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OK kids, it's country night...so you know what that means. Just about every contestant is going to cop out and pick a ballad. And even though AI is opening the Shania Twain songbook, which is full of peppy songs (hell, she had an entire album called Up! that featured exclamation points all over the place), these kids are still going to take the easy road. And even though it happens every country night, it's even lamer tonight because Shania's brand of country music is 90% pop.
Lee Dewyze is up first with ballad #1, "You're Still the One," and he goes from monotonous to shouty in record time. Has he always sung with a crooked mouth? OK, Lee, so what do you think, you're Elvis or something? (oooh-ooh-ooh) This don't impress me much. (ooh-ooh-ooh) Don't get me wrong, yeah I think Lee's all right. But he won't keep me warm in the middle of the night. (I should have probably warned you all before starting that I was quite the Shania fan back in the day, so I know nearly all of her songs. Sorry. I'll try not to keep doing this.) Somehow, Lee's very average performance garners rave reviews from all of the judges. The only negative Simon can find is that Lee was "pulling some weird faces." Ellen makes a stupid "all aboard the Shania Twain" joke, but I won't make too much fun of her since she's apparently following me on Twitter now.
Up next is Michael Lynche with, yes, a ballad. He performs "It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing" in a perfectly pleasant manner and there is no doubt that the judges will lap this up. They love when Michael stays in the Ruben Studdard box because that's who they think he is, and they love when the puppets obey. And whattaya know, Randy once again TELLS Michael that he IS "the R&B balladeer." No more of that funky, cool pop stuff for you, mister. Although Simon thinks the performance seemed a little "wet" (apparently a British term that he can't even properly translate), he agrees with Ellen's comparison of Mike to Luther Vandross. Kara says something like, "connection...blah blah blah...feeling...blah blah blah... connection...blah."
Casey James decides to give the people a different side of him: the rhythm guitarist side, as opposed to the lead guitarist side. Oh boy! He turns in a pretty good performance of "Don't"—a song I originally had confused with "Whatever You Do! Don't! (there are the exclamation points again), which would have been a much more lively (and hilarious) choice—but it's actually a ballad (shocker!) that appeared on Shania's Greatest Hits compilation. In this week's episode of Short Attention Span Theater, the judges all tell Casey that this was his best performance ever. No way that was better than his cover of "Jealous Guy," but whatever. Just let them say what they want so we can get to the end and I can watch Glee.
Ryan chats with Crystal Bowersox before her performance and he makes a point of mentioning how white Shania's teeth are. (Ooooh, Seacrest, you bitch.) Dreadsocks™ hopes that the message behind "No One Needs To Know" will prompt her boyfriend to make an honest woman of her. Said boyfriend just sits in the audience, grinning like a nervous idiot. I've always thought this was a really cute song, but this performance is actually kind of dull. But Crystal is still so beyond the other contestants that it probably doesn't matter. And I'm happy to finally get at least a mid-tempo song so I can tap my foot (impatiently, as I await Glee). The judges aren't really feeling the performance either, and try to gently tiptoe around without actually saying they didn't like it, but Simon finally says, "Shocker—we don't like Crystal this week." So, either they're setting her up to be in the Bottom 3 (or 2, whatever it is now) or they're trying to de-pimp her a little bit so that people still vote for her.
Now, Aaron Kelly always does ballads (except for that time he foolishly chose "Blue Suede Shoes") but since he's this season's country wannabe, I thought he would really go for it. But no...he picks yet another ballad, "You've Got A Way." I start laughing when he changes the "it's in the way we make love" line to "it's in the way you show your love," and I'm all set to come up with some jokes and show off my deep knowledge of Shania lyrics (that's on my resume) when Kara actually mentions it. Twit. Of course, she's happy that Aaron changed the lyric because she assumes that, at the tender age of 17, he doesn't know where babies come from or where to put his pee-pee. If this were any 17-year-old other than Aaron, she'd probably be wrong, but I think this is one of the few times Kara is right. Aaron reveals the real reason he changed the line: he wanted to dedicate the song to his mom. Well, that was nice of Aaron. To change the lyric, I mean. I guess he didn't want to traumatize America like Jared Cotter did back in Season 6, when he dedicated "Let's Get It On" to his parents. (Insert Sideshow Bob shudder here.)
Siobhan Magnus gets the pimp spot with "Any Man of Mine." Yee-hah! Finally, an upbeat song!! It starts out kind of wonky, with that low, breathy, lounge singer tone that Siobhan sometimes conjures up, but it picks up soon enough. It's not a perfect performance, and of course there's an unnecessary scream, but overall it's kind of fun. Randy, Ellen and Kara all love it, and country music hater Simon even admits to liking the song, but he thought Siobhan sounded like she was giving birth when she started shrieking. Oh, I wish he wouldn't have brought that up. Now he's going to have to have "the talk" with Aaron.
It's kind of weird that the judges seemed to like everyone tonight. That rarely happens, especially on country night. And it's even weirder that it happened on a night when everyone was so spectacularly average.
So, if there's still a Bottom 3, I think they're going to throw Crystal into the mix. She'll be safe of course, but they need some kind of shocker. Since there are only two girls left, I think another dude will be sent packing tomorrow night, but I'm having a hard time deciding who that will be. Well, I'm not going to think too much about it. I'm too busy wondering why in the hell Jonathan Groff is being relegated to the background in this Glee episode.
Bottom 3: Aaron, Crystal and Michael
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