I don't know, Party People. I'm just not feeling the contestants this season. I don't doubt that there's talent here, the potential, if not for musical greatness, then at least for a halfway decent pop musical career complete with a profile or two on E! News and a short stint in rehab. But with the exception of Casey, there's no one here to really love. Here's how last night shook out for me.
"What's Love Got to Do With It?"
Not a great performance by any means, but it was the most animated. Plus, I just really, really like this girl: her personality, her look, that certain bluesy quality in her voice that I've heard before but which she's just not exploiting lately. Get it together, girl.
Paul: "I Guess That's Why They Call it the Blues"
I really hate to hate this performance. Paul is adorable, what with those teeth, those long legs, that southern accent, but I really think he's a wee bit out of his mind. I don't know what he was doing up there, but surely it wasn't singing? Was it?
Thia: "Colors of the Wind"
Zzzzzzzzzz. Who needs sleeping pills when there's Thia? At times, she was singing so low, she struggled to properly articulate the words and all I heard was Charlie Brown's parents, only as altos. Randy was spot on when he called it a pageant-ey performance, and La Lopez picked out that shakiness in her voice that I noticed, too. Pretty girl, though.
James: "I'll Be There For You"
When I was young and single, my best friend and I used to amuse ourselves on the weekends by screaming around Albuquerque in her convertible, top down, wind in our hair, singing songs that we absolutely hated at the top of our lungs to the vehicles unlucky enough to pull up next to us at stop lights. One of our absolute favorite love-to-hate songs was Bon Jovi's, "I'll Be There For You," so hated in fact, that I'll bet there are at least a good half dozen people still living in this city who can't hear this song without remembering some crop-haired platinum blond hanging halfway out the passenger side of a white Miata screaming, "I'm sorry I missed your birthday, baby!" arms flung wide, one hand clutching a super-sized Sonic cherry limeade, the other flashing the Dio devil sign. In other words, I still hate this song, but it sure brings back fond memories.
Haley: "I'm Your Baby Tonight"
Good lord, that voice was all over the place. Up down, sideways, all the way to China and back. But not in a good way. She's goin' home.
Stefano: "If you Don't Know Me By Now"
One of the few Simply Red songs that doesn't make me want to stick pieces of bamboo under my nails. It was a'rite. What I'd really like to hear, is the band he formed with Casey, Paul, and James.
Pia: "Where Do Broken Hearts Go?"
I can't comment on the song because I'm more horrified by her sartorial choice than I am bored by choice of song. Not only did she willingly, and with no gun seemingly held to her temple, choose to wear a romper on stage, but she chose to wear a romper made out of the most unforgiving fabric known to God and man: silk satin. In white. The horror.
Scotty: "Can I Trust You With My Heart"
This guy always sounds the same, but the sounds he makes are sung well, on pitch, and with personality. But I still cannot get around the fact that he looks like the love child spawn of Alfred E. Newman and George W. Bush.
Karen: "Love Will Lead You Back"
I'm sorry, I can't take seriously any gal that comes out dressed like a stewardess on an airship headed for the Zenon Planetary System in the far corners of the Nebulon Galaxy, I don't care how much her mommy loves her.
Casey: "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
This song is near-sacred to me. It still takes the top of my head off, pulls my heart out of my body, and raises the kind of emotion that makes me thankful for the few and far between moments when rock and roll manages to achieve a level of sublimity that approaches high art. It should not be messed with. Ever. That being said, I love Casey and hope he doesn't go home for his sacrilege.
Lauren: "I'm the Only One"
The great thing about Melissa Etheridge is not just that she possesses a powerhouse voice and ample guitar-playing skills, but that she is also somehow able to take emotions that under ordinary circumstances would come off as embarrassingly desperate and co-dependent and turn them into something Shakespearean in their dramatic importance. I don't care what the judges said, I don't care the few moments of interesting country twang, Lauren didn't even come close to doing this song justice.
What woman, alone in the shower or racing down the freeway or cleaning house by herself, hasn't at some point fantasized herself as Ann Wilson, swathed in layers of flowy PNW hippie silks, a mass of black curls tumbling menacingly around her shoulders, belting out songs like this in an eight-octave range so powerful it brings down squadrons of F-16s and makes men lose their minds. Don't mess with my fantasy, Jacob. Sing some real gospel.
Who was most fabulous this evening? La Lopez, gloriously lion-maned and animal-printed, and, I might add, level-headed. She gave the best advice of the evening.