In retrospect, Quentin Tarantino wasn't so odd of a choice to coach a singing contest. It worked because he's not stuck "in the weeds" of vocal technique or musicality; he's just concerned about how they come across, and that's been the biggest problem amongst the contestants this season.
This week's Ford video makes me wish J. Geils had never met his Band. Seriously, with of that septet of powerhouse singers, the producers couldn't get any more vocal energy out of them? Or was it just the worst audio mix ever?
Michael Sembello's "Maniac" (from Flashdance) is actually a great choice for a group number; it's a well-written song (harmonically, anyway), and it gives an opportunity for multiple solos alternating with group harmonies.
Jennifer Hudson continues to have a voice to die for, but this song is such a generic matchup for her. "Put your hands up"? "I know I ain't trippin'"? Her voice is better suited to grand melodies (most famously "I Am Not Going"), not this kind of repetitious Ne-Yo-eque range-lessness.
When the Bottom Three is settled, Danny and Allison are not in it, which is for the best; it'd be a shame for the judges to use an obligatory Save on them this early. Anoop also escapes the Bottom Two, which is good for sentimental reasons, but he doesn't stand a chance in a three-way matchup with Danny and Allison.
For some reason, Miley Cyrus is playing "live"... last month. (That article implies that this happens regularly; does it?) Yikes, she sounds like she's holding her nose. Oh, and her high notes are painful and bleaty. Oh, and she's flat and out-of-breath half the time. Samantha asks: "Is she even singing in English?" Why is she famous for singing again? I get it, she's Disney's meal ticket and family-friendly, but her singing ability is set in stark relief compared to the talent already on that stage. (Or would be on that stage if she was live. Wow, this really awkward to listen to and write about!) Making the whole thing more awkward is the transition back to the live feed, where Ryan obviously can't do his usual post-performance interview due to the non-existence of the performer and has to make a non-sequitur back to the Bottom 3, further trivializing the whole ordeal.
So Lil is saved, leaving Matt to sing the Desperation Song du jour. Hmmmmm. Samantha suspects that Matt may be the beneficiary of the Save that Simon mentioned he'd give; I have my doubts, given that better performers (IMO) are still in the running. In his Desperation Song, though, he's got vocal issues: the beginning of "Loved a Woman" sounds like a bad Peter Gabriel imitation. On the flip side, this performance is so much better than last night's by virtue of his ability to actually walk around and connect with the audience. I wish the Save had been saved for someone more worthy, but Samantha points out that the Save was used for the exact right reason: Matt isn't a fan favorite by virtue of being on the bottom of the vote on a regular basis, and the judges want to save someone they feel deserves to make it to the Top 4. even if they recognize-- as Simon did-- that he or she probably won't. Good for them; let's just hope Danny or Allison don't shank horribly next week.