It is the last competition show of the season and your usual recapper, AJane is somewhere rockin’ around the Christmas tree. Never fear! She’ll return next week in time for the big finale. While four bands remain, only three will take the stage and perform. Those three are determined by the two million voters. Tonight’s format is a little different. Bands will sing three songs…one the show has picked, one they’ve picked, and one hand selected by the judges.
No Fire…no wind or earth either
Opening the show is Denver and The Mile High Orchestra, the first band to learn they’re moving on to the finale. Sheila E chooses “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire because she thinks it’s a good song. Meh. The horns sound good and Denver can pull off the falsetto but if I close my eyes, I feel like I’m at 70’s Night on a cruise ship. John Rzeznik is met with boos from the audience when he says what I’m thinking. He feels they’re an incredibly impressive live act that does a great job with cover tunes but he’s concerned about how they’ll fare when they must record their own album. John and I, we’re just not feeling it. Sheila E is personal friends with Earth, Wind, and Fire and thinks they’d be proud of the performance. Dicko, a smart man, agrees with John and I. He jokes that whenever he hears Denver do disco, he has to call them awful. Sheila argues it isn't disco and Dicko lets her off the hook since it's her birthday. He doesn’t think Denver will do well in the big, bad world of the record industry.
Changing Someone’s World
The second band to learn they’ll move on is The Clark Brothers and John chooses “Change The World” by Eric Clapton for them. The beginning was a little promising but in the end, their bluegrass spin on it felt a bit like an old tent revival. It lacks the bluesy guitar riffs that make the song what it is. John, however, thinks it was a really unique, original interpretation of the song and says they hammered it. The lyrics were very great and what they added at the end added depth to the original. Ashley admits to being nervous so John tell him to relax as they're stars. Sheila E gushes over their natural gift, their musicianship, and how they made the song their own. Dicko calls it a laid back, almost solemn performance. He thought they might set the sprinklers off with how much fire they breathed into it. He’s deems himself a cynical old hack but those Clarks make him a believer.
Bye Bye Boys
Now we’re down to Sixwire and Light of Doom. They anxiously await the results of the vote. Only one more band will perform; the other will be heading home. No surprise at all as Dominic announces Sixwire as the last band voted into the final three and bids Light of Doom farewell. Sheila E gives the kids a big send off by telling them how proud she is of them. She advises them to listen to their parents, do their homework, and go out and make a record. They get a huge round of applause from the audience including their parents.
Sixwire takes the stage to sing Dicko’s choice, Reeling in the Years by Steely Dan. He thinks the song has to be worked as a band and there are some tricky harmonies as well as tricky guitar solo. It’s not a bad cover tune but very unoriginal. John is not a fan of progressive rock or Steely Dan but thinks the guys did great. Shelia thought it was a great song for them because of all the elements of the song that are there. She compliments the vocals harmonies, the rocking guitar line, and the drummer. Dicko saw Steely Dan this year and they didn’t play that song. He things they did a fantastic job.
Denver and The Warm Fuzzies Orchestra
Denver and The Mile High Orchestra are back with “Vehicle” by Ides of March chosen by the show. Sorry but something about Denver singing, “Hey well, I'm a friendly stranger in a black Sedan. Won't you hop inside my car? I got pictures, candy, I'm a lovable man. And I can take you to the nearest star.” is just not very convincing. John thought it was an exciting live performance as they always bring energy to the stage. With her fist raised high, Sheila proclaims they were POW-ER-FUL! Dicko starts off by saying something nice. He thinks Denver looks nice and is evolving into a great performer. Dicko then has a question for Denver. He asks, “If I was the guy making your record, what would you say to me about the sort of record you want to make?” Denver answers that they’re passionate and want to spread a message of love and hope to everyone. When they perform, there is joy and they think they can make the people of America feel good about themselves.
