Episode Four – Recap
This week, the second group of 10 kids performed. Most of the performers in this group were a little younger than last week. Out of these ten, five will move on to the next phase based on the results of America’s votes.
We open this week with Ryan, as always, strutting on stage to the screams of the women he hired… er, who love him. Perhaps it was his shirt, which was emblazoned across the front with the word NYLON repeatedly. I am wondering if this will be a trend for Ryan. What if he comes out tomorrow wearing a shirt that says COTTON. Is he getting endorsement money from the Nylon Institute? Words of advice Ryan, stay out of the fabric wars, those people are ruthless, what with the drive by polyester-ings and all.
We made one switch in the judge chairs this week. Gladys Knight and Deborah Gibson are still our bookends, but Justin had to go on the movie premiere junket, where he is spending most of his time apologizing to America for the film, and rightly so. Joining us this week is Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys. Nick looks like he just woke up… yes, I am jealous.
So we get right into it.
We didn’t see a whole lot of Jordan prior to this show, and that seems to be a shame, as she has personality in abundance when she launches into Stupid Cupid. She handles the vocals well, including the very high squeaks in certain notes of that song. I wonder about the choice though, as I am sure maybe 1% of the audience knew that those squeaks were actually part of the original song. It might hurt her.
The judges wade in. Deborah says that she looked a little subdued in rehearsal, but she really came to life in the live performance. Nick says she loves the camera, and finally Gladys adds that she is Ms. Personality.
Next up is Lucy, who will sing Get Here, and she has made an excellent choice. She nails the song, and has good stage presence, if not as strong as Jordan. It is her voice though that carries the moment.
Deborah loved it, and says that Lucy has a “big power voice”, but she wonders if Lucy is going to be better solo, rather than in a group. Yeah, we wouldn’t want talented people in the group Deborah... Nick says wow, he had “chills”, that is what happens when you wake up so late in the day. Gladys gives her the patented Gladys Standing O, and says she was phenomenal. Lucy looks strong for the final five.
Quinton takes personality to a new level in this group. He commands the stage singing You are the Sunshine of My Life. He has his Usher dance moves on display, moving side to side on stage, and even getting the audience involved. It was an impressive performance. Except for the singing, as unfortunately he just wasn’t as strong as Jordan and Lucy before him.
The judges like him. Deborah says that he has charisma, and that he needs some voice work. Nick says that Quinton “wants to dance”, and yeah, I assume that is why he tried out for the show. Gladys says that he is a little ball of fire.
Lauren is another person who seems to have been hidden for most of the show’s run up to this point. I honestly remember nothing about her from the previous episodes. She sings L O V E with a high pitched voice.
The judges seem to be begging America to put Lauren back into the obscurity from which she rose. To be honest, I thought her vocals were at least as good as Quinton’s, but she didn’t have the personality.
Deborah comments on how she would be better served working in theatre or television, and that she should keep the dream alive, working on her voice. Nick doesn’t want to say anything bad, so he adds that Lauren is having fun, and that’s all that matters. Gladys is confident that Lauren will mature into a great artist.
Chantel is next, and she brings a strong voice to the Journey classic Open Arms. She too has a good personality, and she appears to do well with the song, if perhaps a little to strained trying to be dramatic. The voice is what counts though, and she brought it.
Deborah liked it, calling the effort “fantastic”, and advising Chantel to open up a little more on the high notes. Nick makes his first actual insight of the night, saying that Chantel’s voice is straight, with no vibrato, which makes it great for a group. Gladys adds that her voice cuts, and she means that in a good way. Plus she has a “signature high”.
Brennan takes the stage and performs, That Thing You Do. He was a little shaky at first, but I thought he finished strong. At some points the vocal accompaniment was as loud as his voice though, so it was hard to tell.
The judges are not impressed. Deborah says that Brennan looked nervous and worried. Then she broke her necklace, and it fell down the front of her blouse. Ryan, always the helpful one, offers to jump in and get it. Deborah gives him a “no means NO!” response, and appears to be reaching for the pepper spray when the camera quickly cuts away. I suddenly acquire a lot more respect for Deborah.
Nick says that Brennan wants to be jamming with a guitar in the group. No, I don’t have any idea what he meant either. Gladys says that Brennan is the all-American apple pie guy, but he isn’t comfortable yet on stage.
Mercedes is tiny little girl who brings a big voice to the stage as she sings Can’t Fight the Moonlight. Unfortunately this is another case of the backgrounds being as loud as the singer, and worse, she probably didn’t go with the best song for her voice.
The judges note the same. Deborah says that Mercedes chose a very difficult song for someone her age. Nick is getting drowsy as he adds that Mercedes the name is a star, just like the car… uhm, I guess we know now how the Backstreet Boys evaluate talent. Gladys notes that she has magnetism but that the song was not right at all for her.
The elder of the Thompson sisters, I give a silent thanks to the gods of television editing that we were not subjected yet again to Taylor’s mom saying that Taylor thinks she is an ugly duckling. Taylor has decided on the Shoop Shoop Song for her number. She performed well, vocals were good, and she handled the panning camera shots with panache.
The judges wade in. Deborah says that Taylor is sassy, but with a quiet confidence. Not sure if that works Deborah. Hmmm… that kind of logic sounds familiar. Most women say I am handsome in a non-good looking sort of way.
Nick is losing it completely now, probably thinking of buying a Mercedes after the show. He says she was “really good” and nothing else. Gladys adds that Taylor looks like she was “meant to be up there.”
Canyon Grove, the 70’s rock star of this series, takes front and center. You’ve Got a Friend is his song, and I have to be honest and say I was not impressed compared to his competition.
The judges don’t care though, as Canyon has the look they want, and they pretty much say as much. Deborah says he is a Leif Garrett type heartthrob. Nick says that you need the girls to scream like that… uhm, okay, go back to sleep Nick. Gladys adds her usual comment when someone clearly isn’t a good singer, “you need a TV show or movie”.
Tori is our final performer, and the younger half of the Thompson sisters. She has chosen Let ‘er Rip. She begins with a very good showing in the first half of the song, but it is the big finish that has me speechless. Just a very, very good singer for someone her age, it actually had me sitting here thinking, I am glad I saw this show so I could see that first hand. She was the class of this group.
The judges are in awe. Deborah says that she is wise beyond her years, and that the performance was worthy of a veteran singer. Nick says it is “one of the best performances he has ever seen” and he means, not just in this competition. Now, before we shoot down that statement as pure hyperbole, let’s remember than Nick practices with the Backstreet Boys all the time, so this isn’t as far fetched as it seems. Finally, Gladys says she is going to be a great addition to the group.
Tomorrow Night and Next Week
The voting results from America are revealed and Miss Filangi will be recapping that show for you. Five juniors from group two will go home. Next week, the final ten begin to get eliminated one at a time. Comments are welcome. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org