Here are my thoughts on each performer, brought to you, as always, prior to hearing any of the judges’ feedback.
Sam: “Come Together” - So what movie is this from? Across the Universe? Yep. He gets points automatically for not saying “eyeballs” - but while I love this song, I’m not as much a fan of the tempo he has selected for the verse - or at least the arrangement - it’s missing the mystery and the levels of the original. Feels a little karaoke, but he’s gonna be fine.
Jessica: “The Sound of Silence” - Even with the goofiness with the drum coming in on the wrong beat, she did a fantastic job. That was absolutely wonderful. My only feeling was that I wish she hadn’t told us that she did this back in her set.
Harry did a great job of simultaneously calling the band out and also giving them props for being great. Live theater, things go wrong. It doesn’t mean that the drummer’s a schlep.
CJ: “Can’t You See” - Learned it from the movie “Blow?” Does anyone believe that’s the first place he heard this song? This is the best I’ve seen him since they got to the weekly live shows. The arrangement was great too, lots of highs and lows, lots of passion all the way through. And to think he was in the bottom three a couple weeks ago...
Side note: Ryan and Randy completely ruined a perfectly good improv game just now. I’m so sad.
Dexter: “Sweet Home Alabama” - Looks like they didn’t want to let him talk before singing - oh, and apparently he’s dating Xanadu. But he sounds fantastic, and I really like him a lot - my only problem is that from week to week I can’t remember his name. This was really good, but I think it translated a lot stronger in the theater than it did on television.
Ben: “Bennie and the Jets” - Look. Purple Rain is from a movie. Footloose is from a movie. This is not from a movie. 27 Dresses is not a movie. I like him fairly well, but I wasn’t crazy about this song selection. It just didn’t seem to jive with anything we had learned thus far about who he is or who he might be as an artist.
Majesty: “Let It Go” - This song is suffering from the cuts necessary to fit the format of the TV show. Also, it’s a really difficult song made famous by one of the most epic voices of our generation, and you just can’t go to head voice for the big note. But hey, it’s definitely from a movie. She’s gonna be fine, but this was like watching a gymnastic event.
Caleb: “Skyfall” - You are my friend to pick this song to sing. See now this makes me want to hear Meatloaf cover this song. Love the anticipation of the first verse, just waiting for him to blow it out. He’s gotta get to it soon though. So I think from an arrangement standpoint I might have liked this more if he had rocked out the arrangement as well, with electric guitars attacking with strong bar chords - but the last few phrases were absolutely fantastic. Front runner.
MK: “To Make You Feel My Love” - getting away from the true movie songs…. It’s like she knows what the problem is - that she can’t break through out of her skin to reach out, so she walks over to the judges hoping that some of her is going to jump out - but even though I still feel like she doesn’t have it, I will say that was the purest vocal I’ve heard her execute.
While I am disgusted and disturbed by the contestants reenacting scenes from films alongside their voting numbers, I appreciate the fact that the show seems to have no plans to mention or reference it.
Alex: “Falling Slowly” - Love this song, which is actually from a movie. I thought he did a great job, this was a great way of combining his quirkiness with something really accessible.
Jena: “Decode” - This arrangement certainly did not need a piano - I really liked her performance, but in general I wasn’t really into this song itself very much. It just didn’t seem like she understood the song, and was kind of posing through it - felt like an age gap issue. I also think that a mood song like this doesn’t seem to tell a story as clearly, and again, is harder to pull off without enough age to give it texture.
Malaya: “I Am Changing” - I appreciate that she didn’t do “that song” from this movie, but unfortunately, that’s the best song from this movie… So I thought she did a great job in general, but even more so than the last one, “leave my past behind” is a lyric that doesn’t make sense coming from a 16 year old. But wow, what an ending.
Ben, MK, and Jessica are in the bottom three in my opinion…. And either Ben or MK should go home… what do you think?