Ryan, still looking a bit on the scruffy side, opens tonight’s show by saying, “Tonight, it’s gonna get personal.” Now, don’t go getting excited, people. Ryan’s just making a veiled reference to tonight’s theme; that’s all. Anyway, after the opening credits, Ryan introduces us to <s>Larry, Moe, and Curly</s> our judges and then informs us that this week’s theme is songs from the year you were born. Of course, with a couple of exceptions, it might as well be 80’s Night, but at least we’ll get to hear the finalists sing songs they’re familiar with, right?
Up first tonight is Nadia Turner. Now, with all the songs from 1977 that Nadia could choose from, can someone please tell me why in the world she would pick a Crystal Gayle ballad? Yes, that’s right. Nadia has chosen to sing “When I Dream” this evening, and the performance is Nadia’s most lackluster to date. She looks great, and her voice sounds strong, but the song itself is rather boring, and that brings her whole performance down. Nadia even throws in a couple of gratuitous eye-f***s, but they can’t help rescue a surprisingly unimpressive performance. What do the judges think of Nadia’s performance? Randy says, “A year’s worth of songs and you picked that one. That was just an OK performance. I did not love it.” Paula adds, “You look stunning. I wasn’t crazy about the song choice.” Finally, Simon tells Nadia, “That was the equivalent of musical wallpaper. It was an appalling choice of song, and I think you could go home after that.” Well, I guess we know where the judges stand, don’t we?
After a commercial break, it is time to hear from Bo Bice. For his performance tonight, Bo sings a rock song (what else?), namely Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird”. This is a good song choice for Bo, but, frankly, I find his performance rather emotionless. Sure, he sounds very good, but his performance comes across to me as almost boring in spots. He sneers in the “right” spots, he carries the microphone stand all over the stage as per usual…it’s just that his rendition of the song didn’t leave much of an impression on me. Did it leave an impression on the judges? Randy says, “That was the perfect song. Excellent, dude. Excellent.” Paula adds, “See you at the finals.” (OK, now wait a minute. Just a few weeks ago, Paula was criticizing Simon for touting Carrie as the one to beat, yet she says this now?) Finally, Simon tells Bo, “I have to disagree with Paula. Where you’ll do well is to use the rock influence in your voice on well known songs.” Interesting. Looks like Bo’s performance got mixed reviews.
Anwar Robinson is up next, and he has chosen to sing Dionne Warwick’s “I Know I’ll Never Love This Way Again” for his performance tonight. What is it with Anwar singing songs by female singers? Anyway, Anwar starts his performance by sitting on a stool, and, as is Anwar’s typical routine, his voice sounds rather weak at the beginning. However, as has been mentioned in the past, Anwar knows he has the big finish in his back pocket, and he pulls it out yet again here. Now, I think the performance is rather cheesy, and I think Anwar sounds off on the runs in the song, but I must have been listening to something different from what the judges heard. I mean, by the time Anwar’s done, Paula is up on her feet, for God’s sake. Randy tells Anwar, “Great, great job. I’m proud of what you did tonight, baby.” Paula says, “You are consistently great.” In conclusion, Simon adds, “That was one of your better performances for a while, but it was comforting and safe.”
We come back from another commercial break, and it is time to hear from Anthony Fedorov. After last week’s debacle, what is Anthony going to sing tonight? A Madonna song? Something by Cyndi Lauper? No, it’s Paul Young’s “Every Time You Go Away”, which was actually written by singer Daryl Hall. (In fact, Daryl Hall and John Oates are both in the audience tonight, and do they look three days older than God or what?) In what I think is an attempt to be sultry, Anthony starts his performance seated on the steps at the front of the stage. That part doesn’t work, and, thankfully, Anthony is up on his feet rather quickly. As for the rest of the performance, Anthony’s voice sounds strong, although tonight is the first time I notice a rather strong vibrato in Anthony’s voice. Overall, though, I think Anthony delivers a pretty good performance. Do the judges agree? Randy tells him, “You did your thing, man. I was surprised.” Paula says, “That was much better than last week. I’m proud of you.” Finally, Simon adds, “This week, I think you were very good. That was a good choice of song for you.” Looks like Anthony has redeemed himself after last week’s mess…
After yet another commercial interlude, it is Vonzell Solomon’s turn to perform for our votes. She has chosen to sing Deniece Williams’ “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”, and I’m a little nervous because this choice could go horribly, horribly wrong. She channels Diana Degarmo with a “Woo!” and a “Come on!” here and there, and her top does look like someone flattened out a disco ball and added a couple of spaghetti straps to it, but those things do not really detract from an otherwise very strong performance. Do the judges like what they hear? Randy tells her, “This is crazy, dude. Another great performance from you. Excellent, dude. Excellent.” Paula adds, “You’re so adorable up there. You picked the right song.” Simon winds up the critiques by telling Vonzell, “That was a very good choice of song. On tonight’s performances, you’re going to stay, and Nadia’s gonna go. You made people want to pick up the phone and vote.”
