TEAM BLAKE: Julio Cesar Castillo
Let's get this out of the way: Julio is singing "El Rey," and he's singing it in Spanish. So Blake keeps having to explain that most of America won't understand what he's saying. (Maybe he could get could get El Bloombito to translate?) And Blake also thinks that Julio should work extra hard to speak the international language of emotions in his music. "I want you to think about the saddest thing that's ever happened to you!" he insists. "When they don't know what you're singing about, you have to think of a better way to make a connection!"
But who cares what words Julio is singing when he sounds so amazing? The guy can extend a note with as much passionate intensity as a soccer fan who's shouting "goooooooooooaaaaaaaaallllll!" He just closes his eyes, opens his mouth, and releases the notes like a billion, trillion velvet turtledoves. There's so much romance in his voice, and so much emotion, and so much, for lack of a better word, awesomeness. Thank you, Blake, for having the good sense to not make this mariachi maestro suffer through another English-language pop song. Julio gets the first standing ovation of the night.
Also, Julio must be far more famous than English-language viewers realize, because Lou Diamond Phillips is there cheering for him. ("Lou Diamond Phillips in the house!" Carson exclaims, pumping his fist in the air. "Awesome!") Even Christina is wild about Julio. "I know you made all the Latino people out there so proud," she gushes. "The richness of your vibrato is just..." [She mimes eating something delicious.] "MMMM!" And who can argue with mmmm? Certainly not Blake.
TEAM ADAM: Loren Allred
Adam says that "Lauren has been the biggest surprise" in this competition. But for me, the biggest surprise is that she's still in this competition. I keep forgetting who she is! Of course, it doesn't help that she sings a really smooth version of Lisa Stansfield's jazzy, snoozy "All Around the World" and... zzzzz.... zzzzzzzz. Sorry. I pretty much slept through the whole thing until the last note rocketed up out of nowhere and woke me up.
Adam's final comments about that final high note are telling: "Next time, hopefully there will be a next time, I want to hear more of that," he says. Hopefully there will be a next time? Not exactly a sign of confidence.
TEAM ADAM: Amanda Brown
Does Amanda Brown hit every high note in Aerosmith's "Dream On"? That depends. Does anyone ever hit every high note in Aerosmith's "Dream On"? Is it even possible to hit those high notes, or is it only to scream them? (That's what Steven Tyler did in the original, after all, and that's basically what Amanda does here, too.)
This isn't so much a performance as a vocal long-jump, but Amanda really goes for the gold here, powering across wide expanses until she finally reaches notes so high, a dog would need a hearing aid to notice them. She's also pretty great at doing a mean catwalk power-strut toward the coaches while dragging her microphone behind her. Take note, Joselyn: this is how you walk and sing at the same time!
Everyone's really excited about Amanda. "Get it, girl! Get it!" Christina cheers, and Adam calls it "the actual best performance of the night." Maybe it doesn't matter whether Amanda is singing or screaming. Whatever she's doing, she's scary good.
Tonight, Amanda gets every one of my Team Adam votes. For Team Blake, I think Terry will probably be the last man standing, but now Julio's giving him some major competition. We'll have to wait until Wednesday to see Team Cee Lo's and Team Christina's picks. Until then, I'll let you focus on what really matters: the election. I'm voting for Lou Diamond Phillips. Fist pump!