Next is 14-year-old Drew Ryniewicz, a starry-eyed Justin Bieber fan from Arizona. We get to visit her bedroom shrine to the Biebs, and hang with her proud family backstage. Drew's main goal is to impress L.A., who she credits with Justin Bieber's career. If "credits" is the right word. In front of the judges, she's a little nervous, and when she says she's singing a Justin Bieber song, Simon makes with the "I woudn't do that" bit he's been doing, "informing" her that L.A. signed him. She says she made the song her own, and after L.A. warns her he might be a little extra-critical as a person who's so close to the song, she does indeed sing a slow, piano-backed version of the song, with lots of really controlled vocal breaks. The audience is on her side, and so are the judges before she's too far into it. Her mom's jumping up and down backstage like she never heard her daughter sing before. After she's done, Nicole is the first speak, saying she likes the original version, "Which is why it's interesting that I prefer your version to his." "So do I," Simon agrees. I really couldn't say, not being too familiar with the original. Sorry, I'm a grown-up. Paula also likes her, and Simon tells her, "This is exactly what I wanted a 14-year-old to do on this competition." Plus he thinks people Drew's age would buy her version of the song, so, bonus. L.A. has no trouble with her version of his song, telling her she's special, and when it's time to vote, Simon declares, "Easiest yes so far today." The other judges agree, so she's moving on, and she runs offstage happily adjusting her dress. She reunites with her family, and we hear her talk about how she even held back a little bit. Whoa. Her dad literally sings to his knees on their way to the White Box for more congratulations. In fact, it all goes on so long I'm starting to expect the shot of them to be replaced by a title card saying "The Ryniewicz family was killed by a drunk driver on I-5 ten minutes later." It's not, by the way.
Steve welcomes us back to Seattle, where a young female foursome called "Jada" gets onstage. They're not terrible, but they're not good either, and Nicole puts it best: "Girls, I don't love you." So they're done. Then we meet Peet Montzingo, who says he's 21 years old and wants to be a "teen heartthrob." Okay, nobody who says "heartthrob" is ever going to be one, and when he tells an intake person in the lobby that he's from Seattle but his heart's from L.A., I'm done with him. He gestures to his parents, who seem to be sitting down across the table, but nope: 6'1" Peet's parents are dwarves, although his dad is the second-tallest dwarf in the world. So if he were only taller than two more people, he wouldn't be a dwarf any more? Peet interviews about how if he does well in the competition, maybe he can fit in somewhere. "Anywhere." Okay, that's sad. Out onstage, he cracks up Simon by saying he wants to be a teen heartthrob at age 21. He tells the judges about growing up in a dwarf family and getting made fun of and how he's using this competition as a desperate attempt to fill the howling void in his soul, although he doesn't use those exact words. He's going to sing "Billionaire" by Bruno Mars, but with the lyrics all changed so they're about being famous instead. And Peet turns out to have an additional problem, in that he's not actually good. Like, at all. Into the awkward silence after Simon calls a halt, Paula throws Nicole under the bus, and Nicole reaches pretty far to find a compliment, saying she likes that he has big dreams. Simon agrees with Nicole, although "the singing was terrible to be honest with you." He also didn't like the changed words, "but it was sort of horribly honest." L.A. says Peet might be famous one day. I wonder for what? Paula compliments his comic timing. For the vote, Simon says he likes people who are ambitious and talented. "At the moment, you're one." Nicole says no to the singing, but that he might find some other way to get famous. He heads back and admits that it was bad, although he and his parents think L.A. would have said yes. In the White Box, they put such a positive spin on it that I understand for the first time why it's there and why it looks like that: from inside, it's impossible not to see the bright side.