It's Disco Time! Those crazy boogie children let their love lights shine, Barry Gibb's face eats itself inside out, but the kids rock it. Melinda's "Love You Inside Out" is relaxed and not entirely overwhelming; the judges admit we expect more from her than anyone ever. There's a momentary fight with Barry about the lyrics to "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart," but when she explains her refusal to sing any lyric about losing or going home, he loves it. The usual pandering key change sets off the entire crowd, so you know Randy and Paula are in love with it, although Paula once more asks her to do something unexpected at some point.
Blake goes all Blake on "You Should Be Dancing," blonde stripes making his eyes pop like whoa, and Barry loves it. It starts out kinda Jamiroquai-verging-on-Antony Johnson creepy, then abruptly flips into Maxwell-sexy. Falsetto: sometimes it's like this, other times it's like that. Randy finds the beeping noises and beatboxing "corny," and Simon hates it, but Paula likes shiny stuff. He sings "This Is Where I Came In" wearing his most semiotically canny outfit so far: imagine if Battle Royale had a pop group subplot. His confidence outstrips what America's capable of buying, but it's a real either/or kind of performance; definitely my favorite of the season, but not really a crowd-pleaser. Needless to say, Simon's unhappy about the Blakeness and Randy's horrified by the beeping, but Paula loves it and accuses Simon, correctly, of Jive Talking.
LaKisha sings an ungraceful and disinterested "Stayin' Alive" with some really hot extensions; her creativity with the melody offends Randy; her slow-take tempo update pisses off Paula; and Simon declines to kiss her again because of her Blaking of the song, which was actually awesome. The very romantic "Run To Me" has a pretty meh arrangement, but at least she hops two key changes, causing the audience to basically shit themselves. She biffs the last line; nobody cares but it's still all the judges can talk about; Simon pretty much calls her and Blake out for the losers this week.
Jordin ups everybody's game with "To Love Somebody," convincing Barry Gibb that she is the queen of the entire universe, and for good reason. She rocks it, and even stays almost entirely in her lower register, a really confident choice at this point. In the end, it's her "Woman In Love," one of the most original and majestic songs from the Gibb catalog, that confuses everybody. She does it up right, wearing the most flattering dress we've seen, but the judges pan her. I wonder if they won't reconsider tonight; Simon calls it "old-fashioned" and "pageanty," but it was actually awesome.
Best of the Night: Blake's and Jordin's second songs. Unless you're not me, and then it's probably one of the diva turns from Melinda or LaKisha's second round. Worst of the Night: Blake's and Jordin's second songs, unless you're me, and then it's probably either of LaKisha's two numbers. Should go home: Lakisha. Will go home, unless the Blaker Girls seriously mobilize: Blake.
Blake's mouth hangs open like a flytrap as Ryan pans across the kids: thirty million Americans deciding your fate, and it's three girls and one guy. Of sorts. I'd be jaw-dropped too. Ryan's wearing a black suit and blue tie, or a blue suit (Armani does not make a blue suit) but whatever it is, the combination, it's strange. Like, Wonder Woman and Clark Kent can't really have blue hair, but then how come -- that's the color of the suit and the tie. "I am Ryan Seacrest," he declares, "And the pressure is on, in America." You know what, if fucking George and Laura show up I'm outta here. Ryan's scruff is not great this week: he looks like G.I. Joe, or a Halloween hobo, or today's FTM. As he introduces the judges, the screaming is insane for Simon and not so much for the other two, and that makes me, Simon, and Ryan giggle madly. It's going to be a good week. Simon's wearing a white v-neck. With a capital V. Capital.
Did you know Barry Gibb is a music icon? He's been around just forever, five decades, starting out in Manchester with his Brothers Gibb. They show clips from the very excellent "Stayin' Alive" video, which is basically four to eight unattractive Mancunians standing around in unattractive locations, occasionally thrusting hips, singing in ghostly high voices. I recommend it strongly. (Remember Saturday Night Fever? You know, I was making out with the pilot of my private jet the other day and one or the other of us brought up that movie, and my, how we laughed. What a moment, culturally. Then we joined a cult, got really fat, and traded on our outdated celebrity cache for one million bloated years. Do you think Rita Wilson and Kelly Preston have a secret club where they get drunk and bemoan the fact that they will never, ever be famous? And then prank-call Patti Scialfa? That's what I would do. Hell, that's already what I do, I'm not gonna lie.) The Bee Gees had 30 albums and 19 of them were awesome in some way, they had five number ones in a row, there's gay name dropping extraordinaire: Diana Ross, Celine Dion, Barbra. In every picture, Barry's uncomfortably nuzzling the lady of the moment in the exact same not-so-present fashion. Seven Grammies, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, "How Deep Is Your Love," and through it all, they were not that great looking. Barry Gibb will always look weird, in a new way each century, and Barry Gibb will always sound weird, edging ever up on self-parody, and Barry Gibb will always write kick-ass songs, with so-so lyrics. He tells us how our Top Four have "grown immensely," and then points out for the first of several thousand times that he's made "a lot of records with ladies," and that's what he is doing here: working with lots of ladies, and Blake. He keeps saying this and we will never know why he feels it's important to stress this point. Also, he talks CRAZY.