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Why Wait

Kristy Lee Cook

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Album Review

Somehow it seems fitting that the first AmIdol out of the gates in 2008 is Kristy Lee Cook, the savvy, purported country singer who sold her horse to get on TV, and then once she was there proceeded to sell out any way she could to stay on the show. Cook quickly sussed out that in order to stick around she needed to exude a blend of faith, family, and country — meaning both patriotism and the music — and sold herself with a tenacity that brought a smile to Simon Cowell's face. Kristy Lee may not have gone the distance on Idol but she presented a full, easy-to-package identity to rival David Cook, and her debut Why Wait follows through on every promise she made on the show, right down to a horse popping up again on the front cover. Like Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler before her, Kristy Lee heads straight into modern country, landing somewhere between her two Idol predecessors, as she sings a crossover country-pop similar to Carrie with just a bit of down-home spunk from Kellie. She's not half the diva of Underwood or the cornball of Pickler, coming across more like the girl next door made good, and that's pretty endearing on record, especially as she has songs as clever as "15 Minutes of Shame," and as quietly insistent as the AAA-pop of "Hoping to Find" and "Not Tonight," which feel a bit like Faith Hill at her crossover peak. She also has plenty of songs that pander as boldly as she did on Idol when she sang "God Bless the USA," including a new version of that cheesy chestnut. Defying all expectations, that's not the most shameless thing here, as it's topped by the maternal love letter "Like My Mother Does," a salute so syrupy it borders on camp. But if this and the Lee Greenwood cover, along with a couple other things here, are what it takes to shore up Kristy Lee Cook's bona fides as a country singer, so be it: when Why Wait clicks — which it does about half the time — it's really solid, endearing country-pop.

Biography

Born: 18 January 1984 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Although country vocalist Kristy Lee Cook enjoyed some degree of success as a teenager, she didn't receive her big break until 2007, when the 23-year-old Oregon native auditioned for the seventh season of American Idol. Her patriotic performances and country gal appeal helped push Cook to a seventh-place finish, despite frequent criticisms from the show's judging panel. Born in Seattle and raised in rural southwestern Oregon, Cook initially split her time between horseback riding and singing. At...
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Why Wait, Kristy Lee Cook
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