I’m so sorry I wasn’t around for live blogging. I got caught up at a CNN meet-and-greet cocktail party in downtown Atlanta featuring local CNN talent (Rick Sanchez), execs (Turner Broadcasting CEO Phil Kent), producers and guests such as Mayor Kasim Reed, “Apprentice” alum Wes Moss, “Real Housewives” alum DeShawn Snow and “Top Chef” contestant and Pure Vida owner Hector Santiago. It figures I recognized the reality TV participants.
I hope Deirdre was able to keep you up to date!
UPDATE: Okay, I’ve got it. I wasn’t quite as impressed with the performances tonight as the judges.
Who will go home? That’s going to be a tough call. I think the bottom three will be Michael Lynche, Aaron Kelly and for the first time, Crystal Bowersox. Michael will go home. I thought both Michael and Aaron pulled off perfectly respectable performances but they were both forgettable to me. Crystal cruised through without a lot of effort and may leave the voters a bit less enthusiastic than normal.
I really enjoyed both Casey and Lee. Both felt easygoing and connected to their songs. Siobhan was a mixed bag for me.
My rankings: 1. Lee 2. Casey 3. Crystal 4. Siobhan 5. Aaron 6. Michael
As for Shania as a mentor: sweetly unremarkable.
Up first: Lee DeWyze (”You’re Still the One”) – He picked one of her biggest crossover hits. I wasn’t a big fan of that song. But somehow, Lee made me like it. He sang it with some finesse and lots of love.
Randy: It started out a little pitchy but midway through you made it your own. You found your sweet spot.
Ellen: You did better than a pretty good job. You make it your own. You couldn’t look cuter. All aboard the Shania Twain.
Kara: Look at far you’ve come. That’s a love song. I don’t know if you relate to it but you cracked a smile a few times.
Simon: That was absolutely the perfect song. Started a little hesitant. You were pulling some weird faces. [It's the smirk.]
Second up: Michael Lynche (”It Only Hurts When I’m Breathing”) – It’s a typical Lynche performance. Vocally quite strong but how much you like it depends on how much you buy into his performance. I’m still not buying it.
Randy: You did a great job. You are in the zone of who you are. There’s a wide open space for you.
Ellen: It felt like Luther Vandross. I felt your emotion. I felt you get into it.
Kara: I always that you go to that place that relates to you. You put your mark on it.
Simon: It was spot on. The performance was a little bit wet. You were in a musical acting out the words… it was a little girly.
Third up: Casey James (”Don’t”) – This is definitely one of his better performances, tackling a ballad. He spent too much of the song with his eyes closed but he connected with this song in a similar way to how he did “Jealous Guy.” He clearly does better with the ballads than the faster rock tunes.
Randy: This is one of the best Casey James’ performances ever.
Ellen: That’s where you belong. I thought it was your best performance to date.
Kara: Artists do not hide the good, bad and ugly. You didn’t hide it. You were vulnerable and raw.
Simon: Last week was a much needed wake-up call. I actually agree with Randy. This is probably your best performance so far. You were singing the song. It didn’t feel like somebody else’s song. You should give [Shania] a kiss on the lips. [He gave her a hug, not a kiss.]
Fourth up: Crystal Bowersox (”No One Needs to Know Right Now”) – She really took it country. It was pleasant but ultimately nothing to write home about.
Randy: I love you try different things.
Ellen: I say it every week. There’s nothing you can’t do. Not my favorite performance but like what’s your least favorite color of the rainbow.
Kara: It’s impossible for you not to be good. You’re always coming from a place of truth.
Simon: We don’t like Crystal this week. It was limp, something you see in a coffee shop. I didn’t feel any conviction. And the song was forgettable [sorry Shania].
Fifth up: Aaron Kelly (”It’s in the Way You Love Me”) – Technically, perfectly fine. But tonally, he doesn’t resonate with me. And emotionally, I wasn’t bowled over.
Randy: This is your wheelhouse. You did a really good job.
Ellen: This is going to be tough. Everybody is doing well.
Kara: I completely agree with you. You really felt those words. [He did change a line cos he was singing it to his mom.]
Simon: You’re only 17. The last two or three weeks, you’ve struggled. Didn’t get it at all. However, tonight, you were like a different artist. It felt sincere. It felt believable.
Pimp spot: Siobhan Magnus (”Any Man of Mine”) – This was the song that got Mandisa eliminated season five. Siobhan, as usual, went all out. She went into the crowd, too. But she just seems kind of stiff to me on stage. And her vocals are all over the place. Plus, that scream/screech never endears her to me.
Randy: I love the punky country look. I loved it.
Ellen: Way to pull the Shania Twain into the station. Good way to end the show.
Kara: Guess who’s back? Siobhan!
Simon: I really really liked that song. I’m not normally a fan of country. The screaming may have gone a little bit. It was like you were giving birth out there.