Welcome back. It's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame week, so we should get a good mix of songs from a range of different artists. It seemed like it took awhile, but we are now at the Top 9. I hope the judges will start to be a bit more interesting and critical with their comments. The first four ladies voted out were never going to win, and there are still a few that have no shot, but for the contestants that do have a shot it's important they get the right help. The competition is very wide open, it's time to get serious and focused. We'll see if the contestants, judges and Ryan can handle that. Will.i.am is along with Jimmy Iovine tonight helping the contestants. So as we always do, let's get to it:
How Were The Contestants:
Jacob Lusk(Man in The Mirror): After changing his mind from "Let's Get it On" by Marvin Gaye, to "Man in The Mirror" by Michael Jackson, Jacob in his clip package says, and I quote, "if I make in the Bottom 3 it won't be because I sang the song bad, or the song wrong, it'll be because everyone in America weren't able to look at themselves in the mirror". And I say WHAT? Did he just say that, really? No Jacob it'll be because you sang bad. Very odd statement by him, almost as odd as when he said that alleged(maybe not so alleged statutory rapist) R. Kelly was his idol. Ok Jacob. Although he still had his weird facial gestures, and some odd dancing with Sarita(who actually wrote the song), he actually did have a nice performance. It was pretty controlled and one of his better outings in recent weeks. Grade=B+
Steven: Thought it was beautiful and well done.
Jennifer: Thought it was perfect in every way, and on every emotional level.
Randy: Proud that he changed the song to what he believed in. Thought there were Jacob moments all over the place.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: Pretty much. Probably Jacob's better performances, despite that very odd statement he made in his clip package. Not saying he was perfect, but he did a nice job.
Haley(Piece of My Heart): Singing this Janis Joplin song makes complete and perfect sense. Haley has her growl and brings a lot of energy to her performance. You can really hear the grit in her voice and a lot of her passion. I liked that she changed a little part of the chorus and did something a little different at the end with it. That last note was pretty cool. Grade=B+
Jennifer: Thinks she is a contender and is coming on strong.
Randy: Loved that she has all the bluesey, cool runs and welcomes her back, even though he also welcomed her back last week.
Steven: Finds nothing wrong with it. Loves that she took the song up a few notches. Thought she nailed it.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: We do. Haley is coming on strong. Those first couple weeks are definitely far in the past. Haley will be around for awhile if she keeps this up.
Casey(Have You Ever Really Seen The Rain): Casey, like Jacob before, decided to change his original song which was "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic", to this Creedence Clearwater Revival song. I think it was a smart change because back in Season 6 Chis Sligh sang "Every Little Thing..." and he got kicked off, so it's good to get away from that bad luck. Back with his upright bass Casey brings a much simpler tone and vocal to the song. It might not have been the most fun performance, but he sang it really nice, and he adds his flair to it without making it too gimmicky like he did when he was almost voted out. A very cool way he pulled this song off. Grade=B
Randy: Thinks he made CCR proud. Thinks he is making the upright bass cool, and is revolutionary.
Steven: Loves that he keeps changing it up, and is a complete package.
Jennifer: Thinks he is right where he belongs and she would pay to be in the front row to see him.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: Sort of. I think Casey was a bit better last week, but seeing him with the upright bass was pretty cool, even if it wasn't his best performance.
Lauren(Natural Woman): Early on people thought that Lauren was a mix of Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. Well this song put Kelly Clarkson on the map in Season 1 so we'll see if Lauren can pull it off as well. Although it took a little bit to get the song going, once it did Lauren started to hit all the right notes. The song could have been pushed a little bit more, and be a little less constrained, but when the song picked up, Lauren started to bring more energy to the performance. Not as great as last week, but still pretty decent. Grade=B
Steven: Thinks she is a natural born woman, and loves her voice and is great.
Jennifer: Thinks Lauren is amazing and pulled off a big song.
Randy: Thinks that Lauren picked a very difficult song, even though he wasn't jumping up and down, she did a really nice job with it.
Do The Judges Agree With Me: Kind of. We definitely all think that she did a nice job, but I would have liked them to tell her that she could have done a bit more with it. Lauren is more than what she showed tonight.
James (While My Guitar Gently Weeps): After going nuts on the stage last week, James decides to do a much more subdued performance. I love that he took a chance and decided to sing this very cool, classic Beatles song. I barely could hear his vocals last week with all his running around, this week I could hear every note, and he sounded pretty nice. It wasn't unbelievable, he probably isn't the best vocalist in the competition, so this song showed some of his flaws. But that last note proved why he is still here. All around I give him credit for doing the opposite of what he did last week. Grade=B
Jennifer: Loved to see the other side of James. Loves his vulnerability, and thought he made a nice choice with the song.
Randy: Loved the true emotional side and likes that he was so engaged and took a great chance that worked out.
