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Disc Review
HARRY RUBENSTEIN
04/05/2006
American Idol winner Carrie Underwood may have shared the likeability factor of Bucky and Kelly, but Underwood's talent makes the two latest American Idol country crooners sound like they are performing at karaoke night at the local saloon.
Disc Review CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Hed Arzi) Listen up American Idol fans. There actually is a reasonable explanation how Bucky "How the hell am I still on this show" Covington and Kelly "I'm not really an idiot, I just play one on TV" Pickler are still contenders on this season's American Idol. You see, Americans from the "red states" are really big country fans. They love down home country folk who don't know what salmon and spinach salad is. They like their songs about pickup trucks, broken hearts, and whiskey. That's just the way it is. American Idol 4 winner Carrie Underwood may have shared the likeability factor of Bucky and Kelly, but Underwood's talent makes the two latest American Idol country crooners sound like they are performing at karaoke night at the local saloon. Underwood is big on talent, and while her stage presence in the competition was lacking, her booming voice more than made up for it. Her debut album, Some Hearts, was the number 1 album on the Billboard Top Country Album chart and the biggest debut of any country artist since the advent of the SoundScan system in 1990 and has since gone double platinum with over 2 million records sold. Rightfully so. Underwood's debut is chock-full of radio-ready ear candy that won't isolate country fans and is accessible enough for American Idol's pop-loving audience. While it lacks the edge of Kelly Clarkson's latest material, it dwarfs the R&B-lite debut of former Idol winner Ruben Studdard (American Idol 3 winner Fantasia is another story altogether). Underwood sings directly to her natural constituency on country tracks like "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Before He Cheats," and the endearing "I Ain't in Checotah Anymore." Straight up pop is found on the crowd pleasing "Some Hearts," "Starts with Goodbye," and "I Just Can't Live a Lie." The songs are all fairly palatable with almost all featuring quiet verses and loud choruses with soaring vocals. Underwood's only problem on this album is that she spends too much time emulating her idols like Martina McBride and Faith Hill, and is lacking in the originality department. But hey, if the formula works, why change it?
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