Dicko Claus Is Not Amazed
Dominic plugs the finale next week and hints at a performance from The Goo Goo Dolls. John won’t confirm the band’s performance but tells us to tune in and find out. Sheila promises to tear the stage up and Dicko admits having no discernible talent, so he imagines they'll shoehorn his butt into a Santa outfit or something else suitably demeaning. That’s enough to right there to keep me from watching. Dominic dramatically promises us an event to remember as the winner is crowned.
Now that the shameless plug for the finale is over, The Clark Brothers take the stage to sing Lonestar’s “Amazed.” The songs country flavor is suitable for the band and perfect for Ashley’s soulful glances at the camera. John thinks every woman in America wants Ashley after that performance. He jokes that he feels like a giddy little girl but honestly feels they showed a lot of confidence and did an amazing job. Sheila can listen to their passionate performance all night long. Dicko is booed when he comments that the song would be better suited for Sixwire. He calls the crowd “peasants” and then continues to say that boxed standard style of country music is not what the Clark Brothers is all about.
Not Quite NSync
Sixwire takes the stage again to sing England Dan and John Ford Coley's hit “I'd Really Love to See You Tonight.” They change it up a little but now I’m half asleep. John thinks it was well done, but bordering too much on smooth jazz. He was expecting Sting to come out and play. I’d hardly consider Sting’s music smooth jazz but what does he know? He’s just a Goo Goo Doll. Sheila thinks the approach for the song is great as it lets us experience their acoustic ability and versatility. Dicko tells them they already have one fantastic song in the bag tonight. He's sure in their minds, the performance felt like the best of Sixwire Unplugged, but for him it was like an all boy band that forgot to break up. Wow, a rare slam for Sixwire but they take it well and laugh it off.
Can Someone Point Me To The Buffet Line?
Before Denver and The Mile High Orchestra take the stage with a song of their choice, their choice, their families have a message of love and support for them. How sweet. Moving right along, the band has chosen one of their original songs entitled, “The Way You Move Me.” It’s now Caberet Night on the cruise ship and I’d rather be in the buffet line or playing shuffleboard. The crowd loves it, however. John calls it a well written song and tells Denver he's really on top of the band. Sheila says if she was a youth in America, their song would inspire her to play an instrument. Dicko tells Denver not only does he sing well and scrub up well, he dances well too. He compares the song to an old standard, an old friend and compliments Denver for never shortchanging the audience. He offers the band a piece of advice “Don’t let the industry shortchange you.” He suggests they be clear on what they want and how they're going to get there.
For You, Baby
We meet Ashley’s wife and son as she tearfully expresses her love and appreciation for him. The Clark Brothers then take the stage and Ashley introduces their pick, “This Little Light of Mine/Faith, Faith, Faith” and dedicates it to “you, Baby.” It’s reminiscent of my 8 year old Sunday School class thankfully without Sis. Benson’s rapping on my knuckles with an old ruler for laughing at her out of tune singing. Oh, and her blue hair. John doesn't think anyone deserves to win more than the Clark Brothers. Sheila believes they have let the light of God shine through them every week. In her opinion, that's why they are still there. Dicko says he travels back and forth from Australia every week. Sometimes that makes doing the show tough. However, one thing that makes it worth it and that's watching The Clark Brothers take the stage. Amen, Dicko.
Pimped For The Win
Sixwire’s family shows some love before the guys perform and we learn that Andy’s kids sent in an audition tape as well. Steve’s fiancee thinks a win would be a great Christmas present. They dedicate their choice, “Good To Be Back” to their best buddies, Light of Doom. I liked this Rascal Flatts-like one the first time around. John loves the song, and the fact that they wrote it makes it even more impressive. Sheila remembers them playing the song in Vegas for their audition and it’s still fantastic. Dicko feels it’s their "statement song" as it states a lot about their potential and the fact that they’re real contenders.
Be sure to tune in next week as the rocking AJane returns to bring a kick ass finale recap to close the season.
What is your statement song? PM me.