Since I'm playing catch-up, performances and not much more, after the jump ...
I'm going to skip most of the judges' banter and focus on the vocals from Tuesday's show (even though I heard from some viewers that Paula was quite articulate). So here's the rundown:
Blake Lewis. "All Mixed Up," 311. "Do you know 311?" a co-worker with 311 on her iPod asked me today, since she had been surprised that the judges did not. ("I didn't even recognize the song," says Randy.) Mildly interesting performance, but it didn't knock me out, and it started in an odd vocal place. C.
Oh, the show moves so nicely swiftly when I bag all the couch talk, little known facts and such.
Sanjaya. "Waiting on the World to Change," John Mayer. Better than he was a week ago; he's advanced from freakin' horrible to merely boring as all get out. Oh, wait, he tried to get intense -- which was freakin' horrible. If Blake's a C, this is still a D.
Sundance. Pearl Jam, "Jeremy." Bad bad bad. Only some vague professional impulse keeps me from fast-forwarding during the song. A little more authority than Sanjaya, so I'll give him a D plus, but I'm already feeling the grades tilting low -- and wondering if there's enough room. Will no one be good?
Travis Tritt! Did they give him Jeff Foxworthy's seat this week?
Chris Richardson in a mellow mood. Good grief, does no one know how to start a song without sounding as if the tune has run and hid under the couch? "Tonight I Wanna Cry," Keith Urban. I am bored but not appalled. C minus.
Jared Cotter, getting uptempo on Stevie's "If You Really Love Me." Another dreadful start and not much improvement after that until he gets to the slow part. Even there, he sounds constipated in spots. I'd give him an F, but someone whose opinion I value thinks he's cute as a bug, and the sweater's nice, so we'll make it a D.
Brandon, "Celebrate," Rare Earth. He's shaky in spots and the backing vocalists are doing a fair amount to protect him. But on a night as bad as this one, he's far from the worst. C minus.
Phil. AAAAAAAAAAAAAKKKK!! I'm upping Brandon to a flat C because he may be the only guy tonight who started his song semi-competently. Anyway, Phil is doing LeAnn Rimes's "I Need You" and he really needs a vocal coach since he's all over the place. He gets Brandon's old C minus.
Sligh closes the show. No idea what the song is, but he is working it. Probably the best performance of the night, only still not great. We'll call it a C plus and be glad the show is over. I expect to go back when I have some free time and listen to the judges -- who seemed to talk a lot. But even with a couple of singers I like in the mix, this was a deadly hour -- and made me hope very much that the women are on their game tonight.
There was a lot of loose talk last week about the guys being back; well, they're gone again and the long-term hope for real entertainment on "Idol" rests almost exclusively with the women.
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