L.A. says he wanted to be critical but she shut him down. Nicole blathers about belief and inspiration. Paula says, "If anyone ever questions if there are angels that exist on Earth living, it is you." So Rachel questions angels? Paula even likes the outfit. Simon restates his conviction from way back at the very beginning of the season that Rachel was part of the reason they lowered the age standard for the competition. He can't come up with something new? Well, at least it makes sense, unlike Nicole's and Paula's comments. Steve comes out with the voting instructions, and Rachel says she wants to tell all the kids out there that they can do it. "Inspirational," Steve giggles. He's clearly inspired.
Marcus tells us about how he's giving thanks to his mother, his number one fan, who has such faith in his abilities that she gave him two years to make it as a singer (not that anyone mentions that tonight). They both talk about her trials as a single mother, including one cold winter illustrated with black-and-white footage of windblown trees and falling snow, and about the time she lost her job during his last year of private high school.
Marcus sings perched on a single bleacher, crooning Boys II Men's "A Song for Mama" off-key while she desperately fans at the stage fog thickly spilling over onto her in the orchestra. He ends up coming down and singing right into her face, and then making everyone wait while he hugs her. I'm not sure where the line is between emotional and creepy, but I'm looking behind us right now.
Nicole gushes meanderingly, and Paula talks about the passion and the connection (Paula's all about the connection tonight, I'm warning you now), but Simon says he's going to be honest, and gets some preemptive boos. But then he goes on to say that Marcus has been up and down, but he feels Marcus is back in the competition. L.A. says Marcus is as great as any great singer he's worked with, which I think is overstating it a bit. Steve comes out to ask how Marcus feels, Marcus stutters emotionally, and Steve totally enables it.
Melanie's next, and she explains how she's dedicating her performance to God, because he's the only one in her life who's never let her down. Wow, harsh to the people she knows much? Melanie talks about growing up away from her parents in the Virgin Islands and how she thought they didn't love her, and how coming back to Florida after that was a tough transition, but singing in a church helped her find her calling. So. Song for God.