If you want the short version, here it is:
- The contestants all delivered vocally
- The judges were their normal selves…J.Lo kept snatching the spotlight, Randy kept yelling that people were “in it to win it”, and SteTy was bleeped. Good times.
- Ryan was his jovial self…maybe he sees the light at the end of the Idol tunnel? But after a rousing round of “change the stair you’re standing on” with Jimmy Iovine, I’m sure this new game will sweep the nation.
But, of course, you know the short version could never contain all the awesomeness from a performance night! So here’s how last night went. In an effort to fill up every moment of their two hour show, even though we could have probably picked the winner with just a one hour show, there were three rounds:
Round 1 – It’s not clear to me how the judges picked the songs that the contestants sang. J.Lo made it clear that they all deliberated on every contestant, but maybe the final decision was made by an individual judge? If it was a “deliberation”, I’m fairly certain that could be interpreted as “J.Lo picked the songs”. But what do I know?
Round 2 – The contestants throw caution to the wind and pick their own songs without the safety net of a theme. I guess making it this far in the competition has made them brave. You go, guys!
Round 3 – Jimmy Iovine finally gets to make the contestants do what he’s wanted them to all along. And showcase his brilliance. And talk to Ryan from the audience.
Ding! Round 1
Okay, so I think this is the second time that Joshua has used this old-timey hand-held microphone thingamajig. I’d like to go on record as saying that this microphone makes me feel weird. I know I shouldn’t care, but I get so enamored with it that it distracts me from the performance. I wonder if it’s comfortable to hold. I wonder if it projects better or differently than a real microphone. I wonder if it got sanitized after James Durbin spit on it. You know, things like that.
Joshua’s staging team must be continually having to come up with ideas of where to put his brass band. This time they were on risers, which took me back to our high school choir concerts. I wonder if the instrumentalists had to find “windows”. Okay, maybe I shouldn’t blame the microphone. Apparently, I ‘m easily distracted.
I should probably say something about the actual singing, hmm? Well, I appreciated that Joshua didn’t rush the song and that he didn’t scream until the very end. He kept the ad-libbing to a minimum, and I gotta say that’s the Joshua that I can get behind. In addition, can I just say that the way he moves on stage is so natural? I’m not often distracted by that because it feels so authentic to his performance.
[Oh my gosh, I forgot about HeeJun! How could I forget? Having him in the competition seems like a SEASON ago.]
J. Lo, J. Lo, J. Lo. Please, oh pretty please, be more succinct. We don’t need to see the flow-chart of how you came up with this song choice. We don’t need to be reminded of Jessica Sanchez’s vocal virtue. We don’t need an exposition on anything that just allows you to listen to the sound of your own voice. So, in short: EDIT!
My hat goes off to Jessica. This song is almost impossible to sing without going under pitch! Or at least that’s the experience I’ve had when trying to sing it into my hairbrush in front of my mirror. And not that I have the vocal skills of Ms. Sanchez. But, still. I can understand why the song is so hard to sing! It was a little low for her and I didn’t feel that she was as emotionally connected to it as last week’s “And I’m Telling You”. But what Jessica does is so amazing. It’s no wonder that SteTy picked her for the win.
Initially, I couldn’t even write any notes on this performance because I was so busy finding out if it was available for download. Thank goodness for DVR, eh? 🙂
This a cappella intro was brilliant. BRILL. IANT. And I know his guitar has become a fixture for almost all of his performances, but the dude has some serious guitar skills. I LOVE THIS SONG! I did NOT love the background singers so much. I feel like it was too much going on. Phillip really put some elbow grease into this performance, especially toward the end. He’s so chill. He’s so fly. He’s so fine. He’s so…okay, I’m out.
SteTy was feeling generous with his compliments tonight and proclaimed young Phil-Phil the new Springsteen. And, if the audience reaction can be relied upon as a approved sample group for “America”, I think Phillip might have this in the bag.
