You know, if they're not going to have any on-stage breakdowns and psychedelic journeys to the future, I'm not entirely sure what the point is. This...has become an anticlimax.
The theme this week, or so Ryan said on Wednesday, was "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame." More specifically, however, it's a list of 500 R&R HoF-approved "influential" songs. Ryan narrates us through a history of rock music, and somewhere in America, a goose walks over Ike Turner's grave. Not surprisingly, we're going back to the judges giving their critiques after each performance, and the judges react to that while a lot of eye-rolling and "that's more like it" remarks, because clearly it was production's fault that Paula became unhooked from space and time last week. I'm never one to defend Mike Darnell, but...come on.
David Cook is up first, and he'll be singing Duran Duran's "Hungry Like The Wolf." It should surprise none of you reading this recap to know that I find this deeply awesome. David promises to "stand the song on its head," which is also a good sign. It's just David on the stage, no guitar. This kind of thing tends to play into his more smarmy tendencies, but hell. He's the closest thing I have to a horse in this race, so it's going to take a hell of a lot more than some rock-god affectations to sway me. I'm not sure where all this turning the song on its head is happening. He's stripped it down some, sure, and nobody's onstage running around the Brazilian jungle or anything, but it's very much the song you remember from that time known as the entire 1980s. Randy didn't think the song choice was special enough, and it didn't feature the right kind of "mad hot vocals." Because if David's been known for anything this season, it's been his choice of "mad hot vocals." Paula makes with the wolf puns in saying how she'd like to devour David Cook whole and then pretend she's never ingested anything close to a David Cook in her entire life. Simon also doesn't think he did a whole lot with the song, but it was a good enough performance for now. Yeah, "good enough" will probably be fine, but the First Curse this season has claimed a hell of a lot of contestants, so David better watch it.
After the break, it's Ryan and Syesha on the cola stools. Syesha's put a little wave in the hair since last week, but it's still straightened, and the style is making her head look seriously boxy right now. They talk a lot of boring about the pressure and the tour, and then, in her video, Syesha says she's singing "Proud Mary." She tells a story about how a billion people have covered this song, and there are famous dance moves, and it's very daunting, but one look in the mirror and a pep talk to herself was all it took to get that obnoxious self-confidence back. On stage, we see Syesha's sparkly dress is very Tina-appropriate, and she's very consciously copying those famous dance moves she was talking about. (At the judges' table, Simon is writing the word "cabaret" on a sheet of paper and underlining it about seven times.) I don't know if I'm having a stroke or if Tina Turner's so awesome that it bleeds out into everything that touches her or what, but I'm kind of really enjoying this. It's an acting job -- it's Syesha Mercado doing Tina Turner, for sure -- but it's pleasing to the ear holes and eye holes. Randy thinks she's once again "in the zone" and is coming on strong at the right time. He's right in a couple of different ways, one of them being that, with the way the field has shaken out, she's easily my second favorite of the four. Castro's got the best attitude about it (that attitude being: "Hell, I'm kind of done with this"), but Syesha and Cook are the ones I like watching these days. Paula thinks Syesha made the magic happen. Simon "puts a bit of a damper on things" when he calls the performance a "bad, shrieky version" of Tina. That is a bit of a damper, yes. Syesha apologizes to Simon for bumming him out, and Randy blames Simon's Britishness for not getting the glory of Syesha. Or something.