Jackson agrees, because how obvious was that choice for his style and voice? Ellen loved the guitar playing, and suddenly has decided that, since people are going home every week, he needs to be not just good but great. Kara's disappointed because he went from "Jealous Guy" back to boring jam band stuff. Simon found the song less than Thematically Inspiring -- because he flies back and forth so much he can't be expected to pay attention to our electoral process and has no idea where the song intersects with politics -- but also less than actually inspiring, because he sang it just like the original, and with "zero emotion." So I guess maybe I shouldn't have listened to Alicia Keys, because that was my original feeling. Ryan kids around with Casey about how he didn't think it was lazy, and the guitar he's playing is important in some way but I can't figure out what they're saying, and we're done. Keep it hopping, Seacrest.
Next up: Lee, singing "The Boxer." That's going to be pretty good, but I wish they had switched. Lee would have done something weird with "Don't Stop" and Casey I think would have done something pretty amazing with this song. But no, stay in your box. First, though, commercials. If it's true that your life flashes before your eyes when you die, it's going to end up around 30% Temper Trap, 30% Phoenix, and 40% that song with the whistling and the Old Folks, by the time we die. I don't know that commercials are aware yet of other songs.
Poorly acted eco-mercial from Kara and Jackson -- Guys. Even when you recycle you're still being wasteful. You're not helping, you're just hurting marginally less. -- and then Alicia tells us once again that "The Boxer" is an amazing song, especially once Lee tells her the words. She tells him that he is the boxer of the song, and that he needs to make people believe him. Like what she said about Casey, but even less necessary.
It's lovely, and builds in an inventive way, and his voice sounds pretty good but not as good as it can, and his lovely eyes are very puppydog, and he doesn't even start that Adam Duritz bitter batter bullshit until after the first "ladida" part. This is the worst goddamn idea for an episode. They all sound like you can't really hear them. They all sound like Tom Hanks should be bringing a dead bird back to life right in front of you.
Jackson, having finally gotten the memo, praises him as an artist. Ellen remarks, and I think I agree, that he really does seem to get better almost every time. Kara says this was his Moment, and that he just bested Casey on the "feeling it" front and should keep picking things he cares about. Simon phrases the majority of his critique as an incredibly mean-spirited joke at Casey's expense, and says the song sounded really current. Up next: Tim and Aaron do... Goo Goo Dolls and R. Kelly. Hmm.