Wynonna Deserves Better Than “Kath & Kim”

While lying on the couch in a Nyquil-induced haze waiting for The Office to come on last night, I happened to catch the last five minutes or so of Kath & Kim. Despite my deep appreciation of the work of John Michael Higgins, I gave up on the Molly Shannon/Selma Blair vehicle early in its run and, frankly, was a little surprised to see that it was still on. But soldier on it does, and this week’s special guest was Wynonna Judd. Thanks to last night’s depiction of Wynonna as a star someone would enter a contest to meet and her recent series of ads for some weight-loss pill, I realized I had thought more about her in the last week than I had in the last decade or so. What happened to the younger half of The Judds, anyhow?

When Wynonna and her mother Naomi decided to stop recording together in 1991, it seemed plausible or even likely that Wynonna was going to break out as a big solo act. At least on the country side of things, she started off hot, scoring three No. 1 albums. “No One Else On Earth”—a track so dreadful, I refuse to even link to it—was her biggest solo pop hit, but that only went to No. 35 on the Adult Contemporary chart. I knew last night while watching Blair embarrass herself on screen that there was at least one Wynonna song I really liked, but it took me until this morning to realize it was “Only Love”, a No. 3 country hit that reached No. 103 on the pop charts. The track definitely reeks of 1993, but I think it holds up reasonably well.

Reading Wynonna’s Wikipedia entry, I guess she’s more famous for being famous these days than anything, although they don’t hand out ice-dancing tributes to just anyone. She is trapped on Curb, widely known as the worst label in country music (just ask Tim McGraw) so any lack of recent success might not entirely be her fault. While this sentiment might get me laughed out of the Idolator cool kids club, I still love a lot of the Judds’ music.

“Love Is Alive”:

“Why Not Me?”:

Wynonna’s Sing: Chapter 1 came out on Tuesday; while it’s produced by the guy behind the Judds records, it’s full of covers, which is generally a bad sign. Still, maybe the thousands of people who happened to turn on NBC slightly too early last night might help boost her career again. If you have some strange desire to see the entire Wynonna-themed episode, here it is:

Kath & Kim Season 1, Episode 12 [Hulu]