It is Scott Savol’s turn to sing, and he’s chosen to sing the Hall and Oates classic “She’s Gone”. (Hmm…going for brownie points because the original recorders of the song are in the audience?) He takes a page out of Anwar’s book and starts off a bit weak (especially on the lower notes), but he recovers quickly and finishes strongly. The audience screams and claps wildly when Scott’s done, and Paula is up on her feet yet again. (While I’m thinking about it, can someone please tell me what her purpose on the show is, anyway?) Are the judges as wowed by the performance as the audience is? Randy says, “The low notes were a little pitchy, but when you hit the chorus, man…You brought it home in the end, dawg. That was very good.” Paula adds, “You were awesome, Scott.” In fact, I think she repeats it several times, so much so that I want to scream, “We GET IT, Paula! You like the performance.” (Actually, I want to say, “Oh, shut the hell up and get off the show, for the love of God!” But, I digress…) Finally, Simon tells Scott, “There were more bum notes than there were good notes. On the whole, it wasn’t very good.”
After our five millionth commercial break of the evening, it is time to hear from Carrie Underwood. Carrie has chosen to sing Pat Benatar’s “Love Is A Battlefield”, and, while her voice sounds good, I can’t help but chuckle at the performance. First of all, Carrie is sporting a pair of jeans torn in all the appropriate places. Secondly, Carrie’s got the flat-ironed hair working tonight, and it’s even two-toned as well. It sounds like she screams parts of the song instead of sing them. She even punches the air and does an air kick at the end a la Constantine. I swear, it’s almost like she’s trying too hard to dispel her country girl image or something. As for the performance itself, like I said, she sounds good, but I’ve got a bit of advice for Carrie: I know you’re under a lot of stress and pressure each week, but, for God’s sake, learn the lyrics to your song! (Yes, she messes up the words in one spot.) What do the judges think of Carrie’s performance? Randy says, “It was a little pitchy, and you messed up the words. It was aight for me. I’m not sure I’m loving the rocked-out Carrie.” Paula adds, “I think you rocked.” (Oh, shut up, Paula. Just shut up.) Finally, Simon tells Carrie, “You probably needed to do that after last week, but it was a bit like watching a kitten who wants to be a tiger.”
We come back from our final commercial break of the evening, and it’s time to hear from the night’s final performer, Constantine Maroulis. I’m expecting Constantine to have chosen something really interesting for tonight’s show, and he definitely has—“Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen. Thankfully, Constantine doesn’t concentrate on the scaramouche and fandango part, though. Constantine’s performance is aided by some dramatic lighting, and it’s the most rocker-like I’ve seen Constantine act in weeks. He carries the microphone stand around with him, he punches the air, he bobs his head up and down so that his hair falls in front of his face…he does it all. All that aside, his voice sounds strong, and it’s a very effective way to end the show. The audience roars its approval, and Paula is up on her feet yet again. (While she’s up, could someone escort her out of the building, please?) Do the judges like Constantine’s performance? Randy tells him, “Yo, man. For showmanship, I give you a 10. For singing, I give you a 7.” Paula adds, “That was awesome. You’ve now proven that you’re the one to beat in this competition.” (So, I guess that means Paula wants a Bo/Constantine finale?) In conclusion, Simon simply says, “That was astonishing.” Wow…I’d say Constantine was a hit with all three judges tonight…
The show comes to a close, and the Elite Eight’s performances are in the books. Who did well enough to last another week? Who went for the brass ring and missed it completely? Tune in Wednesday night to find out!
Best performance of the evening: Vonzell, Constantine
Weakest performance of the evening: Nadia
Who should be in the Bottom Three: Nadia, Carrie, Anwar
Who will be in the Bottom Three: Nadia, Scott, Anthony
Who should/will go home: Nadia
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