I know this will sound mean, but with her pile of crazy crimped hair and puffy, colorful, collage-style jacket, from far away I thought Beatrice Miller was a pile of garbage on the stage. That's terrible! I'm sorry. I was just confused, and there was so much smoke. She's seriously adorable and I love her. But oof, the whole "squatting in a cloud" motif during "I Won't Give Up On Us" -- featuring shooting star graphics all around her and an enormous image of Beatrice herself wearing a bow tie as a standalone necklace? -- all of this seemed like brutal staging to me. Her voice is so delish! No more Garbage Pail Kid costuming for this one, please. Britney called Beatrice "the best," twice. Could be, could be.
Carly Rose Sonenclar had my favorite vocal of the night, though, with "Something's Got a Hold On Me." The judges were right that she looked uncomfortable with the outlandish staging, schoolgirl theme, and general imperative to COMMAND ALL THE COOL KIDS AND HAVE A BLAST. That is definitely not Carly's thing. That's Britney's thing, fresh from the late '90s. I almost wish I hadn't seen this performance at all. But if you just select the pure vocal from the whole experience, she's just so undeniably good. Demi was pretty harsh with this little one: "It's not your time right now, but no doubt you will have a future in the music industry." Huh? Just because she didn't think copying the "Baby One More Time" video was "fun"? Let's not get it twisted.
L.A. Reid had to take an extra swig of Pepsi after David Correy's "My Love Is Your Love" -- that's how jazzed he was about his sparkly-hearted, rapidly aging team member. (L.A. said he'd made peace with having to deal with the decrepit over-25 monsters, but the disgust was still there.) I actually didn't see what Simon accused David of -- desperately begging the audience to like him -- but maybe I was just focused on the way his voice sounded. I'm so stupid sometimes. I ended up digging his vocal. "I felt you a lot," chimed in Britney. "It was amazing." This time David gave a shout-out to his mom and dad. Which long-lost relative is next?
Vino Alan got to use the mic stand that was just ONE GIANT HARDCORE CHAIN, so we'd know we were in for a real gnarly hard-rocking performance. His "Gotta Be Somebody" wasn't my favorite, especially at the beginning when I could barely hear him due to low tones -- but he kicked it into gear near the middle, and the "exploding disco ball" visuals surrounding his rough 'n' tough tattooed noggin definitely upped the experience for me. "I have to say I was a little bored," said Demi, who was extremely frank and fearless in her criticism the whole night. (Not all of what she said made total sense, but when Simon and L.A. spend the whole time lying about each other's contestants anyway, why shouldn't Demi jump in the ring and have some fun?) Demi did see the passion in Vino's eyes, though.
Simon was upset that the song's arrangement turned Vino into "some horrible cover singer." He'd like him to try a soul song next. "You completely and uttah-ly c--- blocked him," Simon bitched to L.A. Heyyyyy, five-second-delay bleepage! Good of you to join us.
Tate Stevens was like Jennel Garcia for me -- really strong vocal on "I Thought I Was Tough," with no crazy accoutrements on the stage to complain about, really. For me (for you?) he doesn't have the XXX factor Jennel has, though. Will X Factor voters care about a traditional country singer? We haven't seen it yet, but who knows? Tate is not allowed to go back home until he's won five million dollars (on direct orders from his daughter at the dinner table), so he betta werk.
NEXT: Simon disapproves of the ultimate gay parade