We learn about the prizes: a Warner Brothers recording contract, an AEG Live concert tour, a Toyota Tundra truck, and a performance at the 2008 summer Olympics. Does the world really need a country version of "One Moment in Time"? And of course, we all get to vote either by phone or online. So let the singing begin!
Girl group Pearl Heart is up first. They're sisters, and their parents moved to Nashville so they could pursue their singing career. They've been onstage since they were wee, and really seem to wuv each other. This is the band with the mandy, which gets mad props. They go for the predictable and sing "Wide Open Spaces." One sister stops playing her guitar momentarily to wave a hand in the air. I do love this song but their version is unremarkable and gets super pitchy with the harmony at the end. Except the judges love it! Jewel wants the one sister who sings lead to become more of a frontwoman, but otherwise, it's all props. Maybe my sweltering 95 degree living room is affecting my hearing?
Oooh! And then it's time for the Navy's own Tommy Stanley. He's an engineer in the Navy, and starts crying when he talks about his family. Tommy reminds us that he has a lot at stake -- mainly, if he gets booted he has to go the hell back to the military. Okay, can I tell you how much I love Tommy Stanley? He sings "Walking in Memphis," and I think the arrangement is holding him back a little and he's not totally locked into the tempo, but there's no doubt he can sing. We cut to Jan from The Office for a minute, like maybe this is the guy who was her assistant and gave her the CD. Jeffrey tells Tommy straight up that he has his doubts. The crowd boos him. John Rich thinks that he oversang, and asks if he was nervous. Jewel liked it, though. John Rich ends by saying that he did a good job. Billy Ray calls him an American hero. I mean, he is at least better than Josh Gracin.
Shawn Mayer is next. Her hometown has a population of 45! She's a tomboy and a part time mechanic, hog farmer, and volunteer firefighter. That's kind of awesome. Shawn had to let go of the love of her life, because he wanted her to stay in Iowa, and she wanted to pursue her dream. They don't have hogs and fires and broken down El Caminos in Iowa? She sings the country version of "Piece of My Heart." She's working it, but I don't love her voice. And she reminds me uncomfortably of Monica Lewinsky. Jeff Rich says she sounded like a girl singing in a bar, not a girl gunning for a major label contract. Jewel tells her that she has more range than she's even using. Jeffrey tells her that she needs to be spot on. They think she's a great singer, but she needs to be even better. She's got bad-ass cleavage, though. That might be enough to get her through to next week.