We're doing another week of the Four-Chair Challenge, which like last week, is being pumped up by the editing as this horrible ordeal. Sorry editors… we already know that none of the chairs are electric.
We're starting with the Boys category tonight, so there's a good chance we'll see Paulina Rubio being asked to exceed her design parameters. Kelly's final four Over 25s and Demi's final four Girls are still in the seats -- and the clothes -- they were in last week, but Mario and the judges have had wardrobe changes. I mean, it's hard to tell with Simon, but I'm assuming. Mario rattles off the names of the current top ten boys: Al Calderon, Isaiah Alston, Isaac Tauaefa, Carlos Guevara, Stone Martin, Chase Goehring, Tim Olstad, Carlito Olivero, Timmy Thames and Josh Levi. Mario gets some thoughts -- such as they are -- from Paulina, and then Al Calderon gets to start this round, much as he started the whole season. He's the host and go-to "Happy Birthday" singer at a restaurant. He seems more embarrassed about this than he is about an obviously staged bit in which he and a bunch of guys are supposedly hanging at the mall and Al flags down some girls by singing at them, which is totally the wrong thing to be embarrassed about out of those two things.
Anyway, tonight on the X-shaped stage, he sings a minor-key Dubstep version of "Call Me Maybe," which is perhaps not the smartest move. But the girls in the audience still like him and he's got four empty chairs to pick from. Kelly gets flirted with a little bit and says he started off shaky, but pulled it together. Demi thought he was a bit much and a little pitchy at times, but it was great overall. Simon calls the song choice "interesting," and says that while Al's not the best singer in the competition (cue boos from the audience and the other judges), he has lots of charisma and the potential to be a better singer. Paulina asks if he has the quality to be a "solo male… artist?" Like Al's going to say no to that. Mario calls for Paulina's decision, and she gives him a seat. Like that was hard.
Next is Isaiah Alston, 15, who we see frolicking in the pool with his large family in Hamilton, New Jersey, singing at his church and impressing Paulina and the other judges at his first audition with "I'm Goin' Down." But tonight he's doing a pitch-and breath-challenged version of "The Greatest Love of All" that's making Paulina cringe, Demi wince and Simon smirk. The audience reacts like they couldn't hear Isaiah at all, which is to say positively. Kelly eases into it by complimenting his bow tie, and then says that tonight wasn't as good as his first audition. Demi agrees that Isaiah might not be ready, and Simon says it was "old-fashioned" and out of tune. Paulina concedes that he has a powerful voice, but wonders, "Are you special enough for this competition?" God, Paulina, just lend the 15-year-old a chair instead of laying the existential crap on him. Isaiah pluckily says God gave him this gift to share with the world, but Paulina's not having it; she sends Isaiah home, making him the first person in this stage of the competition to be denied an empty chair. Maybe she could run over him in the parking lot later, just to complete the crushing she just delivered.