Scotty McCreery Wins American Idol

Scotty McCreery winning American Idol is as surprising as someone finding out China has the world’s biggest population. Yes, it was that predictable.

And even though I voted thirteen times for Lauren Alaina all the way from Lebanon (yes, I outsmarted the American Idol geographical limitation system), it obviously wasn’t enough when you have more than 122 million votes cast for American Idol’s biggest finale, voting-wise, ever!

Both Scotty and Lauren sang with their idols on the finale, Tim McGraw and Carrie Underwood, respectively. The finale also featured performances by Steven Tyler, U2, Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Tony Bennett (who sang with top 3 Haley Reinhart), Judas Priest (who sang with top 4 James Durbin).

I had said before that Lauren needed to win more than Scotty but it doesn’t matter now. Apparently, they’re in a relationship since they went all kissy-kissy after Scotty won, which means Scotty should help Lauren when she tries to crack the country music scene. Win-win situation apparently.

Lauren Alaina, who was sure Scotty will win, said Carrie Underwood told her, prior to their Before He Cheats performance that “no matter what Lauren, you’re a winner and you’re going to be amazing in the country field.”

Scotty McCreery was loyal to the country genre since day one. He captivated audiences with his audition (my twitter timeline, filled with Country music loyalists was raving about him) and week by week, even when challenged with other genres, he made those songs his own, adding a country twist to them. Is it my cup of tea? sometimes yes, sometimes no. But the majority of those millions that voted like him, apparently.

After winning, and the need to constantly smile for camera snapshots coming in from everywhere, Scotty was asked by Carrie Underwood if his cheeks had started hurting yet. But apparently, he won’t be smiling for long. Why? the poor thing has an exam tomorrow. Talk about something raining on your parade.

Either way, I, for one, was happy with an all country finale since that’s my favorite genre. And whoever won would have been a good addition to the genre. They’re both very young with lots to give. Let’s wish them prosperous careers. Whose career am I more excited for, though? Lauren Alaina.

Advertisements

Country Strong – Movie Review

Country Strong

In Country Strong, Gwyneth Paltrow stars as Kelly Canter, a country music star struggling with substance abuse. Taken out of rehab a month prematurely by her manager/husband James, portrayed by country star Tim McGraw, for an encore tour, the movie is supposedly about her struggling with her addiction, life, resurrecting her career, etc.

Throw into the mix Beau Hutton, played by Garrett Hedlund, a rehab worker who also happens to be a aspiring to become a country music star, as well as Leighton Meester starring as Chiles Stanton, a girl who also wants to become a country star and you’re set for Country Strong.

So basically, you have four storylines in the movie being developed simultaneously, and while the prospect of these four storylines is compelling and promising, they fall flat in a movie that I hoped would be far better.

While the acting is quite good, this overload in the movie’s plot undermines it. Within each storyline, you have a bunch of other things going on as well. Kelly’s storyline serves as a vehicle for tackling issues with the entertainment industry as a whole, Beau’s storyline is used to introduce romance into the movie, etc…

At one point in the movie, Leighton Meester’s character is described as “the next Carrie Underwood”. I like Leighton but to equate her vocal talents with half of Carrie’s would be an abomination. She has limited range and while enjoyable as a singer, she is nowhere near a vocal powerhouse. So being the Carrie Underwood fan that I am, this served as another point I have against the movie.

A positive thing I can say about the movie is that even though the handling of the plots is full with cliches, the ending is not. I was hoping fifteen minutes into the movie that they would risk ending it the way they did. And I got my wish.

What also helps the movie is the soundtrack. Featuring many songs that I have become familiar with, I couldn’t help but smile whenever they started to sing something that I know. Notable tracks include: Country Strong (lead single from the movie’s soundtrack, made it to the top 30 on country radio), Coming Home (nominated for both an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for best original song), Me and Tennessee (current single by Tim McGraw) and A Little Bit Stronger (current single by Sara Evans).

Overall, the cast give it their all. But Country Strong falls flat for tackling too many issues in, what ultimately becomes, a shallow and rushed manner. If they had stuck with the storyline of Kelly reclaiming her career, this movie and Paltrow’s acting would have gotten award recognition, akin to the similarly themed-movie Crazy Heart, which earned Jeff Bridges his first Academy Award for best actor.