Steven: Thinks that his performance was great and that he had a proud moment with his vulnerable side.
Do The Judges Agree With Me: Yep. I liked seeing the other side of James, it's much better than when he is running around and I can barely hear his vocals.
Scotty(That's Alright Mama): I'm glad that Scotty isn't doing the same old slow country song. I like seeing him sing an uptempo kind of song. I still don't get why Scotty holds the microphone the way he does, plus the way that he walks and interacts with the audience is a little strange and his facial expressions are always awkward looking. But his vocals were solid and I liked that he changed it up. After his performance a gaggle of girls jumped on stage, it might have been planned but maybe not. Grade=B
Randy: Thinks Scotty is in it to win it. Thinks it was amazing and loves the new Scotty.
Steven: Glad that he changed it up and isn't a one trick pony.
Jennifer: Thinks that Scotty is fun. She wonders if he watches rap because some of his gestures are a little gangsta.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: They do. We all are glad he switched it up a little. I would have liked them giving him some notes on some of his awkward facial expressions, but his vocals were pretty solid tonight.
Pia(River Deep Mountain High): Not gonna lie, I love this song by Tina Turner. Seeing Pia do an uptempo is a great switch. She can still hit those really high notes, but it's more fun and cool. She was really into her performance and the song. This was a perfect song choice, it showed off all the good parts of Pia. She even worked the audience a little but still was herself. This was an all around great performance, great vocals and different then anything we have seen from her in a long time. Grade=A
Steven: Thinks she killed it and is what a lot of guys in bars will be thinking about tonight.
Jennifer: Thinks that it was amazing. Thinks she is so special, and wants her to step up some of her performances, because she wants her to keep getting greater.
Randy: Showed that she can deliever on an uptempo just as much as a ballad. Also thinks she is in it to win it.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: Yes. I loved that J.Lo said what she did. It was perfect constructive criticism while praising her as well. Pia is about 85% of the way there, she just needs a little work on her performance skills and she can really win this whole thing. But if I only listened to this on the radio, or on my Ipod I'd probably think that Pia is 100%, because her vocals are crazy good.
Stefano(When A Man Loves A Woman): This guy needs a break out week. He hasn't had a really good performance in a long time. This was a pretty good performance. Not as strong as he probably thought it was. Definitely better than last week, but was a bit too much and all over the place for my taste. There were a few pitchy problems and flat notes in there as well. Grade=C+
Jennifer: Knew that Stefano had it in him and thought it was beautiful. Thinks it had another level of emotion to it, thought it was magic.
Randy: Liked it, but isn't jumping up and down. Thought it was a little jerky at points.
Steven: Liked the old timeyness of the beginning of his voice. Thought he nailed it.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: Not really. Randy sort of agrees that Stefano wasn't as great as Jennifer and Steven thought. I don't think it matches up to some of the better performances earlier in the evening.
Paul(Folsom Prison): After being the only one left of the Bottom 3 last week Paul has a lot to prove. Singing a Johnny Cash song was a great idea. He needed to do an uptempo song to be different than last week. He plays with the audience, and actually seems like he was having fun this time out. Grade=B+
Randy: Has three words for him, "I Loved It".
Steven: Thinks he rocked the house and is perfectly imperfect.
Jennifer: Thinks that he is right in his lane and thinks he created a perfect way to end the evening.
Do The Judges Agree With Me?: Yep. Paul had a really nice performance. Doing the opposite of what he has been doing the past several weeks was a very smart idea, and he might have saved himself this week.
How Was The Show/Judges?:
*Loved Will.i.am. He really helped the contestants with their performances and style. Plus he was pretty entertaining. I can see why the majority of the singing industry wants to or has worked with him. My favorite line of Will.i.am was when Paul wanted a drink of water, he told him to not stop singing and just "drink his spit". Very funny.
*This was probably the strongest night of performances thus far by all the contestants as a whole. There weren't any really atrocious performances. So I can't get on the judges tonight for not being overly critical. But there are still some very young contestants that would benefit from some constructive criticism. The note that J.Lo said to Pia about working on her performance skills was a good example of this. I think there are still a few other contestants that could stand some input from these judges. J.Lo and Steven Tyler especially have performed for years, the contestants could stand a few tips from people of their caliber.
Bottom 3 Prediction/Who's Going Home?
Bottom 3: Stefano, Jacob, Haley
Going Home: Stefano. I don't think Stefano's fan base is as large as some of the others. That's also the reason I chose Haley and Jacob, not because they weren't really good but I don't know if there fan base is as large or strong as some of the others, plus they performed pretty early on in the night. This was a great night all around so it'll be hard to decide who will go home, so it comes down to fan bases. We'll see which fan bases are strong enough and which one will fail their favorite.
Come back here tomorrow night after the results show for all the recaps and craziness that I am sure will ensue. See you then.