After an awkward backstage intro where the judges were pretending to make out, it's finally time to get started.
I kind of love Crystal's dress.
The theme is Soul and R&B, with Usher as mentor. I don't like him much, so I'm not looking forward to this so much. Seacrest did some chatting with Usher, with matching shades. He apparently felt silly, because he didn't leave them on long. Oh, lookie. Usher's new album released today. Not it all make sense.
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01) Siobahn Magnus (Through the Fire, by Shakakahn) I just love Siobahn's low range. And her high range. Her boots were not my favorite. Oh, wait!!! Was that Siobahn going off key for a second? I'm pretty sure it was! And, I kind of hate the song. And the arrangement. This is not good. She tossed a big power note in there, but it didn't make up for it. Yo, Randy thinks she's courageous and has conviction, but thought that she missed the pitch in a lot of places. Ellen thought she was like a hiker going off the trail. She loves Siobahn, but not the performance. Kara thought that the scream worked, but not anything else. She says that every performer is entitled to one off night. And this was Siobahn's. Simon thought it sounded like she'd run a marathon, and was singing while running, out of breath. He called it by far her weakest performance, didn't think the song suited her, and is getting bored with the screaming at the end. Ellen thought that her scream at the end was gilding the lily. Kara said that she seemed to be anticipating that note the whole time, and forgot about the rest of the song. That makes sense. Oh, that saddens me. I don't think she's going anywhere, but that saddens me.
02) Casey James (Hold On, I'm Coming, by Sam & Dave) Casey can really play the guitar. I like it. His voice is rather bleating, though. Still, his vocals were really good, even with the bleating, and he looked totally at home on stage and looked like he was having a blast. Nice job, Casey! Yo, Randy thought it was a perfect selection and choice, and loved the performance. Ellen thinks that Casey is always good, loved the vocals, but thought it was a little generic (this got her boo-ed). She worried that it was his safe zone. Kara thought that the electric guitar is limiting him, and wants him to be acoustic. Simon thought it was his strongest week so far. I agree, actually.
03) Michael Lynche (Ready for Love, by India.Arie) He's playing the guitar tonight, and sitting on a stool. He seemed to be in a tractor beam of light. Is he BEHIND the judges? That's weird. There's a huge stage up there, and he's not using it. The judges were not watching him. Very weird. Anyhow, vocally, he was spot on, and he brought a lot of feeling into the song. He got the crowd arm waving. Not that that's hard. But still, good performance. Just bad staging. Dude, what, dude, Randy thinks that Michael is in the zone. Ellen doesn't like when people talk behind her back, and doesn't like it when they sing behind her back, but thinks it was beautiful. Kara said that she hadn't heard the song before hearing he was going to do it, and then she went to listen to the original. She thinks that Michael nailed it. Simon said it was the first time he's taken Michael seriously as an artist, and loved it. The judges were apparently watching the performance on screens in front of them. That's good at least. I'm glad that Seacrest cleared that up.
What's with the post-performance interview after the commercial? Are they trying to fill up that much time?
04) Didi Benami (What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?) Her dress is fabulous. I really like her eye makeup, too. And her hair. Her vocals were good, too. You could tell she was feeling the song. I think she even did her version of the Siobahn scream. It was good, I think. Randy, yo, didn't think it was about the song, and thought it was a flat-lined performance. He didn't get it. Ellen boo-ed herself before saying that it was dramatic, and she loves Didi's voice, but didn't like the performance. Kara thought it was overdone, and thinks she's lost her way. She was confused by the performance. Simon said it was like swimming in jelly, and said it was so over the top, so old fashioned, and thought she sounded like the singers murdering songs on Dancing with the Stars. (Or, "one of those dancing shows.") Didi said it was a challenge to get through the song without losing it, emotionally, and admitted that she's not an R&B singer, and did her best. Seacrest brought back to mind the reason Didi auditioned for her show (remember, her friend died?) and I think he was casting the net for the sympathy votes for her. It should be said that she didn't want to answer the question of why she sang it. I liked it better than the judges, but I do agree that she has been better on other themes.
05) Tim Urban (Sweet Love, by Anita Baker) Apparently, papers are calling him Teflon Tim. Usher wanted Tim to convince him of the lyrics of the song, to really feel the song. That's Tim's problem. He sounds generic. He was sitting on the stairs for the song in the beginning. I don't believe he's in love, sweet love. And the look on his face was pleading and a little scary. Tim is SOOOOO boring. The arrangement was straight out of 1970 and he got froggy in parts. Boring boring boring. Please go away, because it will always be this way. I bet the judges love him, just to spite me. Dawg, yo, wassup, Randy thought he was like a singing waiter, and it felt pedestrian. The good part was that at least he was mostly in tune. There was no vibe and no swag. It fell flat for him. Ellen said there's apparently a drinking game for every time she calls him adorable, and said she's going to call him adorable because they may never drink again. She said that he looked like he was sneaking into a bedroom. She said "good for you for taking it on, but ugh, why?" Kara called it Broadway times Vegas and bad. Tim was laughing. Simon called it a completely inappropriate song, but it doesn't matter, because apparently, people will vote for him, and he'll be here next week. I think that Simon is as frustrated with Tim's continued inexplicable presence as I am. Don't vote for him, America.