Ding! Round 2
Joshua’s Hometown Visit – Dear, sweet Joshua (did you know he’s the son of a preacher-man?) went home to Louisiana where he told the camera he was “kind of freaking out”. I would have believed him, but that sentence was delivered with a straight-no-emotion-face, so I don’t really buy it. I do buy that he is a nervous flyer, though! I’m sure his pilot loved his back-cabin driving.
Best Joshua line of the video: “Wow, they’re really acting like I’m Barack Obama or something!” Actually, now that I think about it he probably could be a politician…he was shaking hands and kissing babies like it was going out of style.This video package is the most animated I’ve ever seen him, so that was fun.
And it’s impossible to not to smile while you’re watching a hometown visit. Am I right?
So, let’s just get this out of the way. I know it’s a controversial choice, but David Archuleta still holds the title for my favorite performance of this song.
But Josh’s version was appropriate, competent, and beautiful (sorry to step on your toes, SteTy!). The shot of his bestie Hollie crying in the audience was sweet, I just didn’t like the gospel bent. But boy howdy, are they really playing the preacher’s kid card! Going after the church vote, are we producers?
Jessica’s Hometown Visit: This consisted of guys chasing her car which she CLAIMS has never happened before. Yeah, okay Jessica. 🙂 The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise was very kind and lent them their helicopter to shuttle Jessica from one section of California to another. I did smile during this hometown visit, but I didn’t find it quite as heartwarming. It almost felt like her diva-ness came out full force.
Oh, my gosh I hate this song. Working at Subway in high school pretty much ruined this song for me forever. FOR.EV.ER. Plus, if I’m going to pick a side, I thought Lauren Alaina did it better during Hollywood week last week.
I liked the way Jessica changed it, though. And let’s be real, her outfit was great but this was not her best performance. And that last note wavered a bit on pitch. Nevertheless, SteTy gave her a standing ovation. And really, that’s the only one you need on this, right?
Phillip’s Hometown Visit: Phillip’s hometown visit was definitely my favorite. From the guy in the crowd holding up a “You still owe me $10” sign to the lifetime supply of El Maya half-order chicken and cheese nachos, no veggies for life announcement, Phillip delivered the best and most entertaining visit to his home turf. The second he stepped out of the car, there was a woman who would not be denied a hug. And that was pretty much the sentiment throughout. People love this guy! And Phillip teared up during his Dad’s proud speech, the parade, and took the time to hi-five the now-famous turkey from his Dad’s pawn shop. Good times.
Matchbox 20 is my least favorite band ever. Despite my strong objections, though, I used to have an office mate who loved their stuff and so I am familiar with this song. Phillip changed up the rhythm on it and I think it actually weakened the song a bit but I liked the more intimate setting. And okay, someone shoot straight with me. Are Phillip and that saxophone girl dating? She’s been on stage with him more than any other instrumentalist. I know he has a girlfriend, but I did not see her in the hometown visit, so I’m just saying.
I actually agreed with what the judges said, I just hated every second while they were saying it. Randy is so weird and tries to create drama every week. Dude. Just simmer down.
Ding! Round 3
Clothes style-wise, Joshua’s the best right now. But I don’t care what he was wearing. His jumping up and down all the way through that performance made me queasy. I bet the camera guy was cursing him! Joshua left it all on the floor, though. And then stood and awkwardly held his jacket whilst Ryan stood beside him and the judges offered their critique.
When Jessica got her assignment from Jimmy via text message, I thought she said “I’ll be the hair”. But then I realized that’s NOT what she said. Good story, right? There was little to no emotional connection to this song and I actually don’t have much to say about it. I don’t think it was that unique, but I agree that Jessica is probably the most talented vocalist left.
Wait a second, is that Lionel Richie on piano? I don’t know who in the lighting department thought that Phillip should have purple hair, but that was really off-putting. I know the judges raved about this song, but I thought the song was boring! I did like his vocal quality, of course, but I don’t know what was so great about that melody. Nevertheless, he got a standing ovation from the judges so I guess what I think matters very little. As usual.
I honestly don’t know who’s headed into the finale. I think it should be Jessica and Phillip, but I think this is the closest competition in years!