Ryan comes up to the stage to greet Paul and has his shoes off as well. Randy tells him it’s a way to be solid and hang in there, but Ryan says he’s just trying to represent, and besides, he just got a pedicure, so he may as well show it off. He offers to set Paul up with a pedicurist, and Paul admits he needs one. He asks Randy to sum up the night, and he says it’s the chance for originality, not pulling off a lame cover song like you’re playing in a hotel. Simon says he thinks people tried a lot harder in the auditions, and think now if they play it safe, they won’t be voted off, and Simon says they couldn’t be more wrong. As for his nerves, Paul admits the pressure is just incredible, but he doesn’t want to go home. I think Simon scared him.
Chris Richardson works in the restaurant business, and says when he was in front of the judges for his audition, he knew he’d be compared to Justin Timberlake. He takes it as a compliment, as the man is a well-accomplished artist. When he first burst through the doors with his golden ticket and saw his parents waiting out there for him with his dad being ecstatic, it took the stress right off. His dad seems to live the rock ‘n roll dream vicariously through him. He’s hoping to bring charisma to the stage tonight, and just wants to rock it out and keep on going.
Singing I Don’t Wanna Be by Gavin Degraw, I just don’t like this rock tune on the Justin Timberlake-type voice of Chris Richardson. Not to mention he moves the entire time by bopping up and down and doing hand movements like he was doing a rap song. It’s just odd. Randy disagrees, saying he feels like the show just started right here. While it wasn’t Chris’ best performance, he made it kind of work with an “Edwin McCain” thing. Simon interjects and says it’s Gavin, not Edwin, and Randy apologizes to Gavin, his “boy.” Chris is told to take liberties with the song, and not be scared.
Paula has to tell Chris it was a great arrangement, and the different flavor made her feel like it was a brand new song. She especially liked Chris’ dad dancing on the upbeat while Chris was on the downbeat. Simon says he’s sorry to sound negative tonight, as he really likes Chris, but when he sees the clip form the first audition, he liked the soulfulness, and tonight he thought his voice sounded very small, and if you shut your eyes, and hear just the vocal, it was bad. Although he personally likes Chris, and thinks the girls are going to vote for him, he’s got potential, but the vocal was below average.
This launches Randy and Simon into an argument, and Paula breaks it up by saying, “Whatever!” Ryan gives Chris a chance to respond, and he says he needs to go back and hear it, and I assume he means Simon. Ryan notes that Chris’ dad is as red as an apple, and Paula mentions his dancing again. Simon’s right that Chris is going to last for awhile no matter how he sings, because of his looks, but I think he should pick a better genre now when he’s allowed to.
Nick Pedro comes in tonight with confidence, and says he hopes to do better than Buttercup last year during Hollywood week. As Ryan asks how he’ll feel performing in front of thirty million people, Nick says it’s no big deal, and it’s his story and he’s sticking to it. Nick is a salesman for a finance company and says the American Idol experience has been insane so far. He felt so defeated after he couldn’t memorize his words for the group performance in Hollywood last season, but it seems to have lit a fire under him now. He was worried the same thing would happen in the group performance again this year, but he was able to get a grip and beat it. He just wants to go home this time feeling like a winner.
Singing Now and Forever by Richard Marx, Nick is pitchy in the bridge, although he gets in a good falsetto. But it doesn’t seem the top 12 girls that are watching are worried about his vocals. They’re nudging each other, as if to say, isn’t he hot singing this. Randy asks for confirmation that Nick wants him to keep it real, and says while the truth never hurts, it’s just good to hear and then laughs. Randy then stops with that strange banter, and says it wasn’t good for him. It was really boring and very pitchy, and he feels like he lost the Nick he liked from the auditions with Fly Me to the Moon.
Paula says that Nick’s audition and the tone of his voice just melted, and we didn’t feel that magic tonight. It kind of fell flat. Simon pipes up and says he actually didn’t think it was that bad. It wasn’t horrible. Yet he agrees that Nick lost his spark a little bit, but he’s very nervous, yet still very charming. When they saw him do Fly Me to the Moon, that’s what they miss, that kind of liveliness and confidence. He thinks Nick will definitely be back next week. Ryan calls him the comeback kid, and asks how he plans to make it look seamless each week, and Nick says hopefully he’ll be back next week and get better, by the grace of God. As Ryan reads off Nick’s voting number, Nick mouths into the camera, “Vote for Pedro.” Okay, that had to be said. And I now expect several screaming girls in the audience next week with signs bearing that message.
The beat boxer, Blake Lewis, is up next, and he says he plays guitar and piano, but didn’t have those with him at his audition, so that led into the beat boxing. He calls Hollywood one of the best experiences, and says he told his group he didn’t want to beat box, fearing he’d be pigeon-holed, but they told him he had to as it would bring down the house, and I think those were my exact words reviewing it last week. He calls this all amazing, and verbally adds an exclamation point.