The generic announcer's voice intros the judges, and then Crusty, the host. With Paul gone, the quirk-factor of the line-up has dramatically decreased. This leaves a season that is bathed in boring and swaddled in mediocrity. Speaking of which, they surprise us with a performance from the eliminated Idols to date, proving that the audience isn't particularly partial to women or, well, minorities. Ashthon, Karen, Pia, Thia, Naima and Paul performed Pink's song Rockstar.
Wow, seeing Paul and Pia singing together was just so train-wrecky... Such an odd way to start the show. After a break, Scotty was the first one to take to the stage, singing Swinging by LeAnn Rimes. If there was a safer, more predictable move for Scotty, it would have him breaking out some Josh Turner... He sang it with little missed notes, and less emotion. Oddly, the judges kind of agreed, calling it safe, and a bit boring.
James is next, and he chose to sing Muse's Uprising. Opening the song in a lower register wasn't the slickest of moves for James. The chorus rings in his sweet spot, and soon he is jumping around his falsetto for no apparent reason. He added little to the song, and rather paled in comparison to the original. Jennifer and Randy nominate it for best of the night, and Steven found it to be wonderful, like T-Rex. Huh?
Before the break, we are told Haley is taking on Adele, and I visibly cringe. Oh, how I love Adele's sophomore album, and fear what is to come. When we return, Crusty is overheard telling the marching band they are being paid, and he plans to use them. They play him on to the stage to introduce Haley. She is singing Rolling In The Deep, and again I have fear. I sit here stunned, as I think she is doing a nice job with it. I have to laugh, as the judges have a lukewarm response to her.
Jacob sings Dance With My Father, the Luther Vandross song. He lost his father at a young age, so this song means a lot to him. He has an odd shrill quality to his voice tonight, a little heavy on the head voice. They all think the emotion was great, but the performance less than stellar. Wow, they are actually going there. And then Randy says he needs the old Jacob to bring the church back. Well, Randy, you crazy!
We return to see Casey on the stage, and he will be singing the Maroon 5 song Harder To Breathe. I love this song, and am a bit fearful once again. And once again, I am surprised, as it is not as bad as I had feared. Well, until the end of the song, when Casey takes it off the rails. And when he goes to Jennifer at the table and kisses her, I just sigh. He ladled the gimmicks on the song, and I just think he lacks musicality. The amazing syncopation utilized by Adam Levine is totally lost on Casey, as that section comes across winded and vacant. Next!
Of course, the judges feel the exact opposite. They love him, and think he is this jazz genius. I am at a loss. Thankfully, Stefano is up next, and will be singing Neo, the hit song Closer. Wow, he managed to take all the dance out of a Neo song, that ain't easy. Vocally, it comes closer to muddled mess than it does to music. His dancing wasn't good, but I have to let it go. Of course, the judges thought it was very good. And they are trying to sell him as this sex God. Really? I mean, I know this isn't a pretty group, but can't you just let that go this year?
Lauren closes out the show, returning to country. She is singing Born To Fly by Sarah Evans. The song is rather generic, but she is singing the crap out of it. She has more depth in her voice than all the men combined. She was really good tonight. Unlike the men, however, she doesn't have an over-inflated view of her abilities. The judges love her, and tell her to believe in herself. I would agree with them.
With the recap, I am reminded that for me, the two girls ruled the night. Lauren and Haley were the strongest, and the boys a bit of a huddled mass on the floor. My bottom group would be Jacob, Stefano and James, with Stefano finally hitting the road. But then again, I have been really off the last few weeks!