The judges have stopped being polite and have started getting...well, if not real, at least more critical. Magni does "My Generation," leaving us to wonder for another week how he'd do with a song that's less than forty years old. Jenny's "Tainted Love" starts slow and stays that way a bit too long, and the show's director isn't doing her any favors either. Jill does an ill-advised Courtney Love impersonation with Hole's "Violet," and then makes it worse by not copping to it. Zayra gets more credit for smarting off to the guys than for her singing, which is still not good. Chris tempts fate again with a tuneless rendition of Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out," and I'm sure that there are many viewers who would be happy to oblige. Dilana takes a big risk with "Ring Of Fire," which everyone loves, but the judges milk her obvious nervousness about it at first. Creed is clearly not Josh's thing, but it doesn't stop him from attempting "With Arms Wide Open." Phil's "If You Can Only See" earns him more of the same feedback: good singing, don't be such a dork onstage. Storm does "Surrender" by Cheap Trick, which is less about her voice than her goofy faces. Patrice sings "Heart-Shaped Box" with a big, green, guitar-shaped anchor slung over her shoulder, but manages to more or less pull it off. After blowing everyone away last week, Lukas decides to do something different, so his mid-tempo Coldplay cover blows nobody away. Ryan gets way out of his depth on "Jumpin' Jack Flash" and Tommy pronounces Dana's Steppenwolf cover "Born To Be Mild." And then another week ends with a strong performance, as Toby's outside-voice turns out to be a great fit for the Killers' "Somebody Told Me." The early bottom three? Zayra, Chris, and Jill. I'm not too worried that we'll lose Jill, which paradoxically makes me worried that we're going to lose Jill.
Tonight's theme: Constructive criticism, and how to take it. Chris, Zayra, and Jill struggle with it in different ways; Lukas can't take it at all; and Toby says he welcomes it. Easy for him to say, since he has yet to receive any. Plus, he gets the honor of doing tonight's encore. Last night's early bottom three were Chris, Jill, and Zayra, but tonight we learn that Jenny also trailed in the polls at some point during voting. Playing it straight this time, Jill both redeems herself and shows up Zayra by nailing "Bring Me to Life," which Zayra did last week but not nearly as well. Zayra shows herself up by doing the same thing she did last night, only a little better. That leaves Jenny and Chris, and once again it's the latter who has to sing to stay in the game. He does the acoustic version of Tonic's "If You Could Only See," and while he fails to show up Phil, he doesn't humiliate himself, either. Dave says that it's Chris's best performance to date, and Supernova compliments him on his mature attitude, his willingness to accept criticism, and his flexibility in incorporating it into his performances. Fat lot of good it does him, because they boot him anyway.
Shout out this week to Supernova. Not the band on the show, but the Orange County punk band with the same name who are suing them for trademark infringement. From what I hear, Butch Walker didn't exactly help our guys' case much. Of course, they don't mention the lawsuit on the air this week, but I have a theory as to why we haven't seen or heard from Butch since the first episode.
Brooke's in an orange formal this week, because now that the nominations have come out she figures there's no point saving it for the Emmys. She introduces the show and points out the remaining fourteen Supernovices in what was formerly the Peanut Gallery. And which is now simply the Nut Gallery (shout-out to stlouischili). She introduces the show, the guys from Supernova (already seated), and Dave (also already seated), and gives a quick recap of how Matt got booted. We get a short clip of Matt's elimination, and then we're back. Tommy, wearing his sunglasses inside, mock-laments his position as "Hatchet Guy," and says that he was "so sad to let Matt go." Gilby warns the finalists that they went easy on them last week, and then he cackles a little as Tommy agrees. Gilby tells them not to take anything personally; they're just looking for the best singer. Jason just tells everyone to do their best, and Dave kicks it back to Brooke.
So we're not even two minutes in, and Brooke is already introducing Magni. Where's the filler? I guess with two-thirds of the time they had last week and fourteen-fifteenths of the singers to get through, they have to keep things moving. No monterviews this time around, either, which is good because they're a pain in the ass to recap. Regarding Magni's performance last week, Brooke reminds us of Dave's "Vegas" judgment, and remarks that Magni hopes that "what sounds like Vegas, stays in Vegas." I think using a joke is required by law every time the subject comes up. Like last week, tonight's performances kick off with a Who song. Between this show and all the CSIs, CBS is turning into the Pete Townshend network or something. Magni's doing "My Generation," even though his generation is at least two removed from the one this song is about. He sounds fine, wisely omitting the stuttering in the original, but the House Band sounds fucking great, with the backing vocals and half of the bass solo that makes me wish they had time for all of it. The crowd loves it. Jason tells Magni that his experience in "Ice Land" is showing through here, which is good. Tommy: "I thought it was a little ho-hum. And I liked the ho; just needed a little more hum." "Okay, man," Magni says, clearly not understanding what Tommy's talking about, and very much not alone. Who'da thunk Tommy would end up being both the Trump and the Paula?