Another week, another round of curious song choices and underwhelming - or as Simon might say, under-impressive- performances for some of the female contestants.
After the disturbing image of Ellen nuzzling Simon's ear while sitting on his lap - I guess they're trying to prove they're "friendly" - the show started off with Katie Stevens' limp take on "Breakaway." She sang well enough, but it sounded oddly dry and disconnected and perhaps pitched a shade too low.
Siobhan Magnus sang "House of the Rising Sun" with power and assurance but the old Animals dirge was an odd choice. I don't love that song- always found it deathly plodding- but the a cappella open was nicely done and it built somewhat. I agree with Simon that it was something of a comedown from last week. Her shout out to her dad was sweet though.
More thoughts on the performances after the jump.
I wonder if the judges are less familiar with Brandi Carlile than some other singers. I thought Lacey Brown's version of "The Story" was similar to last week's Sixpence None the Richer in that it was well done enough but very soundalike vocally to the original, without Carlile's power, and kind of a yawn.
I'm of two minds about Didi Benami's "Rhiannon." I liked the choice for her voice, the acoustic arrangement, thought she had some really nice moments, and that it was so much better than last week. But I'm not sure I agree with Simon that the whole thing was a "wow moment." It felt a little too coffeehouse for me. She did probably save her bacon though.
Has the Crystal Bowersox train left the station yet? Because I'm finally ready to get on board. She kept it simple and didn't mess with the arrangement of "Give Me One Reason" but she had a nice easy way to her singing and showed some real fire. I actually thought she was funkier than Tracy Chapman, who, granted, isn't exactly known for her funk factor as much as I like her. To my ears, Crystal finally got out of the subway and into the nightclub tonight.
Lilly Scott's "I Fall to Pieces" was just too cutesy for me and it was the first time I felt like she was a little shaky, not pitch-wise but in terms of breath support in holding some of the notes. Fine but not spectacular.
I felt worst of all for Katelyn Epperly and Paige Miles. I thought Kara got it just right when she said it felt like Katelyn wasn't being competitive, just going through the motions, especially given what we know she can do. And poor Paige, "Smile" is going to be one of those awful ironic choices when she has to sing it again on Thursday. I was really rooting for her.
While I think Katelyn may still have a shot, I think the writing is on the wall for Paige and probably Katie, unless the mammoth teenage voting bloc rallies to protect one of its own, and then it's probably curtains for Lacey.
So what did you think? Do you believe, a million billion percent, that Crystal will be back? Will Paige smile although her heart is likely to be breaking? Does anyone else wish Randy would stop laughing before giving his feedback? Should someone instruct Ellen to never sit on Simon's lap again? What is up with the crazy earrings this year? Is shrimp ever an option at banquet dinners?
About Viewer Discretion
ContributorsMatthew Gilbert is the Globe's TV critic.
Sarah Rodman is a staff TV and music critic for the Boston Globe.
Michael Brodeur is the assistant arts editor for the Boston Globe, covering pop music, TV, and nightlife.
Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.
Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.
Glenn Yoder is an Arts & Entertainment producer at Boston.com.