Movie night. Jamie Foxx, guest mentor. More after the jump about a really odd night, written while watching the show in progress.
Four individual performances, two duets on tap. Jamie has a T-shirt gimmick -- contestant or artist depending on how each performer does with him. Does not strike me as helpful.
Lee DeWyze leads off with "Kiss From a Rose." Dull, derivative and he can't hit some of the notes. Randy leads off with objections to the performance. No enthusiasm elsewhere, although Kara keeps insisting that Lee is still great despite a weak performance. No, they keep calling him great despite repeated blah performances. But nothing I can do about that.
BiMike Lynche. Michael Jackson's "Will You Be There." Wobbly start. Picks up when he increases volume. And he gets big orchestration and backup singers. But it's still not as impressive as some of the big-chorus-love-us moments from "Idol" past. He's good, better than Lee, but still lacking. Randy thought it was just all right and didn't take off. Ellen notes Big Mike's comment that his goal is to be in top three when he should want to win; she thinks he's good but predictable. Kara didn't get goosebumps. Simon, after puzzling over references to "Free Willy," says Michael at least gave it 100 percent.
First duet: Lee and Crystal on "Falling Slowly." I love this song. This version, not as much as the original. But Lee actually sounds OK -- as if Crystal is forcing him to up his game. Although she is still by far the superior of the two. Randy calls it a great song by two great singers. Ellen calls it great. Kara calls it one of her favorite moments of the entire season and loved the chemistry. Simon calls it a fantastic song. But does anyone here know that these guys were working from a great template? Crystal says Lee is her musical crush. She can do better.
Casey James. "Mrs. Robinson." Dear lord. Jamie wants Casey to seduce him with the song. Apparently missing the irony. Not that I think of Casey as a singer of irony. He sings sitting and surrounded by audience's trained seals. And without irony. Even the seals look puzzled. I have no idea what he is trying to accomplish here, other than starting a campfire singalong. Unfortunate on many levels. Randy asks "Dude, why did you choose that song?" -- and he and Casey imply it has to do with Kara. Randy thought it was cool and laidback. Ellen liked that he came back and did something different with a song, and liked it. Kara sees it as Casey fighting to be in the competition, and doing something that makes him uncomfortable, so it was a good choice. More tired Mrs. Robinson banter, and Simon revealing he knows no more about "The Graduate" than he does about "Free Willy." Simon did not think the song or performance had the substance required on this night, and that it was a little bit lazy.
Channel 8 slow getting back from the break. Crystal notes her admiration for "Caddyshack." So she's got that going for her!
Her song is, of course, "I'm All Right." And she is in absolute control. At the risk of sounding like a judge, the Crystal I love is back. Coquettish here, bluesy there. Little raw in places, but still the best solo performance of the night. Randy loved that she tried to switch it up and make it fit her, and calls it a nice job. Ellen thought she made the song better. Kara agreed with Ellen. Simon chooses not to ask what the movie was about but says "you, Crystal, are back in the game."
Casey and Mike duet on "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman." Casey takes first solo, reaching for Bryan Adams vibes. Big Mike sings like Big Mike. Singing together, they're adequate, with Big Mike making the better moves. Still, not exciting, and not on a par with the other duet. Randy considers it "a nice one." Ellen notes that she has loved a woman and leave it at that. (Looks as if someone is pushing to finish on time.) Kara says the duets tonight were better than all the solo performances. (No, Crystal was better than Mike/Casey, and I think her solo performance was more interesting than the duet, which was still derivative of the original.)
And the show has managed to get through everything early!