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Grand Ole Opry
If you're a country guy or gal, and you want to demonstrate to the Idolsphere that you haven't yet mastered the art of breath control, we can think of no better vehicle than this one. The rapid patter isn't all that unusual for this type of country song, but "Ain't Goin' Down" features rapid patter leading into held notes, and that's both unusual and difficult. It may be a karaoke favorite, but it's really not a song for amateurs.
Josh Gracin delivered a manic rendition on AI2's Country Night, complete with a lap through the audience. He earned solid reviews from the judges but just a 43 rating from reviewers, with a gargantuan standard deviation of 28 – as of this writing, tied for the second-highest of any performance in Idol history. One season later, LaToya London gave the song a more polished but no less high-energy delivery to earn an 82. For London, it was her third 5-star review in her first three shows.
Now that "Ain't Goin' Down" has had a couple of notable performances, including a 5-star one, we're comfortable recommending future contestants to leave it on the shelf. But we know deep down we haven't heard the last of it. If you simply must choose it, at least have enough sense to stay on the stage and conserve your breath; you'll need it. We thought Gracin would require mouth-to-mouth after his performance, and as well as London sang it, even she left a couple of seams in the verses by bouncing from the audience to the stage.
Incidentally, and although this is somewhat off-topic because the song is thoroughly unfit for Idol, we would be extremely impressed to hear any solo singer successfully make it through a verse and chorus of Reunion's 1970s novelty hit "Life Is A Rock (But The Radio Rolled Me)."