Before we get into the song, I should mention that Taylor is dressed very strangely. Maybe it's because I'm used to him being swathed in gabardine, but this blue jeans and leather jacket number comes across like your dad at a rock concert. Check that: your mom at a rock concert. Seriously. The leather Members Only deal he's working looks like nothing so much as a lady biker. My actual conversation with Liz went like this: "Honestly. That jacket makes him look like an actual woman." "No, because I've seen Tom Cruise wearing that same thing." "Um…exactly?" "Yeah, okay." Not a good look for Taylor, is what I'm saying. The performance itself seems for a long time that it will consist of Taylor simply repeating the word "trouble," over and over again. Like Woody Boyd singing to Kelly. He's still singing from the fetal position, but the slow blues of the song is keeping him from getting his tic on too badly, and as a result he's almost 100% more enjoyable. Taylor is behind such a series of eight balls with me. ["I think you'll find he snorted those before this segment." -- Jacob] I'm not a huge fan of his style of music. I thought the overt face-biting with Cocker and Ray was diverting for about ten minutes before I was well over it. I hate the attention-grabbing freak-outs. I hate the fake underdog vibe. I hate that he says he's twenty-nine when he's clearly forty-two. So when I say that this performance is generally not bad, it's probably best to weight that opinion against the mountains of dislike I've already got piled up for him. George Huff is in the audience, clapping for Taylor. Randy explains why he's been all over song choice tonight: with the theme being this current, the final ten have a chance to show everyone what kind of record they'd make should they win the show. No, Randy. That's Clive Davis week. It's a good point, though, and it actually gives some helpful context as to why he's got such tunnel vision about the song choices this week. I kind of wish that part would have been more overtly laid out in the theme: pick a song from the last six years that best fits the type of record you would like to make. Bring a little Apprentice / Project Runway vibe to the table.
Randy says Taylor's song wasn't exactly bad, but it didn't allow him to "show off" enough. Taylor sort of laughs in Randy's face about it, and says he just wanted to sing this week. The unspoken clause at the end there is, "As opposed to acting like a monkey on a string for the umpteenth week in a row." I don't think Taylor was laughing at Randy, so much as having a little chuckle to himself as to just how tight a corner he's painted himself into with the Cocker affectations. Paula is actually right on Taylor's tip, though, saying it was refreshing to see him just stand up there behind a mic and sing. Wow. Um. Word, Paula? That sounds so weird. But she's totally right. So of course she immediately begins to pile on the bullshit about Taylor being an "old soul" and "teaching the new generation" about the blue-eyed soul from days of yore. Simon "quite liked" the song and found the vocal to be "excellent." Howevah, the only problem that he has is Taylor's outfit, which he deems "very Clay Aiken." (Me: "You see?" Liz: "Okay! Shut up!") Paula, hilariously, says not in a million years could Clay "pull that off." Hee. Simon, ever the one-upper: "I'm not saying he could've, darling." Awesome. The camera does a slow pan up what we could conceivably dub "five pounds of Clay in a ten-pound bag," if we're being honest. Simon says Taylor's appeal has always been that he was different, and this new getup has him looking a bit…"pop school"? Is that what he said? Goofy Brits. Everybody has a good laugh at this except for Ryan, who rushes onstage to make a lame "If Taylor is Clay, then Simon is Kelly Clarkson" joke. No, it doesn't make any sense, beyond the fifth grade "Simon = girl; girls = lame; Simon = lame" syllogism. Then he shows some metro solidarity with Taylor's clothes -- not with Taylor, mind you, but with his gay-ass outfit -- before riding off into the sunset on his noble steed.