Randy says it was "a little strange," and while he's talking about registers, Phil and Josh come out and steal the swings in the background during the judges' feedback. Someone in the control booth seems to be on their side, because there's a follow-spot on each of them, oscillating gently. Jennifer comes to the girls' hearty defense by saying, "It wasn't as bad as all that," and Steven says that they just didn't sing it like the guys did, "that's all." Which is the most correct thing Steven's ever said, in his implication that it just doesn't matter. He also makes a lame joke about swingers that Ryan claims to be unable to explain given the audience, but I'd go with unwilling.
Now there's plenty of time for a senseless plug of the new movie Rock of Ages, in which Tom Cruise plays a legendary rock star. I know, right? Director Adam Shankman is in the audience with cast member Julianne Hough. We get to see a whole segment of Shankman showing up at the Idol mansion and getting a tour from the top four. Adam kisses a poster of Jennifer for being in his first movie, The Wedding Planner (somebody certainly owes somebody over that one), and sits them down in the screening room so they can watch a trailer of Rock of Ages, which I already can't wait to miss. Not least because Tom Cruise seems to be singing in his own voice. But the finalists tell the needy director that they can't wait to see it. His visit's over, but the crass cross-promotion isn't. Ryan goes out to the audience to let Shankman blather even more about the movie, and then gives the microphone to his girlfriend Julianne so he can ask her a question that he says has been on his mind for a while. He reaches into pocket and... hands her a note that he wants her to give to Tom Cruise for him. Oh, Ryan, you scamp. Someone should tell him that girlfriends generally don't like being faked out as much as the finalists do.
More filler, more! All four of the finalists sing "I've Been Waiting" by Foreigner, with the gendered lyrics awkwardly switched around in a way that takes you out of the performance even more than usual. Can we seriously just get on with this thing already?
We're finally ready to start round two, and Ryan brings Phil out, shushing the audience until he realizes it worked too well. They mumble about Phil's hometown and the best Mexican food, and then Jimmy Iovine makes his first appearance tonight. Phil's second-round song is "Volcano" by Damien Rice, which Jimmy thinks is perfect, even though it's not all that well known. Most of Jimmy's excitement comes from his opinion that for the first time, Phil doesn't sound like someone else. It's a pretty spare production, on a dark stage with just Phil, his guitar, a cellist and a female backup singer who's facing upstage so the camera can get a deep-focus shot that makes it look like they're singing past each other. And I have to confess, Jimmy may have a point here. It ends up being one of my favorite things Phil's done.