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Nashville Star: week four recap

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Family friendly country

Surprise visits and a leader emerges this week on "Nashville Star."

Family friendly countryIt was "Family Night" on "Nashville Star" and all of the contestants were treated to surprise visits from their families. A sweet idea, and very fitting for a country show, so sweet that I didn't even mind Billy Ray's little daughter, Noah, starting the night. I did get a laugh out of the final shot of his family with his son looking very much like my own rock 'n roll teenager. Was it just me, or did that kid look like he wanted to be anywhere but there?

This week the contestants were given two songs to sing...sort of. As each performer was chosen, they sang their usual number and then, after a very short break, they rolled into song number two. But seriously folks, how long did they have for those second songs, thirty seconds?

It was hardly worth opening their mouths and let's not even talk about the butcher job they had to do on those great songs. If the contestants messed up, I say it's because they were trying to remember how to eliminate the second verse, sing only two lines of the chorus then wrap with a repeat of the opening line. Awful.

Ashlee Hewitt was first up with both a piano and guitar version of "Don't Stop Believing," followed by "Help Me Make It Through the Night." Neither blew me away but they weren't horrible.

Coffey inexplicably went with "Hey Good Looking" which is so simple you have to be a genius to pull it off. He's not a genius. He followed that with "Take Me Home, Country Roads" and I wanted to cry, but not in a good way.

Navy boy, Tommy Stanley was a shipwreck with "Bless the Broken Road" and "Tiny Dancer." I will cut him a little slack on the second song because of the spot he was in. The producers decided to pull out the patriotic card one more time and flew in several of Tommy's buddies from the USS Kittyhawk. It was awkward and emotional for Tommy.  And now go and sing! Yikes. Poor kid didn't know what hit him.

Pearl Heart had their moments with "I'll Still Be Loving You" and "One Way Ticket" but I wish they wouldn't harmonize all the way through. They need to pick their moments and the front sister is still looking like a deer in headlights. I think their days are numbered.

Melissa Lawson reminded me of what a good singer sounds like with "This One's for the Girls" which was just perfect for her voice. She followed that with "Landslide," another winner. Definitely the best voice in the competition, if only she can muster the stage presence to see it through.

Shawn Mayer glammed it up a little this week with a lovely rendition of "Breathe" that I liked better than the judges did. Next was "Forever and Ever, Amen," and that fell flat. I don't know about her, she could be a break-out star in another week. Hard to say.

Gabe Garcia took the last spot before the final two and he did a great job of "Wanted Dead or Alive" and "The Fireman." I do wish he'd push his hat back further on his head, though, so I can see his eyes when he sings. I like this guy but he needs a fire lit under his butt to shine.

Alyson Gilbert reinforced why she was in the bottom two with a horrendous version of "She's in Love with the Boy." While Sophie & Laura tried and failed at "Walking on Sunshine." They followed with "Because of You" and it was all so high school talent hour. . . sigh.

Alyson was sent packing -- no surprise.

Next week there will be TWO eliminations and I'm betting on Sophie & Laura and either Tommy Stanley or Coffey. Time to kick the contest into overdrive.

Watch "Nashville Star" every Monday night at 9:00 on NBC.

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