Phillip: "Hard to Handle" - Well, this song was perfect for him, and he's good enough that he should totally shake the "going first" blues. Which of course, is different than the "I just had kidney-stones" blues, which he also shook effectively. Nice job.
Jessica: "Turn the Beat Around" - Well, you knew that she was going to have a hard time beating last week's performance, but I think the choice was a good one ultimately - previous young girls when nailing ballads have often stuck to the formula too long. This was the opposite of that. She has a killer voice, she'll be fine next week.
HeeJun: "Right Here Waiting" - His voice is so unconventional. I hope he goes far in the competition, but in the end, I just am not sure that there's enough mojo behind it to overtake the other competitors. Just this side of cheese, although that keychange was killer.
Elise: "Let's Stay Together" - She has a great raspy sultry voice, but Will.i.am. is right, she needs to smile (and what I mean by that, is that he must have read my blog last week…) - if she could develop facial expressions to match her voice's expressiveness she could totally break through and not be in the bottom three. But since she didn't (until the very end), I think she will be in the bottom three again. She's like the Richard Nixon of the Nixon-Kennedy debates on TV. But, you know, prettier.
DeAndre: "Endless Love" - My biggest problem with this is that it's a duet. But this is a great song for his demographic and voting public. When is he going to take this up into the falsettosphere? Oh, the last note? I'm sorry, that was not early enough for me. And I don't think he nailed it. But he will be in trouble.
Shannon: "One Sweet Day" - I don't know if she's going to be able to sing it, but this kind of song is in her sweet spot. She's trying 3% too hard, but it was an admirable attempt. Here's what we need - Shannon's genuine heartfelt facial expressions and honesty with Elise's vocal confidence and prowess. And Jessica's belt.
Colton: "Broken Heart" - Okay, I haven't been a fan of his so far, but his opening talking about meeting Daughtry and his advice kind of started to humanize him for me. I don't think this is a very good song, so it makes me still wonder about him as an artist - he picked it and all. The high notes at the end were good for sure, but does this kind of song have an audience still?
Erika: "Heaven" - I can't wait for any song from 1985. Stevie Nicks wants her leather and lace back please. The only problem with this song as that once it arrives, it's there and doesn't go any farther - so they have to add a key change to get it to another level. I think it worked in general, but truth be told it might not be enough to protect her.
Jermaine: Well, I'll put this storyline in the order of when it appeared. WHY THE HECK ARE THEY SHOWING THIS SCENE between the producers and Jermaine? "You've put us in a difficult position" they say, and then they capitalize on the scandal by filming the scene of kicking him out? Boo.
Skylar: "Love Sneakin' Up On You" - A Bonnie Raitt song is a great pick. She's got swagger, much more than Jessica. I really like her, but this is more of a great studio recording song than it is a strong live performance song. But that being said, she attacked the end of it - may have been a little flat in doing it, but it was worth it.
Joshua: "When a Man Loves a Woman" - Any "Coming to America" fans out there? If so, let your soul glo… He's awesome obviously, but I still think that a song pick like this is a cheat. I would pay him $1000 if he ended his song by screaming "Sexual! Sexual Chocolate!" That was hot. Me likey.
Hollie: "The Power of Love" - Again, this is a cover - Air Supply fans, wave your hands for me! She is sharp in the beginning. She just has an incredible voice - recovered nicely from the first few lines which were a bit shaky. Did she hit that last note or not? I almost couldn't tell, the arrangement was so full. What an incredible instrument.
Random notes: So if the song was covered in the year that someone was born then that counts? "Hard to Handle" is a much older song than any of these performers. Same with Endless Love. Boo cheaters.
Will.i.am.: "You're a Swaggernaut." What?
Randy, thanks for the primer on what constructive criticism is…. let us know when you plan on starting to deliver it…
Will.i.am.: "That would be fresh because you sound dope on that." Huh?
Weak sauce to show that clip of Obama. I don't care about his March Madness pics either. But I also don't care if he spends presidential time picking them either. What were we talking about again?
Will.i.am.: "Don't sing master blaster, be the master that blasts through the competition, and then you will last, til the next rendition." Derrrr?
The judges have a major case of the "not right song for you" disease tonight. Hey. It was based on the year they were born! There are constraints on this concept. They should not be held to the same test as though they have the world's songbook at their disposal.
Jimmy Iovine selling smartphones? Smooth and subtle product placement. Naught.
Steven Tyler has been listening to the press about how he's too soft. He became a grumpy old man tonight. It's like someone said "we're doing a White Lion song instead of an Aerosmith song" and he grabbed his cane and shook it.
Will.i.am.: "Ghetto Country is Ghountry"
Okay, I get that JLo doesn't know White Lion, but she should know this Bonnie Raitt song, right?
Will.i.am.: "You sound like your dad's a pastor" - favorite quote of the night from Will.i.am.
So who's in the bottom three? I say DeAndre, Elise and Erika. If those are their real names… Nigel?