Candice Glover, "Come Together": I'm so glad we saw Jimmy encourage Candice to treat the "complicated and esoteric" lyrics in the song's verses as negligible and focus on hitting the choruses, because as a viewer it's very off-putting to see that strain, especially with a song the singer doesn't know. Aware of this strategy, I felt like I didn't need to worry about all that gibberish either.
Not only did Candice pull off another showstopper (in the middle of the show no less) but she was by far the best "rocker" of the night. The Other Guitarist (not our fave Hot Guitar Player Brady Cohan) even wore sunglasses to clinch the rockin' vibe.
I particularly loved the surprising low note on "muddy water" and delightfully high "so hard to seeeeeeee!" Nicki wanted more crazy, in-the-moment faces from Candice but I disagreed; I think she mostly does stay in it with her "attitude face." Oh, and I'm loving Candice's dad. "My boss is excited to just even know me…I hope he don't see this!"
Paul Jolley, "Eleanor Rigby": Well, this is another of my favorite Beatles songs -- it's particularly haunting if you play it very softly while recapping live reality TV shows in a solemn cave of tragedy. Seriously, it's great. Unfortunately, despite the fog enhancement and four-part orchestra, Paul couldn't quite pull off the aura of minor-key desperation this song deserves. It didn't help that viewers were likely mentally comparing his performance to David Cook's masterful one from season 7.
That said, it was encouraging to see Paul's "perfectionism" and willingness to adapt to Jimmy's suggestions in the studio, and I did really like his vocal tonight. He seemed much less self-conscious than he has in the past. It's just not quite there though. The judges continued to squash Paul's pipe dream of being the male Taylor Swift (I just picture big, colorful words floating around in his mind…IMAGE, MONEY, FAME) and suggested he's more suited to pop or rock. Mariah took it even further: She sees Paul making "an uptempo dance record produced by some pop producers. Get on a hard-driving track and do something big." [Dramatic singsong on its way...] "You never know-ohhhhhhh." Eh, sometimes you do.
Angela Miller, "Yesterday": It struck me after Angie described herself as a "theater person" at her high school that what I dislike about her performances is that she's always play-acting. She's so precise on her long gazes into the camera, making sure her face oozes this emotion, then that one. It's like we can see the process of her masterminding -- "What would look perfect on TV right this second?" -- and then carrying that out as an actress. In trying so hard to act vulnerable, she comes across as anything but. With the new "edgy" hair (straight long layers, called it!) and soft purple spotlight, it felt Angie she was auditioning for a Broadway version of Jem and the Holograms: Disneyfied.
None of this is a knock on her vocals, which were admittedly great. And I do think Angie's whole acting shtick will be effective. I even think she'll probably win the season. But she's not quite natural enough for me right now. And the entire segment seemed like a setup for Randy to proudly compare Angie to Hayley from Paramore or Amy Lee from Evanescence.
NEXT: Penis humor (?) with Nicki Minaj