Chris Richardson, with a great old vs. new look of jeans, short sleeve shirt, vest, suspenders hanging down, and hat, takes a viewer question asking what he considers the most when choosing a song. He says the first thing is to choose a song he’s comfortable with, then see if the audience will like it. Ultimately he needs to make sure the judges will like it as well. Ryan asks if he ever pictures singing to the judges in his room, like imagining gazing into Paula’s eyes while he sings, as that’s how he practices hosting. I think they both need a hairbrush to complete that practice session.
Meeting with Tony, Chris is working on a Duke Ellington song, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. He hasn’t memorized the song yet, though, and has to keep looking down at the words. Tony tells him he wants to memorize the song so he doesn’t have to look, and when he gets rid of that, he’ll have a lot of fun with it. I know this guy is a legend, but duh. Chris’ shadow appears first tonight, and he walks out into the lights, and has more personality than he’s had in some time. Just like his look, he does a great old vs. new things with the performance. I’ve never really gotten Chris before, but tonight, I do.
Randy says what’s cool about Chris tonight is that he came out with a vengeance. He thinks this is one of Chris’ best performances of the season and says it was hot. Randy really likes how Chris knows how to interject his own style into an old standard. Paula calls it true artistic integrity. Chris kept himself and didn’t compromise. He was so hip and cool, and she felt that connection. See? That hairbrush thing works! She feels it was his best performance so far, bar none. Simon thinks he saw a look of fear when Paula was mentioning the connection she felt, but he also thought it was very good and very believable. He agrees that Chris made it kind of hip and it worked out very well. He sees it as one of the strongest tonight. Ryan thinks Simon is uncomfortable being nice, but I don’t think you could criticize this performance if you tried. Tonight is the first time in a few weeks I don’t see tears in Chris’ eyes.
Jordin Sparks sings On a Clear Day, and is so excited, as it’s a really cute song. Tony says she is terrific and she sang very much in tune, which is rare these days. He thought she was very intelligent about the way she improvised and changed the notes here and there, as it wasn’t outlandish, but was called for. As she sings tonight, I love the confidence on her. Im not liking the vibrato on her tonight, though, as it’s like she’s playing and learning at the same time, and this is one of the things she’s trying that doesn’t work. The song is completely fitting on her, however. But somehow, it seems she’s starting to believe the hype and is losing a touch of sweetness.
What Randy is loving right now is there are nine people left in the competition and they have some heat and fire up there. He calls Jordin’s performance “da bomb,” and very controlled, like a pro. He’s finding it hard to believe she’s only 17. Paula says people need to know that getting to know Jordin a little backstage, she really is this magnet of joy and exudes it when she comes ontsage. She’s hip and cool, and took us with her. Paula is so “fricking proud” of her and knows she’ll sail through to the next round. Simon refers to Jordin now as “Magnet of Joy,” and says he doesn’t think she achieved what Chris did, which was make it young and current. She sang it very well, but very old-fashioned and traditional. He didn’t quite like it as much as “Quidley and Didley.” I’m on our side, Simon.
Gina sings Charlie Chaplin’s Smile, for Tony, and he says the song gives you hope in your darkest moment. It’s simple, but great, and very beautiful the way Gina sang it. When Tony sings it, he says he thinks of 9/11 and the soldiers in Iraq, praying that they come home safely. Tony breaks up here a little, and it’s really very sweet. Gina takes the stage tonight sitting on a stool and is very subdued, although I notice she has her tongue ring back. It’s good, but not exciting. The song, I mean, not the tongue ring.
Randy thinks it was a very nice, controlled performance from the rocker girl, and he actually kind of liked it. Paula calls it a flawless performance, understated, beautiful, and sentimental. Simon can’t rave about the vocal, though, and says “Sorry!” He explains it’s because two girls came on before her and completely outsang her. Gina feels that’s why it’s a competition, as there’s so many differnet types of vocals. And Paula, sounding like she’s talking to someone of William Hung’s abilities, not someone from the top 9, shouts out to Gina to aim for her personal best.