Whoops! I'm so harried getting ready for London and Cannes that I forgot to post!
BARRY GIBB -- good guest coach, though I kept thinking it was Sean Connery talking. Thankfully, Gibb has written/recorded almost 700 songs so there were plenty of choices, unlike on Bon Jovi night. And Gibb was encouraging and positive with some specific helpful key changes, arrangements, etc.
MELINDA -- Sang "Love You Inside Out." Gibb was funny. Even though it was written for a man, "I was singing like a lady in the first place anyway, so that's okay." I don't know why he made a fuss about the gender of the song. Most great songs can work for either sex with just a tiny switch in wording. Melinda looked young and had fun. She's had a very successful quiet makeover. Now if only she could stop that chicken dance sort of posing where she leans back when hitting one side of the stage before turning around and heading the other way. I thought she sounded very good. Flawless, even. I did not agree with the judges. I think it was more the nature of the song that she didn't burst out more.
BLAKE -- Again, before the commercial break, he arranged a goofy moment with LaKisha. This guy is SMART. I like him more and more on a personal basis. Sang "You Should Be Dancing." Blake had a cool t-shirt on but I mostly remember Gibb calling his own song an anthem for the Seventies. It was, but really you shouldn't say that yourself. Blake should have held on to that t-shirt. He wore a godawful jacket that would have been a funny joke on Eighties night. His beat-boxing fit in PERFECTLY during the instrumental break. Unfortunately, he also beat-boxed during every chorus, which was beat. If he'd saved it for that one ten second break, it would have stood out much more, not seemed so indulgent and would have brought the crowd to its feet. Otherwise, so-so.
LAKISHA -- Sang "Staying Alive" slowed down. She had good interplay with the backup singers during the chorus. But the camera did her no favors, by putting the backup singers on the big video so they were literally and symbolically overshadowing her. She looked good.
RYAN -- His joke that Simon is not the sort who calls back after a first date was funny. But what the hell was Judge Judy doig? She knows it's a live show. Does she think she can just wander around the set and do what she wants? Order! Order in the court!
JORDIN -- Viewer questions will be more and more valuable these last two weeks since it means precious airtime. Jordin got to be sincere and say something positive about herself, by talking about their schedule and saying she could handle more than she ever thought. Got to imply it's all pretty overwhelming but without being pity-ish. Sang "To Love Somebody." gibb -- clearly impressed -- said "I've never heard a greater version than Jordin's," this for a song that's been recorded hundreds of times by Nina Simone and the like. Jordin was indeed terrific. She especially should have enjoyed it since the song had numerous low notes that she handled better than usual, got to hit those big high notes and end with a flourish in the mid-range that sounded great. And the producers showcased her here to the max -- nice beginning shot of her mid-frame that moved in for a lovely closeup. When we saw the big video monitor, it featured Jordin, not some trumpet player or backup singer. Slightly shaky towards the end but ended nicely. Very triumphant.
BLAKE -- Again, before the break he and Melinda did a dorky robot dance. Every savvy contestant in the future will be coming up wth this stuff ad nauseum; Blake was there first.
MELINDA -- Sang "How Can You Mend A Broken heart?" Very amusingly, she avoided singing the line "How can a loser ever win?" which Gibb wholeheartedly endorsed. This gal isn't as flashy as Blake but she's no naive pup, either. Marvelous performance with a very Idol flourish towards the end. Randy disses her by calling Melinda "our resident pro," a not so subtle dig that she's been a professional backup singer. On top of their initial criticism that she sang the first song anonymously -- like a backup singer -- it's a double blow for Melinda. On the other hand, this makes her not seem inevitable and a bit of an underdog.
BLAKE -- Much better outfit and looks cute, though the odd sweater/vest t-shirt thingy is still kind of strange But he looks preppy and approachable. Sings "This Is Where I Came In." There's nothing wrong with tackling an unfamiliar song at this late stage of the game -- it just better be so amazingly winning on the first listen that people are blown away by it. That's far from the case here. Big mistake by Blake when Gibb has so many classic songs to choose from. "Tragedy," "How Deep Is Your Love," "Jive Talkin'" and their last big hit "One" could all have worked wonders for him here. Song selection could cost Blake a chance at the finals.
LAKISHA -- "Run To Me," another slowed down song. Good, but all I can remember is how she absolutely lost her voice at the end. A terrible last impression.
JORDIN -- Sang "Woman in Love." She should have ended with "To Love Somebody" because that was slightly stronger but another very good performance. She is peaking again at just the right time. Gibb knows her shaky lower-register means nothing and that her upper register is pure gold. "This is going to be one of our greatest female RECORDING artists." Good lord, how could she even sing after hearing that? I thought she looked good, though the dress was a bit ike ligerie. Shaky low notes at the beginning but then a key change (!) and a big chorus. I would have just kept repeating the chorus and going higher and higher because the verses weren't working for her. But she had a big Idol-like finale. This was clearly her night, though Simon's criticism that she wasn;t young enough and sounded a bit beauty pageant-ish was on target as far as what could be better.
In the numbers recap, Blake was cut off in the middle and we didn't see Jordin at all. That could be significant for the millions who Tivo it to skip the commercials.
BOTTOM TWO -- Like everyone, I believe -- no, I KNOW -- it will be Blake and LaKisha. Blake had the weaker two performances, but LaKisha had that terrible last note, Blake is of course the only guy left and LaKisha has seemed like an also-ran for weeks now. Like Phil, she can leave with dignity after a solid performance this week. Unless the sky falls in, Blake will be eliminated next week and it'll be Melinda and Jordin in the finale and either one of them could triumph.