Holly Tucker is next to perform, and ought to be used to the heat in the sweltering South. Holly tells Blake she has recorded several of her own albums. I don't know whether that is supposed to be impressive or sad. Whatever, Holly is singing "Broken Wing" by Martina McBride. Blake encourages her to connect with it and sign it hard. She sounds good in that nice cool rehearsal studio.
There's no question, Holly Tucker is good. Her notes and runs are flawless from what I can tell. I'm not familiar with the song. Holly goes hard and ends big, with a performance that only makes up for how poorly they dressed her tonight.
Usher tells Holly that anyone who has ever doubted her talent is an idiot. He says he's glad she was able to get into the audience. Shakira quotes Blake and says, "gosh dang, girl," and it is cute. Adam applauds the emotion and intention behind the song. Something feels off about this show. It feels empty, and is lacking the sizzle (but not the heat, right, Carson?).
Carson has taken his jacket off when we come back from the commercial break, and uses the phrase "heating up" again. He's too hot and tired to come up with anything else. Adam Levine's phantom arm wafts a tissue at Carson, just for attention.
Christina Milian is boiling up in that Skybox, and she brought six contestants up there to roast with her. She asks Michelle Chamuel about her performance last week. They must have a fan up there, because Christina is holding up much better than anyone down on the floor.
Carson is more disconnected and sociopathic than ever in this heat. He tiredly introduces Garrett Gardner as "the seventeen-year old ... rocker." Shakira has chosen "I Want It That Way" by the Backstreet Boys for Garrett to reinterpret this week. Shakira is really coddling and cradling Garrett; it's clear that he's her favorite.
Even a new arrangement can't make this song cool, though. The performance lacks energy and that "goodness" that artists need to succeed. Shakira makes a big show of enjoying it in hopes of convincing everyone else that this was a good idea.
Adam tells Garrett that genetics have made him a heartthrob, but he doesn't like the song choice or the performance. Blake thinks the performance was OK. Usher reminds Garrett that constructive criticism exists to make one better and doesn't say anything specific. Shakira is confident that Garrett's fans will download the song on iTunes and put Garrett through. This is all trumped by Usher taking his button-up off to reveal just a black tank top. Yay!