It’s always hard to pick just five top moments to talk about because for all the moments that stand out, there’s plenty of decent talent that gets overshadowed by the drama. So, just to quickly give equal time to all parties involved before moving on to the good stuff, we’d like to mention the people we won’t be mentioning below: Von Smith, Arianna Afsar and Felicia Barton. There. Even playing field.
5. Tears and Near Tears
Is it us or were there more tears than usual on the show last night? As soon as she finished her performance, Pleather-pants-wearing Taylor Vaifanua burst into tears (of joy, she said) and damply made her way through the judges’ table. Then the judges reamed out Alex Wagner-Trugman for roughhousing with a microphone stand and he was borderline misting up (more about him in a moment). Jorge Nunez, after a major bonding session about music, pride and accents was moved to tears because he had come so far. Choked up, he told the judges he couldn’t think in English and then Ryan told America to dial uno-uno if we wanted to vote for Jorge. This group of performers was definitely a strong crew (way better than last week) and the emotions were running as high as the talent.
4. The Little Hamster That Wants To Be a Tiger
We didn’t remember much about Alex Wagner-Trugman’s audition but when he sat with Ryan Seacrest for his pre-performance chat, we loved him. He confessed to Googling himself and when he read that America thought he was dorky, he started going to the gym. If only we had that motivation! “I wanted to look like Simon – to [be able to] fill out a shirt,” Alex said. Who knew Simon Cowell is the Jayne Mansfield of his day? In his package piece he said that he would be singing “I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues” because he was in a long distance relationship and he was singing it so that “anyone else in America who’s in a long distance relationship can think of me and I can be their boyfriend for the night.” It doesn’t get more adorable than that, does it? The boy has the blues but he’s willing to give of himself so that we may be less lonely! But poor Alex Wagner-Trugman, on top of shelling out money for the gym and having an absent lover also had his heart and vocals stomped on after he was done with his growly, clumsy performance. So he fumbled with the mike stand! We think the judges were honestly pretty assy to the kid about that. As Simon put it “You’re like a little hamster trying to be a tiger.” After being called a hamster, there wasn’t much more Alex could do so the poor guy left the stage visibly shaken up and shocked by the judges.
3. Ju’Not What I Mean?
When we asked our Magic 8 Ball “Will Randy riff on Ju’Not Joyner‘s name?” Magic 8 Ball said “It is decidedly so.” And so it was. “Ju’Not what you did there? Ju’Not?” So predictable, Randy. But Joyner’s rendition of “Hey There, Delilah” was anything but predictable, and Paula told him “The liberties you took paid off!” Big time. Is there a lady out there who didn’t get a tiny crush on Ju’Not when he sang his sweet version of the song? It doesn’t hurt that he has an adorable kid (Ju’Not left him with his Grandma last night out of fear that his kid would go all Norman Gentle and get touchy-feely with the set) and admitted to getting a cortisone shot in the butt and America loves a good shot-in-the-butt story. We definitely think America is going to vote Joyner into the Top 12.
2. Team Compromise
Remember how on Three’s Company after Suzanne Somers left, they just kept hiring blonde actresses to be the third roommate? (Does that reference date us?) Kristen McNamara could have easily filled the vacant role (double meaning!) on that show. When Ryan spoke to Nathaniel Marshall and Kristen about the tension in their Hollywood Week group, Kristen was like “No. Seriously. Nathaniel and I love each other,” in the most amazing Stepford voice possible and Nate was diplomatic right up until he sold out Nancy Wilson, their teammate that was booted, for being the problem. On stage, Kristen’s version of Tracy Chapman‘s “Give Me One Reason” showed off her voice but, if we’re going to continue to date ourselves, it belonged in the showroom of The Love Boat.
“I definitely have the reputation of the drama queen this season,” Nathaniel said before singing Meatloaf‘s “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Not Wear This Headband).” It’s hard to decide if either he or Kristen should stay this week, they both have made weird image choices, which normally doesn’t bother us (refer back to our love for scrawny Adam Wagner-Trugman) but there’s something off about them. Said Nate’s Nana after Ryan shoved a microphone in her face “I’m used to Nathaniel’s music. I like it.” Maybe we just have to get used to it?
1. The High Five
Scott MacIntyre sang “Mandolin Rain” for the judges and they Ate. It. Up. The boy can hold his high notes for sure. Plus his performance drove home the point that if Michael McDonald can have a comeback, Bruce Hornsby deserves one too and this can only help get the ball rolling. As Paula was talking though, something about her verb tenses made us start thinking she knows exactly who’s going to the final round, she was basically like “Next time, America will see you with your piano. YES THEY WILL. AMERICA, YOU WILL.” And then later with Kendall Beard, Paula all but wrote her off saying “Well. You had fun.” Later, Kend, your fun has been had. Enjoy working retail. Clearly we think Scott is making it in. After his moment of judgment, Scott gave us the night’s best moment when he told Ryan “I think you need to give me a high five, now that I’m a stationary target.”
Final thoughts: Are Karas fingertips miked? It doesn’t seem like she’s fully grasped the sensitivity of her microphone yet and all her movements seem amplified. And we can all sense how much Kara and Simon are really starting to hate each other, right?
Our pick for the three finalists chosen tomorrow are Ju’Not Joyner, Scott MacIntyre and Lil Rounds, whose version of “Be Without You” was definitely the song of the night. Plus she has the best name for stardom of anyone in this competition.