Master K here, transcribing Dr. L's hieroglyphics from last nite:)
We decided to watch the performances, pause and rate them, THEN listen to the judges, so as not to be swayed by any of their babble.
Lauren: Any Man Of Mine, Shania.
K-- walking back & forth is not a performance. She did a "good" job, not great by any stretch, a fail in terms of hype. Looks like 4H County Fair Queen next to some of her competitors.
L-- good performance, of good song choice. Wardrobe fail. Didn't connect to song. Nothing special about her version vs original.
Special K Note: 13 minutes have gone by, and only one performance. No wonder this damn show is two hours long!
Casey: With A Little Help From My Friends, Cocker (Beatles)
K--this is more like a real performance. Is his vocal mix better than Lauren? Sure can hear him better. Choir? Who decides who is choir/bagpipe/lightning bolt-worthy?
L-- a bit restrained, could have jumped out a bit more, but definitely seemed like his take on that tune. Stage presence.
Ashthon: When You Tell Me You Love Me, Diana Ross
K-- 2nd half picked up from shaky start. Disconnected. Almost seemed like sabotage to put Berry Gordy out there, I'd be $hitting a brick.
L-- Weak 1st part, arrangement too fast? Powerful voice, but not best choice. Did she do it because they suggested it to her last week?
Paul: Come Pick Me Up, Ryan Adams (wha?)
K-- He does have a unique voice, OK, but it's more of a recording voice, not stage, and what a weird performance.
L-- didn't know song, venue too big for him. "I hope they get it" -- what does that mean?
Pia: All By Myself, Celine (Eric Carmen)
K-- in it to win it. Seems like she's on a different show than Lauren. Complete package.
L-- beautiful tone to her voice. Great chord progressions, in a different league.
James: Maybe I'm Amazed, Paul McCartney
K-- like an eclipse when he and Pia sang, the rest of the pack fell into shadow. Real talent. Great to show he doesn't have to blow our heads off, bodes well for later weeks/themes. Unlike some to come later...
L--clear tone, control. So obvious he should be a frontrunner.
Hailey: Blue, LeeAnn RImes (pseudo Patsy Cline)
K-- Good, authentic performance, looked the part. Seems like she was included here for fodder but might pick off a former frontrunner before she's booted.
L-- Clear yodel, she went in a different direction. interesting take on this song. Good to change it up after James, Pia, hard acts to follow. Unintelligible at times?
Jacob: I Beweave I Can Fwy (Aw Kewwey) (Just kidding, wouldn't want to piss anybody off. Get it? R Kelley and...nevermind)
K-- working too hard, not as much WOW factor as he'd like to believe. Again with the choir. This is like vocal gymnastics, not a song.
L-- could have dialed it back from 11. Would like to see a more controlled performance.
Side note: again, it is up to Randy to kind of keep it real this year.
Thia: Smile, Michael Jackson (Charlie Chaplin)
K-- poor girl, this damn song might as well have been written during the Crusades for all she knows. 1st part better, pretty voice. Way to sabotage yourself on the exit video backstage (see Stefano for how to do it right). Too young.
L-- current arrangement is a plus. Just didn't care for it.
Stefano: Stevie Wonder tune (so rocked up I didn't recognize it)
K-- good performance, better stage presence than many.
L-- loved arrangement, modern youthful sound, catch yourself being entertained by it (some of these are almost a chore to get though, not this one)
Karen: When I Fall In Love, Selena (what a shocker)
K-- that's it? "Paging Gopher to the Lido Deck" Cruise ship level performance. 1976 called, they want Gladys Knight's dresses back. She will only stay alive because of the Latina sympathy vote.
L-- "Whatev" performance. Pitchy, song never went anywhere.
Scotty: BabyLockThemDoo--oops, some Garth Brooks song
K-- Fades in and out. Come on, he has no real power to his voice, when the band came in it was like a tidal wave, buried him. One-note, how's he going to tackle ANYTHING else?
L-- More relaxed look & presence on stage. Already over the Country music thang.
Naima: Umbrella, Rihanna
K-- smart to do newer, pop performance. Tough not to be pitchy when jumping around, doing reggae riffs. Wish whole song had been reggae.
L-- crowd pleaser, being able to sing and dance, need to find a balance.
Our bottom three, as mentioned before,
Ashthon, Paul, Karen
BUT, we know there's probably no way Karen is going anywhere, or Paul, so America's bottom three:
Ashthon, Paul (shocker! style) and Thia,
Ashthon goes home