TV Guide Network's Kimberly Caldwell (inset) weighs in on Adam Lambert and others.
Throughout American Idol's final weeks, as each sing-off signs off, TVGuide.com will be checking in with TV Guide Network hosts/Idol alums Kimberly Caldwell and Justin Guarini for their particularly qualified take on who soared, who stumbled, and which judge's review most rang true.
This week, Caldwell shares her thoughts on who from the Top 11 was more than a little bit country.
TVGuide.com: In your experience, what percentage of Idol contenders typically dread country week?
Kimberly Caldwell: I loved country week when I performed on the show [during Season 2] because I'm from Texas and that's what I grew up on, but I know a lot of people normally don't get too excited about country because it's hard to transition from any other genre to country.
TVGuide.com: Would you say that country week is when the guest mentor, this case Randy Travis, comes in most handy?
Caldwell: For sure! If you don't normally sing country it's nice to have someone on your side that can really show you how to connect to the songs.
TVGuide.com: Who do you think handled the theme best? And who struggled most?
Caldwell: I think Matt [Giraud] really shined and I really think he has a shot at going all the way! I think Kris Allen really stepped it up; he stayed true to himself and still gave the audience what they wanted. Also Allison [Iraheta] was on point last night as usual. I think Scott [MacIntyre] was out of his element, but still gave it his best. Danny [Gokey] has been one of the early favorites, but I don't think last night was his best performance. I don't think he has to worry about elimination, though, because he already has a huge fan base.
TVGuide.com: Which review of Adam Lambert do you lean most toward — "horrific" and "indulgent" "rubbish" (per Simon) or "fresh and hot" (per Randy)?
Caldwell: I adore Adam! I think he is already a star and everyone else can really learn from his professionalism.
TVGuide.com: Do you agree with Paula that the piano could be a barrier between Scott and the viewers?
Caldwell: Scott is such an inspiration. I love him behind the keys. It worked for Billy Joel and Elton John, so I think it can work for him.
TVGuide.com: Overall, who surprised you most this week?
Caldwell: Lil Rounds, I think, was the most surprising. She was able to really show us she can do anything! Also, Adam allowed us to see that no matter the genre, he is going to stay true to himself and represent himself in the most positive way. And of course Matt was the best of the night, so I agree with the judges on that.
For the latest on American Idol, tune into TV Guide Network's Idol Tonight every Wednesday at 8 pm/ET (this week's guest is Brooke White) and Idol Wrap every Friday at 8 pm/ET with co-hosts Kimberly Caldwell and Justin Guarini. Plus get more on your favorite Idols every Friday with American Idol Rewind at 7 pm/ET.