And I really hate these awkward time filler interviews. Is it this hard to fill the time? Ridiculous tonight.
06) Andrew Garcia (Forever, by Chris Brown) This is the best he's sounded in weeks. I think he finally picked the right song for his voice, and his vibe was good. I'm not familiar with the original song, but I certainly dig Andrew's version. Redeemed? Perhaps! Yo yo, yo baby, so listen, Randy declared that Andrew is back. Loved his outfit, loved his take on the song, best performance in a long time. Ellen said that he is finally not competing with Straight Up, and this was just a good song on it's own. Kara said that nothing makes her happier than saying that it is one giant leap in the right direction. Simon said it was miles better than previous weeks, but worries that his personality is coming across as boring. Filler of Andrew's mom threatening to beat Simon down for calling her son boring. Really?
07) Katie Stevens (Chain of Fools, by Aretha Franklin) I love this song. I adored it in The Commitments. She's got a good alto, and ridiculously large hoop earrings. This is the first time in a long time that I have seen the potential in Katie. Unfortunately, she's wearing a really awful jumper. On top of shiny leggings. Just no. Her shoes are cute at least. But, terrible outfit with a really good song. Best in weeks and weeks. Nice job, Katie. Yo, so listen, Randy thought it was disconnected a little, but thought it was one of the strongest vocals of the night. He thought it was a bunch of small moments, and wanted one big moment. He compared her to a young Christina. Ellen admired her Snookie Poof, loved the vocals, but thought it was kind of a dated song. Kara says that Katie has found where she belongs, and the vocals were great. She also wants it younger. Simon thought her performance was kind of robotic, and Star Search. He just really wants her to be a country singer, and isn't going to like anything until she sings country. I think that this is the kind of music she needs to sing.
08) Lee Dewyze (Treat Her Like a Lady) Lee apparently had walking pneumonia. Yipes. Sickly crew this year. Really good job! I think sometimes he sounds like he's squeezing his vocal chords, and sounds very closed up, but when he opens up, he's impressive. Best job in a few weeks again. I also really like his jacket. I want to hear him sing something softer along the way, though. Still... nice job. Randy called it unbelievable, and called it the bomb. Ellen said that the night has finally started, and thinks it was the best performance of the night. Kara said he brought the song into his world, and declared that it could have been on his own record. Simon said that he has been a fan of Lee's, and thinks he lacks some self confidence. He told Lee to go home, watch the show back, and realize this is the moment when his life may have changed forever. Nice.
09) Crystal Bowersox (Midnight Train to Georgia, by Gladys Night) Her surprise is a pair of rocking stillettos. And no guitar. Instead, piano. Nice. Just full of surprises. She's glorious. Perfect song for her. She gave up the piano in the middle, and got up and made some connection with the audience. Good idea. Wonderful. Randy loved the whole thing. Ellen said that Crystal is never not good. That means she's always great. Yes. Kara was glad to see the risk, and loved the whole thing. Simon said that the song choice was great, the vocals were at some times perfection, but thought that the backup singers shouldn't have been there, because it made it old fashioned, and doesn't want the show to change her into something that she's not. Crystal promised to always stay true to herself.
10) Aaron Kelly (Aint No Sunshine, by Bill Withers) His outfit looked like he just got back from the mall, and didn't fit the song at all. He's doing a decent job vocally, with a few pitch problems here and there, but not embarrassing by any means. I think that he thinks that scowling towards the camera equals intensity and feeling, though. Wrong. Yo yo, it was just a'ight for Randy. Ellen said "if I had that much confidence when I was 11... wait, how old are you?" She liked it. Kara liked it, but wasn't in love with it. Simon said it was like a cupcake in comparison to Lee's steak.
The worst of the night was Tim, and then sadly Siobahn. I bet that Didi is in trouble, too. I don't think Siobahn is in danger of leaving, though.
Casey was really good, Katie was better, Lee was phenomenal, as was Crystal, and Aaron didn't embarrass himself. Andrew has redeemed himself, Michael was good, but I've already forgotten him..
Please let Tim go home!! If he doesn't, I fear for Didi, and I really like her (not on this kind of music, but still).
I'll be fast forwarding through Usher and Ruben Studdard tomorrow. That's for sure.
What did you think?