A little bit country! American Idol's new mentor, Scott Borchetta, runs the Nashville-based label Big Machine. For Top 5 week on the Fox reality hit he called in his country singer pal Martina McBride to mentor the remaining singers.
McBride even performed one of her favorite standards, "Over the Rainbow," on the show — and it all came together in just four days, McBride dished to Us Weekly in an exclusive interview in her dressing room backstage the morning of the show.
While Jay DeMarcus of Rascal Flatts helped guide Clark Beckham, Nick Fradiani, and Rayvon Owen, McBride mentored the girls who remained in the competition, Jax and Tyanna Jones.
"I feel like just having many years of experience helps with talking to them about confidence and who they want to be as an artist and what kind of record they want to make," McBride said of the advice she gave to the young singers. "I just listen, and if there’s any kind of constructive criticism I can give, then I’m all about that."
One thing McBride noticed is that neither singer reminded her of any other artists out there, "which is good," she admitted. "They both have their own style."
While — Spoiler Alert! — Jones was eliminated midway through the April 29 episode, she was able to perform her version of Beyonce's "Run the World (Girls)" that McBride helped shape. "I just talked to her about delivering that song as a statement," McBride dished, "and not a question. It has very strong lyrics."
Jax, meanwhile, tackled "Human" by Christina Perri, and McBride described it as "really honest and internal, but also drew you in as a listener. I felt like it was an authentic choice for her lyrically."
After her performance on Idol, McBride is back on the road to tour in support of her album Everlasting. The tour "will go through the end of October," she told Us, and revealed that there's new music in the works. "I’m also working on a new album, so that’s going to be fun. I haven’t gone into the studio yet, but I’ve just been writing and gathering songs."
Watch Jax, Clark, Rayvon, and Nick compete for the American Idol season 14 crown on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.