So how do we like our American Idol celebrity mentors? Do we want them to be straight shooters, like Tony Bennett, who memorably told Haley that her inability to understand "Ain't Misbehavin'" would "destroy the story of the song"? Do we want them to be self-serving careerists, like J.Lo, who managed just in one session with Chris both to reach out to her base (correcting his pronunciation: "You don't want all the Latinos out there bein' like, 'It's muñequita!'") and to play up her music-theory acumen ("Let's try it up a half-step!")?
Or do we want them to be like Martina McBride, who was all empathy and no spine on Country Music Night last night? The contestants could've used her help, after all; Sanjaya, Chris, LaKisha and Blake all gave performances ranging from ho-hum to lousy.
"When you sing out, you have a great tone. I like it!" she gushed to Sanjaya after his abysmal performance of "Something to Talk About."
"I'm farklempt," she said, tearing up after LaKisha hollered "Jesus, Take the Wheel."
"I thought he did a really great job," she said of Blake's cheesy "When the Stars Go Blue."
"To be honest, I questioned that [song] choice a little bit," she started off to Chris after his performance of "Mayberry" — ah! here we go! — "but hearing you sing it, it's just fantastic."
Comparatively, after Chris sang "Mayberry" live — but before Simon did or did not roll his eyes — Paula was disappointed, telling him, "The joy and the love that you have onstage didn't come through." Jeez, Martina McBride. When even Paula Abdul is meaner than you, you're pretty much useless.