|Rihanna really likes his voice, and thinks he’s a “real” country singer. Tim feels if the song touched them during his performance, it would show enough. Steve recognizes that same emotion in him even now. L.A. tells Rihanna he wanted even more.
Up next is Rachel Crow, 13, of Boulder, Colorado, to sing for Simon. She feels confident and ready, being one of eight in her category. She wants the chance to blow America away. She wants to put all that money into her bedroom, and we know from her audition, she wants her own bathroom as well. She knows this is going to be epic. She sings I Want It That Way, and has a slow beginning to it, but the motion this girl packs into the lyrics is … eery. I don’t know if I’d say epic, but definitely enough to stir something inside of me.
Rachel walks away, and Simon says, “That was unbelievable.” He likes that she takes risks, and her deep tone. Rachel feels it went well and that she put her heart into it. He feels it’s just her bad luck that she’s in this category with people who could probably handle the pressure better.
Rihanna and Enrique are going to hear the oldest person left in the competition, Leroy Bell, 60, a songwriter from Seattle. It’s still hard to believe he’s that old. He looks a good twenty years younger, if not more. Leroy knows most people at his age are thinking bout retiring, but he feels he still has that fever, and wants to show his kids and grandkids how to strive for something you want. He sings Make You Feel My Love, another song that’s going to bring me to tears with his emotion. The only other version I like as much as this one is Kelly Clarkson’s. His voice isn’t 100% on, but the performance is top-notch and is giving me chills.
Nicole tells Enrique that although Leroy is the most experienced, and the oldest, she feels he’s also the most nervous. She thinks it’s keeping him from giving her everything. He tells Steve he thinks he can get there still, but doesn’t want to jinx it. Nicole also sees him as super-cool.
The next group to perform for Paula and Pharrell is Illusion Confusion, all aged 26 and from Miami. They’ve been friends since high school, after meeting in chorus. They want Super Bowl halftime performances and number one albums. They sing Let’s Dance, and really don’t show anything near Super Bowl worthy. There is no great harmony like there should be with a group. Paula admits to Pharrell she’s on the fence, and he thinks they have more drive than anything else. Paula mentions if they have more drive than talent, that’s where the problem lies.
Tiger Budbill, 42, of Bothell, Washington, is going to perform next for Nicole and Enrique. He is a professional DJ, but in the last few years, the work has become more slim. His house was supposed to be auctioned off, but they’ve managed to put it off for a few months. He goes from that to Nicole’s house, and pictures his wife and daughter, and maybe a newborn baby, as well as his 83-year-old mom, in a house like this. This has meant everything to him, and he just wants to support his family while doing what he loves. He sings Don’t Give Up On Me, and he’s yet another older guy who knows how to pack the emotion into a performance. He also hits a high note that is pretty amazing.
Nicole says that his voice is effortless, but she wants to now if there is a market for his type of music. Enrique doesn’t feel like there should be rules when it comes down to your music. Anybody should be able to get in with the right song. Tiger feels he connected with both of them and is left happy with his performance.
The next person to perform for L.A. and Rihanna is Marcus Canty, 20, of Bowie, Maryland. His mom gave him a few years to make it in this business, and he’s near the end of those years, so needs to get this done. He likes it here in the Hamptons, and wants to live here. His mom is supportive of him, despite the time limit. He tells Rihanna it’s nice to meet her, and she warns, “Likewise … don’t be flirting with me.” He sings All My Life, and gets some great runs in. Sometimes it’s a little hard to understand him.
Rihanna is freaking out, saying she got chills and couldn’t contain herself. I could make some remarks and compare to Chris Brown, but I’ll refrain. Marcus feels happy in his heart about this performance. She’s not convinced, though, that he seems like a star. Yet, he has confidence, and looked dead in her eyes, to where she couldn’t even look at him anymore.
Tiah Tolliver, 20, a deli clerk from Bremerton, Washington, is up, and she’s a bit lucky that she’s performing for Simon, because he was her number one fan at her audition. Tiah admits it hurt her what they were saying about her, but she appreciates Simon not giving up on her. She would love to just wake up and sing instead of wake up and make sandwiches. She sits and complains because the wind is in her eyes and ruining her makeup. Caitlyn says at the end of the day, you have to perform, whether or not you have mascara on. She sings No Diggity, and I’m left not convinced about her again. Her pitch falters yet again, and it’s just not as special as the other girls that performed.