Jewel explains the difference between a country and a pop song, and addresses which contestants need help with the distinction.

on Jul 7, 2011


I can't believe we are already halfway through the season! I don't know about you guys, but the show is getting hard for me to watch because everyone is going home -- it sucks! I wish so badly that everyone could win, or at least stay to the end. It's brutal! The dynamics of the group are brutal, too! What a tough group to write in -- everyone talks behind everyone's back! I guess the silver lining of that is that everyone is competitive and in it to win it. . .

This week's winners were an easy pick for us. Johnny and Brian moved their song into reggae effortlessly and they had the best lyrics and best song structure. On a personal note, I found Johnny's tiny tantrum about the guitars not being tuned to his liking somewhat telling. It made me wonder if it was just stress talking or if winning some song challenges might go to his head in the near future. It's no one's job to tune your guitar but yours, unless you are selling out stadiums. Maybe he was just anxious about trying to get the song just right. Time will tell if a few wins turns him into a diva. . ..

Judging is getting harder and harder as we are starting to send good writers, all good people who have worked so hard at something they truly love, home. The only way I got through it was to focus on our objective: we want hit songs that can get played on today's top charts. If you listen to the radio and then compare our losing songs you can see why they fell short. Jackie, Sonyae, and Scotty's country song is plain and not extraordinary when compared to a great classic song like Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now."

As many of you know I am very passionate and have the utmost respect for country music. Some of the best songs ever written have been in this genre, like "I Will Always Love You," written by Dolly Parton and later recorded by Whitney Houston, classics like Patsy Cline singing "Crazy," written by Willie Nelson, or modern songs that are socially relevant and heartfelt like Alan Jackson's "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)" to chart toppers like Taylor Swift's pitch-perfect narratives such as "The Story Of Us." This a modern and diverse genre that has nothing to do with what Jackie referred to as something like "you keyed my car drinking songs." Pop is about being cool; country is about being sincere. It has everything to do with telling a great story that's authentic, real, and believable. It also takes a lot of craft to write a country song, because you can't dress up a poor concept behind a cool track.