The review is continuously updated during submission.
Tonight is the country version of Stjernekamp, so here I expect to see a lot of Wild West metaphors, from cowboy hats, denim carpenter’s pants and straws in the mouth.
Country Night annoys me every year because it always spins Marty Robbins, Townes Van Zandt, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline and Merle Haggard endlessly in their graves like an angry 80s centrifuge.
Tonight is also the first group assignment of the season.
Tone, Mari and Adrian will mysteriously jump from cowboy hats to sequins with “Hot Stuff” by Donna Summer, while Aleksander, Damien and Odd René will impose the biggest possible banana peel of the fall, “YMCA” by the Village People.
This can be very funny or very embarrassing!
Tonight’s matches in order:
Damli ringtone: “My church”
We are underway!
After all, country music is about vulnerability and emotion, and it aims to be among the most honest of its genres. Tone Damli is, after all, a master of sincerity and vulnerability, so most things are in place for the practical approach.
The song is considered well-polished, Grammy-winning country on my part, but there’s no doubt that it suits Toon’s sound well. It has a nice ‘tone’ He dominates the country’s singing from the beginning.
This is definitely Tone’s type, and one might wonder why more of this isn’t done outside of Stjernekamp. This is the first time I’ve felt like Tone is truly capturing a species in the fall, and when I first wrote “captures a species” I now felt so excited I’m going to call Tone a genre hunter tonight.
This is very strong in terms of tone, and the only thing you can draw attention to is the slightly static look, but it’s you, the world you’re holding on to here.
Adrian Silfull: “Whiskey Lullaby”
- Written by Brad Paisley with Alison Krauss (2004)
I’ve said a lot about Adrian Sillivol this fall, but it’s not encouraging.
“Whisky Lullaby” is a standout country song, and Adrian Sillivol is not a country artist. However, you won’t believe it when you look at it. Adrian is wearing a matching Brad Paisley hat which doesn’t attract enough attention aside from the way he stumbles through the first verses.
Sure the vocals aren’t good enough to carry a song like this, but you can’t expect anything else from a guy who doesn’t build his career on strong vocal performances.
However, Stjernekamp is competitive in versatility and scoring, so one should be able to hope for better than this. It sounds perfectly fine when he hits a note once in a while, but the best that can be said for this is that the empathy and delivery are credible anyway.
A shame, but as expected from the country Adrian.
Damian: “Folsom Prison Blues”
Then it’s time for the most obvious song of the night, “Folsom Prison Blues.” This popular country gem is probably one of the most played games in karaoke bars and at cowboy-themed block parties. Then it requires its artist to do something new with it!
Johnny Counter clearly means a lot to Damien, and you can see that in the costume. When it comes to performing a Johnny Cash song on stage, it’s very difficult to make it sound good without a guitar in your chest.
Damien obviously suffers from this as well, because here we have as much movement as a lamppost. But he managed to make the song his own! Admittedly, it’s a bit chaotic, starting with a low expression before sliding into a boogie-inspired arrangement. Anyway, it’s something special!
Singing is certainly nothing to complain about, so Damien is completely safe here.
Strange Rene Andersen: “Tennessee whiskey”
- Written by Chris Stapleton (2015), original by David Allan Coe (1981)
He’s bravely chosen Odd René once again, because Chris Stapleton is probably the best singer in modern country.
I advise everyone to watch his interpretation of the American national anthem during the Super Bowl. Stapleton has insane control over phrasing and spice, so it’s possible here that Odd René shows that he’s daring himself to challenge himself further on the vocals.
Last week he was on home turf with Aerosmith, but he was a bit cautious. This week he deliberately chose Stapleton’s version of a song originally written by David Allan Coe, from 1981.
In the opening credits, Odd René appears, and the reason becomes quite clear. He decides to draw his soul into Stapleton’s playful tonal treatment, and it works as well as it can. As always, this is a huge accomplishment for Odd Rene, and it’s very clear to me that this is the winner we see on stage tonight.
This song could quickly become quite tiring to listen to if performed by a singer with less solid control than Odd René and Chris Stapleton, but here our good boy is completely on par with the latter.
Marie Bella: “hope”
Here we have a perfect example of what turns a 36 year old reviewer into an older, grumpier old man. What happened to the modern state boils down exactly to this type of production.
Okay okay, enough about that. In the chorus, Marie Bella’s vocals do the song justice, and to that extent.
In verse, it’s definitely more challenging for her, and it’s quite clear that she probably isn’t used to such a deep key. Presumably they were modified to hit the very high and demanding notes in the choir, but they must have been done better by such a skilled singer.
However, we’re not talking about belly-slapping here, as that’s hard to get from such a powerful singer, but the song choice and tonal issues in the verse do their part to draw eyes to the dice.
Alexander with: “It’s still fine”
- Written by Nathaniel Ratliff (2020)
Alexander has impressed so far in the competition, and he impresses again with his song choice here. Nathaniel Ratliff is also one of the best modern country singers, although this particular song may not be the most challenging for a voice like Alexander’s.
Here he’s undoubtedly personal for the best with, and he’s already a master of the old pop trick of “staring intensely into the camera to convey the heart.”
The vocals are almost unmistakable, while the delivery is honest and hurtful. The backing harmonies are beautifully layered on top as an extra layer that emphasizes how good Alexander is performing here.
This sounds like a pure musical experience, with Alexander battling alongside Odd René to be Stjernekamp’s most convincing vocalist in the fall. Wonderfully delivered, good man!
Group task: disco
Tone, Mary, Adrian: “hot stuff”
So, it’s really a real turn-off here at Stjernekamp! We move from the cries of hawks and the roads of dusty carts to the bright and wonderful fathers. Both songs on tonight’s group assignment are probably among the most played songs of all time, songs that even completely neutral royals can admit to liking without cringing.
We start with Donna Summer’s classic “Hot Stuff,” the song your parents met over a free shot of Sambuca with a stylish blue flame over it. Adrian is playing “Hot Stuff” or “Hot Stuff” tonight – perhaps an astute assessment given that Mary and Tone are miles ahead in vocal abilities.
Tony and Marie are in the driver’s seat from the beginning here, while Adrian gets a break until the chorus.
But in other verses it is the one that leads the way, of course, to less success for the two partners, but it certainly does not disappear. The song, performance and energy are quite “Beat for Beat”, but still powerful and dynamic enough to get you on your feet.
Beautiful thing, that!
Alexandre, Damian, Aude Rene: “Young Men’s Christian Association”
We’re ready to welcome the three least disco-friendly people into the competition, who will be performing the mother of all disco songs: “YMCA.” These guys don’t have any special preconditions for success in this genre, and all three are just as far away – just like Thursday night in Kazakhstan, for the Europa League fans out there.
Here it takes Gomme 1, 2 and 3 – there is choreography, it is foreign, and there are three very different artists together on stage. But oh my goodness, how cute they are!
This is so charming that even the gray stone might melt. Odd René is probably the only one with complete control of stage presence here, who gives full stick regardless of genre. But Alexander and Damian’s horrified faces are more than enough to win me over anyway.
It could have been much worse, and it’s easy to sympathize with the unfair task Odd René, Alexandre and Damien faced here.
Very charming, very funny and a great achievement from Strangers!
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