Our top 10 will perform songs from Billy Joel and the Judges all coordinated their outfits in black and white and OHRS finally rocks a tie, a vest, and a pocket square. He’s just so spiffy, you want to put him in your pocket and take him home. OHRS asks Steven for his expertise about what the contestants need to know about singing Billy Joel songs, which catches Steven completely off guard. He was totally day dreaming while he applied a collection of fall-looking flowers on his microphone and arranged his “supplies” on the judges’ desk. His opinion is this: if the contestants can’t sing the Billy Joel songs, then they can’t sing.
We start with Tommy Hilfiger giving Milli Vanilli a consultation and then he is off to meet with Jimmy Iovine and none other than special guest, Sean “Diddy” Combs. Diddy tells him to channel the times that existed when “Only the Good Die Young” was big. They hope he has fun with the song or he will be D.O.A. DeAndre gives it his best hop and skip moves, but it’s a bit too bee-boppy for my taste and a bit weak. I am sure JHO and Steven will say it’s “beautiful”. He flips his hair around like a Breck girl and jumps around and the audience seems to like it. JHO tiptoes around with some constructive criticism while DAWG gets right to the point and appreciates the jump and the skip, but it didn’t wow him. Me neither DAWG, me neither.
EVP is in a “New York State of Mind” this evening. Diddy advises her to hold back a bit and not over sing it. Tommy advises her to wear her hair short and so she gets it completely chopped and colored. The new and improved EVP sports a short black “Sharon Osborne” cut and she belts out the NYC anthem with her soulful voice, however, I felt the perf overall was a bit “old” and mellow for her. If she was going to be that low-key, she needed to really rip it out at the end. Wah wah…DAWG did love it, but felt she should have done a run at the end and “wear us out”, JHO agrees and wanted to see her move around and feel the song, Steven thought she was outstanding. OHRS comments that not since the “Sanjaya-Hawk” have we seen such a transformation and the Twitter feed is all positive. DAWG seems outraged that OHRS has time to read twitter back stage and our nimble little host states that he was multi-tasking and also eating dinner.
Mantasia consults with Tommy and he suggests a tuxedo. WTF? He prepares to sing “She’s Got a Way”, which he has never heard before. Wow…just wow. These youngsters are so deprived. Diddy gives Mantasia a “gut check” and tells him to get his mind on the song and the song on his mind! WORD! I have to say I am a bit disappointed in his perf, I always look forward to him and it was a bit lame. JHO did not want to be negative, but she wasn’t feelin’ it. Steven comes out from under his rock and says he doesn’t know the song either. WHAT??? He enjoyed and said Josh “sang the sweat out of that song”. DAWG felt that the understated Josh felt defeated before he began, DAWG agreed with both judges and called it a “half-half thing”.
Skylar became a bit Diddy-struck when she went into rehearsals. She selected “Shameless” and she gets a double diva wave from Diddy and Jimmy because it felt forced. She asks Diddy for an autograph and Jimmy turns away in disgust either over the fact that she was so star-struck or he was pouting because nobody gives a shit about who he is. Tommy wastes no time going after her look, but lets her keep her “boot idea”.
Sidebar: I am not really sure why we need Tommy Hilfiger’s commentary here. This isn’t Project Runway, and he is certainly NO Tim Gunn.
If Tommy’s goal was to make Skylar’s ass look like the Goodyear blimp, well then congrats. The dress could not be more unflattering. Her perf is a little flat for my taste and the judges look flat out pissed. DAWG found it pitchy, but she got better in the middle, not her best. JHO loved her “attack” and Steven thought she sang it with conviction. Translation = you bombed.
Elise is singing “Vienna” and Jimmy is worried that no one will know the song. Diddy, however, wants her to go with it and make it special. Tommy felt Elise was too “layered up” and he salivates over the thought of putting her in a pair of high-waisted bell bottoms. Elise forgoes the bell bottoms and opts for a flowy maxi-dress. The performance wasn’t terrible, but I could have done without the accordion player and she may have been better off with a more familiar song. Judges love love love and they are on their feet. Steven thought it was brilliant, JHO wants to shake her, hold her, and squeeze her. DAWG called her “unbelievably talented” and she had the moment of the night.
Dave Matthews is having a meeting of the minds with OHRS about the business picking up at his home-town pawn shop since his fame on the show. Tommy blatantly tells Phillip that he “needs some help” not to be rude of course. He plans to sing “Movin’ Out”, but Diddy wants him to do away with the guitar and step out of his comfort zone. Diddy is into it and gets Phillip groovin’ and signing to the ladies, but that doesn’t seem to be Phillip’s cup of tea. Tommy noted that grey was the worst color to wear on stage and of course Phillip is in various shades of grey from head to toe and he has the guitar. He’s clearly going to do his own thing. Judges are elated and grinning ear to ear, JHO can barely get her words out the crowd is cheering so loud. She agrees he is being who he is by snubbing the notes from the mentors. Steven said he took the song and “Phillip Phillip’s-ed it”. He commends him on the grey and tosses Phil his scarf and tells him to keep being him. DAWG reiterates his credo of the night “those that can do, should”, and Phillip did it! The girls in the front row are clamoring and screaming for the scarf, so Phillip throws it out to them. Phillip seems overall indifferent to the whole image thing and he just wants to be himself. Good luck in the music industry, my friend.
Little Hollie is up next and she receives a special video message from her brother Luke and his diva DAWG, Shankley. Tommy hopes to glam her up and make her feel like a star. Hollie has chosen “Honesty” and Jimmy and Diddy gave her some notes to help her connect to the meaning of the song. Looks like Hollie found the high-waisted bell bottoms and part of a white tuxedo. The pants make her look like she is on stilts and she actually looks like she should be welcoming us aboard the Love Boat and what is up with the dandelion?
