Amber Holcomb, "She's Leaving Home": Maybe I'm biased because I love this song so much -- it's so moving and tragic yet full of hope, and it comes out of nowhere on the Sgt. Pepper's album to whack you upside the head with emotion. I remember listening to this with headphones in the ol' minivan on family road trips, silently weeping out the window over the prospect of someday parting ways with my family. Then in my early 20s I was like "Wait, why are her parents so sad -- she got a job!" But this isn't about me. Sorry to get all Mimi Me for a minute there.
The judges found Amber's performance slow-building and lacking (Nicki bitched about Amber's lack of light lipstick), but for me it was the best "make it current!" interpretation of the night. I loved the way Amber sauntered out confidently amidst a smoky haze and switched parts of the song around. I never would have imagined a big power note on "leaving," or the upward lilt she threw on "so many years" and "how could she do this to meeeeeee." And the final "Bye bye-EEEE" high note was inventive, too. I feel like she really went for it here! And she set the mood rather well by squelching her tendency to smile all the time.
Keith and I were on the same page -- "You made it sound as fresh as if it was just written this week." This is his favorite Beatles song! Plus the one after this, the one after that, and so on. It's amazing how long he kept that joke up without it turning annoying. Well done, Keith!
The rest of the judges were just like "Uh what song is that?" which surely made it easier to dismiss Amber.
Lazaro Arbos, "In My Life": Oh, wow, this was really bad. Embarrassing. The worst. Lazaro, who showed up right after winning a golf tournament in Oz, had to fight his bright yellow jacket for the coveted title of Loudest. I wish the jacket had won. The judges benevolently attempted to blame the key of the song for Lazaro's failure, and Mariah offered some b.s. about how "for me, when I look at you, it's about your perseverance and courage." Barf. Only Randy was honest with the kid: "That was your worst ever. Out of tune from beginning to end. We're just starting to wonder, where did your vocals go?" Just starting? This week? Hilarious, Dawg.
Lazaro had a mini meltdown after his critique, keeping his face turned to his right to shield a steady stream of tears that Ryan helpfully wiped away. Poor Seacrest even tried a double playful punch, and finally a shoulder-squeeze strong-arm. "You all right? Stay strong." Aw, he's so good! I could never get mad at Ryan.
NEXT: God, that Candice Glover, she just do what she please