The top four performed songs from the movies Tuesday night, with Jamie Foxx returning as mentor. The Oscar winner announced that he would give them T-shirts labeled either “contestant” or “artist,” the second shirt to indicate — actually, it didn’t make a lot of sense, and yet everyone had to pay attention to those stupid shirts throughout the hour.
Crystal Bowersox, after a few iffy weeks, was the only hit of the night, singing Kenny Loggins’s “I’m Alright” from Caddyshack. It was good, bluesy, rocky, to the point. “You are definitely an artist,” said Randy. Foxx gave her an “artist” T-shirt. Ellen and Kara both said she’d actually improved on the original. (They’re right: Check Youtube.) Simon cemented it: “You, Crystal, are back in the game.”
Everyone else was off.
Foxx rehearsed with Lee DeWyze by putting his face right up against his, although I don’t know what that accomplished. He gave him an “artist” T-shirt, but the judges balked at his performance of Seal’s “Kiss From a Rose” (Batman Forever). “You did nothing with that song,” said an unusually blunt Randy. Kara thought he sounded “lost” singing a difficult song in an arrangement she didn’t like.
According to Simom, he sounded like it was “verging on, I’m afraid to say, karaoke.” Simon always makes the word “karaoke” sound like a four-syllable synonym for “death.” But give Lee this: He’s the only singer who can go wildly offkey and sound like he hasn’t abandoned the melody.
Michael Lynche, who told Ryan he’d made it his goal a year ago to be in the top three, got only a “contestant” T-shirt. He then sang Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There” (Free Willy) as a gospel ballad with a choir, although he seemed to have technical problems launching the song. “Yo yo yo yo yo,” began Randy before telling Michael that the performance “didn’t take off.” Kara said she was hoping for goosebumps that never came, and Ellen found it “a little bit predictable,” adding that Free Willy is “one of the classic great movies of all time.”
“I have no idea what Free Willy is,” said Simon. But “at least you gave it 100 percent.” Ellen also asked Michael the question: Why hadn’t he made winning the goal rather than making the top 3?
Casey James, who got an “artist” T-shirt, sang the Simon and Garfunkel classic “Mrs. Robinson” (The Graduate) on a little guitar — or was that a ukulele? It was very sweet, but after a couple verses he seemed to be missing the point that the song is actually a moral indictment. Randy jokingly implied Casey picked the song out of love for Kara “Cougar” DioGuardi. Kara, for her part, said she appreciated that Casey was trying to show his vulnerable side.
Simon then said the whole thing was “a little bit lazy” and one of many strange song choices during the night. He didn’t say Casey should go, exactly … but he certainly didn’t hint he should stay.
The singers also paired off for duets that were, as Simon put it, “a million times better” than the solos. Lee and Crystal sang the Oscar-winning song “Falling Slowly” from Once and made the most of the opportunity. Her voice, with its folkie clarity, sounded especially good. The judges were thrilled.
Casey and Mike, both on guitar, closed the hour with Bryan Adams’s “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman” from Don Juan de Marco. Ellen delivered one of her best jokes: “As a matter of fact, yes, I have loved a woman.” –Tom Gliatto
Tell us: Whose performance did you love? Who is going home?Michael Becker/FOX/PictureGroup