Tonight's pre-credits sequence is all about rock... as in rock music. It's punctuated with shots of guitars and the strains of by Rush and photos of some actual classic rock acts, and titles like "Idol rocks out." There's also some archival footage of the Idol stage being graced by the likes of Queen and Kiss so we don't laugh the show off our screens, but then it tells us that we'll be hearing some Evanescence tonight. Which kind of undercuts the show's three-second-old claim of rock cred, if you ask me.
The judges and Ryan enter, and Ryan does indeed promise a rock theme for tonight. "That means no ballads, no slow dancin'," he says. I'll believe that when I see it. Ryan adds that guitarist Orianthi will be backing up the contestants during their performances. We're then allowed a quick glimpse of the top seven on the stage before Ryan summarily sends them away just as confused as I am.
Tonight's intro reels for each finalist consist of taped comments by the other contestants, and we're starting with Burnell. The others talk about his accent, Angie confessing that she doesn't understand half of what she says before cutting to Burnell himself doing an impression of Brad Pitt in Snatch. They also make fun of his trademark gestures, with Candice giving the best performance as usual, and imitate his laugh that's like the scream of a dying animal. So now that Burnell has been partially humiliated, he comes out and finishes the job by singing "You Give Love a Bad Name," clearly uncomfortable with either the theme or the song or the fact that he's just been viciously lampooned on national television. Orianthi's good, though. At the end, Keith laughs openly and at length in Burnell's face, and guesses that rock isn't really his thing. He advises Burnell to make it his own next time he gets something that far out of his comfort zone. Nicki thought he was lovable, but agrees with Keith that he still needs to be Burnell. Randy says he needed to stay on the beat for what was apparently his first up-tempo song ever. Mariah cuts him plenty of slack, saying he had fun with it. She may have been projecting there. Burnell admits to Ryan that this was the only rock song he knew when he learned what the theme was. Can that be true? Or is it that they were given a limited list of songs to "choose" from? After the ads, Burnell admits to a camera backstage that he totally agrees and has learned his lesson for next time. That assumes he's going to beat Lazaro this week, which is by no means a given.