The unofficial theme on Wednesday is "everybody looks great," because seriously. Everybody. The "song choice" bugaboo from Tuesday is still in effect, though at the very least these are mostly songs I've heard before. Taylor is his usual subtle, reserved self, and sings that song from the Levi's commercial. His voice no longer matters, but his grab bag of spasmodic tics and rat-tat-tat WOO-ing at the judges are all clearly part of what makes him such a breath of fresh air in this competition. Elliott switches things up by singing some Stevie Wonder (though, to be fair, "Moody's Mood for Love" has apparently also been sung by humanity itself, so we'll scale that shit off), and I'm finally getting the voice, even if he's still pretty boring. All those waiting for Ace to start growing a personality, here's what he's come up with so far: he wears beanies. Perfect, no? It's the Nermal of hats. He sings that "If You're Not the One" song that I liked that one day two years ago, and he's significantly not as good as last week. Like that even matters, but regardless. Gedeon busts out some Sam Cooke, and pretty much lets the song do the heavy lifting for him. He's really good, but he also picked the right damn week to choose a song everybody loves.
Kevin is put up to even more "sing for Mommy and Daddy's friends" bullshit in his pre-song, and as if that's not painful enough, his song is "Heard It Through the Grapevine." That sound you hear is all of America shedding a tear for how screwed this kid is. And then he gets totally sandbagged by Seacrest with a Chicken Little sight gag. Poor kid. Is Sway even still on this show? Huh. I owe Jacob a Coke. He sings "Overjoyed" by that criminally underutilized AI talent Stevie Wonder, and the judges basically tell him he's in some deep shit. Will opts for "Lady" by Kenny Rogers. And I laugh and laugh. He's remarkably very good for singing such a ridonkulous song, and he's got his shit together way more than the rest of his teen brethren, that's for damn sure. The judges are kind of harsh, but that ceases to matter when Ryan begins to undress him and Simon has to remind everyone who is how old around these parts.
Bucky, much like Kellie, is baffled by the culinary wonders of California. What are you putting on his chicken, restaurateurs of the American west? He sings Garth Brooks's classic ode to wife-beating "The Thunder Rolls," and he looks about 100% more presentable than he ever has before. Randy actually says "dirty," though to be fair the word "south" immediately follows it. David Radford tells the most wondrously "who cares?" story of the night, about a belt and a cell phone charger, but he's super-sincere about it, and if he'd just agree to never, ever sing again, I would like him quite a bit. Oh, but then it's Stealing Sinatra time, and "The Way You Look Tonight," and I want to kill him again. Stop making those sounds with your voice! Right now! Finally, Chris is looking a bit too Bruce Willis for comfort, but he's singing Fuel's "Hemorrhage," which means he's got me, completely. Better yet, he's awesome and the judges give him top honors for the night. I start dreaming of a Mandisa-Chris final that can never be.
Tomorrow: Heather Cox and three others will be sent home, and Jacob will have all the juicy details.
Ryan is dressed like he's attending prep school back east as we begin our show. I mean, it's a girls' prep school, and it's likely out of one of those late-night HBO movies starring Dominique Swain, but that's the place the sweater-vest-under-jacket look is taking me. He tells us that the ten male contestants will "do what they do best" tonight, which is as honest an assessment of this show as I can conjure, mostly because "singing" isn't necessarily anywhere near that sentence. He gives us a rundown of the different singers whose songs are in danger of being massacred tonight, calling it a "cornucopia of primetime pop." What asshole scripted that Cobb salad of a line, and what did Ryan do to prompt it? Ryan introduces the ten remaining men, who parade across the balcony, trying to jog our memories of them from last week. Taylor effing hugs himself, of course, spontaneously and without even a second's thought as to who Ray Charles is and why imitating him might help him stand out in a crowd, I bet. Elliott is also going the sweater vest route, though he manages to look like a boy while doing so. Ace busts out a thumbs-up/winking combo I've only seen work for one person in history, and Ace is just no Buddy Christ, I don't think. Gedeon maybe thinks he is Jim Broadbent's character from Moulin Rouge!, with the "ladies and gentlemen!" arm flourish, and also has his shirt unbuttoned to a trachea scar degree. Kevin opts for the double thumbs-up, no winking, because coordination like that doesn't really develop until the third trimester. Itsy, bitsy Sway fires imaginary handguns at us, which in retrospect might explain some things. Will Makar is just way cool, and super incredibly tall, at least in relation to the Lilliputians populating the male half of this show. The camera actually pulls back from Bucky Covington, not even making that up, but -- or perhaps as a result -- he's looking way less like scabies this week. David blows a kiss to the camera, but can't keep his wrist from swinging like a gate. And Chris flashes some gang symbols, or perhaps a fraternity hand gesture, or maybe it's arthritis, because he is way old.
Before we can get to the actual business at hand, we simply must rehash last night, even though it has absolutely no basis on anything that will happen tonight. Isn't that the basic rule of previouslies? How we never saw Quentin Travers say, "She isn't a demon, she's a god," unless Glory was going to be in that particular episode?