The image is not very congruent with the song and the emotion she is trying to convey, but overall I enjoyed her vocal performance. Again, judges look pissed. Steven said she was pitchy and was over thinking the song, JHO didn’t feel she knew the song well enough, DAWG echoes.
Hey Jun is up next with “My Life” and he asks Jimmy and Diddy how he can handle criticism better. They suggest he use it as fuel to push him to do better. Diddy is trying to figure Hey Jun out “is he an actor, or a con man, I don’t know if he’s even Asian, he may be black!” Thank you Diddy, line of the night. Tommy thinks Hey Jun was testing him and he gives Hey Jun his best “get the f*ck away from me” look. Hey Jun decided on the tuxedo and pretends like he lost his way at the beginning of the song and he pulls off the breakaway tux and starts singing his song and running around the stage in his typical Hey Jun comedian antics. He is really not a singer at all, the kid needs to get a job on a variety show where he can sing, dance, and cut up. Steven could not look more annoyed if he tried and doesn’t even clap for the class clown. JHO thought he brought the fun, Steven addresses him as “He Man” and asks him if he’s happy that he “took the piss out of that song”. He echoes the sentiments of the mentors and tells him that the music business will “kick your ass” and he needs to take it more seriously. DAWG found it somewhat entertaining and was glad that he had a good time.
Jessica Sanchez is thrilled to meet Tommy and discuss her outfit choice, which he approves of no questions asked. She is singing “Everybody Has a Dream” and Diddy feels he has a responsibility to be honest with her and he did not believe her and she was over singing it. Hold back on the tricks, less is more. She delivers a very good performance in standard Jessica style and gets a standing O from the judges. Steven has nothing to say except “thank you for lettin’ me hear you sing, baby”. JHO felt it was a “defining moment” for her and DAWG commends her for having a moment every time she is on stage.
Colton is our final performance of the night and Tommy adored him and couldn’t wait to feast his eyes on his hair. Tommy is concerned that the hair takes away and Colton said “I hate that he immediately discredited it.” Colton will sing “Piano Man” and Diddy said he wanted to buy the record by the time they were done with rehearsal. As much as I have not been a Colton fan, I must admit that this was the performance of the night. He really did a great job with it. He doesn’t get a standing O, but JHO got goosies and she says “Diddy, [pause] I was going to say Puffy…gave you the biggest compliment when he said he would by that record.” She almost let the show go by without reminding us that they used to be a couple. Steven said it was stunning and outrageous and DAWG loves that he is an individual. He found it sensitive and touching.
Results are in and judges enter the stage. JHO is wearing a dress so bright, I think I sustained retina damage. She later refers to it as “Super Pink”, but it’s more like “Pepto Pink”. OHRS descends the Hasbro’s slippery steps and he has not changed a bit, proving once more that he sleeps in a hyperbaric chamber. He reminds us that the judges “save” is still in play, but I doubt they will use it this early. They are saving it in case America gets it wrong and Jessica Sanchez is in danger. The group number treats us to “The Longest Time” and Elise became the envy of every woman in America by sitting on Steven’s lap while she sang her solo line, which she sealed with a kiss on his cheek. The contestants are snapping their little fingers frenetically throughout the number, they must be exhausted.
Hollie, Skylar, and Elise face their fate first and Jimmy felt that Hollie was a “Diva in headlights”, Skylar is starting to stall and she’s got to grow fast, and Elise gave Jimmy goosies. All three are safe and will move into the party mansion.
OHRS takes a moment to acknowledge Steven’s upcoming birthday and as he turns Steven around in his chair to face the stage, the top 10 are there to sing happy birthday along with Steven’s long time partner in grime, guitarist Joe Perry. Steven looks genuinely excited and touched to see Joe and then genuinely overcome with emotion as JHO hugs him. I am not terribly surprised at the emotion here, there has been a lot of turmoil between the two long-time band mates and much scuttlebutt over possibly kicking Steven out of the band (pre-Idol) and Steven’s subsequent decision to take the Idol gig without consulting them. At any rate, there is much love in the room and Steven tears up a bit and the guyliner starts to run, so they get it in check and OHRS moves on with the show.
Milli, Mantasia, and Jessica are up next. Milli Vanilli was frolicking around too much for Jimmy’s taste, Mantasia let Jimmy down and he went into a Darth Vader thing during the bridge, but our sweet Jessica gets “A’s across the board.” Jessica is safe and even received an endorsement from Billy Joel himself. Yes, but did she get an e-mail? Josh is also safe and DeAndre takes the first stool of death.
In all seriousness, it was actually a great performance and she sounded good. Hair and makeup just need to tone down the hair and set the makeup gun to “Whore in Training” instead of “Full-Blown Pro at Hollywood and Vine”.
OHRS calls up the last row of peeps, Colton, Phillip, EVP, and Hey Jun. Colton won Jimmy over and Colton got the e-mail from Billy, Dave Matthews ruffled Jimmy’s feathers a bit by ignoring the advice, EVP was bold and brave and Jimmy thinks she deserves to be the “top of the batch”. Jimmy agreed that Hey Jun made Steven angry and that Hey Jun disrespected the entire process, it was like four minutes of a bad Adam Sandler movie that goes straight to DVD. Wow, harsh words from the tin man. OHRS asks Hey Jun to respond and he explained he was just trying to be who he is. EVP and Hey Jun are sent to the stools of death. Colton and Phillip are safe.
JHO reacts to the bottom three and reinforces that they are all wonderful and losing any of them is sad. DeAndre and Hey Jun are safe. EVP gets one last chance to blow her guts up, and blow she does. She gives it her all, but it’s not enough to move the judges to make a save. One could say Erika pulled a Billy Joel…crash-n-burn.