Nick Boddington: Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" -- He had hair, once! That's the most important thing. Ryan Seacrest kept the Ultimate Confidant streak alive during his Cokeside Chat with Nick, who admitted "the 20s" had caught up with him and now he was bald. Did he mean the Roaring Twenties? His feathered fedora -- a good look on him -- said yes.
I liked the way Nick tweaked "Iris" with a bunch of upward-lilting understa-a-ands and random falsettos at the end. The judges weren't into it, namely Clown Bangs, who wanted to hear the original melody on one of her favorite songs. I need to keep a running list of Nicki's Unlikely Favorite Songs because some of them are hilarious.
It wasn't the most current song choice, of course, but I respect how Nick made it his own with the "Ryan Tedder thing" (said Randy). Still, as pretty as Nick's vocal can be, this was not the most compelling performance. He seemed physically dwarfed and aurally overwhelmed by the expansive stage and the band.
Burnell Taylor: "I'm Here" from The Color Purple -- Honestly, I would've preferred to hear something new instead of Burnell's audition song for a second time, but I did appreciate his explanation (that he had to go over twice!) that the editing on America's first glimpse of him was so chopped-up that he wanted to re-deliver his fave song to completion. That's fine, I suppose. His rich vocals are unique enough and, like Randy said (I CANNOT BELIEVE HOW OFTEN I'M AGREEING WITH RANDY), there's an urgency in Burnell's very first notes of each performance that draw you in and make you feel involved in whatever he's doing…which is mostly casting a spell on the crowd with his magical (annoying?) arm and hand movements.
I definitely anticipate bigger and better performances from Burnell. And I know the kiddies will be getting their official wardrobe consultants starting next week, but Burnell's Fresh Prince of Bel Air/Blossom hybrid was so fascinatingly awful that I hope they leave him alone. I eventually want to see him wander out onstage in the style of The X Factor's Beatrice Miller -- virtually indistinguishable from a pile of scarves and garbage. His vocal will shine through! You know it will.
NEXT: Paul Jolley's a Slave 4 You