Joey Cook, Idol’s resident kiwi, according to Harry, takes the stage—accordion in hand, of course—and sings a surprise rendition of Keith’s “Somebody Like You,” which pleases Keith to his core. He’s absolutely giddy! So Joey, I think I said last week, has surprised me because, despite all her accordions and vintage dresses and ukuleles, she has not historically annoyed me. She’s felt really authentic the whole time. But this performance tonight, particularly her vocal, struck me as pretty affected. Major points for a crazy original arrangement and solid showmanship, but it grated on me. Am I being a scrooge? (High-five to Harry for saying, “If me and Keith had a kid, that’s what the music would sound like.”)
Katherine Winston is next, and I’m curious about her because I don’t feel like we got to know her enough during the auditions and Hollywood Week. She selects “Safe and Sound” by T. Swift and The Civil Wars (excellent tune), and oh, her voice is so pretty and quiet. No theatrics here, and I appreciate it. (Though she looks petrified.) She stumbles with her pitch, which is unfortunate—this really could have been a knock-em-dead performance with a little more strength and confidence. I hope she comes back. Harry tells her he questions the song choice because it’s risky to do a ballad. Ugh. We need some people to JUST SING, Harry.
“Who Knew” by Pink is the song du jour for Shannon Berthiaume, who still fascinates me because she’s so damn comfortable on stage and reportedly has no practice doing it. But what’s up with this performance? She’s not blowing me away like she normally does, and she really loses it at the end. Most of the performance was delivered from one spot on stage; Shannon is looking as beautiful and Kristen Stewart-y as ever, but it felt super amateur. Commit, Shannon! Pick better songs, Shannon! All three judges are in agreement. Shannon might be in trouble.
Loren Lott. Loren, girl, I just can’t make up my mind about you. She’s selected “Note to God” by Charice, and I don’t know what my deal is, but her voice does not thrill me. I recognize the talent that she has, but when she’s not belting (which is crazy, admittedly), it hits me as so nasal and borderline unpleasant. It’s not something that I can see myself ever wanting to listen to outside of this show. Is anyone with me? Why does this girl hurt my ears? The judges love it, and basically tell her she’s a frontrunner. This is not how my brain processed that performance. What do you guys think?
Shi, my perpetual frustration, is up next. The thing that frustrates me most? She’s pretty damn good. (But for the record, I’m still mad that Jelly went home last week.) So Shi takes on Rihanna’s “Umbrella” while wearing a sexy non-dress, and her voice is not there tonight. The song is too low, the arrangement is bizarre as hell, and we’re not hearing any of that tone that’s impressed us so many times before. She’s screaming at us a little bit, and it sounds like when my vocally gifted friends have had too many drinks and decide to karaoke. Which is to say, not bad, but it maybe makes everyone feel nervous. (Shi wins me over a hair with a candid “That sucks!” when the judges tell her it was the wrong song choice. Dropping the bravado a notch would be a good idea.)
NEXT: The girls get good, so stick around.