From the outset, I like Phil’s performance of this much better than his LeeAnn Rimes song from last week. He’s much more believable. And I’ll take back what I intimated last week. He does deserve to be here. There’s something about this that is just very warm and comfy. There’s a sign in the audience with a picture of a baby and a cell phone, and it says, “I’m voting for you, Daddy.” And that is just too dang cute. Randy gives Phil the positive thoughts first, saying the performance was a little boring, but he’s giving him the voice award of the night, as his vocals were hot and went on blast.
Paula says they were discussing his vocals while he was performing, and they were really good. However, she thinks the song needs to be more up tempo and more exciting. Simon thinks she’s wrong, saying it shouldn’t be up tempo. He thinks Phil chose the right tempo, and it was also a very good choice of song for him. He has a tendency when he’s trying to hit the big notes to shout, and he somehow needs to control that. It wasn’t outstanding, but wasn’t awful, and like Gina, a middle of the road performance. Simon adds quickly it’s definitely better than last week. I’m not sure it could have been much worse.
Lakisha Jones says it’s not every day you get to meet a superstar. Diana asks her what her mama calls her, and she answers, “KiKi.” She sings God Bless the Child by Billie Holliday for her, and admits she has never sung it before, and never even looked at the lyrics until the night before. Diana says she thinks Billie wrote it while on tour, or at least that’s how they portrayed it in the movie Lady Sings the Blues. She tells Lakisha she should wear something long and very simple when singing this and Lakisha asks if she should have a mic stand or not. Diana advises no stand so that she can use her arms to bring the audience to her. Diana says this all says to her that Lakisha is thinking about how to perform it. She’s really looking forward to seeing what KiKi decides to do.
Walking out in a gorgeous long white dress, Lakisha sings with no mic stand, and is masterful like Melinda. Many people compare the two differently, but to me, Lakisha brings more emotion out of me. And she’s always so calm. Randy just says wow, then adds that the audience is yelling for KiKi. “KiKi’s in the house!” He calls it a perfect song choice for her and says he loves the outfit. It’s just an unbelievable vocal to him, as she didn’t overdo it, even though she’s got that big old voice. He says it was sensational and gave him chills. Paula calls her a beautiful performer and beautiful girl. She says her heart comes through when she sings, and that’s the most important thing you can possess as an artist. That’s what I think!
Simon tells Lakisha either you’ve got it or you haven’t got it, and that’s the difference. He has to say the quality difference between her and Melinda, compared to the other singers they’ve heard so far, those two are in a different league. He calls it a very controlled performance, and notes she didn’t look intimidated on the bigger stage and with the orchestra. She performed like a star and was outstanding. Ryan asks if she feels like she’s got it, and Lakisha says she’s getting it. She was a little nervous singing so loud and so big, and just wanted to tone it down a little bit. There’s a sign in the audience that says, “Lakisha Smashes American Idol.”
Blake Lewis takes on the question asking him what type of music he listens to in his spare time. He says he listens to a lot of underground hip hop and electronic music, and his favorite artist of all time is MJ. He clarifies that means Michael Jackson, I guess in case we thought he meant Michael Jordan. To get prepared for doing Diana’s music, he took You Keep Me Hanging On, put it on his computer and added new beats to it, slowing it down. Diana notes he tried to make it his own, and when doing a song she originally did in the 60s today, he needs to make it fresh. Singing it tonight, he’s dancing all over the place, and his voice is uncharacteristically off a little at the beginning. It’s not really working for me, and I’m sitting here waiting for the beat boxing that never comes.
Randy says he’s a huge fan of Blake’s, and while there’s good things about it, with classic songs like that, he doesn’t have to change the arrangement, by blake-izing every song. He believes Blake actually sings better than that and should let the vocals do their thing. It’s great to be a modern, hip, cool performer, but he should let the classics be classics. Paula understands what Randy is saying, and he does agree, but she points out there’s a difference between what Blake did and what Chris did. With the audience seeing him trying to work it out, she thinks he could have a hit with it again. Simon didn’t get it at all and understands why he wanted to put his own take on it. Yet if he had heard that in isolation on the radio, he wouldn’t like it. It was written for a particular style, and it didn’t work to change the melody like that. He didn’t sound as good as he did previously. Paula rethinks this some, and says the Motown sound should be left alone. He tells Ryan he doesn’t regret it, as he wanted to put his own kind of feel to it.
After Simon gets done being juvenile and playing with something, putting it on Ryan and in his pocket, Stephanie tries out Love Hangover for Diana. She knew this was definitely an important mentor session for her, as she’s in love with Diana Ross. Diana says her notes for Stephanie had to do with the song being delivered with a little bit sexier quality. She tells Stephanie to start off sexy, then bulid up a little. Diana adds she’s a tiny little thing and reminded her of herself when she first started out. She thinks Stephanie has star quality.