OK, so it wasn't exactly that category. But with a vast movies catalog to choose from, we got two Bryan Adams songs, as well as such sublime cheese as "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing," the recycled "Born To Be Wild," the lovely "Falling Slowly," Steve Van Zandt in the audience, a real throwdown between a contestant and judge, and a weird attempt to keep the "Idol" train on time ...
The time-management attempt consisted not of telling the judges to keep it brief -- which wouldn't have worked with Paula anyway -- but having only two judges comment on each contestant, with Simon/Paula paired for four and Randy/Kara for three. And even then, Paula managed to ramble, struggle to form complete sentences and offered such gems as a non-comment on Lil's performance and the declaration to Adam that "you dare to dance in the path of greatness." Meanwhile, Quentin Tarantino, with his hair like a Squiggy tribute, was guest mentor; I like him better as a judge, because my memory is that he was pointed in his comments.
Anyway, Allison was first up, with "I Don't Want To Miss a Thing." Total cheese, and a brilliant choice. In fact, I wanted her to amp it up more than she did; we got the somewhat more restrained Allison of a week ago, saving her big moment for the end of the song when she could have gone all Tyler much sooner. Still, Paula/Simon liked it a great deal and Paula seemed to be backing out of her Danny/Adam finals prediction when she said Allison had the "same special sauce" as Adam. And we'll just let that comment go.
Next: 'Noop, with Adams I, "Everything I Do." Not my brand of cheese. Pretty but unremarkable. Randy said 'Noop has really found his zone, which Kara called "pop songs and adding your soul to it." I think he's bleaching the soul out of his songs.
Adam, "Born To Be Wild." After a couple of weeks of I'm-a-smart-singer-Adam, we're back to screechy rock-as-theater Adam. His fans probably love this, but I feel as if I have heard it before and didn't find it very interesting then. Still, the production gives him the superstar treatment, indicating the show either has decided it wants him in the finals or it knows that he's going to be there and figures it might as well ride the hype. Paula offered up her "path of greatness" comment. Simon thought it was a little too "Rocky Horror."
Matt with Adams II, pleasant but kind of a yawn to me. Randy and Kara were not enthusiastic.
Gokey. "Endless Love." One of two performers to solo on a duet, and it doesn't work very well for him. It's very much the kind of thing that people like Gokey for, but Simon nails it when he calls it "very traditional." And the harpist was too much.
Kris does "Falling Slowly," from the movie "Once," Oscar winner a year ago, and really a duet, too. He makes it pretty, but I miss the tension of the original, a tension that is based in part of the two vocals. "Idol" tries to cut him a break by prominently featuring a backup vocalist; still, iI wouldn't sub this for the "Once" version. Randy says it never caught on with him. Kara refers to it as "obscure," because, you know, a hugely televised awards show a year ago is just so underground.
Lil closes with "The Rose." It would seem a good song for her, but the performance isn't. Wobbly vocally throughout, and I have to think -- again -- that the judges have so whipsawed her with contradictory comments that she just doesn't know what to do. It's Tim Couch and Butch Davis all over. And she gets no help from Paula, whose remarks offer no assessment of her performance. Simon then says that Lil is "completely wrong" in what she is doing, and Lil loses it, arguing with Simon about what she has done. I don't blame her, either, since she clearly has the judges ping-ponging in her head; the only relief she is getting from more pain this week is that she only has to listen to two judges. When she argues with Simon, Paula tells Lil "don't ever be afraid to say what you feel," a pretty funny comment from a judge famous for not judging (including on Lil's performance tonight).
And that's all I have from tonight.