Up next is Devin Velez, the live-action Tintin from Chicago. He's singing "Listen," starting out so low that you can tell he's just waiting to get to the big notes. Sure enough, he does better in his midrange, where he switches to Spanish for a verse and coasts to the inevitable big finish. Keith talks about the difference between performers and singers, with Devin being the latter, which he actually means as a compliment, regardless of how the night has been going. Nicki thinks it was smart to sing in Spanish to make himself more marketable to a whole other segment, and adds that she's glad his family was here tonight, which makes it sound like she's all ready to cut him loose. Randy finally heard a performance he liked tonight, loving the Spanish and the key change. Mariah tells Devin to ignore his inner critic, also appreciating the Spanish singing and saying she can't wait for him to get into the studio. Because then he won't be here?
Elijah Liu from the Long Beach auditions is the male equivalent of Shubha Vedhula, at least nomenclature-wise, but nobody says anything about his name. He's half-Mexican and half-Chinese, which makes me want to eat dinner at his house some time. He's also playing up his ladies' man aspect, which I didn't notice until he pointed it out. But he kind of needs it, because his vocal performance is really not that great, fading into a weak falsetto that he tries to downplay with some soulful looks. Keith says it was a good song choice, but it wasn't so great vocally, although he looks like a pop star. Nicki totally has the vapors, saying, "I don't care about that song, you are a super-duper star, little boy." How quickly she forgets Chris Watson. She's ready to sign him now. "NOW!" Randy agrees that they all love him, but it wasn't a great performance tonight. Mariah agrees, and thinks he's a great combination of everything. I think she also wants to have dinner at his house.
It's Charlie Askew's turn and Ryan interviews him backstage about his outfit, (all black, all vintage, all frilly) and the golf club he's fidgeting with. In his intro reel, Charlie reminds us that he's very socially awkward -- not that having difficulty carrying on a conversation with Ryan Seacrest is necessarily an indicator of that. He sings "Rocket Man," using half of a microphone stand (hence the practicing with the golf club) and making the most of his high, reedy voice. Except he goes a little too high near the end without quite achieving escape velocity. Nicki clearly loved it unreservedly, though, being the only judge to give him a standing ovation. Keith says he's sure nobody left their TV during that performance, and speculates that Charlie might be Freddie Mercury's Woodstock love child. In which case he'd be my age, but whatever. He also appreciates Charlie's fearlessness, originality and unpredictability. Nicki gushes about him and says she wants to cradle him in her arms, going on about how much she loves him. Randy is confused and preoccupied by his uncontrollably juvenile reactions to Nicki's comments, but manages to call Charlie out on being too stagey. "Where are we?" he asks rhetorically. Charlie answers, "Vegas, baby!" winning the night and at long last putting Randy in his place at the same time. Mariah's just embarrassed by Randy, and tells Charlie how much she loved the song choice and wants someone to work with his voice. Ryan unwisely gives Charlie a moment to work the crowd and barely reels him back in time to go to the ads.