01 & 04 & 07) Casey James - Personal Choice (Ok, It's Alright With Me, by Eric Hutchinson) This song choice is strange, and I am bored nearly from the start. It also doesn't showcase enough of Casey's best talent - besides hair maintenance - his guitar work. It seemed like a lazy performance with no hook. Randy said it was an odd song choice - and was just ok, alright with him. Ellen felt he didn't bring it to the stage, and he didn't blow them away. Kara wished he had picked a more well known song. Simon said this is arguably the most important night of his life, and this was like the salad before a hopefully more substantial dinner. He thought it was a dud song choice, though he sounded good.
02 & 05 & 08) Crystal Bowersox - Personal Choice (Come to My Window, Melissa Etheridge) She's got her harmonica on, and that's cool. She starts it off with some harmonica, and in the beginning of the vocals, she seemed a little unsure, but she got into it very soon. I thought that the tempo on the backing band seemed a little fast, but I' not sure. The harmonica was cool, but it ended up reminding me of a strange retainer. Crystal is just so so good. Randy did not love the arrangement, but he loved the vocal. He thought that the arrangement was fighting her a little (and I agree), but her vocals rose above it. Ellen thought Melissa would be proud of her. Kara thought that she would have liked it more if it had been acoustic, but still liked it. Simon didn't think it was the most stunning thing ever, but he loves that she doesn't compromise herself as an artist, and thought it was a very honest performance.
03 & 06 & 09) Lee Dewyze - Personal Choice (Simple Man, by Leonard Skynard) Excellent song, and strong start by Lee. He looks more comfortable on stage tonight than he has in a long time. I loved the whole thing - but the end seemed a little off. I am not going to complain too much, though. He was good. Randy thought it was a great song choice, and could see him making a record with it. He said that Lee looked like he feels like he could win it. Ellen said he started off as a scared little lamb, and now he is like a gazelle or an impala, something springy and wild. Kara thought that he did the best job of the first round. I'd have to agree. Simon thought the song was absolutely on the money, and thinks he crushed the other two in round one.
01 & 04 & 07) Casey James - Judge's choice (Daughters, by John Mayer) Oh, how I hate this song. "Be good to your daughter, because I'm going to be banging her some day." It creeps me out. John Mayer creeps me out. Casey's guitar work was good, but it was a dull and boring song. The judges really must not want Casey to win this thing. He's so much better when he's rocking out. Randy patted his song choice on the back, and loved it. Ellen thought that he would have daughters, mothers, and maybe some sons voting for him. Kara liked that it showed his artistic vulnerable side, and also congratulated her song choice. Simon thought it was a better song choice than before, but thought that the arrangement was not as strong, and culminated in a rather limp guitar solo. Kara and Randy defended their song choice.
02 & 05 & 08) Crystal Bowersox - Judge's Choice (Maybe I'm Amazed, by Paul McCartney) Ellen's choice, and I like it. She is sitting on the stiairs in the beginning, and seemed to start off a little unsure, but around the middle, she got her groove and her Siobahn-worthy belting on, and I really liked it. It was definitely different, and it definitely showed her range. Randy, yo, hey hey, yo yo, thought it was a great song, great vocals, and declared that Crystal is in it to win it. Ellen said that Crystal delivered exactly what she wanted to hear. Kara thought that, although she didn't change it up much, she delivered and showed parts of her voice that they hadn't heard before. Simon was initially surprised by the song choice, but thinks that Crystal showed that she has soul, and thinks that perhaps Crystal will be thanking Ellen for putting her in the finals next week.
03 & 06 & 09) Lee Dewyze - Judge's Choice (Halleluja, by Leonard Cohen/Jeff Buckley) I loved how he started it, all stripped and beautiful. Then, the gospel back up singers marched in, and they just annoy me. And he seemed to go off key in places. The arrangement got a little heavy handed there, too. Abundant timpani is no random bagpiper, that's for sure. Randy, of course, thought that Lee threw down the gauntlet, and called it the biggest moment of his whole time on the show. Lee thanked Simon for the song. Ellen called it stunning. Kara thinks that his growth this season is what the show is all about. Simon thought he did a great job.
If there is any justice, it'll be a Crystal/Lee showdown next week. I give the first round to Lee, and the second round to Crystal, by a hair. I think my favorite of the night was Lee's first song. I love that song, though. I am against random gospel choirs, in robes or out. Sorry.
What do you think?