Casey James never watched the show before and picked a song with history I Don’t Wanna Be. He didn’t know when he picked it that it had been done before, but Ryan points out it’s been done by Bo Bice, Elliot Yamin, and Chris Richardson. It solidified his choice to do it and hopes it’ll be something they can add to the end of the chain.
What people will be surprised to know is that he hasn’t had a TV since lightening struck their house and blew out the TV when he was 7. As an adult he has bought his own house and totally rehabbed it. He’s asked what his pre-show ritual is and says nothing, but we see him put something in a box which he refuses to talk about until he makes it to the top 10. He has the total rocker look going with the electric guitar and all, but he just can’t pull this off like Bo did. That’s the danger in doing songs that have been done before.
Randy tells Casey from one musician to the next he loved him channeling Hendrix through the whole thing. He doesn’t know if he did the best vocal, but this is the music he can see him doing. He didn’t know he could play the guitar like that, though, and it was hot. Ellen says you can’t go wrong with that song, and it’s a great one to listen to. On paper everything’s there, the look, the sound, but there’s a stiffness about him. She wishes he’d be more playful.
Kara says they all got the memo that the Cougar is a fan, but tonight Casey took two steps backward for her. Besides the fact that he’s a great lead guitar player, this is a singing competition, and everything that was great about him went away. He didn’t take the song to another level. Simon asks if he didn’t return his calls. He’s with Kara, as last week he chose a good song and stood out, but this week he turned into a guy that we cold see in any bar in America. He doesn’t have the grit to pull that song off. Casey says it hurt, as Simon backs up his thought saying it was more like sand, and Kara thinks more like dirt.
Alex Lambert is really nervous and admits to having stage fright. He didn’t have his guitar last week, making it even worse. He usually throws up before performances and football games, but he hasn’t yet tonight. He created his own language when he was in 6th grade and uses it to write melodies of songs sometimes. That’s like Mandisa admitting she sucked her thumb until she was 24. He thought he really blew his chances last week after Simon’s comments. Tonight he’s singing Everybody Knows, and I think this song is very much in his wheelhouse, and perhaps that’s why his nerves aren’t showing as much.
Randy tells Alex what he loves about his package is that he has his own language too. This is such an improvement over last week and he loves the guitar and the confidence. It wasn’t as soundalike as it has been in the past. “Way legit tonight.” Ellen says it’s like someone took an unripened banana and put it in the paper bag to ripen it more quickly. She doesn’t know how he improved so quickly and the confidence is improved as well. He doesn’t have the experience, but is gaining it so quickly. Under the mullet he has a great voice, and she thinks he has a more unique style than anyone else here.
Kara says there isn’t a person out there that isn’t rooting for Alex, as you can’t miss what he did last week to how he improved this week. He has an incredible recording voice and he doesn’t even know what to do with it. That’s why she loves the show, as it’ll help him learn that. Simon tells him that was a million times better than last week. The only time he should be nervous is if he was useless, and he’s not. He has a good voice, and the only issue he has with Alex is that he’s not taking part to win. He needs to get the killer instinct. Once he starts to connect more and believes he has a chance, we’ll see a different person. Simon doesn’t want to hear anymore about Alex throwing up because of his nerves, because he is a good singer.
Ryan has a couch chat with Todrick Hall about the heat he got from changing the Kelly Clarkson song, and this week he went in and watched what was said last week and took it all in, changing the song just enough to make it his own. Ryan asks why he chose a Tina Turner song this week, and he replies he really felt it and didn’t think he’d be compared to the regular artist.
Todrick first started dancing when he was 9 as a soldier in Nutcracker, then became their first African-American Prince, making him realize there’s nothing he can’t do because of race. He tries to do a few push-ups before each performance to get his blood pumping and because it makes his pecs look a bit bigger onstage. You’re onstage with Big Mike. There’s nothing you can do. He wants to be able to fuse dancing and singing together, like Paula Abdul does. He sings What’s Love Got to Do With It and he changes the song enough that I recognized it by the lyrics, not the melody, so he might still not get that direction of that whole not changing it too much thing.
Randy tells Todrick that he’s obviously one of the best that they found, and that’s why he’s there. He tells him the run at the end of the song was hot. But what he finds hard both weeks is that a great song doesn’t need a new arrangement. Great is great and just needs someone to sing it greatly. He just wants Todrick to sing a nice song and not change the beats or the arrangements. Just sing … for once. Ellen wouldn’t say just sing, as she’d say sing and move. He’s a dancer and he should go with his strength. She wants him to be a performer. It was the wrong song to sing, and it’s a hard song to sing anyway.
Kara tells Todrick they all like him, and Ellen’s right about the dancing, as when he started moving he got better. The song he sang in his audition was a simple melody and was great. But ever since then he’s been all over the place. They lost that Todrick they loved. Simon would tell him move and don’t sing, as it’s not working for him. It was just one of the those performances he had the misfortune to see. It was a very corny bad version of a Tina Turner song. He’s getting this completely and utterly wrong. Randy tells Todrick he obviously has the skill, but if he’d just sing the song … Todrick says if he’s here next week, he’ll just come out and sing like he used to do in church. He thought they wanted them to come out and take songs and make them they’re own. Yeah, but not recreate it.