrangement other than the original, he’s either a fool or is as blotto as he appears. If the Idols are allowed to dip into a song Dolly covered, then I would also suggest “Shine”, Collective Soul style.
MICHAEL – Michael (like his competition for my affection, Skully) would be wise to showcase a vulnerable, hopelessly romantic sweet side this week. Maybe he should play the Bo Bice card and do something a cappella… “Rockin’ Years” would be lovely… That being said, one should never attempt a song sans instruments unless they know the melody backwards, forwards and sideways. I would love to see Michael playing acoustic guitar during a performance, but as far as I can remember, we haven’t seen any evidence that he CAN - so does this guy really not play anything? Maybe he could fake us out with a little air-guitar on a tennis racket? Okay, I am off track… sorry. If Mikey goes uptempo again, he should sing “Shinola” or “Train, Train”.
So – who is supplying the moonshine for tomorrow night’s shindig?